Luxuria Lifestyle Drives the £744,000 Speedback Silverstone Edition
September 2, 2018
Sometimes a headline seems to say it all, yet in reality it hardly scratches the surface.
The retro mod Speedback Silverstone Edition, its eye-watering price tag and how it came about are a case in point – and the only way to do the car justice is to rewind four years.
It was then that new British bespoke manufacturer, David Brown Automotive, launched its first model – the Speedback GT.
A homage to the iconic grand tourers of the sixties, the limited edition GT is largely based on the running gear of the now discontinued Jaguar XKR (1996–2014) and has been uncharitably likened to a 9/8th scale Aston Martin DB5.
The reality is that every Speedback GT is an automotive masterpiece, taking3,200 man hours to craft – each car boasting 142 handcrafted panels.
No more than 100 Speedbacks will be built in total at David Brown Automotive’s new HQ at Silverstone, where a combination of state-of-the-art technology and traditional coachbuilding manufacturing techniques are used.
A second product line, the Mini Remastered, was added in 2017. This luxury version of the iconic city car is virtually all-new, comes with a modern twist and each one costs a staggering £90,000.
Now that the first GTs have been delivered to their new owners, CEO David Brown (no relation to the former Aston Martin boss of the same name) wanted to mark DBA’s 2017 relocation to the home of British motorsport with a special edition – hence the Silverstone Edition.
The car recognises the circuit’s rich aeronautical and motorsport heritage. Brown adds: “Speedback Silverstone Edition addresses our ambition on every level – as a visually stunning Grand Tourer and the most performance-focused model we have ever made.
“We have developed Speedback Silverstone Edition to appeal to a new customer; the driver who wants the very best performance at all times, but still wants to retain usability and driveability in an exclusive model which still offers both comfort and luxury.”
The Silverstone Edition is a more aggressive and powerful version of the GT with a muscular, streamlined body stripped of chrome bumpers and boasting a honeycomb grille, front spoiler, larger rear diffuser and extended side skirts.
Looking more like a classic GT racer, there’s the same 5.0-litre supercharged V8 under the long bonnet, this time uprated by nearly 100bhp to 601bhp, delivering 565ft lb of torque and mated to a six-speed ZF automatic transmission.
Jet-inspired touches include specially forged 20-inch ‘afterburner’ bespoke alloys, dashboard air vents and ‘aeronautical’ speedometer and tachometer dials, while the tan leather seats are embroidered with an outline of the Silverstone circuit.
The Silverstone Edition is a symphony of hand-beaten aluminium, wood, leather, Alcantara and brushed chrome fittings.
Unike the GT, there’s no pretence at rear seats – instead there are two specially made storage units which look like mini travel trunks.
Open the enormous rear hatch and there’s room for 502 litres of luggage, though it’s more long and shallow than deep. An “event seat” folds down at the rear, perfect for country pursuits.
Frankly, the attention to detail is phenomenal – even the brushed chrome petrol cap is individually crafted.
Luxury muscle car
The cabin has an old-school feel, which is no bad thing in this age of panoramic touchscreens and technical wizardry. However, this is also the Speedback GT and Silverstone Edition’s weakest point.
The infotainment screen in the centre console has presumably been carried over from the Jaguar XKR, and it shows. Not only is it small by today’s standards, but the graphics are decidedly low tech.
The good news is that the overall package is sumptuous. Press the start button and the big V8 growls into life. Just a dab of the accelerator makes you aware that there are plenty of horses at your disposal.
In short, the Silverstone Edition is an effortless cruiser, so job done. Feeling like a more sophisticated British muscle of the sixties and seventies, it delivers its power smoothly and before you know it, you’re at the UK legal limit.
Plant your right foot and the roar from the twin exhausts will put a smile on your face, while more eager drivers will want to switch to Dynamic mode which sharpens everything up. Just don’t expect the handling of modern lightweight GTs. This is a big car and it could never be described as nimble.
That said, I suspect most buyers will be more than happy to crack on at moderate speeds in refined, bespoke luxury.
To appreciate the Speedback Silverstone Edition fully, there’s no substitute for seeing it in the metal. Only then can you savour the craftsmanship that’s gone into the making of this car in a million. In fact, customers are encouraged to visit the factory to watch the build progress – and where almost any special request can be fulfilled…
Verdict: Frankly, few cars are as exclusive as David Brown Automotive’s new Speedback Silverstone Edition. If you have a spare £744,000 and you want to stand out from the crowd, this should be on your shortlist.
Click here for the David Brown website.
Written by Luxuria Lifestyle UK’s Gareth Herincx