They don't build 'em like they used to, they build 'em better. But, it could be argued, they don't style 'em like they used to. A handful of purists have taken the best from both worlds, recreating classic automotive shapes using modern technology. The results – like the Creative Sport Speciale, Gullwing-America 300SL Panamerica and Huet Brothers Special – have always fascinated us, and here's the latest: a recreation of the famous 1957 Aston Martin DBR2 racer, built with the latest methods by Rizk Auto of Phoenix, Arizona.
The RA DBR2 is built around a state-of-the-art carbon-fiber tub and aluminum honeycomb monocoque chassis that weighs a feather-like 100 kgs (220 lbs), overlaid with carbon-fiber body panels lined with Nomex. Sound space-age enough for a classic roadster? How about some Aerogel, a NASA-developed heat insulator being used in a roadgoing automobile for the first time. Each example is built to order, and customers can specify their choice of powertrain options between Jaguar-derived inline-six and V12 engines or a Corvette LS3 V8. The original Aston DBR2 chalked up a handful of victories in its day – if Rizk Auto had put it together, maybe it would have won even more. Details in the press release after the jump and high-res image gallery below.
Related GalleryRizk Auto recreation 1957 Aston Martin DBR2
[Source: Rizk Auto]
At the intersection of Art and Science lies a common soul: Creativity. The creativity of a beautiful form. The creativity of a well executed function. The history of the Automobile spans a century of innovation and sensuous design, yet unfortunately rarely both attributes combined. The RA assimilates the best elements of the most seminally beautiful racers of the golden era with the material and manufacturing processes of current aerospace technology.
Transcending the mundane mechanics of mere transport, the RA is meant to transform every journey into a lifestyle. A lifestyle that recognizes that speed and sport have form, and that in nature there are no straight lines. The visceral experience of driving a RA; the noise, the vibration, the intimacy of the surroundings; are an affirmation of a life worth living. RA is a statement of elegant choices, of lack of pretence and of an uninhibited joy for speed.
Drowning in a sea of sharp lines and edgy Bangelized surfaces, the era of sensuous curves seems to have eluded us. Whether the inspiration is the female form, or the weathering smoothness of rocks immemorial, the human psyche resonates with flowing lines and cohesive shapes.
This yearning for elegance has led us to one of the most inspired designs in the history of the Automobile. The 1957 Aston Martin DBR2 LeMans Race car epitomizes the pinnacle of beautiful mechanical design, when cars were still being described as sexy.
The RA relies heavily on the long lost genius of master artisans, and has assuaged the design to accommodate the demands of a 21st century road car while retaining its inherent beauty.
The chassis was the single biggest engineering challenge in the build of RA. Our criterion was the following: Exceptional stiffness, extremely light weight, excellent cabin space, flexibility in adapting multiple engine options and finally precise dimensional accuracy.
Every vehicle in the same category of RA has always used what is commonly known as the space frame or ladder type chassis. These are cage like frames built usually out of steel tubing and welded together on a jig. The main advantages to this type of structure are very low tooling costs and they can be built to good stiffness. Yet the space frame has two significant flaws. They are heavy (if strength and stiffness are achieved) and extremely inefficient in packaging especially for the occupants of the vehicle. This immediately eliminated the space frame as an option for RA.
We decided that the chassis will not be compromised. Thus an all Carbon monocoque chassis was the only solution. There is only one disadvantage to this design: it is prohibitively expensive. Yet we were undaunted and the challenge thus became to engineer the tooling and chassis to aircraft quality standards. We consulted with one of the best men in the industry; Philip Henderson; a composites guru whose extensive Formula 1 resume includes the Benetton team during the tenure of Michael Schumacher (he won 2 world championships with them) and the distillation of his expertise and experience resulted in the RA chassis.
What we have achieved is a stiffness that is incomparable to any mass produced production vehicle, spectacular cabin space that will accommodate frames from 5'0" to 6'5" comfortably and a total weight of only 220 lbs. No other custom built classically designed vehicle in the world has this level of engineering, strength and technology in one package.
From Formula 1 to NASA's space exploration vehicles, the most prevalent composite structure in use are the Carbon-Nomex body panels. These are some of the highest performing materials available to man. The carbon is used for the skin plys, providing one of the best strength to weight ratios. Nomex; used as the core material; is an aramid that is fire retardant and has exceptional shear properties.
The purpose of using Nomex is to add thickness to the material without adding any substantial weight. A composite structure's stiffness is a function of the cube of the thickness of the material. Thus if we compare 2 composite panels, one with 1t thickness and the second with 2t thickness, the second panel will be approximately 7-8 times as stiff as the first. Typical automobiles are built with a sheet metal thickness of approximately 0.04" inch (19 gauge). On the other hand, every panel on the body of RA has a composite thickness of 0.5" inch. Doing a very simplified mathematical comparison, the RA would yield a body stiffness that is more than 1500 times stiffer than common sheet metal bodies.
Furthermore the energy absorption characteristics of Nomex provide superior crash protection compared to traditional stamped bodies. Finally the thickness also adds to the thermal insulation properties of the panels. In laymen terms, the body of the car is extremely stiff and cannot be bent or dented by any human force, is a natural insulator of heat, is extremely safe in an accident and the entire body of the car weighs less than 100 lbs.
When NASA embarked on their Mars rover program they needed to invent a new and far more efficient insulation solution that would provide exceptional heat shield properties for the rovers from the harsh environment of Mars.
This product, the first breakthrough technology incorporating Nano-tech science is called Aerogel. It is the most advanced insulating technology in the world. The success of Aerogel has been so spectacular, that NASA created a company to commercialize the product.
RA is the first passenger vehicle to use Aerogel as its primary insulating material. The entire engine bay and underside of the vehicle is covered in this space age hydro-phobic (water resistant) compound. The light weight and extraordinary attributes of Aerogel make the RA the most technically advanced vehicle in the world when it comes to heat insulation.
- Fully independent Front and Rear Suspension with all wheel disc brakes and adjustable coil over shocks.
- Height adjustable steering column and pedal assembly.
- Custom Herman Miller ™ Seats with adjustability of seat bottom angle, height and lumbar.
- All Carbon Monocoque Chassis with Aluminum Honeycomb
- All Carbon Body with Nomex Honeycomb
- Engine Options:
- Jaguar Straight 6 cylinder with triple SU or Weber Carburetor
- Jaguar V-12 Cylinder with triple SU or Weber Carburetor
- Fuel Injected Corvette LS3 V8 Engine
- Manual 5 Speed
- Manual 6 Speed (Corvette Engine only)
- Automatic 6 Speed (Corvette Engine only)
- Weight: 2100 lbs