The specialist: R-Reforged

| 18 Jun 2021
Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: R-Reforged

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If you’re lucky enough to own a new Aston Martin DB4GT or Jaguar Lightweight E-type, or any newly recreated exotic, here’s some good news. R-Reforged reckons it can put it on the road for you.

As well as upgrading the Vanquish to create the car designer Ian Callum wanted, the Swiss-owned firm can modify the new Continuation DB4GT – which Aston said was for off-road use only – and put it through Single Vehicle Approval to make it road-legal.

That means changing 60-odd items on the car, from ditching the eared wheel spinners to fitting door mirrors, rolled instead of slash-cut exhaust tips, E-marked side glass and soft beading to the rain gutters.

Adding catalytic converters was easy enough to package, but getting them to work with triple Webers took rather more effort.

Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: R-Reforged
The soft steering-wheel boss conforms to modern safety requirements

The process, which includes UK-registering the car, takes 10 weeks and a rather eye-watering sum, but that’s a drop in the ocean compared with the cost of buying it in the first place.

And, having refined its techniques, R-Reforged is confident it can get just about any small-volume or one-off car though the approval process.

“Owners haven’t been able to extract the full pleasure of driving a newly built classic,” says director Adam Donfrancesco, a former Aston Martin “engineering geek” (his words) who, refreshingly, drives to work in a left-hand-drive air-cooled Porsche 911.

“We’ve finished seven GTs, with a Zagato and a Bond DB5 coming in.”

Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: R-Reforged
Plush leather seats for the Vanquish 25 by CALLUM are stitched in R-Reforged’s dedicated on-site trim shop

R-Reforged has been on this site since 2018.

The trim shop is again staffed by former Aston employees, making seats for the new Vanquish 25 by CALLUM.

There’s daylight-level lighting here, and an embroidery machine in the corner. A spray booth occupies the other end of the workshop.

“I enjoy leading small teams,” Donfrancesco says. “Our guys can do anything from sketching and drawing to heavy-duty CAD work – mostly for rapid prototyping of parts, and in-house manufacturing including 3D printing.” Carbonfibre and machining is contracted out.

“The IVA-ing came about because a number of our customers bought these cars. Our facility in Switzerland had experience in acquiring local equivalent approval for bespoke cars such as the Ferrari 599 Zagato and Aston DBR2 racer,” he explains. “You have to make sure things are discreet, and not try to redesign the car.”

Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: R-Reforged
A bespoke case guards the parts removed in IVA work

There are some compromises, but the new DB4GT sports delightful touches including a subtle foldaway rear foglight.

The steering wheel boss is a perfect replica of the original, but it’s soft rather than rigid plastic. The speedo is rebuilt to incorporate a brake fluid level warning light.

All the removed parts go into a beautifully (locally) made leather-clad trunk so that the car can be returned to ex-factory spec.

“Noise and emissions were the biggest issues,” adds Donfrancesco.“We have to pass emissions.”

“Making Weber 45s work with the cats is a challenge with the variations between cars,” says programme manager Sam Reeve.

“We know the sweet spot and we’ve got a basic datum that usually works, but sometimes you have to play with them. It’s more muted with the cat pipes.”

Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: R-Reforged
R-Reforged makes 60 changes to get the DB4GT on to the road – to the left is the Vanquish development car

Other projects are the Aston Martin Vantage V12 Zagato Heritage TWINS, described by Dr Andrea Zagato as “the most beautiful retro-future designed Zagatos”, and the Vanquish 25, which is the V12 supercoupé reworked with new tech.

The silver car awaiting the treatment in the workshop belongs to its creator, and is apparently the first car of his design that he’s owned.

“The Vanquish never received a facelift, so I never got to do the things I wanted to do,” Callum has said. “Then R-Reforged said, ‘Why not do 25?’ It’s rare a designer has the chance to retell the story of one of their own cars.”

Images: Max Edleston


The knowledge

  • Name R-Reforged
  • Address Unit 5, Budbrooke Point, Budbrooke Industrial Estate, Warwick CV34 5XH
  • Specialism Vehicle refinement and limited-edition production
  • Staff 35
  • Prices IVA modifications and approval on the DB4GT £75,000 plus local taxes
  • Tel 01926 838958
  • Web r-reforged.com
  • Email contact@r-reforged.com

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