When Secret Entourage approached Nicholas David of The Vantage Collection to help with our Vantage project “Heaven”, we simply were looking for someone to help us build one incredible Aston Martin Vantage but little did we know that we were going to meet one successful business owner who not only has a unique business but also has one interesting career. Nicholas takes a moment to walk us through the secret to his success and gives us an insight on what its like to build stunning one of a kind parts for Aston Martin cars worldwide.
Thank you again for taking the time to seat with us and tell us all about your life and passion, but really “Thank You” for helping us with our incredible project. Lets get started…
Tell us about The Vantage Collection.
The Vantage Collection is a range of unique aftermarket parts custom designed for Aston Martin vehicles. The products allow our clients Aston Martin to stand out from an already exclusive crowd. All the products we offer have been designed, and precision engineered to enhance the look of any Aston Martin. In this current financial climate, The Vantage Collection products offer an economical alternative, to the expense of a new vehicle. Following customer demand, we developed the range of products that enable owner’s vehicles to remain at the forefront, in respect of both styling and performance.
How did the idea of starting an Aston Martin aftermarket parts company come about?
The Vantage Collection started off as a personal project for myself, it wasn’t instigated as a business from the start. I have always driven sports cars since I could drive and in–turn modified them accordingly. When I purchased an Aston Martin 3 years ago, I did some research for some parts to enhance the exterior of the car and make it more unique. I was surprised to see that there wasn’t really anything available and especially for the V8 Vantage. There were a couple of companies that did some body kits for Aston Martin’s, but lets just say they weren’t my style, the parts didn’t look like they were designed for an Aston Martin, they weren’t in theme with the already refined design of the car and were very crudely designed.
Thus, I started designed a set of one off parts for my car. Working in the Automotive industry for the past 10 years as a concept car designer, I gained great experience in creating beautiful products for a range of premium brands such as Cadillac, Jaguar and Land Rover and had access to the latest technology which was paramount in creating The Vantage Collection product range. What started off with just two parts, the Aston Martin DBS style rear diffuser and front splitter, has now developed into a company that offers the most varied range of products for the entire Aston Martin vehicle line-up.
You mentioned to us that you are still currently a car designer? What exactly is it that you do?
Every time someone asks me what I do, and I reply with “…I am a car designer…’, they look at my blankly and say “…you do that as a job?…”, it is hard for people to grasp the idea that the job actually exists, but it does. Even to this day I find it hard to believe at times, that I get paid to basically draw cars! It’s a little more complicated than it sounds, but essentially I get given a brief of what type of car is wanted, and I go off and design it, either the exterior or interior and sometimes both. It is one of the most rewarding careers I can think of. It’s the best feeling in the world to start off with a small thumbnail sketch of a design you have come up with, and a few months later be standing next to (or sitting in) a full size version of your design. And no two projects will ever be the same, so your constantly being challenged and creative.
This is almost every kid’s dream job, how did you become a car designer?
I remember the day well, I was 13 years old and we had a replacement teacher that came into show us how to do illustrations with marker pens, he drew a fully rendered car in a hour, and it was at that point that I decided that that’s what I wanted to do as a career. From that point I started drawing cars in my spare time… After studying Engineering for 3 years at University (still designing cars in my free time) , I then studied for a Masters in Vehicle Design at probably the best design school in the world, The Royal College of Art in London. This was a two year intensive course of refining and developing my design skills while working with major automotive companies on personal projects. The rest is history, as soon as I left college I began working on concept cars for the Detroit Auto show for GM working on brands such as, Cadillac, GMC and Chevrolet. Since then I have worked for Honda/Acura advanced design in California, Jaguar Advanced Design and Land Rover Advanced Design, as well as doing projects for Princess Yachts and private jet companies.
Do you define yourself as successful? Why?
In one word, yes. But I think success is based on your own personal goals, when I was in university, I always wanted the opportunity to design a concept car for a major automotive brand and be there for when the car got launched and see the world’s reaction to it. I have been very fortunate to have achieved this not long after graduating university, and with the most recent concept car being launched at Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2008 for Honda. Secondly, I always wanted to see a car on the road that I had worked on, and I have also achieved this. Lastly, I always had a burning desire to start my own design business, to see a hole in a particular market and fill it with great designs, and I strongly believe that The Vantage Collection has achieved that. The addition of achieving all this before I was even 30, was a great achievement for me. I have many more business ventures that have yet come to fruition, but over the next few years I look forward to developing them.
What does the next year look like for The Vantage Collection?
The main push over the next year is to promote all the new products that we have been working on for the last few months, and get the word out there to all Aston Martin owners that we can assist them in creating a truly unique Aston Martin for them. We have already started to develop parts for the new 4 door Aston Martin Rapide which is due to be launched any day now, as well as the One-77 super car. We are also expanding the business to the Jaguar Brand. I feel that it’s a perfect brand for us to start developing parts for, its British (like Aston Martin) and has some great vehicles coming out, and I have also benefited from working at the design studio over the past few years.
How will you and Secret Entourage be working together?
When I was approached by the owner of Secret Entourage to sponsor a unique Aston Martin, I instantly thought it was a great idea. Being located mainly on the west coast of the US or in London, I felt it was a great opportunity for other areas of the USA to get the chance to see some of The Vantage Collection products ‘in action’ so to speak. A lot of the products we produce have to be seen to be appreciated, they really do change the look and stance of the vehicle. We will be supplying the project with some key elements that will truly enhance the exterior of the car. To start with, the car will get our large Vantage V2 Carbon Fiber Rear Diffuser, which is very reminiscent to the one found on the current DBS, next the front will get our Vantage V1 Carbon Fiber Front Splitter, this visually lowers the front of the car and gives the front of the car a far more aggressive look. We will also be supplying the car with some bespoke interior products such as custom made car mats… Project Heaven will come to life because of The Vantage Collection.
Thank you to Nicholas David of The Vantage Collection for all his help with our project car and for taking the time to talk to all of us about some of his incredible work and entrepreneurial spirit. We wish him much success and can promise you that we will have more from him in the upcoming months.
Make sure to visit The Vantage Collection and get all the hottest pure carbon fiber parts ever made for your Aston Martin.
The Vantage Collection
401 1/2 Jasmine Ave
Corona Del Mar, CA 92625
Send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow him on Twitter