Each week Top Gear tells us about fast cars, or cars that compete in all sorts of weird competitions, and in Crash Course, Richard Hammond learns about vehicles that perform very specialized tasks, but right now, we’re going to take a look at another very specific category of cars: the luxury car. And we’re not going to look at just any old luxury cars – we’re going to look at British luxury cars, which have historically set the gold standard for automotive excellence. (We’re also trying to see if we could write ad copy for cars.) We’re going to look at the top of line, the crème de la crème of super luxury cars. They’re the cars of the ultra wealthy, the conveyances of the 1% of the 1%, cars that cost so much that we can’t keep track of all the zeros. And the closest that we’re ever going to get to any of them is looking at this photo gallery.
First up: an entry from Aston Martin. The name Aston Martin is perhaps most familiar to us through James Bond, who drove a DB5 in Goldfinger. The Aston Martin One-77 (above) gets its name from the fact that there were only 77 made. Each one sells for about $1.85 million. But you’ll probably have to pay more for an ejector seat. (via The Super Cars)
Bentley, one of Britain’s most famous car companies, was founded by an aeronautics engineer in 1919, bought by Rolls Royce in 1931 and bought again by Volkswagen in 1998, though the cars are still made in England. The Bentley Continental Supersports (above) costs $291,000, and it only has two doors. Imagine what you’d have to pay for four doors? And it only gets 12 miles per gallon in the city and 19 mpg on the highway. But if you’re buying a car like this one, that’s probably not much of a concern. (via Autobytel.com)
This one isn’t available yet. Top Gear UK reported that Jaguar gave the green light to build this partly green super car. It’s going to have four electric engines – one on each axel – that will work in conjunction with a four-cylinder gas engine. At one point, in its planning stages, the C-X75 boasted a jet engine, which Top Gear is still hoping will be incorporated after the initial run of 250 cars is produced in the next few years. Oh, some stats: it’s expected to have 800 horsepower, it’s lighter than a Ford Focus – and it’s expected to cost between £700,000 and £900,000.
The story of Bristol Cars, which began producing luxury cars after World War II, is a bittersweet one. The company made very few cars each year – recently, the number is believed to be as small as 20 – which were highly sought-after and could only be bought at one location, on London’s High Street. According to the Daily Mail, Bono, Tina Turner and Sir Richard Branson were among the exclusive club of Bristol owners. Sadly, the company, which was the last of the wholly-owned British luxury car makers, shut down last year.
As Bristol closed its doors for good last year, a new British luxury car company announced it was open for business. Eterniti Motors presented its first car, the Hemera, at the Frankfurt Motor Show as the “world’s first Super SUV” at a cost of more than £100,000. Top Gear UK pointed out that its name “sounds like a disorder of your gentleman undercarriage” which is why it looks like the version of the car they’re presenting at Beijing Motor Show is now called the “Artemis.”
Here’s another new car. A consortium that includes British interests is trying to launch a luxury sports car inspired by the Jaguar. It’s called the Lyonheart K, and its developers wanted to give it a slightly retro look to recall Jaguar E-types, while making sure that it can reach speeds upwards of 186 miles per hour. All for a price tag of about $650,000. (via Autoblog)
The Rolls Royce, made of gold, that Oddjob drove in Goldfinger was fictional. This one, owned by a businessman in the Gulf, is real – and parts of it really are made out of gold – 120 kg of real 18k gold in places like its front grille, side trims and wheels. It’s also built to withstand a small military attack. According to the website bornrich.com, it’s worth $8.2 million.
“Because you can’t take it with you,” writes AutoGuide.com, a custom hearse designer took this Rolls Royce and remodeled it to create “the world’s most expensive final ride.” ($662,000) It’s got 12 cylinders, and it’s built out of aluminum, so we imagine that there won’t be any problem if you’re in a hurry to get to your ultimate destination.