This past weekend, the Car Gods smiled upon a small valley in Central California, bringing with them hundreds, if not thousands, of cars worth more than the GDP of a good number of countries. This was the sort of weekend where we really didn’t flinch when we heard about a Ferrari 275 NART Spider from the 1960s selling for $25 million at auction. Really. Pebble Beach weekend isn’t reality for most of us; it’s absurdity. It’s surreal. It’s Disney Land for car people, only better.
When you have a huge amount of the world’s wealth gathered in one small area for a week’s worth of car shows and racing festivities, from early 1900s racers to the most modern, sophisticated machines, you want to make a good impression. And if you want to make a quick sale, you have the full attention of the sorts of clients who can actually afford to buy what you’re selling. Some luxury automakers record up to 20 or 30 percent of their sales during the Pebble Beach weekend.
Bugatti had a special edition Veyron on-hand for a private party this past weekend. Its retail price was $2.7 million; the car was not for sale at the event, however. Still, two guests wanted to have the first one–the one on display. They got into a bidding war, and the Bugatti relented when the company found it was going to pocket upwards of $3.5 million on the transaction. The car that wasn’t for sale was sold.
So without further ado, here are the new cars that automakers showed off during the events that surrounded the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Acura is among the automakers that are trying to pull themselves out of the “premium” segment and into the luxury market. The brand brought a concept version of its 2015 Acura NSX to Pebble’s concept lawn. Powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 and an electric motor, the mid-engine, all-wheel-drive supercar is said to have well north of 400 horsepower. While no mere mortal outside Honda has yet been able to drive one, the car recently took some hot laps around Mid-Ohio Raceway ahead of the Indy 200 race held there.
Aston Martin celebrated its 100 birthday in style this year with its CC100 Speedster concept, a throwback to the Stirling Moss era of racing cars with an open top and minimal protection from the elements. But hey, it sure looks cool! Other models on-hand were the U.S. debut of the Vanquish Volante and the DB9 Zagato, another tribute to older models with a 1970s style and some Italian tweaking. While we enjoy looking at Aston Martins, we can hardly tell any of its models apart. We hope they continue to evolve instead of just looking like rehashes of the past.
Bentley unveiled a version of its 2013 Mulsanne full-size sedan commemorating its victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race. The Le Mans edition commemorates both the 90th anniversary of the storied race as well as the 10th anniversary since it last took the overall win at the race. Painted British Racing Green, the car looks the part next to a 4.5-liter “Blower Bentley” sports car from the 1930s. Much as is the case with other Mulsannes, if you have to ask you probably can’t afford it. Expect somewhere around $300,000.
BMW had three cars on-hand that satiated the car-enthusiast masses. The first was its full-size, V-12-powered Gran Lusso coupe, designed by Pininfarina, that shows just what BMW could make if it wanted to build a follow-up to the BMW 8 Series coupe of the 1990s. Basically a 7 Series coupe, this one-off is about as intimidating a car as we’ve seen from BMW in a while. Not to be outshone, the BMW 428i made its North American debut, and a hotted-up version debuted at a private party. Called the BMW Concept M4, the car is a thinly veiled version of the upcoming sports car to come from the company, expected to pack about 420 horsepower and weigh several hundred pounds less than the current M3 coupe.
This weekend was a celebration of Corvettes at the Monterey Motorsports Reunion, and Chevrolet brought out every significant Corvette it could find for the party. At Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was a display of Corvettes alongside their racing counterparts. In the middle was the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette, an all-new model with 455 horsepower and more technology than most anyone can honestly name off the top of his or her head. Chevrolet also showed off its new C7.R racecar. We should have First Drive impressions of the new sports car soon enough.
Caddy is back. Perhaps showing the strongest presence of any relatively mainstream luxury automaker, the company led off with its new Elmiraj full-size personal luxury coupe. The car comes powered by a 4.5-liter, 500-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V-8 engine. While it won’t be produced, expect a full-size flagship car to make it sometime soon, likely with a similar powertrain. Also on-hand for the event was the 2011 Pebble Beach knockout Cadillac Ciel concept.
What if Ford hadn’t discontinued the GT supercar? What if it had continued development? What would it look like? Galpin, more or less the same company that gave you the last few seasons of “Pimp My Ride,” aimed to find out, building a 1,024-horsepower version called the GTR1. With an all carbon fiber body, reducing weight, and more than twice the output of the original car, the GTR1 is a ridiculously over the top take on the adage that too much is never enough. You can get it in aluminum, but who would really want that? With the kitchen sink thrown in, Galpin is charging $1,000,095 for the price of admission. Worth it?
We’ve shown you the Hyundai HCD-14 Genesis concept before, but Hyundai wanted to show some of the most affluent car shoppers in the world that it wasn’t messing around. When we heard the car start up and move on the morning of the show, it sounded dastardly good, perhaps lacking a muffler. The production version should be so angry. Under the hood is a 5.0-liter V-8 engine that makes 429 horsepower in the production-spec Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec and Hyundai Equus full-size flagship sedan. This one could and likely will share some cues with the upcoming second-generation Genesis sedan, which should be in the U.S. by January at the Detroit Auto Show.
The Jaguar Project 7 is a retro tribute to the seven Le Mans victories the automaker has had, the last being in 1993. This concept speedster was originally shown last month at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the U.K. It comes powered with an uprated, supercharged 5.0-liter V-8, borrowed from the Jaguar XKR-S coupe, rated at 550 horsepower. Also added to it are lightweight body panels, a chopped speedster front window, and a bubble behind the driver evocative of the D-Type race cars of the late -1950s and early ’60s. While we don’t think there’s a chance the Project 7 will ever make it to production, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the engine end up under the hood of Jag’s new sports car. We’re glad it made it across the pond to join the party in Monterey.
Veneno. Mother. Of. God. At the Geneva Motor Show, Ferrari and McLaren were busy showing off their 900-plus-horsepower hybrid supercars. Lamborghini’s 750-horsepower Veneno looked down on power, but its presence more than made up for it. The Veneno was definitely the people’s champion on the concept car lawn, except this one isn’t a concept. Lamborghini is building three of them–two for U.S. customers and one for a customer in the UAE–at a price of $3 million apiece. Reportedly, Lamborghini is preparing a run of nine more, except convertibles. Those ones will cost $4.4 million each.
Have you heard of Laraki? Neither have we. You probably have if you’re into yachts, though, which Laraki generally builds. This time around, the company made a concept using a last-generation Corvette chassis, a carbon fiber body that helps bring weight down about 400 pounds to 2,800, and a 1,750-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 7.0-liter V-8 running the rear wheels. While the Laraki Epitome is officially just a concept car, the company will happily build you one of this wild supercars for a cool $2 million.
A whimper compared to the roar of Cadillac, the Lincoln Motor Company didn’t debut any new vehicles. In fact, all it did was sponsor the art tent and introduce its Black Label series of cars, a designer kit shown on the MKZ midsize sedan and MKC concept crossover. The cars had nicer interior materials, akin to what you may find in a BMW Individual or Mercedes-Benz Designo package. The only difference is that the German vehicles are desirable. What would have made a bigger splash is if Lincoln would have premiered the production version of the MKC at Pebble. Instead, all we got were some fancy interiors and nice colors and a name stolen from the liquor industry. We hope there’s still hope for this beleaguered brand.
Impossible to ignore, the McLaren booth was on the show field instead of the concept car lawn, with a private reception occurring for invite-only guests. There, they were treated to the sight of Formula 1 legend Ayrton Senna’s racing helmet, a McLaren F1 supercar, a Can-Am racing car from the 1970s, and the 2014 McLaren P1, a 903-horsepower hybrid supercar to be made by the company, costing well in excess of $1 million. Ferrari’s LaFerrari has about 60 more horsepower, but the unofficial line from McLaren is that its car’s aerodynamics are better. Bitter rivals on the track and off, we can’t wait to see how the two supercars compare.
The production version of the Mercedes-Benz GLA is being readied for next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show, but we were treated to the concept version that debuted in Shanghai last spring. It looks bulbous and nose-heavy in pictures, but the design looks compact, sporty, and elegant in person. We overhead a father telling his young son that the GLA might be their next family car. Lucky kid. The GLA will share its mechanical bits with the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class. We’ll be seeing it on our soil for the 2015 model year.
The 918 Spyder, Porsche’s $845,000 hybrid supercar, is nearing production and should be on sale by the end of the year. In the meantime, Porsche made sure to maintain its “We’re still here” focus amid the brouhaha created with the McLaren P1 and LaFerrari by presenting an even more finished version of the 918 Spyder on the Pebble Beach lawn. Maybe one day the automaker will finally sell one to the public, not like we could afford it, sadly.
Saleen has a long history of tuning Mustangs to the point where they’re not really Fords anymore. The latest project of the company is its George Follmer Edition Mustang, which recognizes the driver who partook in Formula 1, the Indianapolis 500, and was the Can-Am champion in 1972. The car itself is based on Saleen’s 302 model with about 470 horsepower and a six-speed manual. Its paint draws inspiration from Follmer’s ’72 Mustang race car, and the car is expected to cost in the neighborhood of $70,000. If it’s not exactly your style, a Swede Savage Barracuda and Mark Donahue Chevrolet Camaro are both on their way, too.
Spyker is one of my favorite brands, with a steampunk-meets-modern design. In recent years, the brand fell on hard times with a lack of cars to sell and low profits. Now, it’s showing off its B6 Venator, a smaller, lighter sports car that’s rumored to be based on Lotus components. Yet, it still has that eccentric Spyker look. With a starting price of around $150,000, it will be a little more accessible than the $220,000 Spyker C8 (“accessible” is a relative term). We should hear more of the new small sports car by the end of the year.
Other automakers present:
- Alfa Romeo Disco Volante concept
- Bugatti Veyron Legends Edition
- Fiat 500 Cattiva and GQ Edition
- Icona Volcano
- Infiniti Q50
- Kia Cadenza
- Land Rover
- Rolls-Royce Wraith