Luxury car maker Aston Martin certainly raised some eyebrows when it announced it would collaborate with Brough Superior to develop a limited edition turbocharged motorcycle, but that concept appears to be turning into reality as a working prototype took to the Pau-Arnos circuit in south-west France, ahead of planned deliveries by the end of the year.
Just 100 examples of the AMB 001 will be produced at Brough Superior’s factory this autumn, to be sold at 108,000EUR (£97,500) each and although many are no doubt destined for museums or private collections, the iconic automotive manufacturer is ensuring that potential owners won’t be disappointed with the performance of their machines should they choose to take them out on the road.
Although one of the most famous classic British motorbike brands of all time, Brough is now based in France – in Toulouse, close to the Pau-Arnos circuit. Using a test mule wrapped in the same camouflage livery used to disguise Aston’s pre-production test cars, the AMB 001 is being put through its paces by one of Brough Superior’s development riders at their local circuit.
What is motorcycle prototype testing?
Final prototype testing is a critical part in the development of any new motorcycle. Not only does the process involve fine tuning the set-up for maximum performance, it also includes ‘sign off’ on various safety critical aspects of the new motorcycle. Much of the user information that appears in the owner’s manual is determined by prototype testing, such as tyre pressures, suspension settings and carrying capacities, and this is determined by testers taking machines and them to the extreme, in order to determine the safe operating window for real world riding. This testing would all be documented by the manufacturer, in case they are challenged on grounds of product liability if an owner attempts to sue at a later date.
Carbon fibre! Turbocharged engine! 180bhp!
As one would expect from any vehicle costing six figures, the AMB 001 is dripping in exotic material. “One of the key design features of the AMB 001 is an aluminium fin that runs along the full length of a carbon fibre tank, passing under the saddle and out onto the rear, says Thierry Henriette, CEO of Brough Superior. “The body holding the fin and supporting the saddle is one of the areas where we called on the unique knowledge of Mecano ID, who joined the project to apply specialist aerospace-quality carbon fibre skills to the exclusive AMB 001.”
The engine is no less special, taking the Brough Superior SS100’s modern 88-degree, 990cc, V-twin motor, and adding a turbocharger and intercooler. With its distinctive radiator and large intake manifold, the manufacturer claims that the AMB 001’s powerplant has the appearance of that of a supercar, and the Aston/Brough collaboration say that the unit is being bench tested alongside the ongoing chassis work.
Aston Martin Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer, Marek Reichman concluded: “Everybody involved has managed to make tremendous progress with the development of AMB 001, despite the challenges we have all been facing. This special motorcycle is, like our road cars, the result of beautiful design melding with modern technology to produce a bike that any collector will be proud of. We are delighted to see how much progress has been made, both on and off track and look forward to the moment when production starts for this stunning machine.”
Fancy being a 1%-er and owning one of these exclusive motorcycles? Head on over to www.broughsuperiormotorcycles.com and let ‘em know that credit card number!