By Guy Jenner
Launched in 2009, the Aston Martin One-77 was designed to demonstrate everything that Aston Martin Lagonda were capable of in one car. It represented one of the earliest interpretations of the hypecar genre.
The incredible shape and stance of the One-77 is the first thing that you notice. At 2,204mm including the mirrors, the sheer width of the car gives it an incredible stance. Aston Martin design their cars around the magical “golden proportions” principle that makes the overall shape of their cars look just right. The One-77 is perhaps the most right of them all.
The other significant aspect to the body is that it is an all-aluminium, created by hand. It is a shape that could only come from ultra-low volume handmade production. This process allowed Aston Martin to create a shape that would never have been possible with conventional production techniques. It also allowed the rear of the car to have no shut lines; just one seamless hand-beaten piece of aluminium. It is a truly beautiful piece of craftsmanship.
The first big headline was the price of the One-77 at £1.2 million. In 2009 it was a significant amount of money, very few cars had broached the £1m level. We appreciate that it still remains a lot of money but many more cars have since hit the market with a price north of £1 million. With just 77 cars being produced, the cost of development per unit was inevitably extremely high. When you consider that every One-77 took approximately 3,000 man hours to build, the price becomes easier to understand. To give that some context, the Porsche 911 which is a superb car, takes around 60 hours to build.
As you walk around a One-77, you begin to drink in all of the details. If you love engineering, you will adore the One-77. This is not only because of the sheer quality of the component but that every aspect of the car is finished to “A Surface” standards. What this means is that typically when manufacturers create a car, they have A and B surfaces. The A surfaces are what you see and are therefore a higher standard whilst the B surfaces are hidden and don’t matter so much. When you start to take a One-77 apart, the difference to a typical supercar is remarkable.
Talking of remarkable, so is the suspension. The One-77 is certainly not a big, soft GT car. It actually has more in common with a race car. The dampers are a pushrod layout. A bell-crank transfers the forces coming through the wheels to a link that compresses the spring and damper units mounted horizontally ahead of the engine. This not only reduces un-sprung mass, it cuts the resistance of the wheels to vertical motion.
The aluminium structure at the rear of the car contains four coil springs. There are two smaller coils that are part of a hydraulic anti-roll bar mechanism. The use of the coils allows for some adjustability of the rear roll stiffness to allow alterations to the handling characteristics. At the inboard end of each damper is a block containing a pair of spool valves. They are passive dampers of extremely high quality but not electronically adjustable. Instead, the beautifully crafted units have manual adjustment from 1 to 11 as a nod to the film Spinal Tap!
Further proof of Aston Martin’s sense of humour comes when you open the boot. When I say boot, it is a leather lidded recess under the rear glass hatch. It provides enough space for a toothbrush, underwear (tightly folded) and some sandwiches. What more would you need on a road trip in an Aston Martin One-77?
And what a road trip it would be. The One-77 is not a luxurious, cossetting car to drive. On the contrary, it is firm, noisy and visceral. The engine dominates proceedings. Developed in conjunction with Cosworth, the 7.3 litre, naturally aspirated V12 creates 750hp at a searing 7,500 rpm. It is capable of 0-60 mph In 3.5 seconds with incredible mid-range pace. The top speed is 220mph. The noise a One-77 creates is like little else.
Frankly, a book could be written on the Aston Martin One-77. Such is the remarkable detail that flows thoughout the car. It remains an extremely rare site on the road and still a car that absolutely takes your breath away. The shape looks as sharp as the day it was launched and shall always remain ultra-desirable. It is a wonderful piece of Aston Martin history.