Pastures new - three key players move to new roles outside AML
There have been three significant departures from AML in the past few months, with Miles Nürnberger (director of design), Matt Becker (chief engineer, vehicle attribute engineering) and David King (vice president and chief special operations officer) all leaving Gaydon for pastures new. None was available for comment as we went to press, but as all three have been featured in Vantage many times over the years it seemed appropriate to mark their exits and acknowledge their contributions.
Of the trio, King (above right) was by far the longest serving, having joined Aston Martin back in 1995. A hugely experienced engineer, he was key to the development of many of Aston’s most successful series production models, right back to the DB7 Vantage. He was also instrumental in the marque’s motorsport activities, including the production-based N24 programmes at the Nürburgring, and the company’s wider activities at Le Mans and in the GT3/GT4 categories with Aston Martin Racing.
Latterly, King headed the Special Vehicle Operations team at Wellesbourne, where all of Aston’s special series cars were built. These include the Vulcan, GT8, GT12 and V600, numerous Zagatos and, most recently, the V12 Speedster and glorious one-off Victor. With the Valkyrie hypercar (development prototypes of which were also built at Wellesbourne) poised for production, he departs to set up US EV brand Fisker Inc’s UK operation, and leaves behind him a remarkable body of work.
Miles Nürnberger (above left), who joined Aston in 2008 and headed the design department from 2018, vacates one of the most coveted roles in the industry. Few brands place such emphasis on style, fewer still have such rich heritage to draw on, and no other is facing such a dynamic period of change and reinvention.
It was Nürnberger who designed the fabulous One-77 – a car that only seems to get more beautiful as time passes – and was rewarded with the challenge of replacing the timeless but closely related Callum/Fisker/Reichman designs of the original Bez-era Vantage, DB9 and DBS. The results were striking and very much delivered on the necessity for a range of cars with shared DNA but distinct identities, although, perhaps inevitably, the shock of change attracted criticism along with the plaudits.
Nürnberger’s portfolio also encompasses Valkyrie, DBX and now-shelved ultra-luxury Lagonda EV concepts. Indeed, it’s fair to say that no previous Aston Martin designer has had to translate and evolve the marque’s design language across such a wide spectrum of cars. He leaves to head the design of Renault Group’s Dacia and Lada brands.
The departure that will be most keenly felt is that of Matt Becker (centre). Having joined Aston from Lotus back in 2014, Becker was the man responsible for defining the dynamic fingerprint of the new Palmer-era models. His deft touch, clear thinking and empowering approach are reflected in a range of cars designed for very different roles and objectives, but united by a honed sporting edge. You won’t find two more different models than the F1 Edition Vantage and DBX, yet not only are they both exceptionally good cars, both feel very much like Astons. Together they represent some of his most impressive work to date.
The forthcoming Valhalla and Vanquish supercars would surely have benefited from Becker’s as-yet untapped knowledge of mid-engined cars gained over almost two decades at Lotus. McLaren clearly thinks so, which is where he’ll be starting work in early 2022.
The Vantage team is sad to see him, Nürnberger and King go, but wishes all three well in their future endeavours.