A former Morgan design supremo is part of a new firm aiming to take existing British automotive designs from Jaguar Land Rover and Aston Martin to new heights.
Matthew Humphries has joined Alcraft Motor Company which plans to serve a growing demand for “personalised” vehicles.
The new firm will custom design vehicles to customers’ specifications, using classic British design values – initially focusing solely on prestige Midland marques Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin.
Alcraft has pledged its reinterpretations will remain faithful to “the tradition of great British design” and be “confident and cutting-edge” yet also “refined and timeless”.
The design and engineering firm is initially offering enhancement packages for the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Range Rover Evoque, Land Rover Discovery and Jaguar XF Sportbrake, plus bespoke Aston Martin projects.
In order to harness some of the brightest UK design talent it has joined forces with the vehicle design school in London’s Royal College of Art.
The firm says its ethos is reflected in a design study of the Range Rover, which came out of its link-up with the RCA.
The Range Rover study was further developed by Alcraft design consultant Mr Humphries, who was chief designer at Morgan Cars until this year and is now also on the RCA teaching staff.
Speaking to the Post about his involvement with Alcraft, Mr Humphries said: “I tutor at the Royal College of Art in vehicle design and the project started with a student project which then built into a freelance project.
“Using the Range Rover as an example the concept is to push the vehicle into a more luxary and limousine-like area. We do this by simplifying the design and re-detailing the car with new materials.
“We’ve made it more elegant and have given it the timelessness associated with the best British design. We’ve also differentiated it more from the other Range Rover models.”
As regards Alcraft’s ambitions he added: “I believe we will develop a new company that builds on bespoke British design. The focus is to expose the qualities of the British brands by producing elements that the OEMs are not capable of doing.
British brands, mainly those at the luxury end of the market, continue to enjoy global popularity, particularly in developing markets like China where Jaguar Land Rover is launching a joint venture with Chery Automotive to build cars there.
Jaguar Land Rover now accounts for more than 20 per cent of total UK goods exports to China and the car-maker expects to sell 100,000 vehicles there this year.
As to what makes British design so appealing, Mr Humphries, who has worked on a variety of design projects encompassing watches, bikes and cars since leaving Morgan earlier this year, said: “I think it is the delicate understanding that British design has for materials and the way they are handled. It is also our rich history of luxury products.”
In addition to Mr Humphries, Alcraft is also benefiting from the involvement of Christopher Macgowan, former CEO of both the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders and the Retail Motor Industry Federation.
“I’m extremely happy to support not only a start-up automotive business but one which has British values at its heart,” said Mr Macgowan. “The UK is the world leader in specialist and luxury vehicles and we hope Alcraft Motor Company will help ensure the country gains a fitting share of the expanding market for personalised products.”