Norman Crowley’s latest venture AVA teams up with motoring design legends Peter Brock and Ian Callum to bring car-making back to Ireland.

Ireland’s lost tradition of car-making is to be revived through the collaboration of Norman Crowley’s AVA and two of the world’s most celebrated car designers, Peter Brock and Ian Callum CBE’s eponymous design house, CALLUM.

A new four-wheel-drive electric car, which AVA terms the first “Hyperclassic”, is currently in development, with teams in Nevada, Wicklow and the UK, and will be built in the new AVA Studio at Powerscourt, nestled in Ireland’s Wicklow mountains.

“The partnership aims to push the limits of advanced engineering to breathe energy of the future into cars of the past”

Delivering performance in the 1,200-2,000-horsepower range, it will be the first vehicle to carry the new AVA brand. Be warned, the new cars won’t be cheap with prices ranging from €1.2m to €2m.

Car design legends

Brock is one of the most influential designers in American automotive history, lauded for his work on the Corvette Stingray, and CALLUM led by Ian Callum, responsible for iconic cars including the Aston Martin Vanquish and Jaguar I-Pace, are working in partnership with Crowley’s new prestige brand AVA to reimagine the cars that made the two men icons in their own right.

For the first project, the designers will work closely together; translating the vision and concept sketches into an engineered exterior design, adding a new chapter in the story of much-loved cars.

“Every detail of the new electric car is being crafted with the very same attention that was given to the original, classic design by its makers”, explains Norman Crowley, a global leader in energy-efficiency technology and founder of AVA Studio.

Crowley has brought together a team that has steered some of the biggest brands in the automotive industry, from Lotus and McLaren to Williams Advanced Engineering. These engineers have led the prototype design of some of the world’s breakthrough supercars, from the Jaguar C-X75 to the Aston Martin Rapide-E.

“The partnership aims to push the limits of advanced engineering to breathe energy of the future into cars of the past. It will bring together heritage, iconic design and high-performance, to create an entirely new automotive offering.”

From Nevada, Peter Brock adds: “To be involved in this project is a tremendous responsibility. It’s [the Corvette C2] already an accepted icon in the world of automotive motor design but we want to take all the best aspects of that design and make it crisper.”

Ian Callum commented: “Applying next-generation technology to cars that we are fond of and familiar with, is hugely exciting. CALLUM’s expertise in translating Peter’s concept to a design feasible for production, will support AVA to write a new chapter in this car’s story.”

Smiling man in driving seat of an electrical Ferrari.

Norman Crowley in his electric Ferrari

Norman Crowley is a successful businessman who started and sold three businesses for more than $750m before he was 40. In 2019 he revealed plans to create 150 new jobs as part of a €50m investment in his latest venture Electrifi, the first company to manufacture cars in Ireland since Ford closed its manufacturing plant in Cork 40 years ago.

The Cork-born entrepreneur sold his previous business Inspired Gaming Group for $500m in late 2008 to a private equity fund. In recent weeks, ThinkBusiness reported last year how Crowley’s energy services business Cool Planet Group raised $31m in funding from French investment group Tikehau Capital, which has almost €24bn in assets under management.

Car-making in Ireland

If AVA succeeds it could open a new chapter in Ireland’s automotive history, where as far back as 1907 cars like the Aylesbury were produced in 1907 in Offaly. Henry Ford opened a plant in Cork to make tractors and the last Sierra car rolled off the assembly line in Cork in 1984 where 7,000 people were employed at the plant’s peak.

Car-making took place in all corners of Ireland. In the early 1980s 2,000 people were employed at DeLorean’s carmaking plant in Dunmurry making the iconic DeLorean DMC-12, the time-travelling car made famous in Back to the Future.

In Wexford, the TMC Costin sports car was made by the Thompson Motor Company in Castlebridge between 1983 and 1987 while in Donegal Auto-Montan-Werke produced an all-terrain vehicle named the Chico and nicknamed the Buncrana Beetle.

In fact, the first Volkswagen Beetles to be assembled outside of Germany were built in the 1950s at a former tram depot in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.

Ireland even had its own-brand vehicle entitled The Shamrock, which was made in Castleblaney, Co Monaghan.

All eyes are now on AVA, Brock and CALLUM to revive a proud history and bring cars back to the future in Ireland. The highly anticipated first images from this partnership will be revealed in late February 2021, when the curtain lifts on their high anticipated design.

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 3 February 2021

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