World’s coolest boats: Aston Martin AM37 – the James Bond boat that never was

Each month we pick out an iconic boat that can lay claim to the title of world’s coolest boat. This month, we take a closer look at the Aston Martin AM37

Aston Martin has to be one of the most evocative and coolest brands in the world – a brand to rival Rolex or Gulfstream. And with such a potent brand comes powerful marketing opportunities.

Bluntly, people will pay good money for the cachet of the right name. Just how much was first tested when an Aston Martin city car was launched in 2011.

Basically a Toyota IQ dressed up with some fancy leather and trinkets, it didn’t look much like an Aston Martin or go much like an Aston Martin – its standard IQ underpinnings barely got above 100mph and wafted gently to 60 in about 12 seconds.

Priced at around three times the cost of a normal IQ, Aston claimed it was a ‘thoroughbred city car’ and initially said that it would only be available to existing Aston Martin owners, ensuring exclusivity.

When it proved to be rather more exclusive than hoped, it was swiftly made available to anyone to buy. It was still ‘exclusive’ when it was quietly dropped and forgotten about just two years later.

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In 2017 the power of the Aston Martin badge was put to the test again, this time on a boat, and this time with a lot more effort.

As with the Cygnet, Aston didn’t actually build it, the company was credited only with design. Construction was handled by Quintessence Yachts in Southampton, but at least this time it was an exclusive build rather than a rebadge of an existing model, and it was a genuinely classy high performance machine.

A pair of Mercury Racing V8 engines produced over 1,000hp between them, driving the stepped hull up to around 50 knots. But equally importantly, it looked like an aquatic Aston Martin.

Long, low and sleek with some exquisite details such as the double curvature windscreen and a carbon fibre three-section tonneau cover that slid out from beneath the long engine hatch.

On board, there were plenty of appropriately Aston touches, from the flush integrated touchscreens to the champagne chiller in the cockpit that opened electronically to reveal two bottles plus bespoke champagne flutes.

Curved windscreen and chilled fizz at the touch of a button

James Bond would have loved it. Even the throttle levers were bespoke. The interior was definitely from the coupé rather than SUV end of the spectrum, with space only for a dinette, loo and small galley, but it was again beautifully finished.

It wasn’t perfect, that double curvature windscreen gave a rather distorted view and if you wished to stand and look over it instead, then you had to straddle the helm seat like John Wayne.

Access to the foredeck was rather sketchy, and the massive engine hatch, needed to contain that ‘push button’ tonneau, severely limited the cockpit size.

But perhaps the biggest issue was the price. Yes, people will pay a premium for a brand, but as the Cygnet demonstrated, there is a limit, and circa £1.5 million for a sub-40ft sportsboat in 2017 was a big ask.

In the end only four were ever sold, two retail and two at auction. But if nothing else, exclusivity was, yet again, assured.

Aston Martin AM37 specifications

Year: 2017
LOA: 36ft 5in (11.1m)
Beam: 12ft 2in (3.7m)
Power: Twin Mercury Racing 520hp petrol engines
Speed: 50 knots
Price when launched: £1.6 million as tested

To submit your suggestion for the world’s coolest boat, head over to the MBY forum.


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