“When they make the film about your life – the one where you win the billion-dollar lottery after finding the winning ticket in the gutter – how will you arrive in the opening credits?” asks James Gilboy in The Drive. If you’re thinking of a limited-edition Porsche, you’re not thinking big enough. Those who find themselves in such a situation can now be catered for by French aircraft maker Airbus and luxury British car brand Aston Martin, who have teamed up for 12 months “to build branded VIP helicopters for ballers and Bond villains”. That means the standard Airbus ACH130 helicopter is getting a luxury Aston makeover, including an exterior Aston-branded paint job and a luxury leather interior with suede trim. “If you spend so much time in luxury helicopters that they all become a blur, embossed Aston Martin wings on this chopper’s headrests and a plaque on the instrument panel serve to remind you that you’re in the nicer-er version.”
The Airbus engine delivers 952SHP (or “specific horsepower”, a measure that offsets power with how much the engine weighs) and can cruise at 134 knots, which is 154MPH “if you don’t speak aircraft”, says Ollie Kew for Top Gear magazine. But the “tech spec” is irrelevant. For this chopper, it’s all about style. “A British Racing Green helicopter with a tan leather interior? There must be few more tasteful ways to arrive at your plastic surgeon’s dog walker’s accountant’s summer retreat.”
What can you expect to pay for such exclusivity? Prices are strictly on application, but a standard Airbus ACH130 helicopter will set you back around £2.4m, says Luke Wilkinson for Auto Express. Aston Martin’s chief creative officer, Marek Reichman, doesn’t think the final price tag, whatever it is, will deter the helicopter’s target market. In other words, if you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it. Deliveries are to start in the first quarter of this year.
Chris Carter spent three glorious years reading English literature on the beautiful Welsh coast at Aberystwyth University. Graduating in 2005, he left for the University of York to specialise in Renaissance literature for his MA, before returning to his native Twickenham, in southwest London. He joined a Richmond-based recruitment company, where he worked with several clients, including the Queen’s bank, Coutts, as well as the super luxury, Dorchester-owned Coworth Park country house hotel, near Ascot in Berkshire.
Then, in 2011, Chris joined MoneyWeek. Initially working as part of the website production team, Chris soon rose to the lofty heights of wealth editor, overseeing MoneyWeek’s Spending It lifestyle section. Chris travels the globe in pursuit of his work, soaking up the local culture and sampling the very finest in cuisine, hotels and resorts for the magazine’s discerning readership. He also enjoys writing his fortnightly page on collectables, delving into the fascinating world of auctions and art, classic cars, coins, watches, wine and whisky investing.
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