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.” A new logo, somewhat more appropriate for coachbuilt Rolls-Royces and Bentleys, will be based on the Ayre family crest and will bear 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 potential 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 sensible Chicago arm of Ayrspeed says the cars should be close to the Mulliner cars, which is probably wise, so visible non-standard improvements are optional.
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 backdate the whole front of the car to 1930 and start again.