The original Ayrspeed logo was a bit of fun: a Jaguar wearing Ray-ban shades with a dog-latin inscription IN VERITAS TESTICULAE CANIS – “truly the dog’s bollocks.” The new logo, somewhat more appropriate for coachbuilt Rolls-Royces and Bentleys, is based on the Ayre family crest and bears the relevant motto.
Inventing cars has always been the most fascinating process, particularly in its most hands-on form, where you start with an idea and some pieces of car arranged on a garage floor. CAD/CAM is all very well, but restaurant napkin discussions and doing-it-by-doing it in 3D solves problems as they arise and so far has achieved the perfect driving position every time.
There was a styling longeur for a decade or two after the Ayrspeed Six, with a lot of magazine writing and a good few books published, but the recent challenges of creating Rolls-Royce and Bentley specials has given Ayrspeed projects a new lease of life.
The Open Cloud cars are essentially a continuation of Mulliner’s conversion work of the 1960s, but with subtle improvements. The use of boot lid gas rams not available to Mulliner allows a redesign of the boot hinge mechanism so that convertible soft top roof frame sits in the car properly, rather than being dumped on the back with a duvet thrown over it.
The Bentley specials allow a lot more creativity, and the decades of examining and writing about specialist cars pays off: although good, the 1950s Bentley independent suspension feels wrong in a period-design special, so we’ll just cut the whole front of the chassis off and start again.