Thousands of the world’s wealthiest car collectors gathered in California for Monterey Car Week last week, celebrating all things fast, beautiful and expensive.
Car makers clamber over each other to win the attention of cashed-up American collectors – the sort of folks who spend $US 3.6 million ($5.25m) at the auction of a $300,000 Porsche 911 dressed up to look like the “Sally Carrera” cartoon character from the Disney Pixar movie Cars.
With motorshows languishing in the post-Covid era, events such as Monterey Car Week represent an important – and lucrative – opportunity for manufacturers to offer their wares to the top end of town. Which is why several brands unveiled interesting machines that regular members of the public will be lucky to glimpse on the road.
The cars are shown at exclusive events often off-limits to the public, held in private homes or beachside locations. Others, such as the Pebble Beach concours, keep the riffraff at arm’s length with tickets that start at $US525 ($765) per person for general admission.
Lincoln Model L100
With the debut of its next-generation Mustang on hold until next month’s Detroit motor show, Ford decided to make a splash with its Lincoln luxury brand.
Electric, autonomous and decadent, the Lincoln Model L100 paints a picture of a more sophisticated society of the future, where opulent machines will silently whisk occupants from appointment to appointment with a minimum of fuss.
It will also be a future without potholes, if those outlandish light-up alloys are anything to go by. They wouldn’t last a kilometre on rain-damaged Aussie highways.
Aston MartinV12 Vantage Roadster
If, like us, you missed out on the retro-styled Aston Martin DBR22 roadster, this could be the car for you. Based on the brand’s sold-out V12 Vantage Coupe, the new Roadster has the same 515kW, 5.2-litre twin-turbo V12 in an open-topped package.
Limited to 249 examples, it will be one of the final V12-powered road cars offered by the brand.
Aston Martin isn’t talking about prices for the model. Suffice to say, if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.
McLaren Solus GT
Not to be outdone by hypercars such as the Aston Martin Valkyrie, McLaren surprised the motoring world with its vision for the ultimate track car.
Powered by a5.2-litre V10 that screams beyond 10,000rpm while making more than 615kW of power, the McLaren Solus GT can reach 100km/h in 2.5 seconds before going on to record lap times that should shade dedicated racing machines. There’s genuine F1 tech at work here, including high-downforce aero and a spine-tingling engine mounted directly to the car’s chassis – something McLaren has not offered to the public.
Bentley Mulliner Batur
The days of high-powered petrol supercars are limited. Bentley looks set to farewell its unique W12 turbo engine with a special car loosely based on the Continental GT. Called the Batur, this evocatively shaped coupe previews the brand’s future design direction while housing the last of its heavy-hitting petrol motors, now tuned to a staggering 545kW and 1000Nm.
It also has 3D-printed gold elements, natural fibre in place of man-made carbon, and attention to detail that will make mainstream brands blush.
Bugatti is celebrating the end of its petrol-powered era with a special roadster powered by its last batch of quad-turbocharged, sixteen-cylinder engines. Only 99 of the 1000kW machines will be built, sold to extraordinarily wealthy collectors for about $7 million plus tax.
Cashed-up car lovers can go back to the future with the reborn DeLorean, which made its public debut in California last week. Powered by electric motors, the DeLorean is an exotic design study that should go into limited production for a steep price in the next few years.
Built to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the original Koenigsegg, this supercar blends fresh tech with retro-modern looks. The eye-catching CC850 sends 1033kW and 1385Nm to the rear wheels through a clever nine-speed transmission that can operate as an automatic or a proper manual transmission – not a flappy-paddle semi-manual. Just 50 examples will be built in honour of company founder Christian von Koenigsegg’s 50th birthday.
At least one example is coming to Australia, priced from a cool $6.5 million.
Lamborghini Urus Performante
Even billionaires need something to run the kids to school or to take the dog to its appointment at the salon. Why not take the ultimate version of the ultimate SUV, Lamborghini’s Urus Performante?
Lighter and more powerful than the regular Urus, the twin-turbo Performante stole the Pikes Peak hill climb record from Bentley’s Bentayga Speed. Expect the Urus to reach Australian roads in coming months, priced from an easy $465,876 plus options and on-road costs.
Hennessey Venom F5
This could be the world’s fastest convertible. Built to take on the 480km/h record held by the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport, the Hennessey Venom F5 is powered be a monstrous 6.6-litre V8 kicking out a remarkable 1355kW of power. The trouble for Hennessey, a small American manufacturer, is that there are precious few places where you can exercise a car at close to 500km/h – and the best one is owned by Bugatti’s parent company, Volkswagen.
We might never know if the Venom is the world’s quickest car. But it certainly looks the part.
Originally published as How car makers wrestle for billionaire cash at Monterey Car Week
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