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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


Elliot March

March & White


Superyacht designers love their cars – especially these ten. So what car designs inspire them and which motors do they have at home?

Elliot March - March & White

What was your first car?

A BMW Z3. It ticked all the boxes for under £5,000.

What did you learn to drive in?

Something nondescript with a Ford badge.

How many cars do you have?

I’m running two. I’m a massive Alfa fan and have a 1967 Alfa Romeo Giulia Super and an Alfa 4C Spider. My friends think I’m mad, but I love the crazy Italians for their pursuit of form over function.

What’s your favourite and why?

It depends on what’s running! In all seriousness, I’m having lots of fun in the 4C at the moment – it’s absolutely bonkers, but it’s the most fun and best-handling car I’ve owned.

Do you take part in any track days, or classic car shows?

Living in LA I get to interact with a lot of the local and major car shows on the West Coast. At Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance you get to see a real mix of both US and European cars, plus there are always local meet-ups with the Alfa Club.

Do you have any favourite marques?

Myself and my business partner James [White] are huge fans of Aston Martin, both in terms of the cars and the way they think about their global brand. We can’t say any more at this point, but watch this space…

Which car pushes the boundaries of design in your opinion?

The Fiat Abarth 2000 from the 1960s was one of the first cars to use angular sloping lines in place of the usual flowing designs of the 1960s. Its shape influenced other manufacturers’ designs, including supercars like the Lamborghini Countach.

What’s the most fabulous car you’ve ever been in?

The Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead. I likened it to driving a very expensive slipper.

Who or which brand would you ideally get to build or fit out a car for you and why?

The forward yet retro ethos of Singer Vehicle Design combined with an interior by Bottega Veneta. That would be epic.

What has car design learnt from the superyacht world, or vice versa?

The bespoke materials and artisans that we use for the interiors of superyachts are now coming into the interiors of luxury automotive vehicles such as the new Rolls-Royce Ghost. For us, we are learning from the automotive industry how to integrate technology, ergonomics and bespoke finishes in confined spaces.

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Andrew Langton

Reymond Langton Design


What was your first car?

A 1974 Mini, which I souped up with bucket seats. Then I had another 1966 Mini, which I rebuilt.

What were the cars that you always aspired to own back then?

A Porsche 911 and a Lamborghini Countach.

What cars have you got now?

I’ve got a seven-year-old Porsche 993; that was my daily drive for many years. At the minute, though, it’s a Twisted Defender with all the black details and a black roll cage. My Ford GT40, which I’ve had for four years now, is a hand-built replica and they’re quite a handful but so entertaining – so loud you get a headache. A lot of superyacht designers extol the virtues of Porsches.

Why do you think that is?

It’s got a classic teardrop shape. Most cars are a three box design where you have a box at the front, a box at the back and a box in the middle, but the Porsche floats off into nothing at the back. Also the sculpting of the wheel arches means you’ve got a lot of form to it. And then you’ve got an amazing engine.

Do you do any track days?

Yes, we do track days in Europe. The problem I have had on UK tracks is my car is too loud – the GT40 keeps failing the noise test.

Are there any other marques you like?

I suppose it would have to be Aston Martin, just for the way it can produce something like the Zagato DB4GT, which is pure sculpture and is an amazing shape.

What’s your favourite decade for car design?

I’d say the 60s, maybe the old Porsches, Jaguars and Ferraris, especially the 1960 GT SWB. Or perhaps Roger Moore’s Lotus Esprit; it’s a nostalgia thing.

What do you think car designers have learnt from yacht designers, and vice versa?

Cars have been developing faster, with electric drive and hybrids, and yachts are starting to go that way now. But for me as a designer, I don’t look at any other boats because there’s not many out there I like. I look to inspiration from automotive design. Say for [98 metre Abeking & Rasmussen] Aviva, I looked at the Lamborghini Sesto Elemento, and I liked its special faceted shapes. Also the Audi R8; some of the graphic elements of it, such as the blades up its side, influenced Mogambo.

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Terence Disdale

Superyacht designer


What are the cars you admired growing up?

The Jaguar XK120 and D-Type Jaguar.

What are your favourite marques?

Jaguar and Aston Martin.

What do you particularly like about the cars you own?

Primarily I love their shapes, however the six-cylinder engine in the XK120 is an amazing basic machine that can be powered up and modified from the original 180 to 345hp, which says a lot for its core engineering.

Which car encapsulates style or classic design?

The E-Type Jaguar.

When do you drive your cars?

On special occasions like the Goodwood Revival or similar car fest get-togethers. My XK120 does not have a roof and I love the wind in my hair!

Which designers or film stars are the icons of the car world in your eyes, or sparked your love of car design?

Icon wise it has to be Steve McQueen in Bullitt driving a Ford Mustang. Not only was he a great actor, he was also a very competent race driver.

If your garage was on fire, which car would you save?

Common sense would say the most valuable but that would not be the one I love the most. I guess I would save the one that starts on the button!

Where do you like to drive?

The country roads around Yorkshire are amazing. I would love to do a tour of the west coast of America.

How has superyacht design influenced the car world?

I don’t think yacht design has influenced cars but we could teach car designers not to make dashboards that reflect in the windscreen.

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