NEW YORK -- Aston Martin is giving two wheels a try.
On Monday at the Milan motorcycle show, the UK brand debuted the AMB 001, a 180-horsepower motorcycle legal only for track use.
The motorcycle will be made in partnership with the British motorcycle brand Brough Superior and will be the first time a Brough Superior model has come with a V-twin, turbo-charged engine.
The announcement comes as the latest of Aston Martin's creative efforts to energize the brand, including a $700,007 coupe that will be sold as a fantasy gift in U.S. retailer Neiman Marcus's annual holiday catalogue and even a picnic hamper to accompany its upcoming DBX SUV.
These moves have come after the 106-year-old company failed to generate much cash in the first half of 2019 and launched an initial public offering that flopped. The company's shares are down 71 percent since the offering last year. The automaker was recently forced to raise $150 million in a bond sale as it faces liquidity concerns and trade issues associated with Brexit.
A motorcycle seems an odd, if not unheard-of choice for a supercar maker. At one point, Porsche built an engine for Harley-Davidson, and Jaguar got its start as Swallow Sidecar Co., a company that custom-built motorcycle sidecars.
The AMB 001 bike is part of the long-held tradition of luxury brands putting their names on non-car products, like watches, says Ian Fletcher, an automotive analyst at research firm IHS Markit.
"Aston Martin seems to be really big in terms of spreading the brand far and wide with building power boats and things, and this is part of it," says Fletcher.
In 2016, the brand opened up a shop in London's exclusive Mayfair neighborhood with leather goods and baby strollers.
"I think in some respects, the motorcycle will appeal to a brand completist who already has the Aston Martin watch and is embracing the brand fully," Fletcher said.
Ironically, for a brand of UK heritage, the AMB 001 will be hand-assembled in the Brough Superior factory in Toulouse, France, with deliveries beginning in the last quarter of 2020.
The bike will have a 997-cc engine built by Brough, with exterior details that reflect the partnership that include the Aston Martin winged logo and a "Stirling Green and Lime Essence" paint job, according to a release hailing Aston Martin's traditional racing colors.
The wheels, forks, and brake assemblies will be in matte-black, with bare carbon fiber accents throughout. The seat will come in oxford tan, hand-stitched leather.
Established in 1919, Brough went bust in 1940, before being revived by motorcycle designer Thierry Henriette in 2013.
The benefits to the company are a boost in visibility and probably, some cash.
The benefit to Aston Martin is less clear, especially considering that the motorcycle industry has struggled to attract younger riders in recent years.
There is no expectation that the company will make significant money on the bikes, which will be sold for 108,000 euros ($120,376) each in a strictly limited edition of 100.
"[Car] designers seem to like motorcycles, so it's a nice thing for them to do to work together," said Fletcher, "but whether it adds anything to the Aston Martin brand, I'm not sure. Brough Superior certainly gets more eyes on their brand, which is quite niche."
A representative for Aston Martin declined to comment on the details of the partnership.