When luxury automakers diversify into the production of something other than cars (and the inevitable branded clothing), the first response is normally concern about elastic brand values. So we’ll understand if your reaction to news that Aston Martin is working on a submarine is to fear that the British sports-car maker has jumped the shark and is now riding it in freefall toward a volcano.
Yet it is a real thing. Unveiled at the Monaco yacht show, the collaboration between Aston and submersible manufacturer Triton Submarines has been code-named Project Neptune, with the official line being that the union enables Aston to “further enhance and grow the brand into new aspects of the luxury world.”
Florida-based Triton has been making small submarines for both scientific research and recreational users—the sort of billionaires who regard their superyachts as being incomplete without the ability to venture beneath the waves. Project Neptune will combine Triton’s expertise in submersibles with the design input of Aston Martin Consulting under the leadership of the brand’s creative director, Marek Reichman.
The finished product will be based on Triton’s existing three-person Low Profile platform. Aston hasn’t given us details on the finished product yet—although we’re looking forward to the sea test—but we can tell you that the existing weighs 8800 pounds and can carry a pilot and two passengers to depths of 1650 feet, a number that would have seen the end of the U-boat in any World War II submarine films. It is electrically powered, with a 30-kWh battery pack driving four 5-hp thrusters. Control is via joystick and a touchscreen interface, and five 20,000-lumen LED light bars illuminate all the freaky deep-water fish. It $3.3 million, although we’d expect the Aston version will be a bit more.