What if we told you it was possible to have a totally unique, bespoke supercar created to your exact specifications? Wouldn’t that be tempting? In fact, it is perfectly feasible for you to take this a step further and even have your very own marque of unique models – if you’ve the funds to spare.
We caught up with Geoff Cousins, Chairman of Clark Abel, a UK based luxury bespoke design company with an impressive pedigree and A-list clientele, to find out more.
“The luxury world today is all about personalization. People want to express themselves in their own way with, and their own style. Clark Abel specializes in personalization in exterior and interior design from minimal cosmetic work to a full scale redesign. We offer a service where a customer can come to our studios, sit with a designer and sketch out their own model, and then actually follow the process through with us each step of the way, to seeing the car they’ve designed built into a fully road or track-worthy car.
The client can be as involved as they wish from design to production, with the reassurance that they are briefing and working with designers who have gained years of experience with major global premium car brands such as McLaren, Bentley and Jaguar. Actually, we follow the same design process as these companies – but fully personalized for individuals, rather than to meet the general anticipated desires and expectations of the car buying masses.
Unique amongst our competitors, we have a full design process that utilizes CAD/CAM software to provide initial design themes that are then completed as a clay model to ensure the styling in “real life”. There is then a reiterative process until the customer is completely happy with their car.”
A service like this must cost a reasonable amount?
Like everything in business, the cost depends on the scale, scope and complexity of a programme. Some clients come to us with substantial six figure budgets, others considerably smaller. Being luxury designers, we can’t claim to be cheap, but do believe we offer good value, and enable our car loving clients to fulfill what’s often a lifelong dream.
In terms of timescales, what would you be looking at from initial discussions to production?
Again, it depends on the job, but our aim is to give a great customer experience which includes being mindful of timescales. It is critical that things are done in a quality, luxurious way – we never compromise quality for cost or timing.
For many of your clients the whole journey is important, not just the finished result – how involved can they be?
We actually want our customers to be hands on, and encourage them to be an integral part of the process. As part of this we offer to capture the whole process on film, and in writing, so at the end of the project we can present them with a luxury brochure of their car from brief to finished creation.
What about the handling and performance side of things?
We can also upgrade the engine and driving dynamics to change the driving characteristics of a vehicle – again with no limits.
What if any of our readers wanted to go one step further and create their own line of cars, or even their own car company. How could you help then?
We can certainly help customers design their own car or range of cars following the process outlined above – it’s just down to their available budget at the end of the day – and their imagination! With our years of expertise in the industry, we are also more than happy to offer advice. Our knowledge is current as we continue to work with some of the biggest and most prestigious car brands in the world, and understand the challenges, and potential, the industry presents.
You offer a bespoke design service for private jets and luxury yachts too don’t you?
Clark Abel is a luxury design company with a broad portfolio, so we can work on any type of product really, but the core of our business is automotive with work also on private jets and luxury yachts. We’ve recently outfitted Ron Dennis’ jet and have also completed exciting projects for a major yacht company.
What advice would you give for any reader who would love to create their own car brand to sell commercially?
It’s a competitive market. There are a lot of companies operating in this space, particularly around supercars targeted at potentially lucrative markets such as the Middle East, or in developing electric/hybrid eco cars. The fundamentals are the same though for starting any small luxury company – find a niche, produce something unique, enticing, and of excellent quality, and there must be a good business case with a comprehensive product and customer market plan.