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2008 Bell Aurens Longnose Concept Review

June 2008
Filed under: MISC Car News | MISC Headlines
Slowly the heavy roller shutter opens and the sun eliminates inch by inch the shadows from a familiar face. Distinctive, a glance out of narrowly positioned headlights, framed by a pair of broad, vigorous wings and a fender that lives up to its name. Nothing distracts from the clear, self-confident facial expression that in an instance captures even novices in the fraternity of Land Rover enthusiasts. This face has written automotive history. As a synonym for endurance and functionality. Character defining for generations of automotive grandchild’s in its almost provocative reduction to the absolute essential.

By the time the engine raises its sonorous, powerful voice for the first time even the most experienced Land Rover owner will listen closely and take a closer look.

One look onto this very special offroadster is enough to get the impression one had missed out on something for centuries in the history of classic British automobiles. So consequently stylish and consequential comes this evolution of a Series Land Rover 109 that one is likely to search for drafts or indications of such a special edition in the archives of the 60ties and 70ties of this traditional brand from Solihull.

Truly an offroader from the front fender to the rear lights – yet still a roadster. Who ever searched for evidence that cross-over can be an art in itself – here is the answer.

No attempt of retro-directed design exercises a la Volkswagen Beetle or BMW Mini – rather a deferent evolution of an icon of the British automotive industry. Resulting in an automobile that should have been built 40 years ago. Vintage without compromise - no concession to fashions or trends. No ingratiation to target groups of up-to-date marketing concepts. Instead the Longnose faces its future owner at eye-height – full of character, authoritative, stylish.

Edward would have driven Wallis Simpson in a Bell Aurens Longnose to private outings. Lawrence of Arabia would have stormed in the Bell Aurens Longnose towards Akaba. And General Montgomery would have parked it in front of the officers’ mess in El Alamain.

Tough luck for those honourable gentlemen, that this jewel sees the light of day of the automotive world so many years too late.

The idea

Some inspirations develop to fascinating ideas on reflection. Really good ideas develop into a vision you cannot ignore anymore. They demand for realisation with the irresistible consequence of a baby on its way to birth. Exactly such an idea is the Bell Aurens Longnose. From first thoughts via first sketches and 3-D studies the strong wish for realisation could not be ignored anymore. On the contrary the birth of the first prototype became just a question of time and opportunity.

Who ever went greenlaning or city cruising with a Series Land Rover, windscreen down, will appreciate the fascination that lies in the idea of a cross-over between a classical British roadster and a thoroughbred offroader. Both types of car unite in the Bell Aurens Longnose in such a congenial way, that the labelling offroadster virtually springs to ones mind.

In the front optionally 8 or 12 cylinder care for propulsion to the physical limits. Far back at the end of a sheer endless bonnet the Bell Aurens offers a driver cell, which by combination of classic, noble material with minimalist equipment layout exceeds highest drivers’ expectations. The traditional leaf spring chassis reports every detail of the roads surface unvarnished and without any compromise to the drivers’ spine. The visible exhaust manifolds in the front wings care for a powerful visual appearance, which foreshadows the acoustical presence of the Longnose.

The reassuring knowledge about the unsurpassed offroad capabilities of a real Land Rover, with four wheel drive, offroad gear reduction and central locking differential, invites to extensive rides through heavy terrain. Or a run through the North-African deserts to Akaba.

The manufactory

The search for a suitable design factory which would be able to stem a project like this can be compared to the search for a needle in a haystack. After all, the potential partner not only had to deliver the technical competence and skills but more important live up to the poise and attitude of the team. Right from the start it became clear that the job was mainly about distinguishing the many willing from only a few able among the contestants.

After all manual vehicle construction nowadays can be regarded as a form of art. And those artists are getting rare. Over and above this effect true artists of this kind work in secrecy. Thanks to their rare talents they are very seldom in need for blatant public appearances. So as often it was a chain of luck and coincidence that led us on the trace of Dipl. Ing. Jörg Lorenz and his team.

Under the name of Lorenz and Partners in a village near Nuremberg a small group of highly motivated specialists works with the methods used by those great coachwork designers of yesterday. A first glance into the factory halls says it all. Immediately the classicist realises which jewel is hidden there in the outback of Bavaria. Oldtimers undergo a scrutinising restoration process to perfection, bodywork is partly or totally re-built from a flat metal sheet. And a chat with Jörg Lorenz completes the picture: this man and his team love their job and follow a mission. So much that his enthusiasm for our project feels like an accolade.

Thus it goes without saying that future owner of a Bell Aurens Longnose are formally invited to visit this very special manufactory while their individual automobile is built. And witness a process that in its exclusivity can only be phrased as the “birth of an automobile”.

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