What is Skunk Works?

2nd March 2022

A logo for skunk works

The designation 'Skunk Works' has become a more widely used engineering and technical field term, primarily in the US, to describe a group within an organization given a high degree of autonomy and unhampered by bureaucracy, with the task of working on advanced or more secretive projects. The phrase has now migrated to common recognition across the pond, all stemming from its roots at Lockheed Martin in the 1940’s, where the aircraft manufacturer set up a secret rapid design and manufacture to aid its war effort, initially based in a rented circus tent.



The term too, has featured in our recent vehicle descriptions where we have been fortunate to handle vehicles from several vehicle manufacturers where the car is not entirely or at all built on a standard production line and is often taken to a specialist department workshop to allow the ‘special team’ engineers to develop or revise the vehicle. Once the hidden departments of R&D or hush departments for VVIP clients or even separate specialist tuning or coachbuilding companies, these operations have become more and more overtly marketed by the luxury and sportscar manufacturers to become known to the client-base or even a model-level designation in their own right.



AMG was established in 1967 as a forge for racing engines by two former Mercedes-Benz engineers who saw the potential for saloon racing development of the road car offering with a performance engine transplant. By 1999, Mercedes-Benz owned a controlling 51% of AMG and it became wholly owned by them in 2005, all the time the AMG brand was increasingly recognised by Mercedes sports-orientated clients and the tuner and embellisher of choice. The AMG skunkworks launched the Black Series in 2006 with the SLK AMG 55 Black Series the first of the current seven Black Series two-door-only models. 


We have previously sold a highly prized C63 AMG Black Series which is fourth in the lineage, truly a track-focused road car that provides unsurpassed driver involvement. Our car was presented in the stealth Obsidian Black with Black cabin and has the AMG External Carbon Pack and was specified to deliver uncompromised race engineering that delivers fearsome performance on the road to fulfil the intense driving experience. For the observant, the flared nostrils, flared arches and lack of rear seats merely hint at what changes lie beneath from the skunk works.



Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) is not an entirely new concept at the company having engineered to order since the beginning of the company, however, the past decade has seen a 20,000m² headquarters take the vehicles to the next level. 


PaddlUp handled a right-hand drive VAT Qualifying SVAutobiography Ultimate Edition presented in the satin Premium Palette Green with Vintage Tan perforated Semi-Aniline quilted leather. The SVO car offers superb levels of comfort to complement its commanding road presence and visual appeal befitting of its flagship status. The long wheelbase is at the forefront of its luxurious appeal and flexibility in use. The Range Rover is equally peerless whether utilising the vast rear cabin to work or relax or upfront enjoying a sporting drive on your favourite B-road.


Powered by its 565hp supercharged V8 engine, the all-aluminium five-litre unit is the most powerful engine in Range Rover’s history, re-tuned by the boffins in Special Vehicle Operations to produce 700Nm of torque. When combined with its 8-speed dual-clutch transmission, the SVAutobiography effortlessly handles any terrain as you would expect from the finest Range Rover yet poised, commanding and cosseting when road conditions allow.