It could be a scene straight from the Hollywood hills but this is no LA story for it is a cold and wet February day and we’re on the outskirts of Bradford where one man has worked tirelessly to build up a business that in the past 20 years has revolutionised the motor industry.
Welcome to Project Kahn, the design based automotive company, led by creative visionary Afzal Kahn who turns high quality, prestige production cars into stunning bespoke vehicles.
Kahn is now the driving force behind one of the country’s most prestigious design companies having created a brand that is now globally recognised.
He said: “As a kid, I used to look at car dealerships and I just knew that I could totally re-invent what I was seeing and about18 years ago I decided to go into business.
“I started off in the wheel industry. I approached manufacturers all over the country but I couldn’t find any good enough. I went all over the world to find a good manufacturer and eventually I settled on an Italian company who had the quality and production capabilities to manufacture exactly what I wanted.”
Launching the completely new and innovative RS-R and the RS-S alloy wheels, it wasn’t long before Kahn’s Design’s began to cause a stir in the international automotive industry.
He said: “I was the first manufacturer to design a wheel with a spoke that ran to the very edge of the rim something that has now become one of the most replicated in the world.”
From the UK to the Middle East, from Russia to America and from the road to the cinema screen, chances are that if you’ve spotted a beautiful, high – flying alloy wheel design, it will have stemmed from Kahn’s Design.
But not happy with his alloys, Afzal had soon expanded his business from wheels to designing car accessories, exhausts and body kits.
In 2001 he set up V12 Power Ltd, now one of the most prestigious bespoke vehicle specialists in the UK. But keen to move away from dealing with standard manufactured vehicles, Afzal decided to go one step further and bring his own touch to bespoke vehicles and Project Kahn was born.
Now the most successful automotive design house in the UK, and with franchises around the world, the company is turning over about 200 cars a year with a list of clients who are not afraid to splash the cash.
Kahn’s dynamic approach and stunning results have won an impressive and expanding client-base. England Captain, John Terry, purchased a top of the range Bentley from the Bradford company and word soon spread amongst his Chelsea team mates, with many of them now sporting products from Project Kahn.
Former Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger, famous for starring in the Terminator movies and now governor of California, has ordered a car from Project Kahn, as has actress Daryl Hannah and cult Hollywood director Quentin Tarantino.
Afzal’s philosphy remains unchanged from the day he started out and that is to create the ultimate in design and a masterpiece in automotive design.
He said: “The company’s ethos is all about European styling. We make tailored vehicle solutions for bespoke clients who want to break free from the conformities of standard manufactures.
“I’m not interest in the bling aspect or culture. Other people can do all that if they wish. For me, it’s about meeting people who are creative and talented, coming up with fresh ideas and developing new tactics and concepts that can take my company forward.”
Despite now being a multi-millionaire Afzal remains grounded. “I’m still working long hours, still trying to make time for my family and ensure my son grows up in a safe and secure environment. I have never forgotten the hard times, nor my roots.”
Project Kahn also buy and sell cherished registrations and last month Afzal made the headlines by snapping up the cherished reg F1 for a cool £500,000!
Khan’s investment of £440,625 beats the £331,000 paid by a Cheshire businessman in July 2006 for the number plate M1, apparently as a present for his son’s sixth birthday. In April 2006 a Sikh businessman paid £254,000 for the number plate 51 NGH (spelling the name Singh).
“These plates are either used as show plates or are sold with the cars,” says Afzal, “They are also sold separately to customers who want to add a bit of intrigue, style or personality. For a lot of people, adding a personal registration can do more for the way they feel about their vehicle than adding £20,000 of extras. At the moment we are concentrating quite heavily on our Aston Martin conversions, which include a full body kit for the DB9 and for this reason we are buying a large number of 007 number plates.”
And with that, Afzal picks up another call from Hollywood.
Don’t bet against it being James Bond himself.