David Brown Automotive Is the Icon and Singer of the U.K.
David Brown Automotive is trying to bring high-end custom resto-mod to the U.K. with the Speedback GT and Mini Remastered.
Britain doesn't have anywhere near the range of classic or custom cars available as the U.S. does. For the most part, the idea of taking a knackered old car or truck for sub-$5000, gutting it, renovating and modifying it and then selling it for $80,000+ is completely alien to Brits. If you were to buy a car for £5000 in Britain, you might be able to double it with a bit of work, and if a car is ever going to be worth £80,000, even a hollow shell will fetch £40,000-plus. What is it that causes this disparity between these two nations of car enthusiasts?
Maybe it’s to do with our miserable weather causing even well-built cars to rust away in 20 years without proper care and maintenance, or maybe it’s because the European cars that dominated our roads right up to the '80s are all smaller and more complicated than their big American contemporaries. I’m not sure—I think it’s simply just a cultural difference.
One company though is seemingly not bothered about this and is bringing what I see as an American attitude towards car restoration and customization to U.K. roads. This Company is David Brown Automotive.
It currently offers two cars—the Speedback GT and the Mini Remastered. The Speedback GT is a breathtaking '60s style GT cruiser based on the last-gen Jaguar XKR platform. This thing in the metal is genuinely nicer than pretty much any normal '60s GT car to which it draws inspiration, and it has the added bonus of modern technology, modern build quality, modern performance, and modern safety. All for the reasonable sum of £500,000 (that’s about $650,000).
The Mini Remastered is just that—a remastered classic Mini. David Brown takes an old shell, strips it, strengthens it and fills it with leather, sound deadening, technology, and general loveliness. The original engine remains, albeit with a bit more poke—around 90bhp in its most powerful state of tune. This is priced between £80-£100,000 (about $100-130,000). When you can buy a really nice condition classic Mini Cooper in the U.K. for about $8000, that becomes a pretty bold price tag.
I was lucky enough to be at the launch of the Mini Remastered at the London Motor Show earlier this year. As an owner of a fairly battered old 1985 classic Mini myself, I was totally blown away by it and the Speedback GT. David Sowden, Managing Director of David Brown Automotive, was kind and patient enough to show my friend and I around both cars for our pokey little YouTube channel—videos can be seen below.
Both cars were absolutely drop dead gorgeous and I for one welcome the introduction of this high-end custom restoration market to the U.K.. The question is would I use that sum of money to buy one David Brown Mini Remastered, or a complete set of mint condition standard Mini Coopers for each day of the week.