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Driving design: Yacht designers on the cars that float their boat

Driving design: Yacht designers on the cars that float their boat

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Mick Leach

Michael Leach Design

What was your first car?

It was pile of junk – a Vauxhall Viva that cost £100 around 1977.

What were the cars you always wanted?

Well, it was the E-Type Jags and Aston Martin DB5s.

How many cars do you own?

An Aston DB5 from 1965; that takes a lot of looking after and I don’t drive it much. But my daily drives are Land Rovers, I’ve got four of them – three Series 2s and a more modern Defender.

What do you love about them?

The Aston was one of the Grand Tourers of its time, while the Land Rovers are pure form follows function. I love the look of them. It wasn’t styled and is the opposite of what we do really – it was engineered to the shape it’s in.

What motivated you to buy the cars you have?

I buy classic cars because they go up in value, whereas if you buy a new supercar, the chances are it’s going to devalue. I bought my Aston Martin 10 years ago, which was a very good move.

Where’s your favourite place to drive?

I’m more of a picnic hamper guy going down to Cornwall on the English roads, country pubs. I just enjoy the car, the drive, the destination.

Which modern cars would you like to own?

Probably a Ferrari or a McLaren 720S or Lamborghini Huracán. My young son’s really into the supercars so I take him to Goodwood Festival of Speed, and he loves it.

Do you think the car world and the yacht world are connected in any way from a design perspective?

A car is a mass produced item that has to fulfil many different requirements, but when you’re talking about Rolls-Royces, then you’re talking about high levels of finishes and quality so they are looking to the yacht world. Exterior-wise, there’s not much that car designs have taken from the yacht world but probably more for materials and styling, trying to replicate the opulence of a superyacht. Maybe Mark [Smith, director at Michael Leach] and I could do that one day, style somebody’s car, maybe befriend an owner and be given the opportunity to style his Ferrari. That would be fun, wouldn’t it?

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