When Aston Martin set out to create its four-door sport saloon the Rapide (which launched in the city last Friday at a whopping price of Rs 2 crore) the company CEO Dr Ulrich Bez had a single proposition for Design Director, Marek Reichman. “He left a one-line brief for me saying, ‘Please design the world’s most beautiful four-door car’. Not a difficult challenge at all,” laughs Reichman.
For those not in the know, Reichman, 44, is responsible for the design overhaul of the current generation Range Rover, the Aston Martin DBS sports car showcased in James Bond’s Quantum of Solace (2009), the limited edition Rs 20-crore supercar One-77 and, of course, the Rapide. Reichman also has contributed in the past to the Rolls Royce Phantom and for Lincoln and Navicross concept cars.
Speaking of James Bond, from a popularity point of view, what came first — Aston Martin or the double agent? “I think they both became famous together. Goldfinger (1964) was a great role for Sean Connery and he had a fabulous car. Even people who haven’t seen the earlier films say either ‘Sean Connery’ or ‘Aston Martin’. I don’t think James Bond would have been the same double agent if he didn’t have his DB5 sports car,” Reichman says.
Ferrari ki sawaari
But Bollywood is still crazy about Italian and German car brands. Why haven’t British car manufacturers like Aston Martin seen popularity here in India? “Lamborghinis are very visually striking and Ferraris are all about aggression and flair. Aston Martin has more graceful and understated designs in its cars, that’s probably why you don’t see them in Hindi movies,” he says. “But given India’s relationship with Great Britain and our coming to India, maybe now it’s time.”
Being a good sport, Reichman doesn’t include a single Aston Martin in his top five favourite cars in terms of design. “Two Mercedes from the 1930s, the W154 Grand Prix racing car and the shortwheel SS are my favourites.” Next for Reichman are Alfa Romeo’s 8C and Porsche’s 911, the latter being “a stunning piece of design that has lasted for over 50 years.” His fifth favourite is not a car, “but a motorcycle – the Ducati 996. Yes, you could call me a bike enthusiast as well,” he concludes, smiling.