For most mortals, super cars, high-performance specialty cars, and ultra- luxury vehicles are the stuff of fantasy. But even when money is no object, some of these exclusive vehicles are still barely a reality: they are only available in very limited editions, some are custom-made to order, and others never make it off the design page, other than as a prototype or two.
We consulted John Filiss, publisher of Serious Wheels,for an eclectic selection of said fantasy cars, covering a broad range from A to A-plus. Click ahead to see the some of the most outstanding vehicles money can (and sometimes can’t) buy.
By Colleen Kane
Posted 12 April 2011
Price: approx. $1.2 million
0-62 MPH: 2.5 seconds
Top Speed: 253.2 MPH
This two-toned auto was rated the fastest car in the world by TheSuperCars.org. It can go 0 to 62 in 2.5 seconds, but thanks to ceramic breaks it can come to a dead stop in 2.3 seconds. Filiss notes there are many newer variants of this vehicle, but “the Bugatti Veyron is the benchmark for extreme supercars.”
Price: approx. $382,034
Production: 25 per year (projected)
0-62 MPH: 2.5 seconds
Top Speed: 200 MPH
The T1 prototype debuted at Monaco’s Top Marques auto show by Prince Albert II. The light and speedy 2-seater Caparo was supposed to be manufactured in 2007. Filiss says the designers and engineers at Caparo Vehicles Technologies were creating “a vehicle with the best power-to-weight ratio of any production car ever made.” However, in a 2007 track test, it caught fire at a speed of about 150 MPH, and the car has yet to emerge on the market.
0-62 MPH: Varies
Top Speed: Varies
Terry Cook’s Deco Rides addresses certain drivers’ desire to own a vehicle with the vintage look of a 1930s-era Bugatti or Delahaye that has the performance and technology of a modern vehicle. Deco Rides shells combine inspiration from multiple classic models, and are available as turnkeys or the DIY buyer can choose innards to his or her specifications.
Price: approx. $460,000
0-62 MPH: 3.35 seconds
Top Speed: 208+ MPH
When Ferrari’s new performance benchmark flagship vehicle debuted at the 2010 Beijing Motor Show, it caused a stir with its upgraded, 661 horsepower engine (from 612 hp, it’s the fastest Ferrari ever), and it now weighs in at a svelte 3295 pounds (down 430 pounds). In other words, this baby is fast and she’s looking furious.
Price: POA (“price on application”)
Production: 12 made for tours, custom available
0-62 MPH: Varies
Top Speed: Varies
The 2009 Dutch-made HB Special was made for the Huet Brothers’ old-style European driving tours. As Filiss observes, this roadster is kin to the open-top cars of the 1950s. “It is a completely new design itself, but it successfully carries the aesthetic of the post- war barchetta [“little boat”] race cars.”
The Huet Brothers call the classics like Maseratis “Untouchables.” “You won’t find a Maserati 300 S under a million Euros. Mind you if it breaks the costs of repairing the car are immense and next to that you will drive the car in a different fashion,” whereas HB Specials are intended to be driven hard in the mountains.
Price: under $60K
0-60 MPH: 5.1 seconds
Top Speed: 124 MPH
And now as a palate cleanser, let’s dial it back with an almost practical fantasy coupe. According to the Lotus company’s own press, “the new Lotus Elise probably has the lowest CO2 for its performance for any gasoline high-performance sportscar in the world.” (The new model’s carbon emissions are reduced by more than 13%, and fuel economy is improved by 23%.)
Filiss points out that the 2011 Lotus Elise can be had for under $60,000, and is noteworthy for being extremely lightweight: “In the area of 2000 lbs, it is about 800 lbs lighter than a Mini Cooper.”
0-60 MPH: 3.7 seconds
Top Speed: 197 MPH
This high-end Mercedes-Benz sports has a sports chassis with aluminum double-wishbone suspension, and most distinctively features gull-wing doors. The latter characteristic along with the Benz’ wide radiator grille with Mercedes star and the wing-shaped cross fins make this super sports car a reinterpretation of the classic 300 SL coupe from the 1950s.
Price: base price for standard and bespoke approx. $40,862
0-62 MPH: 4.5 seconds
Top Speed: 115 MPH
“Morgan has been around for over a century, and all of their cars have a unique retro styling,” says Filiss. Indeed, the Threewheeler is Morgan’s iconic greatest hit, originally made from 1909 to 1953. Now re-launched for 2011, this car oozes vintage style, with its leather-padded aircraft-style cockpit and a “bomb release” style start button, but with the modern power of a 1800 cc Harley Davidson engine and a Mazda 5 speed gearbox.
Price: approx. $2 million
0-62 MPH: 3.4 seconds
Top Speed: 217 MPH
Pagani is a noted Italian manufacturer of handbuilt supercars, says Filiss, and in the case of the Cinque Roadster, just five of them were built by hand, making it the rarest Zonda (other than one-off custom-built models). Crafted with what the Pagani team dubs a blend of art and technology, this roadster has a removable roof that is stowed in the front bonnet, and the large air intake combined with titanium exhaust system provides a wind song for touring the Italian countryside.
Price: approx. $845,000
0-62 MPH: 3.2 seconds
Top Speed: 198 MPH
This mid-engined Porsche sports car is a plug-in hybrid with a 500 hp V8 using two electric motors (creating an addtional 218 hp). The supplementary motors help it use its energy more efficiently and allow the car to run up to 16 miles on electric alone. With the right driving, the hybrid can get an estimated 78 miles per gallon. Filiss describes the Porsche 918 Spyder simply: “Definitely one of the most remarkable cars ever produced by a company known for remarkable cars.”
Price: $1.5 million (prototype), $400K (estimate, production)
Top Speed: Land 77 MPH, 3 MPH on water surface, 1.8 MPH underwater
Filiss explains Rinspeed’s unique business style. “Every year at the Geneva Show, this Swiss-based company comes out with an amazing, innovative concept, and I understand they will be happy build them to order.” Among their creations are the eXasis “glass car,” and 2008’s entry, the sQuba “underwater flying car,” which is real.
The sQuba is electric, powered by rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries, it “flies” at a depth of 10 meters (as opposed to military amphibious vehicles, which are limited to rolling over the submerged ground), and its passengers breathe compressed air through a tank, a la scuba diving.
Price: $380,000- $450,000
0-60 MPH: 5.7 seconds
Top Speed: 149 MPH
As the icon of ultra- luxury sedans, the Phantom has reigned as an elite favorite since 1925. The new edition has both updated and classic luxury features such as handle LEDs, leather and wood veneer and rear-hinged “suicide doors,” pop-out umbrellas in the doors (which auto-open and close), and for the driver, a “power reserve dial.”
Price: approx. $219,190
0-62 MPH: 4.5 seconds
Top Speed: 187 MPH
This mid-engine two-door coupe from Spyker, a Dutch manufacturer with an avation heritage, has a full contemporary aluminum body with dramatic upward-opening doors, a spacious cabin, and a retro-styled interior, and a high-end Kharma sound system.
0-60 MPH: 2.78
Top Speed: 257 MPH
The SSC Ultimate Aero commands twin-turbo V8 engine with1183 horsepower in a car weighing a third less than the Bugatti Veyron. It’s made by the American company Shelby Super Cars (SCC), which Filiss says builds what may be the fastest cars in the world right now, although TheSuperCars.org ranks the Ultimate Aero No. 2.
Production: 5 for 2011 model year
0-60 MPH: under 1.5 seconds
Top Speed: over 300 MPH
Did you read those stats above? We’ll let Filiss field this one: “This car is not available for sale yet, but will be completely over the top when it does appear. It is being built in the United States. At 2000 hp and 300 mph, it may be the most ambitious supercar project in the world right now.”