MILAN — Milan Fashion Week closed five off-kilter days of runway show for next season, marked both by a sense of relief that strict pandemic rules were easing but with growing distress over the war in Ukraine.
“This is a very sad moment, and that is why we are trying to bring some love and some peace and harmony,” said designer Dan Caten backstage at DSquared2.
A lone protester stood poignantly outside of shows on Sunday vying for attention, with a sign “Putin, Stop bombing Ukraine,” and balloons in yellow and blue, for the embattled country’s flag.
Highlights from Sunday’s mostly womenswear previews for next spring and summer, held as thousands gathered in the center of Milan to demand peace:
RESETTING BOTTEGA VENETA
Bottega Veneta has hit refresh with creative direction of Matthieu Blazy.
The new creative director sent a clear message of renewal with the first look in his debut collection Saturday night: A white tank and what appeared to be jeans, but which were deceptively made out of soft nubuck. Call it a palate cleanser.
And with that simple gesture, Blazy drew a straight line to the roots of the Veneto-born brand as a leather goods company, and its understated sophistication that was sometimes eclipsed by his predecessor’s eye-catching padded “intrecciato” (woven) leather mules and bags.
The French designer brought creative new twists to the label: The bag of the season is the brand’s classic woven intreccio slung over the shoulder, not worn but gripped by a long strap without the conventional loop.
The garments themselves were defined by movement, which Blazy said in notes relates to the brand’s heritage bags as objects that suggests travel, at very least getting out of the house.
They included a midi-length A-line skirts with a bustle of shredded leather, for a feathery rustle with every step of the sculpted platform heel. Wispy sequined cocktail dresses with feather detailing were paired with knee-high boots in glossy beetle green, off-white or silver. Rounded sculpted shoulder straps gave life to sheath dresses, accented by a woven clutch elegantly studded in golden points.
Julianne Moore and Raf Simons, the Prada designer who was Blazy’s boss for a spell at Calvin Klein, had front-row seats in the brand’s new headquarters behind Milan’s City Hall. The space was still a work in progress, with raw concrete block walls and the dome’s reinforcements still showing.
FERRARI MAKES MILAN RUNWAY DEBUT
Ferrari unveiled its first Milan collection, as it continues its expansion from a supercar company to a luxury goods brand with runway cachet.
“Our first show was in Maranello because of course it’s our hometown, and it was important to start there. Now we are in Milan because it is the fashion capital and has a very strong relationship with the future,” creative director Rocco Iannone said back stage.
The runway looks maintained the brand’s ties to the racing world, with leather block pants and matching racing jackets with padded elbows and geometric detailing, all sure to find favor with fans.
Iannone added new prints this season: a take on camouflage in royal blue, black and gray, using the brand’s Prancing Pony logo, and a more abstract print taken from computer imaging of speed tests done on the racing machines. They appeared on knitwear, dresses, jackets accessories.
Swarovski crystal accented sheer tops subtly emblazoned with the Ferraro logo to create evening looks for any gender, worn with elegant cargo pants or silver suits.
Ferrari this year has opened stores in Maranello, Milan and Rome, with more openings planned in the U.S. in the coming months including in Miami, Atlanta and Austin. The first collection was launched last June, and insiders say sales in China have been particularly robust. Stores open there late next year in Shanghai and Beijing.
DSQUARED2 GOES BOHEMIAN
Bohemian layered looks flooded the DSquared2 runway for next fall and winter, giving fancy to any Gen-Z’s desire as the designing Canadian twins Dean and Dan Caten cast their eyes on the next generation of luxury consumer.
The collection offers a host of entry points: from cropped sweaters to knit dresses; shearling booties to knee-high boots; sheepskin-lined vests to wool jackets; long tartan kilts left open to fuzzy trousers. Baubles fitting of any summer music festival finish the looks, along with backpacks, knit caps and water bottles.
“It’s a new energy. She’s young, she’s modern, she’s a Bohemian, free,” Dean Caten said. “It is texture and texture. It is not just about one thing anymore.”
QUIRA IS BORN
Designer Veronica Leoni’s worked alongside Jil Sander herself and Phoebe Philo at Celine on her way to launching her new label Quira last year.
Her vast experience is on display not only in the creations for her first winter collection, but also in her crystal-clear ambition: “I want to make the best black jacket you can find on the market,” she said.
Leoni will be taking on some big names for that title, and the goal belies her driving principal: to recreate an everyday wardrobe with hidden details that enchant. Her focus is style more than function. “Function makes garments generic. Style makes them special,” she said.
Leoni, 38, reinvents the 1990s sheath dress-jacket twinset combo with a plisse dress that falls into jagged hem, worn with a pleated cape, all in an elegant tan. A trench coat is stripped down to its bonded fabric, no lapels, and made reversible. And a black car coat has been reimagined with a fluted waist and bell sleeves, a more feminine version of itself.
She finishes the looks with platform hippie clogs and essential boots in shiny leather that ground the looks, along with a molded crossbody bag.
We were at the Four Seasons hotel in Austin, Texas, having a nightcap after the penultimate day of the 2021 Pagani Raduno, an event for Pagani owners that this time culminated at Circuit of the Americas (COTA), the big, Texas-sized Formula 1 track. I was there specifically to drive the latest and perhaps most epic of Pagani’s creations to date, the all new 2022 Huayra R. As of this writing, the bare carbo-titanium with gold and white stripes Huayra R is not only the prototype, but the only R in existence, though 30 customer examples will soon join it. All 30 of the $3,500,000 Huayra Rs are sold, with 14 coming to the U.S. Want one? The waiting list is already 24 deep, so you can’t have one. Two future owners on the Raduno that plunked down hefty deposits for the track-only macchina—as Pagani calls his latest creation—received hot laps with hot shoe Jamie Morrow. I also got a few right seat laps with Morrow, but now I get to drive. MotorTrend is the only media outlet afforded this opportunity; don’t crash it, indeed. But let’s back up a bit.
What Is the Huayra R?
Conceived, almost unbelievably, just 18 months ago, the 2022 Pagani Huayra R is the spiritual successor to the legendary track-only Zonda R. It’s almost an entirely new vehicle, too, but structurally and mechanically it shares more with the Zonda R than it does with any Huayra.
Specifically, the Huayra R shares just three things with the “regular” Huayra: the side mirrors, the Pagani-stamped titanium bolts, and the name. That’s it. The Zonda R’s engine was an evolution of AMG’s 6.0-liter V-12 found in the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR, as Pagani has a long history with AMG engines dating back to the founder’s friendship with fellow Argentine, Mercedes ambassador, and racing legend Juan Manual Fangio. However, the Huayra R’s naturally aspirated 6.0-liter V-12 is a clean sheet, or carta bianca, design, built by Germany’s HWA, builder of Mercedes DTM race cars.
HWA was founded by Hans-Werner Aufrecht, whose surname contributed the letter A to AMG, and HWA today is just down the road from AMG headquarters in Affalterbach, Germany. HWA also built the Huayra R’s six-speed, three-disc, non-synchronizing dog-ring sequential-manual transmission, which like the engine contributes to the chassis’ overall rigidity by being hard-mounted to it. Gorgeous equal-length headers and exhaust pipes made from Inconal 625/718 are coated in heat-resistant ceramic and snake their way out of the car’s open rump. The Zonda R’s screamer was good for 750 hp and 524 lb-ft of torque. The Pagani Huayra R’s screamier V-12 pumps out an astonishing 850 naturally aspirated hp along with 553 lb-ft of twisting force between 5,500 and 8,300 rpm, the latter of which is absurd. Redline is 9,000 rpm, and there are no turbos, no hybrid assist—just 12 angry cylinders breathing fire through 48-valves. Gulp.
The shape is outlandish. The 2022 Pagani Huayra R is made mostly from Pagani’s proprietary Carbo-Titanium HP62 G2 and Carbo-Triax HP62 (the “HP” stands for Horacio Pagani). Carbo-Titanium is used in places like the passenger cell where energy absorption is key, whereas Carbo-Triax is used where stiffness is paramount (the drivetrain is mounted to Carbo-Triax). The bodywork is vented everywhere, with scoops, scallops, and slashes wherever your eyes fall. The dual, deep aero channels that begin just aft of the A-pillars and run flat down the top of the body, all the way down to moveable wings flanking the signature encircled quad exhaust pipes, are particularly intriguing. Sorry, I should say the first set of moveable wings, as a second pair made from aluminum are mounted atop the massive, fixed carbon-fiber rear wing.
There’s no rear window at all, because why would there be? Daytona Prototype or LMP1-class race car, the Batmobile—take your pick. Grown humans become babbling children in the presence of this wondrous thing. I witnessed it happen dozens of times, and in Texas of all places. The severe-looking aero is apparently effective as Pagani claims the R makes 2,200 pounds of downforce at 199 mph. It also claims a “dry weight” of 2,314 pounds, meaning that with fuel (101 octane race gas) and other fluids, including fire-suppression chemicals, I estimate a curb weight of around 2,700 pounds. Assuming that’s kind of accurate, that would be a power to weight ratio of slightly less than 3.2 pounds per horsepower. Gulp again.
Horacio Pagani spent about 30 minutes explaining the philosophy behind the Huayra R. Surprisingly, safety was the theme he kept coming back to. That notion rang a bit hollow at first, but he insisted this car is for amateur drivers who just so happen to be some of the wealthiest people on Earth. In other words, his best customers. Viewed through that lens, yes absolutely, safety makes the most sense. Pagani’s long partnership with Mercedes-Benz paid off here, as the German giant took the lead on the safety stuff—crash structure, specifically—leaving the Pagani team free to do what it does best: build rolling works of art out of the most exotic materials in the automotive kingdom.
The Pagani Huayra R’s cold start is ferocious. I stood behind the barely muffled pipes and literally flinched when the big, shrieky V-12 finally caught and roared to life. The idle was both mesmerizing and intoxicating, though it turned out I’d heard nothing yet.
Morrow had never driven the R before, so he headed out for some shakedown sessions. At 3.4-miles long, COTA is a big track, and the Huayra R was (unbelievably) out of earshot for about 90 seconds. Then, standing in pit lane, we heard the monster coming through turns 16, 17, and 18, downshifting for 19, a bit of throttle and then all the way down to first gear for turn 20. Friends, I wish you could have been there. Remember Game of Thrones, and the noise the dragons made just before they spat fire and melted Daenerys’ enemies? That’s what the Huayra R sounds like. The noise was this shriek, this unbelievable high-pitched, multi-layered, multi-tracked wail of uncorked mechanical madness. The crazy part: After getting in trouble for noise while testing in Europe, Horacio Pagani decided to install two silencers on the exhaust system. Meaning your Huayra could be much louder.
Now I was in the passenger seat as Morrow took me out for three laps. The Pagani Huayra R rolls on Pirelli P Zero race slicks, and if you’ve never been in a car on slicks, the first thing you notice is how hard the brakes bite. Not to be too blue, but because of the sub-belt on the six-point racing harness you feel the braking potency mostly via your crotch.
Between turns 1 and 2 there’s a small straight with a stretch of tortured, bumpy pavement; the Huayra R felt as if it jumped off the ground an inch or two as it hit that section. Inside the car, with a helmet wrapped around my noggin, the car seems quieter than from outside. Mind you, Morrow tried to tell me something as we rolled out of the pits at 30 mph, and I couldn’t hear him. I’ve spent a career sitting next to Randy Pobst, so I’m quite used to being a supercar passenger, but there were a few moments when the V-12’s full thrust shocked me. That much NA torque that high up in the rev range made no sense. Gulp number three.
My turn to drive. Getting in was a challenge, but too bad. My frame is about the maximum possible width for the Huayra R’s seat, and the adjustable pedals were set for a shorter person. Starting the car is a trip: Flick the main ignition switch down, flip the secondary ignition switch up, and the fuel and oil pumps start pumping. Wait for a man standing next to the car to give you a thumbs up, foot on the brake pedal, and press the Start button on the upper right side of the steering wheel. The starter whirls for what seems like 15 seconds and then Dracarys, the fire spitter behind your head starts howling.
Everything vibrates and buzzes, but not like some simple drum beat. The Huayra R has a melody to its idle, and it’s wonderful. Pull the right paddle to select first gear, though the clutch remains open. Next, you press the Drive button on the wheel’s bottom left corner to close the clutch. You now have 15 seconds to get rolling or the clutch will open again. Finally, I’m rolling down pit lane toward glorious open track. I hit the Pit Speed button to turn off the limiter, and smile.
The initial plan called for three laps. However, at the last minute, Pagani’s son Christopher said I should go ahead and take five. Morrow and I tried to work out the best way for me to get the most out of my short time (17 miles in all) in the Huayra R. Seeing as how there was no way for him to communicate with me from inside the vehicle, we decided he’d jump into the 811 lb-ft-boasting Huayra Roadster BC and I’d follow about five car lengths back. Add all that torque to the RBC’s 791 hp, plus the knowledge this very Huayra RBC is the car that set the production-car lap record at the Spa-Francorchamps F1 circuit in Belgium (beating a McLaren Senna), and yeah, it scoots. That said, considering the delta in driver skill, Morrow probably could have stayed in front of me in a food truck.
The first lap was purposely slow. As I felt everything out, I was most sharply aware my legs were way too close to my body. But hey, if being a human pretzel is what it takes, dip me in salty mustard. My first impression is how easy the admittedly super-intimidating hyper track car is to drive. Simple, really. There’s the throttle and the brake, and the gears are handled by the paddles on the back of the racing-style steering wheel. That’s basically it. Shift lights appear, starting with green, then turning yellow on their way to full red. It takes me two laps to realize the lights go full red way below actual redline, probably at peak torque. A four-digit numerical tachometer frantically changes with the engine’s revs, but I’m not looking. There’s also a digital speedometer I only pay attention to on the long back straight. I see 249 kph on the first lap—155 mph—not a bad start.
We finally start to boogie on the short front straight in full view of the grandstands—and all the Pagani owners who will not be driving the Huayra R. “Don’t crash it,” I laugh to myself as we whizz by. Big braking—wonderful braking—up the hill and down into first gear for turn 1. I’m suddenly slapped across the face with the realization that hey, it’s just a car. A supremely quick and mighty one, sure, but I got this. Pagani’s plea fades and I just start driving. The jump over the bumps I noticed from the passenger seat? Not there from where I was sitting. In fact, the R is remarkably neutral, no doubt part of Pagani’s push for safety. There’s no oversteer whatsoever, and I didn’t notice a lick of understeer, either. Was I pushing hard enough to invoke push, something Morrow complained about during his early sessions before the tire pressures were fully set? I don’t know, but in my mind, we went pretty damn hard on the last three laps. In fact, I noticed the back end of the RBC in front of me stepping out several times. On the one hand, that’s 811 lb-ft of torque for you. On the other, he’s on street tires because unlike with the Huayra R, he’s in a street car.
The Huayra R exhibited no ill behavior whatsoever. More importantly, I detected no degradation in handling, no drop off from one lap to the next. The braking distances stayed the same, the rear never wagged, the front never pushed. All cards on the table, as it was my first (and only) session, Pagani and the HWA team decided to put the throttle map in Wet for my laps. This setting makes the throttle a bit less “stabby.” We also put the traction control at 8 (out of 12, and there is no stability control) and the ABS at 8 as well. Morrow the pro ran his laps first in 7 and then in 6. The kookiest part was that on the last two laps I found myself having to lift to maintain distance behind the RBC. Pro driver in a monster of a machine in front, and rank amateur me catching him in a few spots—should be impossible, but hey, it happened. Once out of the cars, I asked Morrow how hard he had driven. “Honestly, I could have gone a little faster,” he said. “But not much.” Me too, man. Me too.
It’s funny how the demise of internal combustion is bringing forth the best engines ever built. Chevy’s LT6, a flat-plane crank 670-hp masterpiece, is the most powerful naturally aspirated V-8 of all time. The 6.5-liter V-12 in the Ferrari 812 Competizione makes 819 ponies and revs to a belief beggaring 9,500 rpm. I’ve yet to drive either of those, but I imagine the 2022 Pagani Huayra R’s fire-spitting heart bests them both in terms of not only power but raw yaw-yaws. Hey, when you don’t have to worry about emissions or noise laws, things get easier and nastier. Come to think of it, “easy” and “nasty” are my two big takeaways after five laps in this screaming dragon of a track-murdering masterpiece—there was no need to tame the Pagani Huayra R. All I had to do was ride.
The coming years will bring a seismic shift for one of the world’s best-loved supercar makers. Lamborghini, a brand founded on show-stopping designs and double-digit cylinder counts, will be forced to electrify its line-up. By the end of 2024, the brand’s entire range will feature hybrid propulsion, and the first-ever fully electric models from the company will arrive not much later.
Perhaps more than any other manufacturer, Lamborghini will be fighting to keep hold of its identity in the EV era. But today, as electrification becomes increasingly common in the automotive industry, the Italian marque’s range of pure-petrol thoroughbreds is here to be enjoyed. So we strapped into cars such as the Huracán STO, Aventador SVJ and the Urus SUV and headed to Scotland, to sample the very best that Sant’Agata offers today.
But first, let’s consider what lies ahead. With the demise of the combustion engine, Lamborghini has some work to do. Its cars are defined by wailing engines and flame-spitting exhausts, and although electrification is more than welcome in a family SUV, you might argue it’s less appealing in a soul-stirring supercar.
Of course, Lamborghini will continue to provide piston-engine thrills with a fully hybrid line-up by the end of 2024, but the EV switch isn’t far away. For the time being, at least, things look promising. Part of Lamborghini’s “celebration of the combustion engine” will see the launch of a new V12 model next year, which will likely join the reborn Countach as a limited-run special. A hybrid-powered replacement for the Aventador will arrive in 2023, along with an electrified Urus and hybrid Huracán successor before the end of 2024.
With these, the combustion engine will continue to take centre stage. The electric element of the powertrain will serve to enhance the petrol units, filling torque gaps, adding performance and improving response. These cars should be just as characterful and even more exhilarating than the current models, according to Lamborghini’s boss of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Francesco Cresci – and you can read more about what he thinks of the firm’s electrified future and how Lambo will tackle it below.
The idea of a fully electric Lamborghini, which will arrive in the mid-2020s, is more challenging, however. Cresci told us that the company is “working out how to give an identity to our product, and making sure that it fits our DNA”.
But we can be fairly confident that Lamborghini will continue to produce characterful ICE cars in some form or another. In an all-electric future, these will be track-only models in the mould of the Essenza SCV12. Cars that still capture the brand’s original spirit – and few do it better than the three models we’ve lined up here.
Lamborghini Huracan STO
Lamborghini Huracan STO
5.2-litre V10 petrol
Seven-speed dual-clutch auto, rear-wheel drive
Lamborghini’s DNA is alive and well in the firm’s latest hardcore model, the Huracán STO. Quite simply, the track-bred STO is the pinnacle of the Huracán story, and a send-off to the sports car that’s been with us since 2014.
The 5.2-litre V10 may produce the same 631bhp as the Huracán Performante, but the chassis has been reworked, and the body has been tweaked and contorted to produce 420kg of downforce at 174mph. With a carbon-fibre body, a lighter windscreen and magnesium wheels, it weighs in at 1,339kg (dry), 43kg less than the Performante.
To my eyes, the wings, scoops and colourful graphics don’t do the styling any favours, but my word, does it look purposeful sitting among Scottish mountains. Lamborghinis don’t get much more serious than this. After all, STO stands for ‘Super Trofeo Omologata’, referring to the company’s one-make race series.
Inside, there’s no mistaking this for anything other than a road racer, with Alcantara covering the steering wheel, dash and seats. The door panels are single-piece carbon-fibre items, featuring fabric door handles; contrived, perhaps, but not out of place in what is a genuine thoroughbred.
It might not be Monza, but the Glenshee pass poses a stiff challenge. The STO must tackle the tight twists and bumps of the Scottish Highlands as well as it eats up the Ascari chicane if it is to rank among the all-time great Lamborghinis. It does just that.
On the road, it’s unhinged, combining ballistic speed with sharp, uncompromising dynamics like very few cars on sale. The aggressive set-up means that on anything other than smoothly surfaced roads, it fidgets and relays every contour of the tarmac to the driver, but the suspension rounds off the worst of the jolts, leaving the car feeling pleasingly connected when you need it most. The steering is beautifully precise, feeding your hands with information without being overly distracted by cambers and ruts.
It really does feel “right” – and then you unleash the V10’s firepower. Switch to Trofeo mode and the exhaust note takes on a deeper, more hard-edged rumble, so the motor can sing to full effect. Reaching a piercing crescendo at 8,500rpm, the STO is fantastically loud, and the accompanying hit of acceleration is savage. Like all Huracáns, the STO uses a dual-clutch gearbox; batting away at the column-mounted paddles is a joy, with super-fast upshifts and perfectly matched downchanges.
Power is sent to the rear wheels alone in the STO, and temperatures were barely above freezing in the Highlands at the time of our photoshoot. The STO demands respect, of course, but it stops short of being truly intimidating.
With the ESC in Trofeo mode it invites you to throw as much power as you dare at the rear tyres, the car scrabbling for grip, feeling totally alive, without getting away from you. The precise throttle response and communication through the chassis make this all the more absorbing.
As a farewell to the Huracán and its V10 engine, the STO is a masterpiece. It’s peak modern Lamborghini, with all the excitement you’d expect – and then some – dressed with a layer of dynamic class. The Huracán’s hybrid replacement has a serious task on its hands.
Lamborghini Aventador SVJ
Lamborghini Aventador SVJ
6.5-litre V12 petrol
Seven-speed auto, four-wheel drive
If the Huracán STO is the most extreme iteration of a V10 Lamborghini, the Aventador SVJ is the most extreme series-production Lambo of them all. The Aventador has been with us for a decade, and the SVJ elevates what is now a dated package for maximum performance. With four-wheel drive, a dozen cylinders and 759bhp – a full 29bhp more than the Aventador S – its potency every inch matches its wild styling.
Slot yourself into the Aventador and it’s intimidating, just as a Lambo should be. Cocooned by the high centre console, you peer through an extremely narrow windscreen, the A-pillars obstruct your view and rearward visibility is pretty much non-existent. The cockpit fizzes to the sound of the V12’s energy, but the Aventador SVJ is a clumsy car at low speeds. The single-clutch robotised gearbox feels archaic, and making smooth progress requires finesse.
What the SVJ really needs is fast, flowing A-roads to stretch its legs, and uncorking that V12 for the first time is eye-widening. The response is immediate, the noise all-consuming; the Aventador SVJ claws at the tarmac and doesn’t let up. When it’s time to grab another gear at 8,700rpm, the shifts are rapid and send a violent jolt through the car as the next ratio slams home. It’s physical and involving, like very few other modern supercars.
At speed, the steering wheel tugs at your hands as the SVJ’s front wheels hunt for cambers due to the aggressive suspension geometry. It’s best to lighten your grip and let the car feel its way along. Grip levels are seemingly unapproachably high on the public road; turn-in is supremely sharp and through smooth, high-speed corners the SVJ really begins to work. Staying flat and composed it’s able to carry huge speed, while always offering a precise, connected feeling.
The SVJ’s full potential simply can’t be reached on the road, but during those short bursts, it leaves a mark. It’s nowhere near as polished as other modern supercars – the STO included – but for sheer intensity, few can match it.
4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol
Eight-speed auto, four-wheel drive
Where the SVJ is tasked with distilling all that drama into a usable road-going package, the Urus must squeeze as much excitement as possible from its Audi-derived underpinnings to succeed as a Lamborghini. Porsche, Aston Martin, Maserati (and soon Ferrari) have each been forced to respond to the current performance-SUV craze, blending sports-car athleticism with the space and usability of a 4×4. The Urus is Lamborghini’s take, and conceptually, it’s the model best suited to electrification in the future.
Of course, it’s not Lamborghini’s first SUV. That accolade went to the LM002 in 1986, an equally divisive off-roader, and like its ancestor, the visual impact of the Urus is undeniable; the Urus is a hulking, menacing machine, and looks like no other SUV, for better or for worse. With fussy detailing and awkward slashes in the bodywork, the Urus trades elegance for steroidal, brutish looks.
The cabin tech is light years beyond its supercar siblings, though. The Urus borrows its infotainment system from the Audi Q8 (albeit with Lamborghini-specific graphics) and it’s far more intuitive than the Huracán’s portrait-orientated touchscreen. The less said about the Aventador’s ageing set-up – which you’d recognise from a 2009 Audi A4 – the better. But as we’ve found out, that car’s beauty is the mix of feral character and technology that involves you; CarPlay isn’t at the forefront of your mind when you’re driving the SVJ. By contrast, the Urus is hushed at speed and a pleasant motorway companion, which can’t be said of many Lamborghinis, not least the other two on this test.
Switch into Corsa mode, drop a few ratios on the eight-speed automatic gearbox and the Urus ruthlessly deploys all 641bhp from its 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8. The straight-line punch is of supercar proportions; the 2.2-tonne Urus blasts from 0-62mph in just 3.6 seconds, and on this alone, it absolutely feels worthy of the Lamborghini badge. It may not shriek like a naturally aspirated motor, but the thunderous, crackling exhaust note is addictive. Yet the Urus’s biggest trick is the way it bullies the road at any speed, in all conditions. Across broken, slippery Scottish tarmac you can commit harder than in the STO or the SVJ; in truth, it’s probably the quickest of the trio across the ground when the temperature is hovering as low as it is.
For such a tall, heavy car, the body is kept tightly in check over undulations, and traction is imperious. In Corsa mode, you can chase the throttle, with the Urus squatting on its back axle and finding supreme traction. The steering doesn’t feel particularly positive, and the ride is busy at times, but it feels every inch the Lambo of SUVs.
The Urus was the car that brought Lamborghini into a new market segment that the brand pretty much coined with the LM002, protecting its profits for future generations. The company will have to make another big step with electrification, but if its current line-up is anything to go by – and as we’ve heard from Cresci – the future is very bright for the brand from Bologna.
5 most iconic Lamborghinis
Lambo has always been among the supercar front runners. We take a look at five of its finest models.
Lamborghini Miura P400
More than any other, the Miura is the car that defined Lamborghini, and sparked a lineage of breathtaking mid-engined V12 halo cars. It was penned by legendary designer Marcello Gandini, who crafted a supercar that sent tremors all the way to Ferrari’s Maranello HQ in 1966. Powered by a 3.9-litre “Bizzarrini” V12, the Miura was the fastest production car on the planet when released, topping out at 174mph.
Lamborghini Countach LP5000 Quattrovalvole
The Miura would always be a difficult act to follow, but the Countach arguably bettered it. Throughout an astonishing 16-year life span, the Countach morphed from a svelte, wedge-shaped supercar into a bewinged monster in LP5000 Quattrovalvole guise. With 449bhp on tap, the QV had more than enough go to match all that show.
Lamborghini Diablo 6.0 VT
Does any car bear a more intimidating name than the Lamborghini Diablo (devil in Spanish)? That moniker suggests an unforgiving blend of V12 fury and spiky handling, but with the 6.0 VT, Lamborghini produced a satisfying, rounded supercar. Under Audi ownership, the Diablo’s jaw-dropping design was refined, and a top speed of 208mph meant the VT was never wanting for pace.
Lamborghini Murcielago LP670-4 SV
The Murcielago LP670-4 SV marked the last hurrah for the Bizzarrini V12 used in Lamborghinis since 1963, and quite a send-off it was. With more power, less weight and a set of stealthy matte black aero devices, the SV was a seriously hardcore version of the Murcielago, firing from 0-62mph in just 3.2 seconds.
Lamborghini Huracán Performante
When it was launched in 2014, the Lamborghini Huracán certainly provided the aural and visual drama we’re used to from the marque, but something was missing. That something was provided by the Performante version, which took the Huracán’s dynamics to new levels, and set off an impressive run of form with the subsequent EVO and STO models. A production-car lap record of 6:52 at the Nürburgring wasn’t half bad, either.
Q&A: Lamborghini’s future
Interview with Francesco Cresci, EMEA regional director, Lamborghini
We took time out from driving Lamborghini’s models to speak to Europe, Middle East and Africa boss Francesco Cresci about what the future holds for the Italian brand.
Q: Electrification is on the horizon for Lamborghini. The entire range will be electrified by 2024 and we’ve already seen mild-hybrid vehicles with the Sián and new Countach. Will these new models be plug-in hybrids or self-charging hybrids?
A: “At the moment, the project is not finalised. But I can tell you that they won’t be mild-hybrid, and we are going to use the addition of electric power to improve acceleration and to improve driving dynamics. With an electric motor, you can cover torque holes of the combustion engine, making it much more exciting.”
Q: With the Urus and Huracán, we see platform and engine sharing with the wider Volkswagen Group. Given the group’s investment and research into electrification, will you utilise the knowledge and platforms from Lamborghini’s sister firms for future electrified models?
A: “We’d be crazy not to take advantage of being part of one of the world’s largest automotive groups. We’ll definitely have many kinds of platforms and other elements that we can pick from them. We’ll take what we think fits our brand and DNA. This is also a competitive advantage compared with other automotive brands.”
Q: The combustion engine is the heart of a Lamborghini. A fully electric Lamborghini will lose an element that defines the car, so how will the brand separate itself from other electric performance cars? What will make the electric model a Lamborghini?
A: “It’s difficult to answer, the full-electric car is quite far away right now. The technology is evolving rapidly. At the moment, the investment from the automotive industry is incredible; what wasn’t possible five years ago is now feasible. So there’s much more to come in the next five to 10 years. Working out how to give an identity to our product, and making sure that it fits the company’s DNA, is an ongoing process. You can characterise an electric car, for sure, by making the emotion you get from it specific to our brand.”
Q: What about alternative fuels? Could this be an avenue for Lamborghini to continue with combustion engines?
A: “For sure, electrification is the current trend and direction of the industry, but we are also evaluating other options such as biofuels and synthetic fuels. These are options we are evaluating to keep the combustion engine alive, but at the same time keeping emissions at the correct level. We want to preserve this and make sure that when you buy a Lamborghini, you’re buying a car with the characteristics and DNA of a Lamborghini.”
Q: Will regulations limit the brand from producing small volume or one-off cars powered by combustion engines?
A: “Regulations are becoming tougher and tougher, and we need to make sure we comply with them. It’s difficult to say, because we need to make products that comply with regulations all around the world, and they vary quite a lot by country. When governments fix the rules, they will fix the rules for everybody, and I don’t believe they will give us special treatment. I hope they do, but I’m quite sure that they will not.”
Q: Track-only specials are a way of preserving the combustion engine, as we’ve seen with the Essenza SCV12, for example. Will these cars be more common in the electric future, when you can’t build ICE production cars?
A: “The answer to this is quite far away at the moment. The world is evolving, so it really depends on if, for example, synthetic fuels and biofuels can become a reality, because this will change the situation completely. Of course, if we commit to electric vehicles there will definitely be a niche for combustion-engined track-only cars.”
Q: The flagship Aventador uses a carbon- fibre structure, but the Huracán uses an aluminium chassis. Is it possible that the hybrid Huracán replacement will use a carbon-fibre structure to compensate for the weight penalty of electrification?
A: “This is definitely an option. In general, we have carbon fibre available because we produce it at the factory, so extensive use of carbon fibre will be a key element in reducing weight due to batteries and so on. Now, for which platforms we will use carbon fibre more extensively is difficult to say, because it depends on what kind of mission the product has. In some cases you don’t need the extra stiffness, in other cases you do. For example, we use it in the Aventador,
What’s favourite Lamborghini? Tell us about it in the comments section below…
A sound that’s described as “ear-deafening” is loud and unpleasant to hear. It causes people to clasp palms around their ears and block out all sound in an attempt to prevent injury. Certain engines in automobiles are capable of causing this typical reaction. Many car enthusiasts who value performance, the speed of cars above all else, actually like the sound of loud engines. They, too, are just as susceptible to hurting their ears if they listen to a screaming motor long enough. Yet their appreciation for an engine’s mechanics and what it’s capable of doing behind the love of engine roars.
Updated February 2022: Since this article was first published all the way back in 2018, many new ear-splitting engines have graced the streets. We’ve taken the time to update this list with more street-legal, ear-piercing engines that are on the market.
Even though an engine roar is going to get a polarized reception, one thing is for sure; these machines can damage the ears. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also known as the CDC, any noise that goes above 85 decibels for an extended amount of time could threaten one’s hearing. That never stopped automakers from making powerful cars that come with loud engines that turn heads and are legal to drive outside racetracks. These are some of the loudest road-legal vehicles to come off the production line that will have even the most diehard car enthusiasts clasping their ears.
Related: 10 Wildest Street-Legal Cars Japan Ever Produced
23 McLaren 720S Spider
The McLaren 720S Spider stands as the peak McLaren offers for anyone who has enough money to blow. It is also the loudest car in the convertible segment sitting at an ear-shredding 99 decibels. All that noise is generated from the 720S’ massive twin-turbocharged V8 engine.
The engine is beautifully tuned. Capable of 710 horsepower and a 0-60 in only 2.7 seconds, this McLaren is more than a loud motor. We would warn you about what purchasing such a loud car would mean for the neighbors. But, at a starting price over $300,000, the neighbors are either really far away or also have equally loud cars hiding in their garage!
22 Porsche 911 GT3 RS
The only really good look of the 911 GT3 RS you’re likely to get is from the rear. That’s because the 911 GT3 RS is fast, like really fast. Powered by a 4.0L flat-six capable of 500 horsepower, the GT3 RS is also screaming loud! A bone-chilling 108 decibels pours from this performance-inspired 911. Although it is loud, the 911 GT3 RS is worth all the praise. The handling is voted top-notch, and acceleration is snappy and inspired!
You can never go wrong with a Porsche 911; just be sure to bring some earplugs for your passenger; they may not appreciate the loud engine noises like yourself. Plus, sitting at almost $200,000, you’ll have an easier time finding a loud car that isn’t cool!
21 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
Before putting the Corvette through the mid-engine refresh, the ZR1 was crowned as one of the loudest street-legal machines available. The Corvette ZR1 hits an astounding 99 decibels from its supercharged V8 engine, which by the way, is good for 755 horsepower. The model year of 2019 shouldn’t scare anyone away. There is plenty of fun with the 7-speed manual transmission, and the iconic RWD launches the ZR1 to 60 in less than 3 seconds.
Just like many other cars on this list, the ZR1 isn’t cheap. New, this Corvette could top $150,000. Now that a few years passed, you can still pick one up for the same $150,000. Ah, the joys of loud, expensive cars.
20 Audi TT RS 3
Some of the nosiest cars on this list—including the Audi RS 3—give little indication on the outside of how fierce they really are. Take one for a spin, though, and it soon becomes apparent they’re mean machines that’ll wake up the whole neighborhood.
According to the Independent, the RS 3 can put out 98 dB with no remorse. That’s enough to hurt someone’s ears after a period of time. For many enthusiasts, it’s the blending of two perfect worlds—the luxury and class of an Audi with the noise and raw power out of an engine in a performance car.
19 Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera
Leave it to a Lamborghini to produce ear-deafening sounds. The Gallardo Superleggera comes with a 5.0-liter V10 engine that’ll knock the socks off anyone nearby, one going at full throttle.
As Autocar in their review notes, the sound is the first thing people notice about this car, which is primarily due to a reworked exhaust system. One contributing factor in the exhaust system is its lighter weight, freeing it up to roar that much louder. On top of power, owners get the iconic Lamborghini exterior that’s even recognizable outside of car enthusiast circles. This is a car that manages to hit all the right notes.
18 Koenigsegg Agera R
Supercars are natural fits when it comes to the loudest production automobiles out there. While there are technically only 25 of these made, as Petrolhead Arabia notes, they still make the cut as some of the loudest cars in existence. They can even back up the sound with astounding speed. The same source reports that they have 1140 hp, which will look like a typo to the uninformed.
It’s no wonder these engines erupt so loudly, considering the power they’re able to output. Not only is the Koenigsegg Agera R the real deal, but they have some of the loudest engines around.
Related: 5,000-HP Street-Legal Hurst Olds Is A Weird Full-Blown Weapon
17 Lotus Elise S2
When it comes to overlooked vehicles in the U.S., consumers continue to under-appreciate Lotus’ lineup. Perhaps a louder engine will speak to US sensibilities, calling back to the muscle car era.
The Lotus Elise S2 excels not only in power but garners a reputation for its precise handling too. In its review of the Elise S2, The Truth About Cars didn’t give the engine the highest of praise, though it’s sure to make a loud noise at full throttle. This is a car that many will consider finding some way of deadening the sound, concerned about their hearing over time.
16 Ford GT
Ford GTs are loud, robust machines, even right out of the factory. While they’re a favorite go-to among tuners, the stock versions alone have a reputation for their loud motors. Forbes even warns that GT drivers should be cautious about driving long distances, considering the sound that’s generated within the cabin.
Driving at highway speeds over long periods is a situation where the engine’s sound will take a toll on soft ears after a while. The last thing car enthusiasts want is for this to change, considering any decibel dampening could affect the car’s weight, which in turn impacts performance.
15 Ferrari F12
Ferrari not only makes cars fit for the racetrack, but one’s owner can take for a spin on roads without concern of law enforcement. While they still have to adhere to speed limits, these end up being one loud car to drive at full throttle.
According to Carscoops, the F12 is one of the loudest Ferraris to exist, which is saying a lot considering the high-performance vehicles are never quiet. That’s all thanks to the engine that can do an impressive 781 hp, making this also a fast car on the road. It’s a car that will disgruntle police on so many levels.
14 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe
The 2014 Jaguar F-Type V8 S has an engine that the whole neighborhood will hear. According to Classic Car Club Manhattan, while testing the F-Type’s engine and putting a mobile decibel meter app on, the reading steadily rested at 91 dB. With the phone sitting underneath the car behind the exhaust, it hit a maximum of 101 dB. That makes this one mean an ear-ringing machine.
Considering how loud the engine can get, this may not be the safest car around, but it’s technically legal. Even more, it’s going to make the car enthusiasts grin from ear to ear—they just might not be able to hear.
13 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
The Corvette Z06 offers beauty, performance, and a loud engine. Right off the production line, this car makes a lot of noise, and it’s all street legal. According to Edmunds, the Z06 reaches 72.1 dB when it’s going at fast as 70 mph. If that isn’t loud enough, though, only causing one’s ears a minor irritation, then taking a Z06 full throttle will reach as high as 94.8 dB.
That makes this one of the loudest cars on the list. Like all cars that reach decibels this high, it’s not the safest car to have, but it’s guaranteed to thrill.
12 Porsche Cayman GTS
Porsche fans have further reason to celebrate. Not only do these cars offers luxury and style, but a rip-roaring engine too. The team at Car and Driver took the Cayman GTS out for a spin on a racetrack and found that the 340 hp was able to sound a lot meaner than it initially led on.
According to that source, they speculated that with the sport-exhaust button on, the Cayman GTS could exceed 92 decibels, which is the loudest the racetrack allows. A road legal car that can push an engine to racetrack restrictions for noise is in high esteem.
Related: McLaren Planning Two New Street-Legal Senna Models
11 7-Liter Ford Galaxie
Not only does the Ford Galaxie have a classic design on the outside, but it’s a contender as one of the loudest cars ever. As Jalopnik reports, the 7-liter models even came with commemorative badges throughout the car. The engine didn’t just make noise either but could really tear down a street.
According to Automobile Catalog, they could go from 0 to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds. While it isn’t anything to phone home about exactly, the classic look on the outside will allay any misgivings. As long as owners aren’t expecting some excellent fuel economy, the 7-liter Ford Galaxie will please.
10 Lamborghini Aventador LP 730-4 SV
One expects a lot of speed and noise to come out of a Lamborghini—though most probably wouldn’t expect ear-deafening. The Lamborghini Aventador LP740-4 SV comes with a powerful V12 engine, which according to Petrolhead Arabia, delivers precisely what the name promises: 740 hp.
These V12 engines—aside from making Aventadors racing forces to contend with—also make noise that will make heads spin. Ears will also hurt as a result of one of these going full throttle, which will be unpleasant for most except for a car enthusiast sitting behind the wheel. These are some of the loudest and fastest cars you won’t see coming.
9 Mercedes-Benz SSK
This classic car isn’t just noteworthy for looks—it’s also got a rip-roaring engine that’ll make ears ring. According to Jalopnik, a 7-liter supercharged engine lies underneath the hood, which is responsible for all the noise that follows a Mercedes-Benz SSK wherever it goes.
These cars may be old, yet no one should underestimate their performance for it. Those who look closely will recognize its familiar styling that resembles a piece in the popular Monopoly board game. They traditionally come with a spare tire or two on the back also, should a blowout ever occur while the engine screams along.
8 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is more than a mouthful of a name for a car—it’s a car that achieves beauty in both looks and performance. There’s little concern about the Giulia Quadrifoglio pleasing drivers from the expectation its exterior sets.
Although it doesn’t quite reach the CDC’s 85-decibel warning limit, it does manage to get loud enough to raise alarm. When the engine gets going, it sounds loud and can take a toll on one’s hearing too.
7 BMW E92 M3
When certain cars get modified, the exhaust system’s sound goes beyond comprehension. According to BMW Car Tuning, a BMW E92 M3 is capable of going as high as 120 dB with an upgraded exhaust system. Off the production line though, this car is already a competent noise-maker.
For many drivers, the sound is just an afterthought. Many tuners and enthusiasts, on the other hand, value sound as much as speed, if not more so. Few cars offer as much ear-blasting sound as the BMW E92 M3 right out of the gate, surprising many who find it hard to accept it’s road legal.
6 Porsche Carrera GT
Car buyers are long familiar with Porsches for their excellence in performance and luxury. It’s no wonder the Carrera GT manages to fulfill both these criteria. Even more, it has an attention-seeking engine.
Jalopnik once speculated on whether it was the loudest road car in existence, putting this in the exact opposite category of something like an Audi A8 or Tesla Model S. Those cars are so quiet, they’re worthy for spies. The Carrera GT is a different story entirely, with an exhaust right out of the factory many will find it hard to believe is completely legal. One thing’s for sure – it’s going to attract attention.
5 Lexus LC 500
The Lexus LC 500 is a sportier car that packs a wallop in its V8 engine. Car and Driver reports that not only does it have a powerful engine and nice handling, but it makes a ruckus when driven at full throttle. They confirm that it can hit up to 88 dB through its V8 engine, which exceeds the CDC’s limit they warn of if exposed to that sound for a long period.
The styling also has something to offer, looking more like a supercar than it does a sedan. This is a noisy car that’s covered with a state-of-the-art exterior.
4 Porsche 911 Carrera S
The Porsche 911 Carrera S is a masterclass sports car that not only shines in looks but in pure generated noise from its engine. Equipped with what Edmunds confirms is an engine that can do 394 hp, this car has a lot to offer in speed. Even more, the performance gets backed up by a roaring sound that the same source notes that it goes as high as 94.2 dB.
That frequency is possible with the sport exhaust feature activated, which is the equivalent of letting an opera singer belt a solo unrestricted. This is not only a car enthusiast’s dream, but a powerhouse motor that can yell.
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About The Author
David Schmidt (250 Articles Published)
News Editor and small business owner, David has been writing for HotCars since 2018 and can remember sitting on his father’s lap in the driver’s seat of his family’s Ford Maverick thinking he was the one steering into the driveway.
David’s real love for cars began in high school while working on various projects at his friend’s house, including on one occasion banging out the dent in a fender he had made to his parent’s Altima. His tastes have changed over the years from loving ‘90s JDMs to appreciating a reliable SUV for his family. Today, he almost gets as much of a thrill haggling over the price of a car at a dealership as he does driving a sports car.
Aside from keeping up and reporting on the latest news in the auto world, David loves to fish, watch movies, and spend time with family and friends where he currently resides in Southern California.
More and more cars are starting to look the same, even sports cars, it’s almost as if designers have run out of inspiration and instead of creating new styling languages, they’re just copying each other. Way back when, this didn’t use to be a problem; everyone stretched their creative legs and was exploring uncharted waters… we really wish some of those designs would make a comeback.
So we thought back at all the wackiest and absurd cars we have ever seen, and thus compiled a list of strange cars produced by major bar brands like BMW and Lamborghini. We truly do respect all car manufacturers for being so brave at creating some of these, and we know they wouldn’t have been here with us today if they hadn’t created all of these unique models.
10 1990-1995 Toyota Sera
Many automakers have attempted implementing some sort of vertical-opening door mechanism, but very few succeed as it usually only fits flamboyant supercars like Lamborghinis, but there’s one brand that managed to defy the odds and succeeded; that of course was Toyota. In the ’90s Toyota had a sumptuous line-up of sports cars ranging from the energetic little MR2 to the well-known Supra, but they also made one fantastic tiny winged car, and it was called the Sera.
It had a bubble roof made entirely out of glass, a teeny body, butterfly doors, and a puny 1.5-liter 100 hp four-banger which was more than sufficient enough to slap a smile on your face. There is one downside though, they never sold any Sera models in the US…
Related: Here’s What Makes The Toyota Sera A Bizarre Gem Of A Sports Coupe
9 2011-2013 Aston Martin Cygnet
What do you get when you cross an Aston Martin with a Toyota iQ? A posh British mini-fridge that costs almost $50,000, that’s what you get. Hold your horses, there’s a very good reason as to why Aston created this crumpled-up DB9, and why it came with a 1.3-liter four-cylinder motor that couldn’t even produce 100 hp.
Once emission taxes started rising at an exponential rate, Aston had to make a change to the model line-up with more eco-friendly cars, otherwise, they’d have to cut their costs somewhere else. So, in a dire attempt to avoid being taxed to bankruptcy for their gas-guzzling V12 supercars, they rebadged a Toyota iQ and called it their own. In a sense, Aston Martin actually saved themselves, and the Cygnet is the reason for the new DB11 and Vantage’s existence.
Related: Looking Back At The Aston Martin Cygnet: The Car That Bond Disapproves Of
8 1956-1962 BMW Isetta
Talking about small cars that saved a whole car brand, the Isetta has the most interesting story behind it. In the 1950s, BMW was losing money on every single vehicle they were selling, and might soon have faced bankruptcy; worst of all, no other than Daimler-Benz (known as Mercedes-Benz today) wanted to buy the Bavarian motor company if they had failed.
Ironically, the Isetta wasn’t even made in Germany, but rather manufactured in Brittian, and because it was such an inexpensive, versatile little car, everyone wanted their hands on one. When you got behind the wheel of the bubble car it truly feels like your driving a paralympic horse since its one-cylinder engine only made around 10 hp and could reach 60 mph from a standstill in half a minute. BMW certainly has come a far way from making microscopic three-wheeled cars to colossal muscular sports cars.
7 1999-2006 Honda Insight
In a nutshell, the Honda Insight was the Toyota Prius before the Prius actually existed – let us explain. In 1999, half a year before Toyota set their first-generation Prius on sale in the U.S, Honda made its Insight available to the public, and this was actually the first hybrid car to be sold in The States.
Obviously, as all futuristic and daring cars did at the time, Honda designed their hybrid with two things in mind: Aerodynamics and fuel efficiency; and that’s mainly the reason behind its tortoise-shell design. Thanks to the Insight’s three-cylinder 1.0-liter engine and electric motor coalition, a net total of 100 hp was produced, and it averaged 53 MPG of city- and highway driving.
Related: Why The First-Generation Honda Insight Is Still A Great Car In 2022
6 1986-1993 Lamborghini LM002
Many motorists were baffled at seeing the Lamborghini Urus making it to production, they surely saw a Lambo SUV as a sin, but the Urus was in fact not their first SUV, not by a long shot. The first Lamborghini-built SUV was nicknamed the Rambo Lambo, and at first glance, you would have never guessed it existed in the same years as which the catty Countach was on the market.
See, the new Urus is a sporty SUV made to accommodate your daily activities such as picking up your kids, going to the gym, and whatever else it is housewives do, but the LM002 was a full-blown off-roader which happened to be built by the Italian supercar manufacturer, Lamborghini.
Related: Lamborghini LM002: Here’s Why Lamborghini’s First SUV Was Ridiculous
5 2009-2014 Nissan Cube
Have you ever seen a car that’s just so ugly and odd-looking that you just need to have one – if not, you definitely have now. The Nissan Cube was exactly what its name implied, a little box on wheels, and over 20 years three different generations were manufactured.
It wasn’t fast, nor was it sharp around corners, but you can’t deny the Cube has a certain zest to it that very few other quirky cars manage to encapsulate. On a complete sidenote, for some reason, our OCD-meter didn’t go haywire after seeing its asymmetrical rear window which curves around the corner on one side and flows straight into a panel on the other.
4 1989-1991 Alfa Romeo SZ
The Alfa Romeo Sports Zagato, or SZ for short, was one of Alfa Romeo’s most controversial limited-edition sports cars yet and took less than 2 years to go from a mere idea to a proper production car – many blame its unconventional design for that exact reason.
Despite its toy car-like design, when it came down to the driving experience, this Alfa was everything but mediocre. Of course, it had the iconic 207 bhp Busso V6 engine strapped onto its body, and to emphasize its tenacity was a 5-speed manual gearbox and fully adjustable hydraulic dampers built by Koni.
Related: Alfa Romeo SZ Review: The Newly Legal Anti-Supercar For The Automotive Connoisseur
3 2013-2016 Volkswagen XL1
Yes, that’s right, Volkswagen actually made a supercar about a decade ago; and it didn’t make use of any extravagant Audi-, Lamborghini-, or Porsche-derived engine, it actually had a run-of-the-mill turbo-diesel two-cylinder engine, just like a VW Golf.
So, to answer your next question, no it wasn’t powerful, its microscopic TDI was coupled up with an electric motor to produce a combined horsepower figure of 74. However, performance was never the XL1’s forte, it rather chose to focus on being the coolest most fuel-efficient hybrid supercar to exist, and with a combined real-world MPG rating of 240, we definitely have to give it credit for achieving what seemed to be the impossible.
2 2012-2017 Nissan Juke R
We know the Nissan Juke isn’t the most beloved sub-compact SUV the world has ever seen, but maybe we can change the way you feel about it when you see what Nissan morphed the Juke into as a parting gift. At first, the Juke R used to be just a prototype car made to show off what Nissan’s engineering team can do, but once they actually put the GT-R-swapped Juke into production, all eyes were on them, and everyone wanted one.
You heard us, they took a twin-turbo V6 straight from the R35 GT-R, put it into the Juke’s tiny bonnet after tuning it a bit, added all-wheel-drive into the equation, and asked $600,000 for one. Unsurprisingly, very few were ever made and sold to the public, but those who were lucky enough to get their hands on one of these 600 hp Jukes can go to bed at night knowing their little monster can outrun most supercars on the dragstrip.
1 1989-1991 BMW Z1
Nope, this wasn’t a fan-made Beemer, nor was it a concept model, it was a living, breathing production car sold to the public, and it’s the weirdest sports car the Bavarians have ever made.
It had a sharp front end with its headlights integrated into with a teeny kidney grille mustache, a convertible roof, and most importantly, it had doors that could slip back into its body instead of swinging or flying open like virtually every other car. It definitely caught everyone’s attention who was passing by, and if you wanted to break even more necks you could cruise down motorways in your topless BMW sports cars with the doors tucked away.
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About The Author
Marnus Moolman (78 Articles Published)
Marnus Moolman is a young aspiring automotive writer from South Africa who is making a name for himself, despite his young age. His passion for cars is translated into the real world through his extensive automotive detailing and is soon to open his own workshop.
British engineering group RML has revealed new photos of the Short Wheelbase, a sports car based on a mid-1990s Ferrari 550 – but with styling paying homage to the iconic Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta SWB.
UK engineering firm RML Group has unveiled a pre-production prototype of the Short Wheelbase, a new sports car paying homage to the Ferrari 250 GT SWB of the 1960s.
While the RML Short Wheelbase (SWB) has been styled to look like a Ferrari 250 GT – with similar proportions and design features – it borrows its chassis from a late 1990s Ferrari 550 Maranello, and its 5.5-litre V12.
The $2.5 million RML SWB might look like a 1960s car – and borrow its engine from a 1990s one – but its body is made from modern carbon-fibre, and it gains mod-cons from an infotainment touchscreen to electric seats.
The company that developed it, RML, has worked on engineering projects from developing a road-legal version of the Aston Martin Vulcan track car in 2017, to collaborating with Nissan on the Juke-R concept, which installed the heart of a GT-R supercar into a Juke city SUV.
Under the bonnet of the RML Short Wheelbase lies a 5.5-litre naturally-aspirated V12 engine from the 550 Maranello, tuned to produce 357kW and 567Nm. It’s connected to a six-speed manual transmission that sends power to the rear wheels via a limited-slip differential.
Though not yet confirmed, the company believes the car will be capable of a top speed of 290km/h, and acceleration from 0-60mph (0-97km/h) in 4.1 seconds.
The vehicle has been equipped with new inlet, cooling, oil, and exhaust systems to “full use of the car’s performance”, the company says, while the acousticshave been specially engineered to sound as authentic as possible.
“The target was to emulate the exhaust note of a classic V12 road-racer,” said powertrain design engineer Adnam Rahman. “We started by making recordings of the donor car’s Ferrari V12 from inside and outside the car at various speeds and loads, from idle to full-throttle acceleration.
“The engine was also put on a dynamometer, and data from both tests was built into a computer-simulated model that could be adapted to suit the new noise requirements of the Short Wheelbase.”
The car’s cabin has traded plastics for either machined aluminium, glass or leather, and has been reworked to accommodate drivers up to 198 centimetres tall.
It also scores modern elements including electric front seats, cupholders, air conditioning and an enhanced infotainment system with satellite navigation and smartphone connectivity.
Production of the RML Short Wheelbase will be limited to approximately 30 examples, with an expected completion time of six months. Pricing starts at approximately $AU2.5 million.
Emma has been on our television screens for over a decade. Most of her time in the industry has been spent at racetracks reporting at major motorsport events in Australia – from TCR and Superbikes to Porsche Sprint Challenge and Supercars. Emma has also hosted various MotoGP and F1 events interviewing the likes of Daniel Ricciardo and Jack Miller. Having previously presented on an automotive show, she made her move to the Drive family in 2020.
Fiercely proud of her Italian heritage, Emma is a coffee loving, stylish-black wearing resident of Melbourne.
Driving columnist David Booth had his share of high-performance machinery this year, but here’s what he’s eyeing for next
Dec 24, 2021 • December 29, 2021 • 6 minute read • Join the conversation
What a year for a supercar-loving spoiled brat. Driving the new Ferrari SF 90 Stradale and Pagani’s Huayra Roadster BC on serpentine Italian switchbacks and roaring Lamborghini’s truly outrageous Essenza SCV12 around the Las Vegas Speedway was just the icing on 2021’s cake. It was almost as good as hooning up and down the Stelvio pass on Ducati’s uber Multistrada, the V4S.
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Now, as always, is the time to look forward to the future burning of rubber and grinding of footpeg. And if the prognostications for 2022 are even half-right, maybe it will take my mind off the bummer that is omicron. Even at its most virulent, COVID-19 can’t catch me at 240 kilometres an hour!
Thankful for the year past, hopeful for the year to come, here are the cars I’m most looking forward to flogging starting New Year’s Day.
2024 Aston Martin Vanquish
A mid-engined Aston Martin — well, that’ll be a first for me. Ditto for the twin-turbocharged V6. Good for 700-plus-horsepower and Lord knows how many torques, I hope this one turns out to a racetrack test. Not quite as outrageously styled as the over-the-top Valhalla, the new Vanquish is still slinky as all Hell, and my vote for prettiest new mid-engined supercar.
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Totally modern in silhouette, but totally retro in its graceful curves and noticeable absence of silly scoops — save those ginormous rear intakes servicing the engine and rear brakes — in its red livery, it looks totally Italian. I might not get to this one until early 2023, but, if it goes as good as it looks, we’ll be in for a treat.
The I-don’t-know-when Nissan GT-R
I love Nissan’s GT-R. Totally love it. Oh, sure, it’s absolutely ancient and there are more than a few, uh, let’s call them “foibles” — like a front differential that garrunches like some 1960s four-wheel-drive Ford pick-me-up with rocks in its transfer case — but it’s fun personified.
Besides a motor that won’t quit, it boasts the ultimate in point-and-squirt cornering. Get it in a fast sweeper and all that up-front weight will see the pointy end plowing like a Ski-Doo with one ski missing. But there’s no car on the planet better at rushing up to a tight hairpin heavy on the brakes (to load up the front tires to quicken turn-in) and then firing off the apex with massive twin-turbo mid-range. I don’t care if they make the styling all modern or blunt some of its drama with some wonky form of electrification. As long as it continues to handle like a 600-cc superbike on steroids, I’ll be a fan.
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2023 Ferrari Purosangue
I know I’m probably betraying some kind of long-forgotten oath, but I really wanna drive Ferrari’s Purosangue. Yes, I know it’s a sacrilege. To be sure, Enzo turning in his grave. Hell, he’s probably doing back-flips. Nonetheless, I want to see if Ferrari can raise the super-SUV stakes even further.
Porsche’s Cayenne set the first standard. Then Lamborghini’s Urus raised the bar. What can the Prancing Horse do? Does a naturally-aspirated Ferrari V12 trump an Audi-sourced twin-turbo V8? Is there some Maranello magic that will make a sport-brute as fleet as, well, a supercar? And most importantly, because Ferrari’s are almost always comely, will the Purosangue — which, directly translated, means “thoroughbred” — be the beauty that finally makes us all forget that all these super-sport-utes are all really just Chevy Blazers with fender flares? I can’t wait to find out.
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2022 Porsche 718 GT4 RS
I’m not sure if Porsche’s 718 GT4 RS qualifies as a serious supercar, but I sure do know I want to drive one. Basically 493 horses of 992 GT3 4.0L flat-six strapped into the shorter, smaller, and lighter 718, the GT4 promises performance, like all the best classic Porsches, from light weight.
In this case, its 1,415 kilograms should result is just 2.83 kilos of avoirdupois for every high-revving horsepower. Porsche says it will lap the Nordschleife just four seconds shy of the magic seven-minute mark. I’m pretty sure I’ll never get around any racetrack witch such alacrity, but I sure wanna give it a try.
I think I’m scared of this one. The one fully electric vehicle in this roundup, the Battista boasts no less than 1,877 horsepower channeled to four electric motors, and is claimed to accelerate to 100 kilometres an hour in under two seconds. Porsche’s Turbo S version of the Taycan kind of sends my stomach for a loop off the line, and it’s got less than half the Pinin’s horses.
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Built in cooperation with Rimac — which is becoming quite the expert in this electric supercar business — the Battista boast 120 kWh of lithium-ion. Some 116 of those kilowatt-hour things are supposedly useful, so there could be as much as 500 kilometres of range, though probably not at the speeds I’m likely to be driving. My friend Laurance, who’s part of the network that will distribute the Pininfarina here in Canada, has promised me a ride. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 (which I probably won’t get to drive)
If you love supercars, you know who Gordon Murray is. If you don’t, you should. Besides being an innovative engineer of Brabham and McLaren Formula 1 fame, he’s the man responsible for the McLaren F1, for many the greatest supercar ever built. At the very least, it was the most advanced four-wheeler on the planet when it was introduced in 1992.
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Powered by a Cosworth-brewed 3.9-litre V12 with nary a turbocharger in sight, the all-new T.50 is equally thrilling, that 654-hp V12 is rumoured to rev to 12,100 rpm, which, I am pretty sure, is some sort of record for a production car.
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More impressive is that the whole car — not just that screaming V12 — weighs but 980 kilograms. To put that into perspective, that’s some 1,000 pounds less than Porsche’s pretty super — at least super enough to make it onto this list — GT4 RS, which boasts but half the number of pistons pistons.
And, oh, its piece de resistance is a fan that “sucks” the air from beneath the floor pan, like the one Murray built into his infamous Brabham BT46B F1 race car (and which was subsequently banned from Formula One after it won its first and only race). Only 100 of the high-tech wonders are to be made with a price tag that will almost assuredly drift north of four-million Canbucks, so I’m pretty sure I’m going to miss out on this one.
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2022 Aston Martin AMB-001
The first vehicle — two-wheeled or four- — to ever appear on one of my top-supercars-and-superbikes-to-drive-next-year roundups, I was supposed to ride the AMB-001 this past fall. Unfortunately, the coronavirus is nothing if not putting a temporary hold on your dreams.
But gratification delayed is not gratification denied, and, if I take the good folks from Gaydon at their word, I should be riding the turbocharged V-twin in early spring in the south of France. A racetrack introduction seems a little crass, however, for something that can trace its lineage all the way back to Lawrence of Arabia — T.E. Lawrence, the Lawrence of so much fame, was a huge fan of the Brough Superior that the AMB is based on, so much so that he died on his seventh one — but Broughs have always been known for their turn of speed. Or as the man himself said, “A skittish motorbike with a touch of blood in it is better than all the riding animals on earth.” With 180 horsepower from its turbocharged 997-cc 88-degree V-twin, I suspect this most modern is quite skittish indeed.
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2022 Ducati Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak Edition
By the time you read this, I will have already tested the latest edition of Ducati’s Panigale-powered Multistrada. That doesn’t mean I am anticipating it any less. This past summer’s test of the regular V4S whet my appetite for this even-sportier version of the Duke super adventure bike.
Its compact 1,158-cc V4 boasts 170 superbike-humbling horsepower, the electronic suspension is beyond sophisticated and, Lordy, don’t the Italian know how to do pretty. My only complaint with the original is that the tall 19-inch front wheel — and its resultant gyroscopic procession — slowed the steering into hairpins.
The Pikes Peak Edition’s main attraction — besides a fruity Akrapovic pipe — is a superbike-like 17-inch rim. Consider corners carved. I can’t wait to put it through its paces.
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Due to reveal the new vehicle in March, Maserati will be aiming to compete with premium brands such as Porsche and Audi, with their new compact SUV.
While the MC20 supercar may attract attention, Maserati and parent company, Stellantis, hope its forthcoming Grecale SUV will attract buyers. But, we’ll have to wait until March 22 when the Modena, Italy-based automaker discloses the details on its newest model. A teaser announcement from the company shows a somewhat camouflaged SUV with the message, “I’m the Maserati Grecale. I can’t tell you much more.” The brand has been generous in supplying partially revealing exterior images of the compact SUV, but exact mechanical specs, interior details, and pricing remain under wraps. Maserati’s tongue-in-cheek press kit looks more like a redacted Pentagon report than a media advisory.
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Where Does Grecale Fit In The Maserati Lineup?
The Grecale serves two purposes for Maserati. First, it will be the company’s second SUV that slots below the best-selling Levante. And, the Grecale will be the brand’s entry-level model. The Ghibli sedan starts at $78,000 and the Levante begins at $81,200. Industry rumors have suggested a sub-$50,000 price for the Grecale, but that might be optimistic as the Porsche Macan starts at $54,900. Regardless of MSRP, the newest Maserati will become the automaker’s volume model.
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Maserati Is Targeting Porsche And Others
Speaking of the Macan, Maserati had the smallest Porsche SUV in its sights when developing the Grecale. The Levante helped to put the trident badge in more garages, and the company has set its hopes on even more success with the lower-priced Grecale. Other premium compact crossovers like the Audi Q5, BMW X3/X4, and Mercedes-Benz GLC will likely be cross-shopped against the Grecale. In addition, the Stelvio and Tonale SUVs from corporate cousin Alfa Romeo will compete for the same space.
What’s Under The Grecale’s Hood?
We’ll have to wait until the official launch for exact details, but the Grecale is being built at the same factory that produces the Stelvio. It’s a safe bet that the car will have some form of the Stellantis turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine that’s in the Alfa. In base Stelvio form, the engine produces 280 horsepower and 306 lb-ft of torque.
Speculation includes a hybrid Grecale setup that might be standard or part of an upgraded trim. Officially launched last week, the Alfa Romeo Tonale includes plug-in hybrid technology that’s part of the base model. Reportedly, a more powerful Grecale Trofeo is in the works.
Sources: Maserati, Alfa Romeo
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About The Author
Dave Goldberg (285 Articles Published)
Dave Goldberg is a lifelong auto enthusiast and holds a BA in Journalism from The George Washington University. While he leans towards European wheels for his personal driving, Dave gets excited about everything from Acura to Zagato.
It’s near impossible to argue that any car put out by Ferrari in recent times isn’t great, yet the Ferrari 812 Superfast may be the single best car the company ever produced. Debuting in 2017, the 812 recently ended its run, though plenty of models are still there. Granted, it comes with a huge price tag, but those who own an 812 will agree it’s worth every penny.
From its insane powertrain to its looks, there are so many reasons why the 812 shines, but it’s the features that reveal themselves upon closer inspection that truly set the car apart. The 812 comes in several variants such as the Competizione and the fun open-air option while the 812 also boasts one of the best interiors of any supercar.
Overall, the 812 offers a fantastic package that showcases Ferrari at its finest, and in this list, we give our reasons as to why we think it’s the best Ferrari on the road and one of the company’s most genius efforts.
11 The Controls Are Unconventional But Fun
Slide into the 812, and one look at the dashboard shows it’s not the typical Ferrari. There’s the company’s famous logo on the steering wheel and the typical gauges, but the controls are something else. Instead of the standard steering wheel “stalks,” there are push-button controls for lights, windshield wipers, and turn signals.
It’s a break from the standard Ferrari layout with an unconventional control system that makes the 812 more unique.
10 The Interior Is Far Better Than Most Supercars
The 812 is regarded as one of the most beautiful Ferraris ever built. Thankfully, the interior is just as terrific. Unlike other supercars, the cabin is lush and more than enough room for the two passengers to enjoy.
True, the cargo space is one knock against the 812, far too small for longer rides or carrying items. Yet that barely seems to matter with the plush seating, great ergonomics, and feeling like a luxury car rather than a high-speed one. The 812 is as great to ride in as drive for a fun ride.
9 The Weight Distribution Is Nearly Perfect
Finding the right balance is critical for a car boasting such power as the 812. Thankfully, it not only succeeds but exceeds expectations. It utilizes a highly evolved transaxle configuration in which the car’s front-mounted engine is coupled with a rear-mounted transmission.
This maintains a distribution of 47% in the front and 53% in the rear. That’s much better than most regular Ferraris, let alone a supercar like this (even if the likes of the Alfa Romeo Alfetta are also great). Thanks to that balanced weight, the 812 never feels out of control on the road and is one of the smoother Ferraris around.
Related: These Are The Best Ferraris Ever
8 Unique Front-Engine Design
The design of the 812 can be a bit daunting with a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive which sometimes can falter. But it works as the front wheels have openings to reduce the swelling and allow for better traction.
This combines with the placement of the engine as the balance allows the 812 to work better than a Ferrari with a different placement. A supercar with such engine placement could be challenging, but that makes the 812 a standout among Ferraris.
6 The Handling Is A Gem For Any Ferrari
Ferrari fans can debate how easily a model should run. Some prefer it low-key and easy to handle, while others enjoy having to fight for control a bit. The 812 sends power to all four wheels, allowing for a nice balance and a light touch on the wheel.
Thanks to the EPS system, the handling is brisk, allowing just a little effort to set off yet not too fast to lose control. It takes the corners expertly and allows smooth transitions between gears. The 812 is one of the best handling Ferraris to match its performance.
Related: Everything You Need To Know About The Rise Of Ferrari
5 The EPS Is Groundbreaking For Supercars
The 812 is the first Ferrari to boast an Electric Power Steering system and the only question is what took so long. Using an electric motor to activate sensors to tell when the right adjustments are needed, the 812 feels like a much smoother and wonderful ride.
It’s handy not to have to keep a constant eye on the gauges to tell when the right amount of torque is needed or shift gears readily. This system helps the 812 tackle the road better than any Ferrari before it and setting a bar other Ferraris (not to mention other supercars) can follow.
4 The Styling Is Gorgeous Even For Ferrari
One would expect Ferrari to provide a beautiful-looking car. But even by their standards, the 812 is one of the most stunning models ever seen. While based on the F12 Berlinetta, the 812 has its own unique sculpting, a fresh aerodynamic style that lets the car go even faster than its already insane horsepower.
The touches include quad circular taillights, full LED headlamps, the built-in air filter on the hood, and a body-colored rear diffuser. There’s also how some models have a special open-air option to look even better. It looks like a racing machine, but that Ferrari touch no company can replicate and ensures that even among a fleet of Ferraris, the 812 is one of a kind.
Related: The Cheapest Way To Own A Ferrari
3 The Mid-Engineered Powertrain Is Insane For Any Supercar
In many ways, the 812’s engine is following the leniage of such great models as the 599 and 2002 Enzo. It’s seriously one of the best V12 engines ever put into any car, an incredible 6.5-liter beast producing 789 hp at 8,500 rpm and 529 lb-ft of torque at 7,000 rpm.
This means zero to 60 in 2.8 seconds and a top speed close to 210 mph. This was the most powerful Ferrari in 2017 and five years later, still retains its status as one of the best the company has ever put out as a genius piece of engineering.
2 Competizione Is Unique For Ferrari
Ferrari’s “Competizione” makes an already Superfast car something else altogether. It beefs up the engine with an 8-12 option that makes 819 hp at 9,250 rpm. There are two of them, a regular version and a Competizione A (as in “Aperta”) and each is a stunning beauty.
It comes in a variety of colors, customized for each owner, and the overall performance makes it an incredible ride. Just 999 of the regular Competizione were made and 599 of the A-variation and while a steep price tag, this variation of the Competizione truly leaves the competition in the dust.
1 It’s The End Of An Era
The 812 isn’t just a stunning and fantastic sports car. It’s also likely the last nonhybrid V12 Ferrari. The company is moving more into hybrid and electric machines with the V12, which is a good thing for those liking an improvement in some top rides.
Yet some may prefer a powertrain without a fancy battery pack or electric motor, just pure raw power. Some of these newer Ferraris may feel smoother but not as fun as the 812 is a farewell to a style of production slowly fading away, but Ferrari always made feel wonderful.
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About The Author
Michael Weyer (215 Articles Published)
Long-time writer online on sports, celebs, entertainment, etc. Enjoy cars in movies and various TV shows (reality and fiction) and enjoying learning more about them even as I share that with others.
When you think about abandoned cars, you wouldn’t assume supercars would be among them. But some owners let their priceless vehicles go to waste. One such car was a Lamborghini Miura S that Greek billionaire Aristotle Onassis purchased for a friend — a singer known as the Greek Elvis.
So, what’s the story behind the abandoned Miura S? Where is it now? And who in the world is the Greek Elvis?
A priceless car for the Greek Elvis
Aristotle Onassis stepped into the spotlight when he married President John F. Kennedy’s widow, Jacqueline. In the 1970s, the famous billionaire financed the construction of 5th Avenue’s Olympic Tower and enjoyed the finest Greek music of the time.
One of his favorite singers was Stamatis Kokotas, considered the Greek Elvis. Onassis admired his work so much he bought Kokotas a 1969 Lamborghini Miura S.
However, the singer left the exotic car to rot in a Hilton hotel garage in Athens for nearly 30 years, Jalopnik reports.
A notoriously hairy man, Kokotas fancied himself a racecar driver. He often pushed his vehicles to their limits. In addition to racing his brown 1969 Lamborghini Miura S, he also sped around in a 2002 BMW.
In many car enthusiasts’ eyes, the Miura S was ruined from day one when a custom steering wheel and four yellow fog lamps were added. From what is known of the car’s history, the engine failed in 1972 after 52,118 miles.
While the engine was out for repairs, Kokotas left the car in the hotel garage.
What happened to the Greek Elvis’ Lamborghini Miura S?
Kokotas lost interest in the car and failed to pay Lamborghini for the repaired engine. So the Miura S sat in that garage for 30 years.
Finally, in 2003, the Miura S’s wheels began turning again, thanks to the Olympic Games. When the hotel underwent renovations to prepare for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, the Lambo was moved to a storage facility. It ended up next to a red Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing that was also in a state of disrepair. That’s how the Miura S found its way to auction.
In 2012, the abandoned Miura S went up for auction with a new engine. According to Interesting Engineering, the winning bid was $483,210, failing to meet the reserve.
That wasn’t the only abandoned Lamborghini Miura S
Stamatis Kokotas’ Lamborghini Miura S isn’t the only one to be abandoned, so to speak. It’s also not the only one owned by a music celebrity.
Eddie Van Halen owned a 1970 Lamborghini Miura S that he drove daily in Beverly Hills. The supercar even contributed its exhaust note to the Van Halen hit “Panama.”
Van Halen’s first wife, actor Valerie Bertinelli, gave him the car as a wedding gift, and it had the couple’s anniversary, “APR 11,” on its license plates. The rocker often drove the car while listening to his music and jotting down new song ideas.
A few years before his death, Van Halen sold his Miura S to John Temerian, the owner of the Miami vintage exotics dealership Curated. Temerian discovered the Lambo had a rare deviation from the factory: Its body was wider than other Miura S models. He also learned that the widened bodywork had been completed by hand.
In 2019, Temerian sent the Miura S back to the Lamborghini factory in Italy. Its paint color wasn’t original, so he planned to have it restored to the original Verde finish. The original widened wheels, which weren’t on the car when Temerian bought it, would also be restored. Once the restoration is complete, which could take years, Temerian will likely put the ultra-rare vehicle up for sale.
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