Henrik Fisker has a dream job. His job is to design your next dream car. Take a peek at his latest work, and you'll agree, he is doing a great job. Fisker is the Design Director at Aston Martin and the new DB9 coupe and Volante are his latest creations for the famed British marque.
He is also responsible for creating the AMV8 Vantage concept car from last years show, a car that is flawless from every angle. I recently caught up with him at this year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the day before the launch of the DB9 Volante.
We discussed many issues, from his past, to the present and what lies in the future. Before moving to Aston Martin, Fisker was at BMW, where his last car was the Z8, arguably the best looking BMW of all time. Since he left BMW, as we can all see, BMW has gone totally downhill.
Upon reaching Aston Martin, Fisker collaborated with Zagato to create the DB7 Zagato coupe and the DB AR1 Roadster.
However, the AMV8 was his project, from start to finish, in and out. The reaction to the car was phenominal, however, people still wondered if the car they saw was just a concept, and if the car is put into production, will it look the same?
To my delight, Fisker told me, "The AMV8 Vantage was not a concept car, it was sort of a preview. We couldn't afford to just do a concept car, we had to get it right.
I don't think anyone would disagree with its looks. The AMV8 Vantage will be shown at next years Detroit Auto Show as a production car, and it will go on sale next year in late summer.
Fisker also revealed another secret, the AMV8 Vantage will be the next James Bond car, adding "I hope this time they won't cut it in half, that wasn't very nice
" referring to the last James Bond car he designed, the Z8, which was cut in half by a huge saw in the movie "The World is not Enough."
For the present, Fisker has created two deliciously lovely cars, the DB9 coupe and Volante. Fisker is so proud of his work that he has ordered a DB9 coupe himself. He said, "I have never bought a car in the last 10 years, I always had company cars. This time I am buying one with my own money.
He was also nice enough to personally show me all the features of the DB9 and explain why something is the way it is. For instance, the way the doors are hinged to swing slightly upwards when you open them. They not only create a unique visual effect, but they serve a purpose too. Since they swing open at an angle, you won't have the problem of the doors touching a high curb. Also, since they swing upwards, closing the door takes less effort, and exit and entry is a lot easier too - a nice piece of lateral thinking.
Once seated inside, you are greeted to the most magnificent interior of any car, any where. It is comfortable and it perfectly harmonizes modern gizmology with classical elegance. The layout is clean, uncluttered by too many gadgets. For instance, the navigation system only comes up when you need it. The stereo is nicely integrated into the dashboard, so it doesn't look like an afterthought.
The row of push buttons on the dash that engage the automatic transmission, not only look good, but also open up the space between the seats, where you'd normally find the gear lever on automatic cars. My favourite is the "Engine Start" button in the middle of the dashborad. When the car is off, it has a transparent cover. Turn the key to the "on" position and it glows red. Press it to fire up the V12 engine, and the button changes colour to a light blue hue, indicating the engine is on. Very neat.
The dials in the dash are even more impressive. Fisker told me, he spent several months in Japan to get these dials made to his specs. The end result is nothing short of spectacular. The dials are carved in aluminum which has a layered effect. The markings for the numbers on the speedometer and the rev counter, actually have individual pieces of glass, and when you turn them on, they glow white. There are digital screens too, but even they look good and don't distract from the classic look.
Not only is Fisker a great designer, but a nice bloke too. He loves cars and can talk to you about them all day. He was keen to walk around the show and see what else was out there. He was also anxious to see the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti in the flesh. He did not want to base his opinion on the press release photos, saying that even he did not like the way the press release pictures of the DB9 turned out, so he was saving his comments on the 612 too.
When the covers were pulled off by Ferrari, Fisker was open to comment on the car and he wasn't convinced by it, stating the rear lights are too small and the "C" scoop lines on the doors doesn't look quite right.
That's all the better for him, because he has the most stunning car at the show, and journalist after journalist said the same thing.
So he has every reason to smile, a very deserving smile, because he has put a smile on everybody else's face.
I too had a huge smile. I can honestly say, if I could take just one car from the 2004 Detroit Auto Show, it would have to be the Aston Martin DB9 Volante. Please make mine black with a bordeux interior.
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