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ECONOMY: Super-rich shrug off credit crunch in scramble for pounds 1.2m supercar.

Byline: Robin Turner

THE seriously wealthy are ignoring the global financial crisis by scrambling to buy the new pounds 1.2m supercar from Aston Martin.

The world's most expensive road car was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show this week.

And Aston Martin, which is run by Welshman David Richards, said yesterday that while the growing financial gloom has left most of Britain shaken, the 200mph supercar has stirred more than 100 enthusiasts with money to burn to place orders.

However, only 77 will actually be made.

"The interest is incredible," chief designer Marek Reichmann said.

Aston Martin, chaired by Denbighshire born ex-rally driver and entrepreneur Richards, has been reluctant to release details about its new car which simply has the code name One-77.

But it is known to have a 7.3 litre V12 engine, acarbon fibre chassis, and an aluminium body.

"The One-77 fuses advanced technology with stunning Aston Martin design to create possibly the world's most desirable automotive art form," the Warwickshire-based luxury carmakers said. They added that the car would "deliver exhilarating performance for a strictly limited number of discerning customers".

The first few cars are expected to be delivered to their super-rich buyers - who each have to pay a pounds 200,000 deposit - in autumn next year.

Aston Martin spokesman Matt Clarke said: "There has been a lot of interest from people abroad, particularly from Russia, the Middle East and China."

Aston Martin will forever be linked to James Bond after Sean Connery drove an Aston Martin DB5 in the 1964 movie Goldfinger. A model of the car, complete with ejector seat and front-mounted machine guns, was one of the biggest ever sellers for Swansea toy firm Corgi. Other Aston Martins were used in subsequent Bond movies, including the latest, Casino Royale, starring Daniel Craig.

Dating back to 1914, the company has produced such vehicles as the classic DB5, the Vantage and the Virage, and has always been seen as the stylish, quintessential British sports car firm.

Prince Charles is a fan, still possessing a 1969 DB6 Volante given to him as a 21st birthday present by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh.

The company is based in Gaydon, Warwickshire, where it employs 1,800 skilled staff. Richards led a pounds 479m consortium buy-out of Aston Martin from previous owners Ford last year.

The consortium also includes John Sinders, a banker in finance and shipping from Houston, Texas and two Kuwaiti companies, Investment Dar and Adeem Investment.

David Richards, the man behind the Aston

Full name: David Pender Richards

Born: June 3, 1952, Denbighshire

Grew up: In Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd in the Vale of Clwyd

School: Ysgol Brynhyfryd, Ruthin

Family: Married to Karen with three children

Lives: In Warwickshire

Known as: "The Richard Branson of Motorsport"

Career: Trained in accountancy before becoming a rally driver. Established independent motorsport, auto technology and design firm Prodrive in 1984, which employs 1,000 staff on four continents with annual sales of pounds 260m.

He led a consortium buyout of Aston Martin last year and is now Aston's non-executive chairman

Honours: Awarded CBE in 2005 for his services to Motorsport.

He won the 1981 World Rally Championship

ASTON MARTIN

ONE-77

ENGINE: 7.0 LITRE FRONT-SET V12

BODYWORK: HANDCRAFTED ALUMINIUM

CHASSIS: CARBON FIBRE

COST: pounds 1.2M - pounds 300K

MORE THAN A BUGATTI VEYRON

POWER: 600-650BHP

BRAKES: CERAMIC

0-60: AT LEAST 4.3 SECONDS

TOP SPEED: 200MPH+

ON THE TARMAC: 2009

Aston Say it's 'Possibly the world's most desirable automotive art form."

CAPTION(S):

DREAM MACHINE: Car-buyers with serious money to burn can part with pounds 1.2m in the hope of landing an Aston Martin One-77. Buyers will have to pay a pounds 200,000 deposit to land one of the 77 models which will be built
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 11, 2008
Words:628
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