A knowledgeable car enthusiast came to us with a vision, he wanted the style and personality of a great classic car combined with the comfort, performance, safety and equipment of a modern supercar. Although passionate about the great British marques of the 50s and 60s, our client felt that driving one every day would introduce too many compromises. So he worked with his Designer Alan Mobberley and Envisage Group to completely redesign and engineer a bespoke car exterior and interior based on a modern vehicle platform.
Envisage has a proven track record of delivering key design, engineering and manufacturing services to prestigious automotive manufacturers and provides state-of-the-art processes, including Formula 1 proven technologies such as Laser Etching, 3D Computer Aided Design and Rapid Prototyping, which are necessary to develop a unique car. “Modern bespoke automobiles have always required substantial compromises,” said Envisage Chief Executive Officer Alastair Cattrell. “They are either exquisitely upgraded versions of identifiable production cars or they are truly bespoke new cars that are beautifully hand-crafted from the ground-up. Allowing the world’s elite to own the car of their dreams.”
Our development activities took place at our Coventry facilities. Our client was able to oversee the creation of every element during the development of his car and watch as his design became a reality right in front of his eyes. His dedicated client liaison team helped him to schedule key events, including a full-scale clay model and immersive 3D visualisation reviews, while the entire build had a tight time scale of twelve months from design conception to the final launch. Having seen his car design in the flesh, our client came to the decision that he wished to sell a limited number on the global market. This resulted in Envisage Group optimising the complete build for low volume production.
Our client and his Designer began their journey with an initial consultation; we then assigned him with his own very personal vehicle development team. This team ensured that all decisions would be well informed and his every wish would be followed throughout the journey.
A phase of conceptualisation was followed by digital computer rendering and concept CAD modelling until our client and his Designer eventually felt the aesthetics of the exterior and interior reflected the appeal of the 1960’s cars our client admired. Simultaneously, our team of engineers carried out vehicle package studies to suit the overall proportions of the design, which culminated in the digital model being reviewed on a full-scale 3D visualisation power wall.
Once signed off, this model was then taken into a large milling machine in order to create full-scale clay models, which took place within the Envisage Group’s climate controlled clay studios. The malleable clay allowed our client’s Designer to direct our modellers in perfecting the lines, features and proportions of our client’s vision. Using 3D scanners and high-end CAD software, these clay models were then transformed into finely formed sets of interior and exterior surfaces. During this creative process, our engineers worked closely with the designers to develop new components that matched the donor platform perfectly, retaining the car’s superb styling elements and design features.
To form the aluminium body, a series of virtual aerodynamic tests were performed to optimise the car’s stability at high-speeds and to ensure that the cooling system operated to maximum efficiency. To achieve the highest standards possible in vehicle structural rigidity and crash worthiness, our engineers created new body sub-frames, using the latest virtual simulation software. Our experts in lighting, glazing, seal development, noise and vibration worked tirelessly with the body and structures team to create a fully resolved, digitally engineered body.
The unique interior had to be unified with the existing safety information and lighting systems. Therefore, particular attention was paid to all of the premium features the designers had incorporated in line with our client’s wishes. Envisage Group’s in-depth understanding of how to achieve prestigious automotive interiors with superior craftsmanship helped in creating the British luxury feel for alignment with our client’s branding desires.
Once the digitally engineered model for the exterior and interior was complete and our client had signed off every detail, the manufacturing process began. The body substructure components and formers were CNC machined. Using English wheels, the body panels were hand rolled by highly skilled craftsmen using traditional coachbuilding skills learnt through decades of experience. Each panel was shaped, welded where necessary and digitally measured until the entire body was perfect to within 0.5 millimetres of the surface data. The assembled body components were then painted in our spraying facility to a quality level referred to in the automotive industry as ‘show car standard’. All components required for the exterior, lighting units and glazing were manufactured in co-ordination with our engineering specialists ready for the final build.
To create the upper and lower interior environment, our engineers used plastic 3D printed components which were then coated in premium British leather. As part of the design, a unique centre console was developed that utilised real metal switch gear with integrated LEDs that displayed the functional symbols. The interior engineers employed a specialist state-of-the-art 3D metal process to create a perfect metal recreation of the console CAD model. For the bespoke seating, unique foams were shaped to suit the design and integrated with the seating surrounds which were then covered in leather. Finally, our client’s contemporary steering wheel and feature interior trim had real British wood veneer applied. This completed an extremely high-quality interior assembly ready to be integrated with a proven donor system.
With all the interior and exterior components finally finished and reviewed by our client and his Designer, our build team carefully assembled each of the metal body panels and structural components using digital measuring arms to ensure that every gap and shut-line was flawlessly aligned. Expert electricians then installed the electrical components, while working alongside the glazing professionals who fitted the new windows. The interior environment and seats were also fitted using meticulous attention to detail.
What happened next?
Following rigorous testing and countless phases of polishing, our client received his finished unique dream car. The car was officially launched at the Top Marques Monaco show in April 2014.