F1

The sparkling wine of Ferrari Trento is being splashed around by the winners at the F1 podium

Formula 1 celebrates with sparkling wine from Italian winemaker Ferrari Trento – They have been the official partner of the competition since 2021. Fabienne Amez-Droz visits the alpine city of Trento, tastes their different wines and experiences the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix first hand.

Ferrari Trento is the “Official toast of Formula One,” celebrated globally by drivers spraying each other with sparkling wine at the end of the races. The Ferrari Trento vineyards are located in Trento, nearby the dolomites mountains in Italy, and the company is, as many would suspect, unrelated to the Ferrari racing team. Actually the Ferrari Trento family company came first – their business dates back to the early automobile era, predating Enzo Ferrari’s first race car. But the brand’s name recognition has been clearly beneficial.

villa

The family-owned Villa Margon in Trento, situated above the vineyards, is a Renaissance-era estate with 16th-century frescoes.

Founded in 1902 by Giulio Ferrari, the business was sold to Bruno Lunelli, a local wine shop owner, in 1952. Since then, the brand seeks to communicate “The italian art of living” with its costumers worldwide.

Today it is managed by the third generation of the Lunelli family with Matteo Lunelli as CEO and President of the family business. Ferrari Trento’s other executive family member is its vice-president, Camilla Lunelli, niece of Bruno. A story that does the rounds in northern Italy is that Bruno was friends with Enzo Ferrari, and Enzo once expressed interest in investing in his namesake wine company, although the Lunelli family declined, as they wanted to keep it as a family business.

The family has an estate, called Villa Margon, located above the vineyards, where you can walk around the ancient building, gardens and learn about the family’s history. The Villa is covered in-and outside with frescoes dating back to the 16th-century. A little drive further down from the estate, you can find their big, modern winery, where they produces all of their so-called Trentodoc‘s, available in six different lines – each of which expresses its own distinctive characteristics.

Trento DOC (Denominazione di origine controllata), commonly known as Trentodoc, is an appellation for white and rosé sparkling wine made in Trento in Italy. They produce the sparkling wines with a traditional method, just like Champagne. In this method, the second fermentation occurs in the bottle, creating the bubbles. Along with Franciacorta, it is a region of Italy widely considered to make world-class sparkling wines, leagues above cheap Prosecco.

After visiting the large Ferrari Trento winery in the valley, Camilla Lunelli invited me to the Michelin-starred Restaurant Locanda Margon  and explained all of the different sparkling wines, which they offer and how to pair them with a gourmet meal.

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The modern Ferrari Trento winery in the valley can store 20 million bottles, with over six million sold last year.

Read more: 6 Questions: Matteo Lunelli, CEO & President of Ferrari Trento

For this year’s Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix in Imola, I was hosted by the Lunelli- Ferrari Trento- family. This particular racing track is one of the most well-known racing venues in the history of the Italian Grand Prix’s and 2024 marks the 30 years anniversary since the deadly accident of Brazilian F1-driver Ayrton Senna (1960-1994).

For the Imola Race, the brand designed a special Ferrari Trento bottle in honour of Senna which has been signed by the winning drivers: Max Verstappen, Charles LeClerc and Lando Norris, and it will be up for auction for the Senna Foundation in Brazil.

The Ferrari Trento Team took me around the Paddock and gave me an intimate tour of the Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber– garage to show what it would be like, to be down there during a race. You could see the Netflix “Drive to survive” camera team taking shots for the show. An experience worth celebrating!

champagne

The bottle of Ferrari Trento designed in honour of Ayrton Senna for the Imola Grand Prix 2024

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A white Ferrari by a river and hills
A white Ferrari by a river and hills

Ferrari Roma

In the second part of our Super Powers series from the Spring/Summer 2023 issue, LUX’s car reviewer gets behind the wheel of a Ferrari Roma

Creating an association with Roma from the Ferrari brand is an idea so obvious it is surprising the company hasn’t done it before. The company has made cars named after California, the chic Italian port of Portofino and its hometown of Maranello. But never Rome.

So what kind of car could we expect from the Ferrari Roma? Looking at the exterior in the first instance, we though the sweeping, long, elegant design fitted quite well with the Dolce Vita image of Rome that the company would evidently like to project. With its long nose and contemporary curves, and the swept-back nature of the cockpit, the Roma looks like a classic grand tourer, updated for now. It is also one of the prettier Ferraris of recent years.

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Inside, this quality is both amplified and somewhat dissipated. It is amplified by the view our over the bonnet, where buttresses on either side help you aim the car for a long distance, touring in mind. It is dissipated because the interior, while bristling with electronic gizmos, does not have the classiness of Ferraris of old, or the sheer razzmatazz of some of the Roma’s current Ferrari siblings. True, the controls in the centre console do mimic the gated manual gearboxes of older Ferraris, but the rest of it feels up to date without being particularly glamorous. This is not a Ferrari that comes dripping in leather, although there was a generous amount of Alcantara, the mock suede favoured by many sports cars, in evidence.

a Ferrari steering wheel and controls in the Roma with the yellow Ferrari logo in the middle of the steering wheel

Combining a classic grand-tourer sweep with a hyper-responsive dynamic drive, the Ferrari Roma makes for a particularly intriguing new model

However, as soon as you start driving it, any impression that the Roma is a slightly laid-back but high-performance grand tourer quickly goes out of the window as fast as the rubber on the tyres touches the tarmac (the tyres were Pirelli P Zeros in our case, which do not do the car’s handling justice). This is a car with a focus on raciness, not refinement. The steering is super sharp, almost hyperactive. The accelerator responds if you even think about touching it. On a country road it is highly engaging, around sharp bends it feels both enormously capable and highly entertaining. This is a car that involves the driver for every second, and is rather surprising because of it.

Why? Because many very fast and expensive cars – Ferraris among them – have become more and more remote, even as they become more and more capable, in recent years. A feeling that you are driving a video game has become prevalent.

Read more: Lamborghini Huracán STO Review

But not in the Roma. Here you know you are driving a very fast contemporary Ferrari, even along a country lane at normal speeds. The car feeds back to you thought a concoction of noises and feelings – not that it is noisy – but the Roma is not a car designed with comfort in mind. It has enormous performance and dynamism, and tiny back seats, which are useful for shopping. Altogether, it is an intriguing addition to the Ferrari model line, the first of what may be a new dynasty of cars.

Most Ferraris to date have a lineage dating back through decades of predecessors, but the Roma is a new concept. We found it highly entertaining, but also wonder if it is just a little bit too focused on involvement. A more relaxed side to its character might have fitted everyday use a little more, particularly given that its shape is more that of a day-to-day elegant sports car than something you want to go and thrash. But nobody can doubt this car’s ability and excitement factor.

LUX Rating: 18.5/20

Find out more: ferrari.com

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An old green Lamborghini in front of palm trees on a roof
red and white leather interior of an old classic Ferrari

Interior of the 1955 Ferrari 250 Europa GT Coupé

Maarten Ten Holder, Managing Director of Bonhams Motoring, tells LUX his top picks at Bonhams Quail Auction in California, ahead of the sale on Friday 19th August 2022. A sale which features cars being sold up to $3,400,000.

It may not be winter, but the West Coast is calling and the classic car world is gathering in Northern California for Monterey Car Week. This Mecca for serious car collectors includes the world-famous Pebble Beach Concours. Bonhams Quail Auction takes place in tandem with the equally glamorous Quail Motorsports gathering garden party this Friday (19 August). Our 25th silver anniversary sale offers a host of precious metal.

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1963 Jaguar E-Type Lightweight Competition, estimate on request

An old white car with the number 14 on the side on a track

1963 Jaguar E-Type Lightweight Competition

Owned by that giant of US motor racing, (and Americas Cup winner) Briggs Cunningham, and driven at Le Mans no less, this is one of the most important early racing Jaguars.

It’s a rare beast too – one of only 12 Competition cars, built with aluminium bodies and hard top and alloy 3.8-litre engine (hence it’s Lightweight label), sold exclusively to Jaguar’s preferred customers.

Significantly restored in the 1980s yet retaining its original bodywork and matching-numbers engine, this E-Type is eligible for the world’s most prestigious concours and historic races.

1938 Type 57C Atalante, estimate $2.8 – 3.4 million

black and yellow classic car in front of a garage

1938 Type 57C Atalante

This supercharged art deco masterpiece, designed by Jean Bugatti, was the supercar of the golden age, reaching a top speed of 120mph, when most cars aimed for 50 mph.

One of only five aluminium 57Cs, the Bugatti was the 1938 Paris Salon display car but has largely been under wraps for much of its life, firstly hidden during the Second World War, then kept for many years without turning a wheel in the garage of a later keeper’s chateau.

1969 Lamborghini P400S Miura, estimate $1,75 – 2,25 million

An old green Lamborghini in front of palm trees on a roof

1969 Lamborghini P400S Miura

Eternally young, the Lamborghini Miura was the car that put Lamborghini on the map and is often called the most beautiful car of its age. Gandini’s svelte design for Bertone is complemented by the evocative soundtrack from its Lamborghini’s brilliant V12 engine, placed behind the driver. landmark in the history of Italian sports cars. This 1969 P400S Miura, estimated at $1,750,000-2,250,000 and offered with no reserve.

1955 Ferrari 250 Europa GT Coupe, estimate $2.25 – 2.75 million

A white car driving on a road

1955 Ferrari 250 Europa Coupé

The great rival to Lamborghini is represented by seven models at Quail, including a trio of early cars led by the very last Ferrari 250 Europa GT built. This landmark model is regarded as the first of the iconic Ferrari GTs.

Styled and built by Pinin Farina, this car was first exhibited at the 1956 Brussels Motor Show and raced in period at Spa Francorchamps. In the late 2000s, the matching numbers car was the subject of a superb, factory-correct restoration, while retaining its original bodywork and chassis and is Ferrari Classiche ‘Red Book’ Certified.

1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupé, estimate $1.4 – 1.7 million

a red car with the doors opening over the roof

1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupé

Instantly recognisable – not just to car enthusiasts – the 300SL is considered the greatest sports car of the 1950s, with famous successes at Le Mans, Targa Florio and of course the 1955 Mille Miglia, won by Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson at a record average speed of just under 100mph.

Read more: The Style And Substance Series: Porsche 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition

This superb example has been kept by the same family from new, originally used as a daily driver by its first owner, Greek shipping magnate George C. Makris, then latterly stored by his children in a climate-controlled environment. Superbly restored while retaining its original engine, bodywork, desirable Rudge wheels and original Becker Mexico radio, the 300SL has covered under 22,000 miles over its lifetime.

Ex-Steve McQueen 1971 Husqvarna 400 Cross, estimate $130,000 – 180,000

a red and black motorbike

Ex-Steve McQueen 1971 Husqvarna 400 Cross

The King of Cool was a known petrolhead (think of his passion project film ‘Le Mans’) and a motorcycle enthusiast, famously riding on screen in The Great Escape and On Any Sunday, the bike movie in which Husqvarnas featured heavily.

This ‘Husky’ was one of McQueen’s favourite off-road bikes and was kept by the actor until his death in 1980. The lovingly preserved, authentic machines offered in “as last ridden by McQueen” condition and still scarred with all the dents and dings from his regular rides.

Bonham’s Quail Auction will begin at 11am PDT/ 7pm BST on Friday 19th August

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a red convertible Porsche parked in front of a green field
a red convertible Porsche parked in front of a green field

This special Heritage Design Edition of Porsche’s 911 Targa 4S is the perfect compromise between a fixed-roof and a convertible- but your hair may still get messed up

In the first part of our supercar review series, LUX gets behind the wheel of the Porsche 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition

One of the most important decision-making factors for anyone contemplating any sports car is hair. As in, “Will my hair get messed up when I ride in that?”. Get the decision wrong, and you could be in for a world of pain, and many stressful driving experiences.

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In a convertible car, where the roof lowers completely and leaves the passengers exposed behind the windscreen, forget any ideas you may have about looking like Grace Kelly or Leonardo DiCaprio. Any expensive hairstyle turns into a kind of 1980s plugged-into-the- socket-style frizz.

White leather seats and red hardware in a car

The alternative is to buy a car with a fixed roof, which are also more highly regarded by car geeks as they tend to be better to drive. But since when were geeks ever correct about any matter of style?

The 911 Targa 4S is Porsche’s answer to this pressing question. Press a button and the (hard) rooftop section lifts itself up, while the rear windscreen also lifts and swivels backward rather alarmingly. The top section disappears into the middle of the car, and the rear windscreen comes back and fixes itself to the ‘Targa hoops’ that encircle the top of the car.

The net effect is that when the roof is open you are surrounded on three sides by glass, the area above your head, where the roof would be, open to the sky. That stops wind blowing in sideways and should, in theory, keep all hairstyles and wigs as perfect as the day they left the salon.

a red convertible Porsche with a white circle on the side of the car, driving by a green field

The motorway north out of Basel into this car’s native Germany is wide, flat and has no speed limit. Taking these factors to their logical conclusion, we can report back that, at a road speed of more than 150mph (255km per hour), even someone with a closely cropped cut of their own hair will end up with a 1980s plugged-into-the-socket-style frizz. So don’t be fooled. If you want perfect hair, take your Bombardier.

In other respects, this is a stylish and satisfying car. The extra roof engineering makes the car notably heavier than its lightweight sports car Porsche 911 stablemates. For most driving experiences, that doesn’t matter at all. What does matter is a modern, technical- looking and practical interior, which we think looks best in the lighter colours of the Heritage Design Edition model we tested here (a limited edition that is no longer available, but the regular 911 Targa 4S is the same car aside from the design detail).

white leather car seats

Being in a sports car usually both works ways and it is particularly the case here. Your journey will be notably noisier and less relaxed then if you had taken the same route in a luxury sedan. But on the right roads, you will have more fun: the latest Porsche 911 is a fast, exciting car when pushed hard, and more practical to live with than a Ferrari or Aston.

Read more: Philanthropy: Nathalie Guiot, The Culture Booster

You will feel more alive than in an SUV or a sedan, and with the roof on you feel as secure as you do in a fixed-head (coupé) car. With the Targa roof off, you have the opportunity to get a suntan, show off a bit and your hairstyle will be – well, we can’t lie – messed up.

LUX rating: 18/20

Find out more: porsche.com

This article appears in the Summer 2022 issue of LUX

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red classic car by a lake
A palace in the mountains with trees around it

Gstaad Palace

Maarten Ten Holder, Managing Director of Bonhams Motoring, tells LUX his top picks for The Gstaad Sale in Switzerland ahead of the sale on 3rd July 2022. The sale features cars being sold up to £1,900,000

When you handle some of the world’s rarest, most exotic and most valuable collector cars, it makes sense to sell them in the most beautiful locations. Bonhams is fortunate to have salerooms at the Grand Palais in Paris, overlooking the Grand Prix circuit in Monaco and on the lawns of the world-famous Monterey Car Week. To this glittering roster, we have added the chic Alpine resort of Gstaad where we will be hosting our eponymous sale on Sunday 3 July.

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The venue for this boutique sale is the Gstaad Palace, celebrity haunt for the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, Roger Moore, and the perfect backdrop for the automotive art we will be presenting – what is more, the general manager is a classic car enthusiast, so we will be in good company!

silver 2010 Lamborghini Reventon Roadster 6 with a pile of orange stones behind it and mountains in the background

2010 Lamborghini Reventon Roadster

Rather fittingly for our jet-set audience, our sale is led by a jet-inspired hypercar – a 2010 Lamborghini Reventon supercar (estimate CHF 1,850,000-2,200,000). This was the most extreme Lamborghini to date when unveiled in the late Noughties. Its aeronautic styling is matched by blistering performance thanks to its 6.5-litre V12 engine. It has a top speed of 205mph and accelerates from 0-100km/h in 3.4 seconds and even has a G-force meter for that ‘Top Gun’ moment. This Reventon is as new, having had only two owners, the second, the vendor, never having driven it!

A red 1991 Ferrari F40 on a track with grass

1991 Ferrari F40

Lamborghini’s great rival, Ferrari, also features in this sale, with no less than six supercars and grand tourers offered. Looming in the Reventon’s rear-view mirror is a 1991 Ferrari F40 (estimate CHF 1,600,000 – 2,000,000), considered one of the last great ‘analogue’ supercars.

Red Ferrari on a road with stones by it

1972 Ferrari 365 GTB:4 ‘Daytona’ Berlinetta

Introduced to celebrate Enzo Ferrari’s 40 years as a motor manufacturer, the F40 was the last model to be personally overseen by ‘the old man’ before he died in 1988. A thinly disguised racing car, with its panels of carbon fibre and that unmistakable high rear aerofoil, the F40 was the first production passenger car to have a top speed of more than 200 mph. It’s no wonder that F40s have been owned by the great and the good from Formula 1 champions such as Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost to Il Maestro, Luciano Pavarotti.

Black and white 2020 Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport with green mountains and clouds in the background

2020 Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport

Another racing-derived car is a 2020 Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport, (estimate CHF 390,000 – 500,000). The high-performance version of the evergreen 911 was produced to meet the regulations for GT2 sports car racing. Th even more powerful RS version set a new lap record at the infamous Nürburgring last year.

This one-owner example has covered fewer than 300 kms and has never been raced, although it is fully-equipped for motorsport with its ‘Clubsport’ package including FIA rollcage, Recaro racing seat and racing dampers.

Read more: Switzerland, our top pick for summer

Classic models from the motoring world’s most prestigious marques, such as Aston Martin, Mercedes-Benz, Rolls-Royce and Bentley, will also be gracing the Gstaad Palace this weekend.

A black Monteverdi 1969 in front of a green garage

1969 Monteverdi 375S Coupe

However also lining up is a less familiar name: Monteverdi, a Swiss marque of the 1960s and 1970s – the brainchild of BMW dealer Peter Monteverdi. Wanting to produce a Swiss rival to Ferrari, he matched American power with European styling and luxurious interiors. Two of these rarities will be offered, including the 1969 Geneva Salon show car, a 1969 575S Coupé.

red classic car by a lake

1956 Alfa Romeo 1900C Super Sprint Barchetta

And there are more Swiss-made cars. The country may be more famous for watchmaking but has had a thriving coachbuilding industry in the 20th century, Representing its golden age is a 1956 Alfa Romeo 1900C Super Sprint Barchetta (CHF 300,000 – 400,000), its Ghia Aigle coachwork designed along the lines of a Riva speedboat with wraparound windscreen. Apparently, the Ghia was ‘banished’ into storage for 30 years by its first owner’s wife when she discovered the car had been bought for his mistress.

A black Renault 1981 on a pavement

1981 Renault 5 Turbo

My final highlight is a seemingly humbler car – a 1981 Renault 5, at one point France’s best-selling model and the first car for many. However, this special and increasingly sought-after high performance Turbo version has had only one owner from new, Catherine Larson, widow of Formula 1 driver Didier Pironi. The 5 has an estimate of CHF 130,000 – 150,000, making it one of the most valuable to be offered but surely one of the most perfect for tackling the twisting mountain roads!

The preview for the Gstaad Sale will be held at the Gstaad Palace Hotel from 1 to 3 July, with the sale from 15.00 on Sunday 1 July.

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Mercedes in black
Mercedes in blackProper ceramic coating, after a thorough paintwork correction, is the only way to make your new car look properly new, as LUX discovers with its recently purchased high-performance convertible

When you’re choosing a new car, there are many questions to ponder. Electric, hybrid or petrol? (The eco-friendly answer requires some research in each case.) Which brand? Exterior colour, interior colour, options? Which wheels? Did you think about tyre brand (a whole other world)? Are there any extras that will help with resale? (The short answer: you won’t get the extra couple of thousand you pay for the head-up display or the carbon fibre steering wheel back, but the right options make it easier to sell).

Very few people ponder one fundamental issue. Your brand new car is likely to be delivered with paintwork that is scratched and pitted, and it will only get worse unless you do something about it.

This is not due to some plot by manufacturers. But whether you buy a Ferrari or a Cinquecento, a Tesla or a Lamborghini, from the point it is painted at the factory, your car will spend weeks or months being transported to you, during which point it will (hopefully) not receive any plainly-visible scratches or marks. But it will be wiped, cleaned, dried and “valeted” on various occasions, and those actions, done in a hurry with the best of intentions, leave swirls and scratches on your paint, clearly visible on close inspection. And without further protection, that will only get dramatically worse during your ownership.

That’s where a proper ceramic coat comes in. Ceramic coating is to old-fashioned polishing and waxing what an iPhone 12 is to a Nokia, and here LUX hands over to Ahmed Al-Wajih, director of 1080, who was responsible for the shine on our Mercedes C63S Cabriolet Brabus 600 in these photographs, courtesy of products by market-leader G-Techniq.

red white and silver paint bottles

LUX: What happens to unprotected paint on a car under normal circumstances (without ceramic coating)?
Ahmed Al-Wajih: Unprotected paint is exposed to elements in our environment, such as oxidation from the sun, contamination from pollen tree sap and bird droppings. These can be very harmful to your vehicle’s paintwork if not addressed immediately and safely. An unprotected surface has a much faster wear rate than a protected surface.

LUX: Can you describe the science of paint – that what most people think is a scratch in paint is actually in a clear coat?
Ahmed Al-Wajih: Traditionally vehicles had a single stage paint, which was oil based and was just paint onto of the panel. Today we have three-layer paints on most panels, if not all. It consists of primer, base coat and the clear coat. The base coat is the actual colour that you see and the clear coat is a transparent layer that adds the final finish to the paint. The clear coat also provides a layer of protection to the base coat. Therefore the swirls, holograms, dullness in the paint are typically imperfections on the clear coat and not the base coat. Deep scratches that can be felt by your fingernail usually mean that the damage has gone beyond the clear coat and into the base coat or primer.

LUX: What does ceramic coating (and the other protection you supply) do?
Ahmed Al-Wajih: A ceramic coating for the paintwork is designed to protect the vehicle’s surfaces. The main purpose of a ceramic coating is to bond with the clear coat to make it harder, therefore more resistant to swirls and light scratches, as well as to provide protection against oxidation. It also provides high levels of gloss and hydrophobic qualities.

For the interior, chemicals were used to protect the floor mats and carpets. The purpose of this is to protect the carpets from stains caused by liquids and dirt that can become imbedded into the fibres. A sealant was used to protect the leather from dye transfer and to help clean the leather much quicker.

LUX: What is the difference between ceramic coating and traditional wax?
Ahmed Al-Wajih: The main difference between ceramic and wax to the paintwork is durability. A ceramic coating is a long-lasting coating that bonds within the clear coat particles. For example Gtechniq’s flagship ceramic, the Crystal Serum Ultra, is warranted for nine years. It will not wear away with aggressive washing chemicals, or even machine polishing, the only way to remove it is by sanding down the panel. A wax coating on the other hand may be topped up by layers, however an aggressive chemical will take the wax of the surface.

Tape and paint tools hanging on a wall

LUX: What exactly did you do in the process of coating our car?.
Ahmed Al-Wajih: First step in our process is to decontaminate the vehicle and strip off any sealants that are on the vehicle. This is a crucial part of the process as we need to ensure that the paintwork is clean and without any contaminates before we can move onto the next stage. Once the vehicle has been decontaminated and dried, we worked on the interior, again ensuring that all surfaces were clean.

The vehicle was then put on our ramp and we safely raised the car and removed the wheels. The wheels were then taken to our wash bay to be cleaned once again. The wheel arches were also cleaned again. Once the wheels were dried, they were protected using Gtechniq C5 wheel armour. The callipers were also protected using the C5 wheel armour. The interior was then protected using Gtechniq’s L1 leather guard for the leather surfaces and I1 Smart fabric for the carpets, alcantara and floor mats. The I1 Smart fabric was also used on the soft top.

We then inspected the vehicles paintwork and identified specific areas that needed extra attention and correction. We masked the vehicle and began our correction of those areas. Once this was complete we gave the vehicle a one stage enhancement process with the aim to further enhance the depth of the Obsidian black and ensure that the paintwork is in the best possible condition.

Once this process was complete we began prepping the paintwork using a panel wipe. The purpose of this process is to clean the panels and ensure that they are free from anything that may contaminate the application of the ceramic coating. Once this process was complete we began applying the Crystal Serum Ultra. Once we completed this process we left the ceramic to cure overnight. The following morning we inspected the paintwork to ensure that the ceramic had bonded properly. We then applied C2 Crystal laquer which acts as a top up coating for the ceramic. We also protected the glass using Gtechniq’s Smart Glass. Once we were happy that the ceramic to the wheels, body, interior and glass had cured we safely put the wheels back onto the vehicle and ensure that the wheels were torqued back up to the manufacturer’s specification.

Once again the vehicle was moved to our final inspection bay [with all round flourescent lighting] and we gave the vehicle a final inspection to ensure that it met our standards.

interior of a mercedes

LUX: Why use Gtechniq products?
Ahmed Al-Wajih: Gtechniq is a leader in the world of ceramic coatings. They put a lot of research and development into their products and stand by them. There are many different brands for ceramic coatings but there are very few that have the same international recognition.

LUX: There are detailers offering clients mobile ceramic coating in hours. Your process takes three days. What is the difference?
Ahmed Al-Wajih: There are different levels of ceramic coating, There is a liquid ceramic coating which is very easily applied, you spray it on and wipe it off. There are also ceramic coatings which are not semi-permanent which can also be applied without the risk of causing much damage as removing the coating is easy.

Once you get to the semi permanent coatings such as the five year or nine year coatings, you need the paintwork to be perfect before you apply the coating as any imperfection will be locked in for the duration of the ceramic coating. It is not impossible, however it puts the person applying the coating at a big disadvantage.

We have a studio where we are able to control the lighting, temperature, and positioning of the vehicle. All of this helps us to produce incredible and consistent results.It would be a big disadvantage trying to correct a car with poor light and bad weather conditions.

LUX: People buying a brand new car may not believe their car needs paint correction (ahead of protection). Tell us what you find on brand new cars.
Ahmed Al-Wajih: Believe it or not I have yet too come across a brand new car that is without imperfections. To the untrained eye the car may be glossy and shiny but to a trained eye, there are swirls, light scratches from where the vehicle has been valeting prior to delivery. The vehicle may have been in transport and exposed to the elements. causing etchings on the paintwork Many people do not see the imperfections and are happy to live with it, but if you are going to project your vehicle, you would really need to perfect the paintwork, because if you see it over the coating, there is not much that can be done.

A man in a black uniform working in a car paint shop

LUX: Why choose a ceramic coat over a clear paint protection film wrap?
Ahmed Al-Wajih: If you are after protection, then the best form of protection is PPF (paint protection film). It protects the paintwork far better than ceramic. However PPF is costly and can cost more per panel than if you were just to have that panel painted. Also the level of shine and depth does not match that of a ceramic coating, although having said that, technology in PPF has come a long way and the quality is getting better.

LUX: For classic cars, you may still suggest a wax instead of a ceramic coat. Why?
Ahmed Al-Wajih: When recommending a product, we try to identify the purpose of why your vehicle is with us and what it is that you are trying to achieve. If you have a classic car that is garaged most days in the year and sees the odd outing to an event, chances are that the vehicle would not be exposed to a lot of contaminants. In addition tot his the paint may be very thin from previous years and a correction would not be suitable. A carnauba wax finish in this instance would be more suitable. The vehicle would still have protection, the paintwork would still have gloss and depth in the colour and more layers can be added on. If that same vehicle was to be parked on the street and driven daily thence would suggest a ceramic coating.

Portrait and product photography by Isabella Sheherazade Sanai

1080london.com

gtechniq.co.uk

 

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Reading time: 9 min
green and black car
old yellow car

1938 Bugatti Type 57 C Stelvio Cabriolet

Maarten Ten Holder, Managing Director of Bonhams Motoring, tells LUX his top picks at Les Grandes Marques du Monde in Paris, ahead of the sale on Thursday 3rd February 2022. A sale which features cars being sold up to £2,100,000
a man standing by a black car

Maarten Ten Holden

Les Grandes Marques à Paris, Bonhams’ European season-opener is an event I look forward to every year. Traditionally held at the Grand Palais, located between the Champs-Elysees and the Seine, this venue is one of the more spectacular settings for our many international car auctions.

This year, the sale has relocated to the Grand Palais 2.0, le Grand Palais Éphémère, a stunning temporary building which is serving as the city’s exhibition space during the restoration of the original. Located on the Champs-the-Mars, right at the foot of the Eiffel tower, this modular, sustainable structure is not only environmentally friendly, but through its design and location, might even outshine its historical sibling.

But there is more: inspired by the glamour of Éphémère, we decided to add a new luxury sale of more than 125 watches to our series of sales in Paris, which is the perfect complement to our regular line up.

We will present more than 100 of the most exquisite collectors’ cars, from the pioneers to contemporary supercars. Creating a shortlist has proven a tricky task, but here are just a few of my top picks…

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1964 Porsche 904 GTS, estimate €1,300,000 – 1,600,000
One of the biggest racing stars of the 1960S, the mid-engined Porsche 904 GTS sportscar was owned by a star: the Hollywood great, Robert Redford, who drove it for nearly a decade. The model was called the ‘giant killer’ for its success in such famous events as the Monte Carlo Rally.

A green car

Robert Redford’s Porsche 904 GTS

2015 Ferrari LaFerrari, estimate €2,000,000 – 2,500,000
The F1-inspired hybrid hypercar was described by Ferrari as its most ambitious car, with its electric motor and V12 petrol engines combining to create a staggering power output of 950bhp. This rare yellow example has only driven 930km from new.

A yellow ferrari in the snow

2015 Ferrari LaFerrari Coupé

‘Le Patron’ 1938 Type 57C Special Coupé, €1,600,000 – 2,000,000
The Paris sale always showcases the finest French cars; and this Art Deco beauty is truly special. Known as ‘Le Patron’ it was named after and used by company founder Ettore Bugatti himself and its bespoke coachwork is believed to be the final design created by his son Jean.

green and black car

‘Le Patron’,1936 Bugatti 57C

1996 Bugatti EB110, estimate €1,100,000 – 1,300,000
The most modern of the five Bugattis offered in Paris, the record-setting EB110 supercar was the brainchild of Italian businessman Roman Artioli who revived the brand. The era’s fastest series production sports car has a top speed of 340km/h thanks to its turbocharged V12 engine. This example is one of only 95 GTs produced.

A blue Bugatti by the sea

1996 Bugatti EB110 GT Coupé

1902 Panhard & Levassor Type A2 7HP Tonneau à entrée par l’arrière, estimate €300,000 – 360,000

From the dawn of motoring, this is a remarkably authentic example and one of the best survivors of its genre. It has retained its original engine, coachwork and even leather trim. This car also has successfully completed the famous London-to- Brighton Veteran Car Run with its owner.

an old style black car

1902 Panhard & Levassor Type A2 7HP tonneau à entrée par l’arrière

Read more: ADMO: Alain Ducasse & Dom Pérignon’s Ephemeral Dining Experience

Michael Schumacher’s 2010 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Estate, estimate €50,000 – 100,000 (No Reserve)
This was the daily driver of a true motorsport legend, seven times Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher. It was his company car when he joined the newly formed Mercedes GP Petronas Formula 1 Team in 2010. Not surprisingly, this top of the range C63 was equipped with €20,000 in luxury options.

A black Mercedes-Benz

Michael Schumacher’s 2010 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Estate

A preview of Les Grandes Marques du Monde will be taking place on Wednesday 2nd February 2022 and the auction will be held on Thursday 3rd February 2022.

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Mountains and the sun
Mountains and the sun

Consumers and business owners should take time to educate themsleves about the most effective ways to combat global heating. Pictured: The Alps on the Swiss/Austrian border, where the total winter snowfall is predicted to fall between 30 and 50% over the next 40 years according to the Swiss Federal Office of Meteorology

The wealthy play a disproportionate part in contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. They have an outsized responsibility to lead the way in combatting global warming. But, crowd pleasing knee jerk reactions will only lead to greenwashing and appeasing the lowest common denominator in the climate debate. Truly effective action requires resources of the most valuable kind: education and thought.

When we published an article by Professor Peter Newell last year outlining the particular responsibilities the wealthy have for reducing carbon emissions, it caused a bit of a stir. The research by Professor Newell, a UK-based academic who was the lead author of a report on the subject by the Cambridge Sustainability Commission on Scaling Behaviour Change last year, showed that the wealthy are disproportionately responsible for CO2 emissions through their consumption, habits and ability to engage in carbon-heavy activities, from flying private to attending art fairs to buying bitcoin.

Not all our readers liked that. They pointed out they participate in carbon offset schemes; that some of their activities are to benefit philanthropic and charitable institutions (theirs and others); and that they were informed about how to lower their personal carbon emissions relative to what they had been before.

To unpick these arguments is complex and points to the quandary many world leaders (political, and other) have, post-COP26, in translating good intentions to make a difference, into effective action.

Are carbon offset schemes effective, or a type of greenwash? How do you balance the benefits of social activities around the world with their carbon cost? (We all have this conundrum, to an extent, encapsulated by the old argument about whether it’s better to buy Fairtrade coffee that benefits an impoverished community in Guatemala, but requires transportation around the world, or no coffee.)

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What does being informed consist of: should you look at the Net Zero policies of companies you deal with (their stated, and often theoretical, intention to not emit carbon, on balance, sometime in the future)? Or their Scope 3 emissions – the total emissions of all their suppliers? Or at their commitment to the new buzz phrase, a “Just Transition”, that will compensate poorer countries and companies for the undeniable costs of reducing carbon emissions?

an old red Ferrari parked in front of a white tent on the grass

Owners of valuable classic cars can claim they are preserving second hand goods with no extra carbon cost, and creating minimal carbon footprint as they are used so little

As a relatively small media company, we can attest to the experience of the latter. Our move to 100% recycled paper, with vegetable-based inks and biodegradable coatings, from our latest issue, increased our production costs by around 40%, for no perceived increase in quality or other commercial benefits, only our own leadership role in responsible culture.

One other challenge – and here I have sympathy with the arguments of some of our readers – is consistency. Firing salvoes at easy targets, while overlooking more significant “culprits”, is baked into society, and carbon emissions are no exception.

One LUX contributor has a classic Italian sports car, which spends most of its life sitting in a dark garage, doing no harm to anything and emitting nothing. A couple of times a year they find the time and opportunity to take it out for a spin.

It is an eye-catching old car, and can’t avoid being the centre of attention, good and bad. Last spring, during one of London’s lockdowns, they took it out to a London park where they were due to meet a friend for a (legal) outdoor coffee. As they were driving slowly through the park, looking for a parking space, a young-ish father on a bicycle with two children on smaller bicycles, riding behind, overtook them and shouted “Polluter!” at the top of his voice.

From his demeanour, smart bicycle and smartly dressed children, he looked like a normal, middle-class chap who might work in marketing (or the media).

Our contributor pondered on this for days. Were they a polluter?

They had bought the car when it was already more than 10 years old, so that was a form of vintage recycling with zero carbon costs of manufacture that any advocate for carbon reduction should approve of. Five months into the year, that was the first time they had driven it and created carbon emissions, a total journey of around 10 miles/16 kilometres, which is approximately one thousandth of the annual mileage of the average driver in a developed country.

a blue ferrari at Blenheim Palace

A gathering of classic Ferraris at Blenheim Palace in England. Are their owners guilty of being ‘polluters’?

When driving, the Ferrari emits around 50% more carbon than the average car, but their total mileage in the car last year was only around 200 miles/320 km, which pegs their automotive carbon emissions at less than a twentieth of the average commuter. They customarily walk or cycle to the office and meetings in London.

Of course, there was no way their interlocutor would have known all this. But other reference points are out in the open.

For example, major airlines in Europe are being compelled to fly empty planes back and forth around the continent, closed to passengers, tens of thousands of times a month, according to reports by the aviation media. This is happening for a theoretically good reason: airlines fight for valuable slots to use in major airports, and the EU stipulates they have to use or lose these slots, to prevent monopolistic behaviour and increase competition.

With low demand due to the pandemic, airlines still have to use the slots: the EU has reduced its stipulations so airlines have to land their planes 50% fewer times at given airports than they usually would, but that still means that Lufthansa, for example, is compelled to fly 18,000 near-empty flights over the course of this winter. A single flight by an Airbus A319 from Berlin to London, say, emits 10 tonnes of carbon. 18,000 flights means 180,000 tonnes of carbon emissions for no purpose.

These numbers do not include the Scope 3 emissions of each flight – the cost of transport for the crew and service teams, and so on – and they are for just one airline, out of dozens following the EU rules.

Read more: Professor Peter Newell on climate responsibility

Lufthansa alone is being compelled to create CO2 emissions equivalent to 90,000 car driving commuters over the course of a year (or three million drivers of vintage Ferraris, although there are not that many vintage Ferraris to go around), just to comply with EU rules.

Lufthansa plane driving on the runway

EU based airlines are being forced to create enormous amounts of unnecessary CO2 emissions by flying empty planes

Lack of consistency is sometimes used as an excuse to justify immoral behaviour – “Well, he says X but he does Y, so I am going to do Y also”, which is a fallacy. But equally, if we wish to target carbon emissions, we need to be educated, informed and active.

The EU’s well-intentioned but ecologically damaging rules on aviation slots (which have been picked up by Greta Thunberg, among others) are just an example: not an excuse for us to act worse, but a reason for us to focus on the right areas, educate ourselves, see beyond the obvious targets, which in many cases may not be the correct ones. Assumptions and preconceptions won’t solve our issues; thoughtful action will.

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yellow sportscar
yellow sportscar

Ferrari F8 Spider. Photo by Max Earey

In the second part of our supercar series, LUX’s car reviewer gets behind the wheel of Ferrari F8 Tributo and the F8 Spider

That’s it, folks. Ferrari fans, please shed a tear as, for all the right reasons, these two cars are the end of the bloodline for Ferrari’s celebrated mid-engined V8 series of cars.

For many, this series personifies Ferrari: Magnum PI drove a red one in the 80s TV series. The ancestral line of two-seaters grew in power and capability, though not always beauty, from the sleek 308 of the 1970s and 328 of the 1980s, through the more wedge-shaped 348 and 355 of the 1990s (not always everyone’s cup of tea, but very much of their era), to the more rounded 360 and 430 of the 2000s, and the recent evolution through 458, 488 and F8.

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The engine has always been a V8, and for some years has been an artwork visible through a clear cover behind the driver. From now, for the best of environmental reasons, the V8 will be replaced by a hybrid engine, and so the F8’s engine represents the pinnacle of Ferrari petrol engineering. We tried it out in both the fixed-roof (Tributo) and convertible (Spider) versions of the F8. It’s a glorious piece of machinery, giving a surge of power which grows to the typical Ferrari climax and you shoot towards what would be take-off velocity in a plane.

blue sportscar

Ferrari F8 Tributo. Photo by Max Earey

Every Ferrari handles well, but we couldn’t help feeling Ferrari had engineered some extra joy back into the F8 from the 488 which preceded it. There was a sense that Ferraris were getting too brilliant for their own good, beyond comprehension in the abilities they offered to a driver, but less engaging than of old.

Read more: Catherine Mallyon on the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Success

The F8 engages the driver again, the sharper steering and more involving suspension meaning you really feel like you are driving the car rather than being at the helm of a video game. Crucially, it does so at low speeds, so you don’t feel like you need to be taking it onto a racetrack for it not to be bored – a complaint we have with a number of supercars. Back when the V8 Ferrari bloodline started in the 1970s, the cars were not recommended at low speeds because they overheated and were hard to manoeuvre. More recently, they were easy to drive and reliable but a tad sterile. The F8 addresses this, and how.

steering wheel of car

The F8’s aerodynamic body and control-laden steering wheel are all about the technicality of driving at speed

Whether you go for the Tributo or the Spider just depends on your preferences. The closed-roof car is probably a tad sharper around a racetrack but it is impossible to tell the difference, roof closed, when you are not. We like an open-roofed car so we will take the Spider.

Is it a must-buy V8 Ferrari, the last of its generation? Some would say that moment came with the 458, which was the last to have a non-turbocharged engine, with less power but more glory in its sensations and noise than the F8. Others would point to its predecessor, the 430, the last with a traditional metal-gate gearshift, which has a rawness and sharpness which even the F8 hasn’t quite gained back.

What’s certain is that it’s notable in itself for its sheer tearing thrust, the sharpness and brilliance of its handling and its joie de vivre. Ferrari really is on a roll, and Ferrari fans everywhere will be hoping it continues as the company moves into a more electric future.

LUX rating: 19/20
Find out more: ferrari.com

This article was originally published in the Autumn/Winter 2021 issue.

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classic cars
classic cars

The Lamborghini section of the visitors’ car park featured classic and modern

Last weekend saw the return of one of the world’s most glamorous classic car festivals, at one of the most spectacular venues, the grounds of Blenheim Palace, former home of Winston Churchill, outside Oxford. LUX visited – twice. Photography by Isabella Sheherazade Sanai

In some parts of the world, life is returning to an approximation of the world before the pandemic. Events which were merely interesting before 2020 have become thrilling because of the novelty value; and if you are a lover of classic cars, events like Salon Privé, at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, have always been more than just “interesting”.

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cars outside a palace

The rare gated manual transmission Ferrari 575M Maranello, in Tour de France blue over tan, owned by LUX Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai.

red racing car parked outside marquee

Porsche 904 GTS, winner of Le Mans in 1964, one of the stars of the show at Salon Privé

This year LUX staffers were wowed by Ladies Day on the Friday, an anachronism perhaps but a glamorous one; and the awards on the Saturday. The latter featured some of the world’s most beautiful classics inside the enclosure in the Palace grounds; and a pretty stunning array of visitors’ cars, arranged by marque, in the car park at the front of the palace.

Read more: A Luxurious Escape to The Ritz-Carlton, Abama

race car

Classic racing Ferraris are now almost priceless and tend to change hands off the market only

classic red car

Legendary Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing

A very refreshing day out, whether you were out to buy a £1m Porsche 993 RS or just gaze at an array of Ferraris.

Find out more: salonpriveconcours.com

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red sportscar
sportscar

Ferrari 812 Superfast

In the first of our supercar review series, LUX enjoys an exhilarating drive in the Ferrari 812 Superfast

Ferrari is regularly voted the world’s most powerful luxury brand, and yet curiously there is some discrepancy in consumers’ perception of the company’s products. Mention Ferrari to most people, and they will think of a loud, exciting, flashy high-powered car. Something extroverted, stylish.

Getting into more detail, participants in your own personal luxury brand survey, depending on their age, might describe a car with two seats, an engine behind the driver, above the back wheels, in open view. Like the Testarossa in Miami Vice, or for an older generation, the 308 in Magnum P.I.

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In reality, Ferrari’s flagship product has for the past two decades been something slightly different. Since the introduction of the 550 Maranello in 1997, the most expensive regular production Ferrari you can buy (as opposed to the limited edition special additions open to gazillionaires with contacts only) has been a two-door, long-nosed car with the engine in the front, far more conventional than perception would have it.

These were a continuation of the original front-engined Ferraris from the 1950s and 60s. But the visual quietness of the new flagship 550 in 1997 also coincided with an and sophistication of experience that is perhaps at odds with most people’s perceptions. The 550 and its successor the 575 would pass down any street without turning heads. They were intended to be driveable every day, not show pieces for show-offs.

And while their successors, the 599 of 2006 and F12 of 2012, turned up the dial in terms of performance, the flagship Ferrari was still not a show-off ’s car. The F12 in particular was a conundrum. Here was a car with 730hp, two seats and the ability to handle that power around the toughest of racetracks. Yet on the road, it was curiously refined.

front seats of sportscar

So, when Ferrari announced an updated and upgraded version of the F12 called the 812 Superfast, one might have expected even more of the same. But, for the first time since the F512 M of 1994, which was the ultimate incarnation of the legendary 80s Testarossa, here was a flagship Ferrari that looks like it really wants to be noticed. The 812 is not exactly beautiful, but it is extremely striking in the intent that its engineering and aerodynamics give it.

And the driving experience is also transformed. It has more power from a bigger engine, shorter gearing, rear-wheel steering, and an even faster and more sophisticated paddle-shift gearbox. However, none of these guarantees a more exciting driving experience – just a fast one.

Read more: Why The Alpina Gstaad is top of our travel wish list

From the moment you aim the Superfast around its first corner, you realise that something is up. The steering is sharp, the whole car feels alive and wanting to communicate to you. The faster you go, the livelier and more delicate it feels, and more exciting. Drive the F12 or the 599 down a good road at 70mph and the car shrugs its shoulders: “This is slow, boring, I can do three times the speed”.

The miracle of the 812 is that it is even faster yet feels more involving by a factor of five. At higher speeds it feels delicate, like a dancer, you can control it with two fingers on the wheel while feathering the accelerator pedal.

The star of the show is the engine. Ferrari, like the rest of us, knows that the days of the internal combustion engine are strictly numbered. So, it is a kind of act of brilliant defiance to create this 800hp, 6.5 litre V12. You don’t even have to move to appreciate it. With the engine warm, and gears in neutral, give the accelerator a tap with your right foot. Revs shoot up to 6,000 with a “VLAAP” noise straight out of a Formula One car, and down again instantly.

The interior, meanwhile, is a masterpiece of modern Italian design, minimal yet beautifully put together with Alcantara, carbon fibre, curves and angles.

Is there a downside? In a car-seat set up uncompromisingly for excitement rather than cruise and use, the ride will inevitably suffer and it does in the 812. This would be a tiring car to drive on a long trip; it is no grand tourer at all. It is, simply, a supercar.

We knew the 812 Superfast would live up to its name in being the fastest regular production Ferrari ever made. What we didn’t know was that it would be the most fun as well. Bravo.

LUX Rating: 19.5/20

Find out more: ferrari.com

This article originally appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2020/2021 Issue. 

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vintage ferrari
vintage ferrari car

This 1995 Ferrari F512M Coupé will be on sale at the Bonhams auction in Zoute, Belgium on October 11

Modern classic cars, desirable machines from the 1980s onwards, are hotter than ever, with demand not damped by the pandemic or constraints against driving. So for that reason, LUX Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai says he is reluctantly putting his beloved Ferrari F512M, one of the craziest Ferraris of them all, up at auction with Bonhams

The economic ramifications of the coronavirus across the upper echelons of the collecting market have been unpredictable. Walking home from an emptying office at the start of the lockdown in London in March, I bumped into a gallerist friend, who was in the process of locking up the doors of his famous gallery in Mayfair for a potentially indefinite period. What did he think would happen in the art market, I asked him (this was a time when I naïvely believed that people would knew the answers to questions like this). “Carnage!” he said.

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Last week I was having a drink with another friend, one of the most significant collectors of contemporary art in Britain, and a good client of the same gallerist. My friend was bemoaning the state of his investments – not his stock market investments, which were doing very well, but the companies and people he has invested in directly. The companies are in the hospitality and retail sector, and having to let good people whom he knew and liked go was was eating him up, giving him sleepless nights, he looked drawn, despite his fitness regime and wealth. And how was the art market, I ventured, expecting more sharp intakes of breath, and of single malt. “Brilliant! I’m selling, and the prices are amazing!”

sportscar

2014 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse sold for $1,750,000 at the Quail Motor Car Auction in August.

My friend’s observation was evidently a reflection of the specialised part of the top end of the market in which he is selling – abstract expressionism. The art world itself has been hit severely by lockdown. According to one survey, by UBS and Art Basel, art gallery sales fell by 36% in the first half of the year – although falling sales do not equate to falling prices for the most desirable works.

Another part of the collectibles market that could logically have been expected to collapse during the last ten months, but which has not, is that of classic cars. The sector has even more going against it than the art world at the moment. Announcements by governments that the sale of new fossil fuel cars will be banned during ever shorter time spans; ever stricter restrictions on driving in cities; coronavirus-induced road changes in favour of cycles and pedestrians.

vintage green sports car

1956 Lister-Maserati 2.0-Litre Sports-Racing Two-Seater sold by Bonhams for £575,000.

And unlike collectors of Rothkos, the classic car market is not restricted to ultra high net worth individuals who have seen the size of their wealth increase during coronavirus due to a boom in the stock market. Classic cars encompass everything from £5000 MGs to £50m Ferrari GTOs. And the different segments of this market, while separate, are not hermetically sealed. If the price of a Ferrari Daytona drops, then a Ferrari 355, at a tenth of the price, also tends to drop. Yet, despite everything, the classic car market has been doing well across some of its tiers.

Read more: British artist Marc Quinn on history in the making

“Despite the challenging circumstance, the collectors’ car market has fared better than other sectors,” says James Knight, Executive Director at auction house Bonhams. “Although some sellers were initially concerned that the timing was right for selling a valuable collectors’ motor car, our (online live auction) system has been successful. We have sold cars and have sold them well – many at pre-COVID level prices. This success has given others confidence and we’re seeing healthy volumes come to market and being sold for market-correct prices.”

Knight says the market has been doing particularly well in the “hot” area of modern classics, cars desired by the latest generation of collector. “We are seeing a trend towards more modern classics and supercars becoming ever more popular. The demographic of buyers is changing – younger buyers are entering the classic market and they are looking at the ‘poster’ cars of the 1980s, 90s and even of this century.”

Vintage red sports car

The Ferrari F512M had the final development of Ferrari’s famous “Flat V12” engine.

So, with this in mind, I have entrusted my beloved “modern classic” Ferrari F512M for sale at Bonhams auction in the swanky silver seaside resort of Zoute in Belgium on October 11.

After I bought it, in 2015, and drove it across southern England for the first time, I saw it as the last car in my small collection that I would sell. The F512M has all the elements of a true collectable. It is rare: only 500 were made, in 1994 and 1995. It looks striking, with the celebrated cats claw scratches down the sides, and a wide, flat rear straight out of an arcade game. It is the ultimate iteration, and technical pinnacle, of a famous model: the Testarossa, which was launched in a nightclub in Paris in 1984.

Read more: Four leading designers on the future of design

The Testarossa (Redhead) gained fame in Miami Vice, and was improved into the 512TR in 1991. Three years later, this evolved into my car, the F512M (“M” standing for “Modified” in Ferrari-speak). As well as a modernised front and rear (which does divide opinion – some found the original rear treatment more classic), it was the pinnacle of development of Ferrari engine and suspension of its time. The engine’s internal parts were made lighter by the use of rare metals, the suspension was modified for even racier handling, and the car in general was given the performance needed to be at the top of the Ferrari tree in the mid 1990s. The F512M was the fastest road car in the world, until the appearance of the special edition Ferrari F50, costing a multiple of the price, in 1996.

It is a quite astonishing thing to drive. The F512M has no power steering, And while it is a lighter car than its replacement, the 550 Maranello, it does as a consequence need quite an effort to haul it around corners in town. The flipside is there is nothing interfering with the communication of the road surface to your fingers, when you get out on to faster roads and the steering becomes both manageable and responsive. Power-assisted steering systems, and particularly the latest electronic power assisted systems, cannot compete in terms of pure road feel. And the F512M’s manual gearbox (newer Ferraris have the easier-but-less-exciting paddleshift) is such a thing that a senior Ferrari executive drove my F512M and tweeted about it in delight.

red sports car

Ferrari steering wheel

Bonhams director James Knight says this particular example has the “holy trinity” of superb condition, perfect provenance and low mileage.

The subsequent 550, and later V12 Ferraris, were tuned more towards comfort and cruising, attracting a broader selection of buyers than the hardcore purchasers of a F512M. And the focussed and rare nature of the 512 is reflected in its price: good examples retail for two to three times the price of its more modern, comfortable 550 Maranello successor. Indeed, the F512M is the the last of a monstrous line that began with the 365 Berlinetta boxer in 1973, a family of Ferraris with a 12 cylinder engine placed not under the bonnet, but right behind the driver and passenger’s head. The sound, from centimetres away from your ears, when accelerating at full spate, is quite frightening – as if you are inside the jaws of a ravenous Tyrannosaurus Rex.

There is something else quite special about the F512M. Every Ferrari made afterwards was equipped with safety devices like stability and traction control, which meant that if you were about to lose control of the car by accelerating too fast around a corner, the car would notice, and stop you from doing so, electronically.

vintage ferrari

The F512M being sold by our Editor-in-Chief was previously owned by one of Spain’s most prominent collectors, who kept it alongside the rest of his Ferrari collection in a heated underground garage. When we bought it, we put it though Ferrari’s official 101 point Approved car check, which it passed with flying colours

Not only does the F512M not have any kind of safety control “nanny”: it is also the most powerful-ever general production Ferrari with a V12 engine placed behind the driver. On the one hand, this means for thrilling handling: turn the feelsome steering wheel, and there is no engine weight over the front wheels to create inertia by creating momentum through its mass and resist the turn. It just turns.

The corollary of this is that when the back of the car also turns, a nanosecond later, the mass of the engine turns with it, and if you get your cornering wrong, will wish to continue turning, American-cop-car-in-street-chase-style, until you go round in a circle. Keeping this under control at high speed would be both a challenge and a delight – although to be fair, the advanced suspension and huge rear tyres mean breaking traction only really happens when you want it to. I’ve never done it.

Read more: How Chelsea Barracks is celebrating contemporary British craft

So why am I selling it? Firstly, I simply do not have the opportunity to take it out onto the road where it can be driven properly. This is a car that needs to be driven from London to Tuscany at high speed. I barely have time on a weekend to get from London to Oxford.

Also, in the little leisure driving time I have, I have become an increasing cultural fascist about convertibles. I believe cars with open tops are right, and everything else is wrong. Or something like that.

Vintage sports car

1959 Porsche 718 RSK Spyder, sold for $2,232,500 at Bonhams Quail Motorcar Auction in August.

Sadly, they did not make an open top version of the F512M. So, I want to sell it and put the money towards an open-topped V12 Ferrari. You will find full details of my magnificent F512M, which I purchased from one of the most prominent collectors in Spain, here.

As Knight himself says about this car: “The Testarossa is one of the modern Ferrari icons and the F512M was the final and the rarest version with just 501 examples produced. This is a very special motor car as it represents the ‘holy trinity’. It is offered in superb condition, having been exceptionally well-cared for; it has covered fewer than 20,000 kms and has the all-important provenance, which includes full Ferrari service history.”

If you’re the lucky buyer, please promise me a ride. I will miss her. And meanwhile, long may the market for collectibles thrive – after all, driving a two-seater Ferrari, you and your passenger are in glorious self-isolation as you hurtle towards your destination, enjoying every second.

For more information visit: bonhams.com

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Exterior deck of yacht
Exterior deck of yacht

The Princess Yachts’ X95 flybridge

Antony Sheriff has transformed the fortunes of Bernard Arnault’s yachtmaker Princess, creating boats that are stylish, in demand and environmentally innovative, for a new generation of consumer. LUX gets his story
Business man on yacht

Antony Sheriff

“It’s the sports car of the range. The hull reduces drag by 30 per cent, and it has sports-car-like performance and a Pininfarina design.” Princess Yachts CEO Antony Sheriff is enthusing over a projection of the R35, his company’s cool-looking 35-foot yacht, the latest in a series of innovations he has overseen in what is fast becoming known as the most dynamic yachtmaker in the world.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

“Sometimes,” he says, “if you are doing something new and are innovating, customers don’t know what they want until you give it to them.” Sheriff has been responsible for a number of innovations at the company, which is owned by LVMH-owner Bernard Arnault through his private equity company L Catterton, both on the product side and on partnerships.

yacht bedroom

Superyacht on ocean

The stateroom (above) and exterior of X95 yacht

In 2016 he launched a collaboration with the Marine Conservation Society, aimed at helping clean up ocean plastics, conserve coral and aid the conservation of marine creatures such as turtles. The Italian-American, who in his previous job launched McLaren’s hybrid P1 hypercar as CEO of the company’s road-car division, is disarmingly straight talking. “We are an industry which makes beautiful products, but we haven’t always been that mindful of the effects they have. We wanted to do something quietly to reduce the impact of yachts on the sea.”

He says the impetus has not – yet – come from the market, but from his own initiative. “We are trying to do the right thing and would rather be on the front foot than the back foot. People enjoy yachting because of the beautiful environment, and we need to try and maintain the water in the state we found it in.”

Read more: Chelsea Barracks is redefining London’s garden squares

Sheriff says that, as with cars, the need to innovate for environmental reasons has actually ended up bringing better products to market. He points to the example of the X95, which has up to 40 per cent more space than its predecessor while using 30 per cent less fuel and matching it in performance; and the Y95, another super-slick collaboration with Italian design house Pininfarina, which seems to have taken up its unparalleled design of luxury modes of transport where it left off with Ferrari after the end of a collaboration there spanning decades.

yacht on a waterway

The R35 performance sports yacht

Sheriff is a little scathing about some of the bloated products on offer from other yachtmakers, and adds: “We are putting the elegance and refinement back in yacht design, creating yachts that look like they belong on the ocean.”

Ultimately, though, he says the biggest change during his tenure since 2016 has been the change in the nature of the consumer. “Increasingly people are buying yachts not as status symbols but as places to spend a wonderful time with family and friends. You go on a family vacation in a yacht and it’s the best vacation possible: the kids stay together with you for fantastic family time, they can’t run away to the nightclub, and you get to spend time with each other in private in a beautiful place.” And, if some of the latest Pininfarina designs continue in the same vein, on a beautiful place, too.

Find out more: princessyachts.com

This article was originally published in the Summer 2020 Issue.

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White convertible supercar on road
White convertible supercar on road

Bentley’s third generation Continental has the lot – power, handling, looks, and even a rotating display next to the dashboard

In the third and final of our supercar reviews, LUX sits at the cockpit of another super fast convertible: the Bentley Continental GTC W12

It used to be said that sitting in a Bentley was like sitting in the drawing room of a Downton Abbey-style British country house. Wood panelling, tastefully muted colours, and probably a butler with a silver tray of slightly stale sherry lurking on the back seat.

That market for Bentleys has largely died out, and, under the aegis of its German owners (the Volkswagen group), the august British company has undergone one of the most successful brand transformations in the history of the luxury industry.

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If you doubt that, just sit in the cockpit of the new Bentley Continental GTC. I did, and found myself clutching a thick, two-tone steering wheel in black and cream. All around me were acres of quilted leather, more trapezoids than I could care to count, on the seats, and inside the doors. Above the leather on the doors, black lacquered piano would give it an oriental feel, above which was beautifully burnished British walnut wood. The fusion of colours and textures extended across the whole interior, and in between me and my passenger was the most lavish centre console I have ever come across, bursting with polished buttons, dials, and traditional looking air vents; all is as beautifully put together as a Swiss watch.

The positioning of this car is perfect: to the new generation of young, swanky drivers, as likely to be wearing a Hublot or Richard Mille as a Patek Philippe the previous generation has taken care of for you, it looks contemporary, super chic, but still has a nod to its heritage.

And to those who have always driven Bentleys – hey, what’s not to like?

Red interiors of a sports car convertible

We drove the top-of-the-range 12-cylinder convertible version, and the roof zips down in a few seconds leaving you and up to three passengers exposed to the sea breeze in Malibu, Monaco, Mayfair, Macau or wherever. The car sounds wonderful, in a deep, long, slightly rheumy way: it’s somewhere in between being fierce, like a Ferrari, and silent, like a Mercedes.

Click the switch into comfort mode and it lopes along happily, but move the dial into sport mode and the car tightens up and feels like it really wants to go and play. This is a big, heavy, powerful car, not a sports car, but it is immensely fun to drive. It changes direction faithfully – better than its predecessors, which always felt a little bit heavy – communicates well, flies along as it gets going, and is generally a hoot.

Along very tight, twisty country lanes – ironically, down which many traditional Bentley owners will live – you do start to feel its size, and width. But that’s part of the Bentley experience, as you imperiously wave at other vehicles to get out of your road.

Read more: Behind the wheel of the world’s most powerful supercars part two

On more open roads, it feels perfect, wailing its way up through its revs, always smooth, never harsh or unsettled. Its four-wheel drive ensures you always feel safe, and can power out the roundabouts, even wet ones, at comical speeds. And in a straight line, it never slows down. With a top speed of over 200mph, this is the fastest convertible in the world. Just warn your passenger not to get an expensive hair makeover before you try that.

But like any Bentley, its beauty is that it is not just here to be driven hard. You can spend your life pootling around and still enjoy the car’s many assets, most notably its beautifully appointed interior, its general presence and feel. It’s as easy to drive in town as it is down the highway – particularly if you don’t live in a town with very narrow streets. The only minor flaw we could find was that very wide centre console with all its gadgets impinged slightly on knee room for the driver and the passenger. But that just made it feel even more like sitting in the first-class seat of an international airline. Not that most owners would know what that feels like – and the Continental’s interior quality is certainly up to private jet level. We like. A lot.

LUX Rating: 18.5/20

Find out more: bentleymotors.com

This article was originally published in the Spring 2020 Issue.

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red sports car shown on the road
red sports car shown on the road

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

In the second of our supercar reviews, we test drive a road-burning Italian sports car suitable for all the family: the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

One of the great conundrums for any current car enthusiast involves trying to work out why the country that produces the greatest supercars in the world has in general not produced anything nearly as outstanding to drive in the fast saloon car category.

If you’re looking for a racy two-seater, you’ll look first at Ferrari and Lamborghini. But if you want to carve similar performance and passion for four or five people, you would, in general, need to look to Germany’s Porsche, Mercedes-AMG, and BMW.

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Meanwhile, Alfa Romeo were world-beating sports cars before Ferrari was even born. Its more recent history as (largely) a maker of saloon cars has been less exciting.

Alfa’s heritage still resonates strongly: as soon as the new high-performance Giulia Quadrifoglio saloon was announced, I had texts from excited Ferrari owners wondering if they had found their next potential family runaround in this four-seater high-performance car.

We took delivery of our Giulia in Zurich. The Quadrifoglio is the high-performance version of the Alfa saloon, and the first thing to note: it looks mean. Beautiful and flamboyant alloy wheels are wrapped in Corsa racing tyres, aimed for use mainly on the track and in dry weather. The car may be a four-door saloon, but it looks like it means business. It has a wide shouldered stance, and the racy feel continues inside, where the combination of bucket seats, carbon fibre and a focused dashboard say supercar more than family car.

Interiors of sportscar

So, the Giulia QF can talk the talk, but that’s the easy part. Can it also walk the walk? We are, after all, in an era where any good family saloon/sedan is comfortable, fast and capable. Standards are high, and if you are pitching yourself as both a practical, comfortable car and a sports car, it has never been harder to be at the top of the pack.

First impressions are very racy. This is a car with steering out of a two-seater track machine, and it is extremely bracing. Every millimetre of movement of your hands translates into an equivalent change of direction from the wheels, something that does not often happen with saloon cars which tend to have a lot of safety margin to avoid inexperienced or inattentive drivers wheeling them off the road in a moment of low concentration.

Read more: Behind the wheel of the world’s most powerful supercars part one

The engine sounds glorious; it is a turbocharged V6 with a feeling of being tuned for both sound and power. In a future era where cars are electric or hydrogen powered, the melody of a Giulia QF will be sorely missed. (And before this prompts anybody to write in about greenhouse gases produced by conventionally engined cars, a proper audit of the carbon footprint of every component of an electric battery car should bring you back down to earth.)

So, sharp steering, fabulous sounding engine, fun interior – and how does it drive? The Giulia zinged down the back roads above Lake Zurich with the kind of gusto and brio missing from many of the highly capable but emotionless fast saloon cars on the road today. This is a car that, like some kind of Alpine hound, wants to sniff out twisty roads with delicious curves and power through them, challenging the driver to get everything perfect, balancing their way through the corners before powering outwards
and upwards.

It’s very fast, too – but that is really a given for this category of car, and in a straight line it is neither perceptibly slower nor faster than any of its rivals. It’s more about the way it goes about doing its business with a sense of joy.

But is there a flipside to that, in terms of comfort and practicality? The short answer is no, not really. That Giulia is a good solid motorway cruiser, perhaps not quite as magisterially comfortable as its German rivals, but certainly not flawed. The boot is big, the interior is spacious, although the ride is a little bit bumpy on the big wheels and racing tyres. If you wanted to sacrifice a bit of its alertness for more smoothness, you could swap to Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tyres, which in our experience come close to giving the best of both worlds.

But given that this is a car aimed at enthusiasts, the sharpness is really no sacrifice to make. For driving your family and friends around with a big grin on your face there really is no better alternative.

LUX Rating: 18/20

Find out more: alfaromeo.co.uk

This article was originally published in the Spring 2020 Issue.

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sports car on road at sunset
sports car on road at sunset

Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante

In the first of our supercar reviews, we take one of the world’s fastest convertibles for a spin: the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante

What is the purpose of buying an expensive fast car? The manufacturers themselves have had plenty of focus-group conversation over glasses of Krug at owner events; and so have we at our own gatherings of friends and readers.

Two-seater fast cars generally fall into one of two categories: super sports cars, created to be able to go around a racetrack as fast as possible while remaining legal and reasonably comfortable to drive on the road; and what the industry calls grand touring cars, which can be just as powerful but are biased more towards comfort, theoretically for crossing continents.

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The two categories are bound together by looks – all of these cars are designed to garner attention – and indulgent, hedonistic design. In reality, not many people use cars from either category for the purposes they were designed for. You are as unlikely to take a multi-million euro Ferrari LaFerrari on a race track as you are to test your gold Rolex Submariner at the oceanic depths for which it is designed. And if you want to cross the continent in comfort, you will jump in a jet, and ensure your car is waiting for you at the other end, rather than endure traffic jams and police speed traps.

Which brings us to the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante. This is a car that looks as exotic as it sounds: long, wide, sculpted and slightly brutal. It is not a show-off car like, for example, a Lamborghini, which is guaranteed to get the whole street looking at you; nevertheless with the primordial roar of its engine and its sheer presence on the road, it is a car that tells everybody around that you are here, and that you have made it.

Convertible car interiors

It is also the most powerful regular production Aston Martin, a significant statistic in itself. Get in and steer it down the road, and it doesn’t feel quite as wild as the horsepower figure, which at 715 is around five times that of the average car, might suggest. The steering is superb, with feel and sharpness. Some cars in this category have so much engineering to manage their enormous performance, that the sensations of driving are dulled. Not in the Aston, the noise and handling of which immediately let you know that you are driving something very special. It feels sharper, more alive, and more connected than the previous generations of powerful Aston two-seaters, while remaining comfortable and civilised enough not to shake you around, and that alone should guarantee it some loyal customers trading up.

Read more: Gaggenau presents new series of super-sleek combi-steam ovens

But it is also very much a grand touring car. You don’t feel that every prod on the accelerator will send you hurtling over the horizon and off the edge of the world, as is the case with some supercars these days. The DBS works through its rev range a bit more like a V12 engine of old, gaining speed with momentum, despite having distinctly new tech using turbochargers to aid its power delivery. To appreciate what you can do properly, you need a long stretch of road, ideally with a Mediterranean beach café at the end. Put your foot down, feel the car gathering pace relentlessly as the engine sears towards its redline. It’s a supremely satisfying feeling, and slightly old school with its delayed gratification. It is not a car that tries to handle like a go-kart with a rocket on it. Its pleasures need discovering slowly. But it certainly has a hard, supercar edge to it.

Nobody buys one of these for comfort and practicality, but it does reasonably well on both. There is plenty of space for two in the front, and some shopping bags on the back seats; only a masochist would want to actually sit in the back, although we did fit one teenager in with their legs across both back seats and the roof down. They had a whale of a time.

In an era where cars, even at the very high end, have never been better, but also have never been more similar in terms of engines and general engineering, the Superleggera Volante (Volante just means convertible in Aston speak) has two things that make it distinctive: character and class. You can buy faster cars for the money, and flashier cars, but James Bond circa 1966, teleported to today, would recognise immediately that he was driving an Aston as soon as he shut the door and hit the start button. Priceless.

LUX Rating: 18.5/20

Find out more: astonmartin.com

This article was originally published in the Spring 2020 Issue.

 

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Man in a suit standing next to a red ferrari sportscar
Detail shot of a sports watch with black and red watch face

The Hublot Classic Fusion Ferrari GT 3D

No detail is small enough to escape Ferrari designer Flavio Manzoni’s razor-sharp focus. Rachael Taylor discovers how his expertise in supercar design lends itself masterfully to the Hublot and Ferrari watch collaboration

In the Ferrari Maranello plant in northern Italy, you will often find Flavio Manzoni and his team convening at a ten-metre-tall LED wall display. The images they’re looking at are often enormously scaled-up photographs of the miniscule parts of a Ferrari engine or exterior. The extreme magnification is used to perfect infinitesimal details you might never notice should you take the car for a spin. And this, says Manzoni, is the essence of luxury design.

“The luxury of a Ferrari is more a consequence than an objective,” says Manzoni, the car manufacturer’s senior vice president of design, who this year accepted the Red Dot Design Team of the Year award. “There are two perspectives [of design]. One is from the distance, where you see the whole harmony of the object. The other is with the lens, when you magnify every element and put a lot of art into every single detail.”

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Focusing on each and every element – no matter how small – and making sure that it not only performs brilliantly, but is also aesthetically exciting, is what makes Ferrari cars among the most sought-after, and expensive, in the world. It is also this zoomed-in approach to design that has made the switch to designing watches a seamless transition for Manzoni.

Manzoni joined Ferrari in 2010. The following year, he was working on a top-secret project for the company’s first hybrid sportscar, LaFerrari, when he was also brought in to oversee the development of a watch in collaboration with Swiss atelier Hublot. He kicked off their first meeting with a rejection.

Man in a suit standing next to a red ferrari sportscar

Award-winning designer Flavio Manzoni has been with Ferrari since 2010

“At the beginning, their idea was to propose some concepts to us,” says Manzoni. “They wanted to draw inspiration from the central shape of a Ferrari, the dynamic shape, but my idea was to avoid that because it makes no sense to give an aerodynamic shape to a watch.”

Instead, he wanted the Hublot team to look beyond the obvious and dive deep with him into the romance of the details. “I tried to guide the research towards the technical beauty of certain mechanical components of a Ferrari, like the engine for example.”

Luxury watch product image in black and gold

Hublot Classic Fusion Ferrari GT King Gold

Product image shot of a luxury watch

Hublot Techframe Ferrari Tourbillon Chronograph

The result – the Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari watch – was spectacular. A tapered, angular case covered entirely with sapphire crystal, showed off the inner workings of an unusual movement, with the time displayed on off-centre cylinders rather than hands. In place of the traditional flat cogs and springs, an industrial-looking central column of gleaming aluminium barrels gave the impression of a watch that revs rather than ticks. Being Ferrari, performance excellence was important too, and a super- charged power reserve function was created that allowed the mechanical tourbillon watch to carry on ticking off the wrist for what was, at the time, a record 50 days. “I think they attract customers because of their uniqueness,” says Manzoni of the Hublot Ferrari watches, which he believes appeal to a much wider audience than the Ferrari fan base. “They speak out from the mass in the field of watchmaking because they are different. We try to use an out-of-the box approach, which comes from the attitude that we have towards our cars.”

Read more: Rockstar turned designer Lenny Kravtiz on champagne and creativity

It has been eight years since Hublot and Ferrari first joined forces, and Manzoni and his team have very much taken control of the design process. They select which movements to build around, and work up 3D models of prospective timepieces before presenting the concepts to Hublot. Each watch produced (using that same digital ‘wall’ for extreme close ups) continues to focus on the details of Ferraris – the ceramic carbon brake discs, the peccary leather seats – and often uses the same materials that are lavished on the supercars. No flourish is too small to champion, and it gives the team a platform to celebrate much-considered elements of the cars that might otherwise be overlooked simply as pleasant minutiae.

Black watch pictured on a red background

The limited edition Scuderia Ferrari 90th Anniversary Platinum and 3D Carbon watch

This year, Scuderia Ferrari is celebrating 90 years of making supercars, and to celebrate, three Hublot Ferrari watches have been released to mark its past, present and future. Each a twist on Hublot’s popular Big Bang model, the trio of timepieces are all powered by a UNICO movement with a flyback chronograph that offers a 72-hour power reserve and are anchored with bezels cut from the same ceramic carbon that helps Ferrari’s cars to screech to a halt.

Man in a suit standing by an abstract artworkThe first watch in the series recalls long- past glory days with a brushed platinum case to echo the dashboards of classic Scuderia Ferrari models, as well as a leather strap and bright-yellow markers and hands to bring to mind old-fashioned speedometers. The model celebrating the here and now does so with a 3D carbon case and a strap made from Nomex, the fire-resistant material Ferrari drivers rely on to keep their suits from going up in flames.

The third watch, the one that nods towards what Ferraris might look like in the future, uses sapphire crystal to create a see-through case that exposes its inner workings. The futurist aesthetic is continued with a strap made from Kevlar, a composite material that Ferrari uses to protect its carbon-fibre chassis from stones spraying up from the road.

The latest automotive launch from Ferrari is the SF90 Stradale hybrid, an evolution of the LaFerrari that inspired that first Hublot Ferrari watch. So are we likely to see this latest model transformed into a wrist-ready format? “I don’t think that there will be a literal translation, but for sure there will be some inspiration,” muses Manzoni, who never feels bound to tie the latest watches into the latest cars. “It’s always nice to create cultural bridges between different disciplines.”

Discover Hublot’s collections: hublot.com

This article was originally published in the Autumn 19 Issue.

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Yellow Ferrari sports car pictured in the desert

Yellow Ferrari sports car pictured in the desert

LUX Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai tries out Michelin’s supercar tyres on his Ferrari 430 Spider to see whether they’re worth the investment

Tyres are a curiously under-explored subject when it comes to supercar optimisation and maintenance. You can have conversations all day long with fellow owners about filters, suspension geometry, engine remapping, and other arcane elements of your car’s construction that might add fractions of a second to your lap time on a circuit.

But conversations about the patches of rubber that actually transmit all the power, and handling, from the car to the road and vice versa, are frequently limited to the very basics. How big are your wheels? How wide are your tires? Are they okay to drive when they have a certain amount of tread left, or a certain age?

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But tyres are, as any Formula One driver knows, far more important than that. Not only are they the only point of contact between your car and the road, they also elements of your car that will never, ever be made by the manufacturer of your car. You may have a Ferrari, a McLaren, or a Lamborghini, but your tyres will always be made by third-party manufacturers.

Each manufacturer has a range of tyres optimised for types of car and driving. My Ferraris were all supplied with Pirelli P Zero tyres, with the owners’ handbooks stating that these and similar Michelin and Bridgestone tyres were all officially approved. Owners’ forums, meanwhile, were full of discussion about the latest range of Michelin tyres for supercars, the Pilot Sport 4S.

Product image of the Michelin PS4S tyres

Michelin PS4S tyres

Of all my Ferraris, there is one model that has become my car of choice for a sunny, weekend high-speed drive in the countryside. The 430 Spider is the last of the line in a significant way. Certain model lines of Ferrari are celebrated for their ‘mid engines’, meaning the engine is located just behind the driver’s head, rather than under the front bonnet. They are also celebrated for their “gated manual” gearshift: a metal manual gear-lever which moves around a race-style bar metal gate, a work of art in itself. The 430 Spider is the last, and most modern, Ferrari that combines these two attributes; all mid-engined Ferraris since then have been made only with paddle-style gearshifts by the steering wheel, and no clutch pedals, like an automatic.

So the 430 Spider is a piece of history, and quite rare: a few hundred were made in right-hand drive. And it’s also tremendous fun to drive, combining a 485hp engine behind your head, no roof, sharp handling, and the opportunity to shift gear yourself. There was nothing wrong with the way it drove on its Pirelli tyres, in fact it was quite thrilling, but I decided to swap over to the new Michelins to see if they made any difference.

Read more: Investigating Vincent van Gogh’s iconic masterpiece

First thing to notice: the car rides appreciably more smoothly on the new tyres. Lumps in the road that formerly jarred now only bump. But you don’t buy a Ferrari for its comfortable ride.

Yellow sports car driving along a desert road

Going for an enthusiastic drive, the improvements made themselves known more subtly. Previously, turning into a corner, the car felt sharp, but now that sharpness, and feel, was there all the way through each curve. It was as if there was a new channel of communication open with the road. Push harder around the corner, and the feel increased: you had a stronger sense of what the car was doing.

Modern Ferraris have a switch on the steering wheel that allows you to flick between driving modes; the F430 was the first to have this, and for enthusiastic driving I switch mine to Race. This sharpens up responses and also means the car is allowed to slide around a bit when you are driving at its limit, before the electronic systems (usually) catch the car. Pushing on, in Race mode, the car now feels more adhesive at the limit – it simply feels like it sticks to the road more. It’s not a transformation – the car always had superb roadholding – but now you feel more on the way, and can stay gripping the road longer.

Read more: 6 mountain restaurants to stir your soul this summer

I haven’t tested another of the PS4S’s supposed attributes, its wet weather grip, because I don’t take my car out in the wet; and hope not to test another of its noted qualities, its performance under emergency braking.

Normally, performance and comfort in tyres are in inverse proportion: the more comfortable the tyre, the less suited to high-speed driving, and vice versa. The PS4S (not to be confused with another Michelin tyre, the less sporty PS4) manages somehow to combine both. In terms of investing in an upgrade in your car: if you have a car worth £150,000 (or euros, or dollars) or more, spending around 1% of that on a set of new Pilot Sport 4S tyres might just be the smartest investment you make.

Find out more at michelin.com and ferrari.com

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Classic car driving along a country road in the French countryside
Classic car driving along a country road in the French countryside

A Porsche passes through Aix-en- Provence in the Rallye des Princesses

Ferraris! France! Finish lines! Equal parts grit and glamour, the Rallye des Princesses is a female-only classic car race with challenging conditions by day and champagne soirées come nightfall. Ahead of this year’s event, Laura Archer speaks to the founder Viviane Zaniroli

Kate Moss zooming along the Cotswolds country lanes in her vintage Porsche 911S, Jodie Kidd finishing the Mille Miglia in a Jaguar XK120, Kendall Jenner cruising around Hollywood in a 1965 Mustang… When it comes to classic cars, who says boys have all the fun? Women are getting in on the action more than ever – the percentage of women buying classic cars is rising year on year – but this isn’t just about something that looks good on the driveway: this is about the art of driving, the love of the open road, the thrill of the race. And for these women, there’s no greater expression of this art than the Rallye des Princesses Richard Mille, which this year celebrates its 20th edition.

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Spanning 1,000 miles from Paris to the south of France, and spread over five days, the female-only Rallye des Princesses Richard Mille has become synonymous with excellence in the sport. “It is a mix of precision, prestige and conviviality,” says Viviane Zaniroli, who founded the Rallye in 1999. Don’t let the name fool you; this is no jolly jaunt through pretty scenery. The Rallye is a challenging and often technical race, and counts the likes of Caroline Bugatti and the daughters of six-times Le Mans champion Jacky Ickx, Vanina and Larissa, among its alumni. “The challenge is to drive a classic car, which does not have all the comforts like power steering that we are used to these days, on small, sinuous roads, without getting lost,” Zaniroli explains. Competitors are tasked with following complex navigation instructions, only provided shortly before setting off in the morning, in order to complete a set daily distance, all the while maintaining strict average speed times – simply flooring it isn’t an option. “And even though it takes place in June, the weather can be bad,” Zaniroli adds. Indeed – last year’s race was beset with storms, leading to anecdotes of coaxing Ferraris through floods, nudging Bentleys around hairpin bends in torrential rain, and steering Lamborghinis past landslides.

Rallye Des Princesses Richard Mille starting line

The start of the Rallye in the Place de Vendôme in Paris

Two women celebrating with glasses of champagne hanging out of a car window

Competitors celebrate a stage during the race

If this all sounds rather like too much grit and nowhere near enough glam, fear not. After a long and bone-aching day behind the wheel, the participants relax in four- and five-star hotels, regaling each other with stories from the road at cocktail parties and gala dinners. This is one car race where evening gowns are an essential piece of kit. And of course, when the weather is rather more clement, it’s hard to beat the thrill of putting the top down, changing up through the gears and feeling the car respond as you hug the roads winding through the beautiful heartland of France.

Two women dressed in matching outfits holding a rabbit teddyGiven this, it’s little wonder that the number of participants has tripled since the Rallye’s inception, with 90 teams taking part last year, more than half of which were first-time entrants. “I wanted to show that women liked to be behind the wheel of beautiful cars and experience a competition full of challenges,” says Zaniroli of the inspiration behind the event. “Women perfectly understood the concept, loved it and spread the word.” She says that competitors come from all walks of life; most are normal women “with kids and a busy job. They want to let go of the routine for a unique week. They want to experience a one-of-a-kind adventure – it’s thanks to their passion and enthusiasm that the rally became so famous and praised.”

Read more: Island life at the luxury resort of Baha Mar

It wasn’t always this way, however. Since the second world war, the number of women involved in motorsports has declined and in recent years it has become almost exclusively male, with a somewhat gentleman’s club vibe – think, for example, of Formula 1 with its podium girls. “At the beginning, the Rallye had to prove its worth and differentiate itself to exist in a very masculine automotive environment,” says Zaniroli. “That is why, in order to immediately assert its [authority] and find its place, we wanted it to be sporty, demanding and festive at the same time.”

birds-eye photograph of the Place de Vendôme

The Place de Vendôme in Paris where the Rallye begins

Classic car driving along a mountain road

The route below Courchevel

No easy task, but it’s one that Zaniroli and her team have pulled off, an achievement cemented by the endorsement of big-name brands such as Richard Mille, which in 2019 marks its fifth consecutive year as a partner. “Its departure from Place Vendôme in Paris, the finish at the Place des Lices in Saint-Tropez and the presence of dedicated partners like Richard Mille have built its prestige and made it a ‘haute couture’ rally,” says Zaniroli. But her motivation for running the event is not about international acclaim but something rather more personal. “When a woman subscribes to the Rallye des Princesses, their worry is often whether they will be able to do well and represent their team and the classic car they drive – a woman often questions her abilities,” Zaniroli reflects. “I promise them that they will make it, that they will surpass themselves, and on top of that they will make meaningful relationships. On the final line, their joy and pride are always the best reward, for them as well as for me.”

Given such support and camaraderie, it’s no wonder that competitors in the Rallye des Princesses feel like royalty. And although the event is in its 20th year, it shows no signs of hitting the brakes. After 2018’s Biarritz finish, this year it returns to Saint-Tropez, following the historical route that links Paris to the Cote d’Azur. There’s a new challenge for competitors – the Saint-Tropez Grand Prix, a new stage that takes drivers to the Var region inland, punctuated by three regularity zones. “Today, the rally has reached its cruising speed,” says Zaniroli. “We are contemplating varying the route every other year in order to visit other French regions, and we would also like to develop it internationally.” If that happens – and given Zaniroli’s drive and passion, there’s no reason to think otherwise – the Rallye des Princesses’ future success is assured. Ladies, start your engines.

Rallye des Princesses 2019 runs from 1 to 6 June. For more information visit: zaniroli.com/en/rallye-des-princesses/

This article was originally published in the Summer 19 Issue.

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Reading time: 5 min
Architectural render of a public space and contemporary apartment buildings
Architectural render of a public space and contemporary apartment buildings

Exterior render of the new One Monte-Carlo residences in Monaco

The new One Monte-Carlo development could just be the swankiest place in the world for you to hang out with your money, your trophy spouse, and your Ferrari

Wander to your living room window, glass of Cristal in hand, open the balcony door and step out into a view of the Casino de Monte-Carlo, and beyond it, the Mediterranean. Feel the need for an emergency handbag? No problem, a flagship Louis Vuitton is just downstairs.

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Welcome to One Monte-Carlo. To call the development, created by Richard Rogers, the celebrated British architect, and Bruno Moinard, ‘interior architect’ to the stars, lavish would be a dramatic understatement. Built next to the Hôtel de Paris on Casino Square, and opened amid much champagne this spring, One M-C bring new heights of extravagance to a principality not exactly unknown for its swanky places for you and your money to live.

Architectural render of apartment building and courtyard

Render of One M-C residences and public space

Luxury apartment interiors decorated in neutral colours with wooden floors

Architectural render of a luxurious marble bathroom

Designed by Richard Rogers, One Monte Carlo houses 37 luxury apartments and dozens of retail stores

Moinard, responsible for the contemporary yet warm interiors of luxury temples such as the Plaza Athénée and Château Latour, tells LUX that, “in line with the vision of Monaco’s future, we used materials that give life and humanity to this exceptional project”. Combined with Rogers’ curvaceous forms, this gives One M-C a sense of the mountains overlooking the city. Some of the principality’s bland 1960s apartment blocks must now be feeling ashamed of themselves.

The catch? You can never own in One M-C: the apartments are available for long-term rental only, and most have already been snapped up. Worth selling your LaFerrari for a year’s rental? We would.

Find out more: montecarlosbm.com/en/hotel-monaco/residences

This article was originally published in the Summer 19 Issue

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Vintage photograph of Jack Heuer of TAG Heuer swiss watches greeting Enzo Ferrari seated at a table
Vintage photograph of Jack Heuer of TAG Heuer swiss watches greeting Enzo Ferrari seated at a table

Enzo Ferrari (seated) being greeted by Jack Heuer in 1974

Famed for its relationships with key drivers in the 1960s and its innovation with the Ferrari F1 team in the 1970s, TAG Heuer is now working with Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing. Jason Barlow explores the Swiss brand’s new world of creative horological engineering

The firepower in a Formula One team isn’t solely derived from the car’s hybrid powertrain or its drivers. Alongside arguably the hottest young talent on the grid, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing has established a formidable array of partners. Prominent amongst these are two names that combine contemporary global brand equity but also pulse with historical resonance: Aston Martin and TAG Heuer. For students of such things, this triumvirate is one of the most powerful in world sport.

The first fruit of the relationship is a beautiful Carrera Calibre Heuer 01 chronograph, the Aston Martin Special Edition, whose dial is skeletonised by a pattern of hexagons that delivers an aesthetic parallel to the distinctive design language used on the latest Aston Martin Vantage, while a black brushed-ceramic tachymeter bezel and PVD-treated case with a sapphire window to view the movement bring TAG Heuer’s signature design features to the fore. (The collaboration has also yielded a second watch, the more affordable Formula 1 chronograph.)

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These are exciting times for Aston Martin and new avenues are opening with bespoke collaborations with iconic brands such as Red Bull Racing and TAG Heuer. Formula One offers the ultimate global stage to build awareness of the carmaker’s brand and the relationship with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing has created the revolutionary hypercar, the Aston Martin Valkyrie.

TAG Heuer timepieces shown in the cockpit of a racing car

The Tag Heuer Formula 1 Aston Martin Racing Special Edition watches in the cockpit of a 2018 Aston Martin Vantage

Of course, cars and watches are a pairing that, if not as old as time itself, certainly go right back to the earliest days of the automobile. What is a chronograph if not a technically complex machine strapped to your wrist? In a watch with a fine mechanical movement, the interaction between the tiny chains, gearwheels and axles (or arbors) operates with the same sort of thrilling alchemy that you find in an internal combustion engine. Some of the techniques go much further back in time, and by a considerable margin: the fusee, a conical device which reduces inconsistencies in the mechanism’s torque curve, can be spotted in the drawings of Renaissance designers and artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Filippo Brunelleschi.

Mounted timepiece by Edouard Heuer

Edouard Heuer’s dashboard-mounted Time of Trip chronograph first made in 1911

Motor racing is obviously a rather more recent phenomenon, and although other brands have worked the angles, TAG Heuer was the first to make the connection. Edouard Heuer’s dashboard-mounted Time of Trip chronograph, designed for use in cars and biplanes, appeared in 1911. In 1916, the Mikrograph arrived, a stopwatch with the ability to measure time to an unheard of one hundredth of a second. The expertise of the Heuer Watch Company soon extended to other big sporting events, including the Olympics, and by 1958 it had unveiled the Rally-Master, a dual-face device which featured a Master Time eight-day clock and a Monte Carlo stopwatch. Star drivers had also begun to appreciate the wristwatch as an appropriate accessory, and Juan Manuel Fangio was an early adopter.

But it was during the 1960s that the story intensifies, particularly when it comes to the Carrera names, originally derived from the legendary, and frequently deadly, 1950s Mexican road race, the Carrera Panamericana. Jack Heuer, Edouard’s grandson, takes up the tale:

Portrait of watchmaker Jack Heuer of Swiss brand TAG Heuer

Jack Heuer

“I first heard about the Carrera from Pedro Rodríguez at the 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race,” he recalls. “The officials were members of SCCA [Sports Car Club of America], voluntary guys, and I supplied them with their timing equipment.” Heuer was busy developing the world’s first self-winding chronograph at the time (the Calibre 11 automatic chronograph would arrive in 1969) and was searching for the right way to promote its new creations. “We were too small to go full blast with big advertising worldwide,” Heuer told me. “So I said, maybe we should try PR.”

This was a master-stroke, as it turns out. “The Rodríguez brothers were racing with Ferrari, and they were still so young they were travelling with their parents. Pedro and his brother Ricardo were two of the fastest, smartest and bravest endurance drivers of all time. To hear them talk of the Carrera made my imagination soar. Just the sound of the name itself – elegant, dynamic, easily pronounced in all languages – was charged with emotion. I thought, that’s a good name for a watch.”

Read more: Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst on the art x technology revolution

Porsche, of course, had been using the name on model derivatives since 1955, and it was one of the company’s drivers, Jo Siffert – also known as ‘Seppi’ – who really established the Heuer name in motorsport. The son of a poor Swiss farmer, Siffert hustled his way into F1, and signed a deal with Heuer in 1969 to become the company’s official brand ambassador. Significantly, this was the first non-automotive personal sponsorship deal in F1 history.

Siffert had been a Heuer fan for years and was even buying watches at cost price and then selling them to his colleagues in the pit lane. Though more closely associated with Heuer’s Autavia chronograph – colloquially known as the ‘Siffert’ by its many fans – it was his partnership with Porsche in the world sports car championship that secured Siffert’s legendary status, but also granted Heuer’s Carrera and Monaco chronographs the untouchable status they still enjoy 50 years later amongst racing and watch fans.

Steve McQueen as a racing driver in the 1971 film Le Mans

Classic style watch with black strap and silver square face

Top: Steve McQueen in the film ‘Le Mans’ in 1971. Here: the Heuer Monaco watch the actor is wearing

There is another factor we can’t overlook, however, one that’s reeling in a new generation of clients who have probably never heard of Jo Siffert. They all know the movie star Steve McQueen, however. In 1970 he was at the height of his box-office powers, and McQueen embarked on a passion project that was an ode to the famous French endurance race, the Le Mans 24 hours. The actor had first met Siffert at the Sebring 12 hours race in 1970. Along with Derek Bell, Siffert had been hired to teach McQueen how to drive a Porsche 917K for his role in the film Le Mans (1971), and although the prop master had already approached Jack Heuer about supplying watches for the film, Seppi happened to be wearing one of his anyway – a Monaco. When the film’s director, Lee H. Katzin, urged McQueen to finalise his character’s appearance, he replied, “I want to look like Jo, because he’s a real racer, a real pro”.

McQueen, the Heuer Monaco and Le Mans: it’s the gift that keeps on giving. But at least it was real, as Bell remembers. “I thought Steve drove very well. In fact, he was probably better than we all realised. He was driving that Porsche 917 around Le Mans, after all, pretty much flat out down the Mulsanne Straight, and people were scared of that car. I don’t recall him even testing it beforehand. It really was a hell of an era.”

Read more: Why now is the time to go to Sabi Sabi, South Africa

Bell continues, “I suspect he’d find the mythology that has grown around him hilarious. He was so laid back, there was no sense of the superstar thing, and that’s what came across to us the whole way through. He didn’t want to be an actor, he wanted to be a racing driver. Every spare moment he had, he’d sit with us.”

Jack Heuer, meanwhile, didn’t rest. In 1973, he did a deal with the biggest motorsport name of all, Enzo Ferrari, becoming the Scuderia’s official time-keeper, both in Formula One but also at the then recently constructed Fiorano circuit. New track-side photo cells combined with a device called the Le Mans Heuer Centigraph gave Enzo Ferrari the edge he was so adept at finding.

“Our agreement with Ferrari was key, because it is still the biggest marketing coup we ever made,” Jack Heuer says. “Ferrari was a myth and still is. I was the same age as Enzo’s lost son Dino, and I just seemed to connect with him. He was a great salesman, though, and a ferocious negotiator. He would always push for more than we could really deliver. We supplied engraved watches to all of Ferrari’s drivers in that period. It was a fantastic time.”

And a pioneering one, too. Whether by accident or design, TAG Heuer’s motorsport roots run deep, and they run true. Quite simply, it’s why we love their watches. The alignment with Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing promises to put the brand right back at the sharp end of the grid once again.

Discover the collection: tagheuer.com

British model Cara Delevingne sits on mound of earth in the African bush wearing all black for TAG Heuer campaign

TAG Heuer brand ambassador Cara Delevingne on set in South Africa for TAG’s latest campaign

Don’t Crack Under Pressure

British model and brand ambassador Cara Delevingne  travelled to the South African savannah for TAG Heuer’s latest campaign. Working with Kevin Richardson, nicknamed ‘The Lion Whisperer’ for his unique relationship with the predators, the shoot required Cara to pose for the camera while a male lion approached in the background — truly testing the brand’s ‘Don’t Crack Under Pressure’ motto. “There isn’t any human or animal on this planet that hasn’t felt pressured,” comments Cara. “Pressure doesn’t have to be a bad thing… it’s how you work under that circumstance.”

Still, working with wild animals isn’t without its dangers. Photographer David Yarrow shot from inside a cage, whilst Cara was called back to safety each time the lion came too close, allowing only a few seconds for each shot. The result is a series of strikingly raw monochrome images, one of which was auctioned off for £120,000 with the proceeds being donated to the Cara Delevingne Foundation, which supports young woman all over the world. “In this visual, Cara is shown as powerful, courageous, audacious and commanding of respect,” says Jean-Claude Biver, TAG Heuer’s CEO. “I hope her attitude and engagement with her foundation will inspire many around her to do things differently, to innovate, to take risks.”

Watch behind-the-scenes footage from the campaign:

Millie Walton

This article was originally published in the Winter 2019 issue.

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Reading time: 9 min
Hublot brand ambassador Usain Bolt poses in front of textured wall
Hublot Big Bang special edition watch with red and gold striped strap

The Big Bang Unico Teak Italia Independent, only 100 of which were made

Hublot is fusing smart technology with sleek design to enthral a new generation of customers. Jason Barlow reports

Hublot is enjoying a renaissance. A renaissance that began with four weeks in the global spotlight this June, its prominence during the most compelling football World Cup in a generation exposing this most quixotic of watch brands to a huge new audience.

Inspiring an allegiance between a brand and a client is way more complicated than simply (expensively) forging a partnership with the world’s biggest football tournament, Formula One, or any number of individual ambassadors. Clearly, it helps. But it also helps when the brand in question has something genuinely interesting to say. There are lodestar names in the world of haute horology – Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet – and there are arrivistes, upstarts. Too many to name, in fact, and each freighted with a different set of promises. But certain attributes rise above the rest. Innovation. An engineered aestheticism. Authenticity. This last one is a cornerstone of the entire luxury edifice, and takes time to establish.

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Some get there with incredible rapidity: to take an example from a parallel world, Bugatti began making cars in 1909, artisanal Italian supercar maker Pagani only in 1992. The latter’s cars are the Fabergé eggs of the automotive sphere, precious beyond belief, Pagani’s connection with its clients the ne plus ultra of the car world. Or think of the Marchesi Antinori winery, whose classic Chianti production spans an incredible 26 generations, all the way back to 1385. An astonishing HQ in Bargino, Tuscany, acts as a temple to Antinori’s status and relentless ambition.

LVMH watch bosses Ricardo Guadalupe and Jean-Claude Biver

Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe and Jean- Claude Biver, head of watchmaking at LVMH

Hublot made its debut in 1980, but has navigated its way to a position of formidable brand power. In 2017, it enjoyed a record year, with a growth in sales of 12 percent, against an industry-wide backdrop of reduced revenues. How has it achieved this? CEO Ricardo Guadalupe’s approach is a fascinating one to dissect. “At Hublot, we strive to have technology at the service of the aesthetics,” he explains. “For us, it is not a battle but a right mix to find.”

I ask Guadalupe to delineate the brand’s ambassador strategy.

“Firstly, we go where our clients are! We continuously focus on our customers, we elaborate our partnerships in accordance with the interests of our clients, to better suit their needs and their expectations. Football, cars, art and music are such areas where our customers are.

Read more: Moynat unveils new collection of bags in London

“We are partnered with FIFA and UEFA, which are the two most important organisations in the football universe. And with Ferrari, which is certainly the most famous car brand in the world. We do things
according to our motto: ‘First, unique, different.’ When entering a new partnership, we always research to fuse our world with that of the ambassadors. What is important is that the potential ambassador is already a Hublot client and that he/she loves the brand. This really matters for us.”

Hublot brand ambassador Usain Bolt poses in front of textured wall

Brand ambassador Usain Bolt

It’s sometimes tempting to think that many high-end brands are 70 percent marketing confections, 30 percent watch. Tuning this approach with the right sensitivity and science is something Guadalupe and his team are acutely aware of.

“We try to have the same strategy for all the countries in order to allow everybody to be part of the Hublot world,” he says. “But of course, we have some differences and some specificities for some markets. In China, we do not do print advertising, only digital. We also stage events around our boutiques or around the department stores where we are present. We have some ambassadors linked to their country: [pianist] Lang Lang is known all around the world but in China he is even more than a superstar.

“Our prices start from about £3,000 and we have a large selection at different prices. It means every person with a budget for a luxury watch can find his or her Hublot timepiece. Besides, we indeed think that we sell a dream, but it is not necessarily the most expensive watch. It is just about the emotion the client shares with their watch.”

Hublot's world cup watch in collaboration with FIFA

The Big Bang Referee watch, to coincide with the 2018 World Cup

Entry points are moot. When former CEO of Hublot Jean-Claude Biver (now head of watchmaking at LVMH, to whom he sold the brand in 2008) decided to lower the barriers to TAG Heuer ownership to bring in the next generation of customers, it risked diluting its appeal to older, wealthier, arguably more discerning clients. Here, too, is another link with luxury brands beyond the watch world, and it had to be done. Ask any CEO in the automotive sector to outline the challenges they face, and high on the list will be reaching millennials. They simply don’t have the same relationship with cars that their parents did, partly because connectivity means something very different in 2018 than it did in 1988. The smartphone is the device that conquered the world, not always beneficently. So, how does Hublot tackle this challenge?

“As in the car, your first watch cannot be a Hublot,” Biver says in his typically forthright way. “You need some culture and knowledge, and most importantly you probably need to buy first one or two ‘classic’ or ‘traditional’ watches, before being ready for a disruptif and fusion watch.”

And what of the threat posed by so-called smart watches? Here, surely, is the item craved by millennials, at the expense of traditional watch-making.

“I am fully aligned with Mr Biver’s view,” says Guadalupe. “Smart watches should be considered as an advantage for the Swiss watchmaking industry because they conquer the wrist of people who weren’t wearing any watch. Moreover, one day, those young clients will also be interested in owning a piece of art on their wrist – and this is what we do.”

Watchmaker in Hublot workshop

Hublot watches are still made in Switzerland

tattoo artist Maxime Büchi standing in front of a wall marked with Hublot logos

The brand collaborated with tattoo artist Maxime Büchi

Guadalupe also believes that Hublot’s very youth permits the disruption desiderated by so many brands, including some heritage names. It also liberates Hublot from the urge to simply reboot past successes. Instead of yet another tribute to something, he’s more interested in using new material, such as ceramic or sapphire. The partnership with Ferrari is emblematic of this approach: Hublot’s Techframe imports Ferrari’s expertise in advanced materials, to thrilling effect – how does titanium, King Gold or PEEK (polyether ether ketone) sound? Working with Italia Independent’s Lapo Elkann also maximises
the opportunity for what the fabulously flamboyant scion of the Agnelli family calls ‘contamination’. Tattoo artist Maxime Büchi has worked wonders there.

Read more: Château Mouton Rothschild supports restoration of Versailles

But back to connectivity, and Hublot’s unique manifestation of the concept.

“We created our first connected watch, the Big Bang Referee 2018 FIFA World Cup, as it was a specific need expressed by FIFA,” says Guadalupe. “Wanting a customised watch for the referees, FIFA asked Hublot to conceive the perfect watch to accompany them on the pitch during matches.

“Moreover, it was not possible to have all the necessary information on a mechanical watch, that is why we did a connected one. Nevertheless, it has all the attributes of the iconic Big Bang. Its emblematic architecture cut out of the lightness of titanium, its bezel decorated with six H-shaped screws, its Kevlar insert. Even the display on its analogue mode dial could pass for the same aesthetic as that of the automatic models. It is certainly a connected watch, but it is first and foremost a Hublot watch.”

Launch of Hublot's digital boutique in New York

Hublot’s ‘digital boutique’ launch in New York

Two other over-arching trends can’t be ignored. Firstly, does the resurgence of interest in ‘analogue’ – more vinyl records were sold in 2017 than any year since 1988 – favour Hublot?

“I think we must combine the two together,” says Guadalupe. “Digital is important and we must be into it if we want to keep in the era of time, but at Hublot, we keep thinking that it is important to merge tradition and innovation. It is not because we created a connected watch that we are forgetting the past. A key of our success is we are able to find the good balance between those elements.”

The other is the rise of ‘experiential luxury’, the realm that exists beyond the mere act of acquisition. This is a major preoccupation in the luxury world.

“Hublot is aware that the key asset of an excellent customer relationship is based on trust, availability and flexibility,” says Guadalupe. “We have innovatively imagined a ‘virtual’ digital boutique that perfectly complements the role and presence of its physical boutiques around the world. By remotely offering its customers 3D-facilitated access to its products, knowledge and knowhow, Hublot is successfully creating a new bespoke customer service, and preserving the essential denominator of any relationship – that is to say the human connection. It is a new customer experience that is beginning in the United States before being rolled out across the entire world.”

Hublot’s moment looks set to continue.

Discover Hublot’s collections: hublot.com

This article originally appeared in the LUX Beauty Issue. Click here to view more content from the issue.

 

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Reading time: 8 min
Maroon Maserati GranTurismo sportscar pictured on a drive in the woods
Maroon Maserati GranTurismo sportscar pictured on a drive in the woods

The Maserati MY18 GranTurismo MC is a candidate for the most beautiful car on the road

We take the Maserati MY18 GranTurismo MC on a road-trip through France to test for comfort, power and satisfaction

Focus groups, aerodynamics, safety laws – there are a lot of elements to blame for the standardisation of today’s car designs. A room full of cars from the 1960s is a panoply of distinctive, flamboyant creations. As we approach 2020, a common critique is that often you can’t tell one car brand from another.

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Which gave us particular joy as we bowled through the French countryside in the Maserati MY18 GranTurismo MC. The car’s sweeping curves look stunning – it is a candidate for the most beautiful car on the road – and its engine, derived from Ferrari’s V8 engine which powered the 430 and 458 supercars, sounds wonderful – in fact, Maserati have coaxed an even better sound out of its version than Ferrari did from theirs. There’s a long, hollow bellow every time you even think about accelerating.

The GranTurismo wants to be everything: it sounds like a Ferrari, but the suggestion that it’s a ‘Grand Touring’ car means it also wishes to be a laid-back cruiser across continents, and that’s exactly what we used it for.

Black interiors and steering wheel of the Maserati GranTurismo

The ambience inside the car is exactly right

It’s certainly never dull. Whether flying out of a toll booth or opening up after leaving the confines of a village, it emits a rising series of gurgles and roars that signal its enthusiasm for gaining speed. ‘MC Stradale’ signifies Maserati’s most sporting setup, and, with the suspension in its firmest mode, it corners flat and fast, although drivers of Ferraris would wish for more feedback from the steering and the chassis. It’s rapid and secure, but perhaps less of a sports car than you might expect, the long nose and overall weight making you remember you are in what is quite a large car, despite its sporting ambitions.

Set the suspension to its softer setting and the ride is comfortable to match the Grand Touring ambitions, but this also results in quite a lot of body roll if you try and corner fast.

Read more: Instagram influencer Tamara Koen’s guide to Milan

The interior feels delicious. In German cars, leather often looks and feels like plastic; in British cars, it smells like an old Chesterfield; somehow the Italians got the texture and ambience inside the GranTurismo exactly right. Many cars of this category offer only an excuse for back seats – if you try and get anyone with legs in the back of a Ferrari California, you’ll rapidly hear protests – but the Maserati is moderately comfortable in the back, even over a long journey, although headroom is limited and basketball players, for example, would emerge with cricked necks. The front is comfortable, but we had a couple of niggles: we never quite fell in love with the driving position; the seats seemed to slightly lack shape and support; the engine does feel loud on a long drive; and the sat-nav system isn’t as advanced as on some cars.

If there’s one word that summarises the GranTurismo, it’s ‘character’. Many cars, even high-performance ones, look, sound and drive in an anodyne way. The Maserati looks and sounds brilliant; if it only drives well, and not brilliantly, that likely won’t bother most prospective buyers.

LUX Rating: 18/20
maserati.com

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Reading time: 2 min
luxury wrist-bracelet with black strap and metal detailing
luxury wrist-bracelet with black strap and metal detailing

Two side release clasps open the S177 wrist piece, mimicking the design of a supercar’s ‘gullwing’
doors.

British brand Senturion has launched a new limited collection of high-tech supercar key bracelets

Senturion’s latest collection of luxury tech-bracelets synchronise with your supercar, using embedded RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology, to function as an out-there alternative to a car key, on your wrist.

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The Senturion Key S17 collection is limited to only 177 pieces, which are fully customisable from the specifications and strap to the core finish, precious stones and personalised engravings.

luxury bracelet mechanism in calf leather and gold with diamonds

S177 with PVD coated titanium, calf leather, rose gold and white diamonds, starting from £31,750

The piece is compatible with high performance cars such as Bentley, Ferrari, Rolls Royce, Bugatti, McLaren, Aston Martin, Lamborghini and Porsche, and starts at a base price of £15,850 for brushed titanium.

Read more: Model Emma Breschi on social media and body positivity

Owners of bespoke Senturion Keys include Usain Bolt, Prince Albert II of Monaco, members of Chelsea F.C., Romain Grosjean and the Sultan of Brunei.

Our only gripe: LUX Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai points out the Senturion Keys only work with the technology of the newest generation of Ferraris, meaning classic models like his can’t qualify.

Learn more about the production process of Senturion Key:

To find out more visit: senturionkey.com, or follow the brand on Instagram: @senturion_key

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Reading time: 1 min
yellow sportscar manufacturing process in workshop with engineer working on engine
still life image of Richard Mille watch with black strap and large rectangular face

The RM 11-03 McLaren watch

It costs as much as a McLaren 570S and will turn just as many heads. We love the RM 11-03 McLaren Automatic Flyback Chronograph with a desire that is almost unhinged – this is why you will too. 

1. It feels like a supercar.

Unlike many high-end watch-car collaborations, where a motoring logo is stuck onto what is basically an existing watch design, the 11-03 was designed jointly by McLaren Design Director Rob Melville and Richard Mille Engineer Fabrice Namura. It uses the same materials and coatings used by the British high-performance car brand, and while big, is incredibly light.

2. It looks fabulous.

Collaborative watches can be hit and miss; at worst, a mish-mash of two completely different design philosophies. The 11-03 is actually beautiful, a tough achievement for a big watch.

yellow sportscar manufacturing process in workshop with engineer working on engine

The production facility at McLaren in the UK

3. You’ll not see anyone else wearing one.

Only 500 are being made, worldwide, and the first ones are only available to McLaren Ultimate Series clients; afterwards, they’ll be available at Richard Mille stores.

4. It’s not a Patek Philippe.

If you buy one of these, you’re likely to have at least a couple of Pateks as well, just as a McLaren P1 owner is likely also to have a few Ferraris. But, just like buying a P1, or an F1, purchasing a 11-03 shows a certain breezy panache and originality.

detail photograph of watch manufacturing process

The manufacture of the RM 11-03 McLaren watch case

5. It’s wearable.

You may have a platinum dress watch also costing as much as a high-end sports car, and you’ll wear that a couple of times a year under a dinner jacket, for fear of scratching or bashing it. The 11-03 is not just lightweight; it’s made with hi-tech materials like top-grade titanium, and you can wear it to play tennis, fish on your boat or hike in Alaska. And it’ll be fine.

6. It’s beautiful.

Did we say that already? But it just is.

For more information visit: richardmille.com

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Reading time: 1 min
ferrari test
ferrari test

The two Maranellos together (Photo: Laetitia Sanai)

The Ferrari 550 Maranello and its successor, the similar-but-different 575M Maranello, are becoming two of the most sought-after cars of the ‘modern classic’ era. Rakish two-seaters with V12 engines, they also divide opinion among collectors as to which of them is best. Now, 20 years after the 550 Maranello was first unveiled to rapturous reviews, LUX takes both of these beautifully svelte Ferraris out for some spirited driving and comes out with a surprisingly unequivocal answer.

There are few things more inspirational, to collectors of classic cars, than Ferraris hosting V12 engines. Any car person will become dreamy at the mention of a 275 GTB or Daytona from the 1960s; cars that combined race heritage with beauty and an engine whose functioning and sound is worthy of an installation at MOMA.

Ferrari still makes cars in this lineage, the latest being the 812 Superfast, an even faster successor to its F12 model, itself a car so rapid that to extend it and enjoy it you would, within a couple of seconds, be so in excess of a speed limit in almost every country in the world that you would be risking a jail sentence.

Like some of the proudest global dynasties, this V12 line had its reign rudely interrupted before being restored to the monarchy. In the 1970s, 80s, and early 90s, Ferrari instead made cars with a flat-V12 engine (a detail that refers to the arrangement of cylinders in relation to each other, important for car geeks), which was placed behind the driver and passenger; these included the famous Berlinetta Boxer and Testarossa, and the limited-edition, lightweight (and now highly collectible) F512M).

It was only in 1997 that the company continued where it left off with the Daytona of 1968, and replaced the F512M with the 550 Maranello, a car so different it shared only its available paint colours with its predecessor, and whose design – (new) V12 engine under a long bonnet in front, space for two people behind – resembled its deposed ancestor.

The 1997 Ferrari 550 Maranello, in classic Rosso Corsa (racing red)

The 550 was itself replaced by the 575M in 2002 which (pay attention at the back) was a modified version of the same car – an evolution not a revolution – and looked so similar from the outside that even experts have trouble telling them apart. (There were greater changes inside and under the bonnet, as outlined below). In 2006, the 575M was itself replaced by an all-new car, the 599 Fiorano, with a different V12, still under a long bonnet in front.

And – for those general readers still with us – this is the rub. The Maranellos, as the 550 and 575 were called, represented a singular era in Ferrari history. The cars that preceded them were, as outlined above, very different in every way; and their successors, the 599, F12 and today’s 812 Superfast, are also very different: faster, but also much more aggressive, with hair-trigger handling meaning they demand to be driven at high-speed all the time, and feel listless and a little dull if they are not.

Ferrari Maranello 575

The rare gated gearshift on the Ferrari 575M Maranello

The Maranellos, meanwhile, had a laid-back demeanour that fooled purchasers into thinking they were relaxed cruising cars – until they tried driving them at high speed, and realised they were every inch a thoroughbred Ferrari. This dual personality is unique among Ferraris, and the cars are now appreciating in value as connoisseurs recognise this.

To give additional spice to the collectability of these ‘modern classics’, the 550 was the last Ferrari to be made only featuring a metal gated manual gearshift. This may not sound significant, but every Ferrari made now is only available with a F1-style ‘paddleshift’, with no clutch pedal or gearlever; and so the beautiful metal gated gearshift has become a desirable element of many collectable Ferraris. The 575, meanwhile, was generally promoted with its F1-style gearshift, and of around 2000 examples made, only 246 were ‘proper’ old-fashioned manuals; and of these, only 69 were right hand drive examples for the UK, making them seriously collectable.

Read next: Why you should buy a modern classic car

Sibling rivalry 

The 550 received rave reviews from the motoring media from the outset, appearing so much more modern and sophisticated than its F512M predecessor. (Ironically, it is the quirky design and single-minded racy focus of the rarer F512M, of which LUX also owns an example, that have made its value whiz upwards far beyond those of the also-appreciating Maranellos, in recent years). When the 575M came out in 2002, it received a more mixed reception. More powerful, with a bigger engine, extensive modifications underneath, and more luxurious inside, it was nonetheless criticised by some for being a little too comfortable and soft – not enough of a Ferrari. Critics and purchasers rapidly realised that the addition of the factory-optional ‘Fiorano Handling Pack’, aimed at racetrack driving, righted things for the 575, as did a series of Ferrari’s own subtle modifications over ensuing months.

Still, though, the reputational damage, slight though it was, was done. A cloud hung over the 575, based on the initial reviews of it being too ‘soft’. Supporters of the 575 ever since have claimed that this is entirely unfair, and that the 575 is newer, faster, better and, with the ‘Fiorano Pack’, also racier than the 550; while supporters of the 550 say the original car is better and that Ferrari’s modifications simply clouded what had been a perfect machine.

The debate is muddied further by the gearchange developments. A tiny minority of 575s were sold with gearlever manual transmissions similar to the 550s, meaning it was very hard to compare like-for-like: a typical 575 with F1 paddleshift transmission and no Fiorano Pack was a different beast indeed to a typical 550.

Solving the debate: 550 v 575M Manual Fiorano Handling Pack

LUX is fortunate enough to own a beautiful example of a 550 Maranello from 1997, and a 575M Maranello, manual, from 2004. Both were purchased for their collectability, and for the joy they should impart in driving. And this offers us an almost unique opportunity to resolve, without bias, the question once and for all: is a manual 575M Maranello, with the coveted Fiorano Handling Pack, a better car than a 550, or is it too close to call? We took both cars out this spring to find out. First, our criteria: this was not about which car was faster (the 575M should be, by dint of 30 extra horsepower and a bigger engine), or more fun around a track (we didn’t actually take them to a track, though we did create an approximation of one out of some empty roads – responsibly, of course). It’s about which is a better all round V12 Ferrari, with a combination of performance, presence, handling, comfort and general brilliance.

The 550 Maranello

We purchased our 550 Maranello in its homeland, a couple of years ago. Prices had started to rise, and we were on the lookout for an excellent example of this model. A very low mileage example popped up on an Italian car website and, acting fast, we flew over and purchased it, as documented here in GQ magazine. The car had been kept in a showroom for ten years, and needed some fettling, admirably carried out back in the UK by The Ferrari Centre in Kent, to go as well as its museum-piece looks suggested.

The 550 Maranello’s “gills” hark back to Ferrari’s supercars of the 1960s

The shape of the 550 was a stark contrast to that of its predecessors when it came out; in retrospect, like the greatest designs, it was ahead of its time with its understated angles, and the harbinger of a new era. While it’s not as beautiful as the most gorgeous Ferraris, it has aged beautifully and now gains the attention that, ironically, it didn’t do when it was new. Slim, svelte, sleek and minimal, it feels very grown up.

Drive the 550 down a busy highway and the initial feeling is…what is all the fuss about? The engine is quiet – so quiet, nobody takes note of it, so much quieter than almost every other Ferrari, that you feel a little short-changed. This is a near-legendary Ferrari, but in a quiet way.

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The car also doesn’t immediately speak to you through the steering wheel as you might expect it to. The power steering is light and easy, but rather over-light; when it was created, the emphasis was on creating a Ferrari that could be used every day, and the tradeoff now is that ease-of-use and refinement seems to trump sense of occasion. Only the bang, clang from the metal gearshifter gate tells you you are in something special.

The 550 has a more ‘classic’ interior layout

Out on the open road, though, things change, fast. Push the accelerator and the engine roars as it whisks into the upper end of its operating range; the car flies forward. Most wonderful is the way it goes around corners. It flows and flies through fast corners, and on tighter ones, encourages you to go ever faster. As you stretch it, it wakes up completely from its straight-line stupor, and surprises you utterly: the 550 comes alive, progressively communicating more as it careers around tight corners. Drive harder and it gets happier, fluidly and consistently letting you know where you are in its considerable range of abilities, encouraging you to steer around bends with the accelerator, faster, faster, tighter, pushing it around and out.

And then there is the most wonderful moment of all: when you are flying out of a curve and accelerating ever more, you have a sensation that the momentum is about to be with the back wheels, and not the front wheels. It’s as if the car has been created to tap you on the shoulder and say, ‘Ciao. In a second, my rear wheels will start to slide, so, let’s have fun, ragazzo!’. Then they do so, and you flick the steering wheel and catch them, and tear on down the road.

All of this from a car that looks and feels, at low speeds, like a gentle cruiser. Spectacular.

Driving back to base, that feeling of a lack of feeling comes back again, though. At lower speeds the 550 is so quietly competent that it makes you a little restless. And while it feels very modern in many ways, it shows its age in the background noise generated by the body while travelling at speed on the highway.

The 575M Maranello Manual 

The 575 has its rev counter centred

Sit inside the 575 and, unlike the view from outside, the contrast with the 550 is immediate. The dashboard is updated: the 550 has three dials at eye level towards the centre, while in the 575 your view is dominated by a big rev counter. The leather and materials are of a higher standard, and the whole experience feels more luxurious, while distinctly similar.

Anyone expecting Ferrari to have upgraded the aural experience – the only real criticism of these cars – would be disappointed, as the 575 is as quiet as the 550 at slow speeds. I felt myself yearning for a V12 howl, rather than the smooth hiss of the engine in front; but the 575 is almost indistinguishable from the 550 in this way. It’s a very understated car.

In other matters, though, considerable progress is evident. The most prominent of which is the steering: it has far better weight, and more feel, than that of its sibling. While it doesn’t communicate like Ferraris did before power steering, it gives you a firm, meaty sense of exactly where the front wheels are pointing and what they are coming into contact with. This improved steering was part of the Fiorano Handling Package. The accelerator also has a more immediate response; meanwhile the gearchange is similarly satisfying. I tried to find a difference between these two delicious metal gated gearboxes, and if pushed I would say the 575 feels even more metallic and mechanical, but that’s probably quite moot.

The 575’s handling is also quite different. With the Fiorano Pack, aimed, according to Ferrari, at racetrack driving, I expected it to be altogether harder and stiffer than the 550, but that’s not quite the case. The first impression is completely the opposite. At very low speeds, over a speed hump, for example, the 575 has a slight but distinct return on its springs: where the 550 goes up over the hump and down, the 575 goes up, down, bounces back up again almost imperceptibly, and settles. One tiny extra movement. (All the Fiorano Pack 575s I have driven do this; and it’s not something you notice until you drive it alongside the 550.)

On the road, in a corner, this translates into a slight but definite bit of lean into a bend, then, as if the system is flexing its muscles, the ride turns flat and the car gets stiffer as you corner harder, both into and out of the corner. The 550, by contrast, felt simpler and more fluid.

At higher speeds through corners, the 575 is flatter, stiffer, and feels stronger than the 550, but if you are linking together a series of S bends, the 550 feels like it is making less effort – in a good way. It almost feels lighter, which it isn’t.

Ferrari F575

The 2004 Ferrari 575M Maranello was an evolution – but was it an improvement?

Push harder, and the 575 sticks to the road better than the 550; it leans less at the limit. It’s also noticeably faster, as you make the engine fly: those 30 extra horses, and the extra 250cc of engine capacity, really are noticeable. It makes for a car that is both speedier and more satisfying than the 550 to drive at medium-high speeds, although if you are in a situation where you are making the rear wheels drift out of a corner, the 550 can be caught more cleanly, and feels more simple and playful.

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On a long drive, more advantages of the 575 become clear. It rides better, even with the Fiorano Pack, and the body creates less background noise. It feels more settled than the 550, more sophisticated. It’s really the steering, though, that is the killer winning factor: whether cruising down a straight highway or into a series of curves, the excellent weight and good feel of the 575’s Fiorano Handling Package steering make it a satisfying, involving machine to drive, at times when the 550 feels like it is half asleep.

The Winner

Ferrari modern classic

Red brake calipers can denote racing suspension pack

We thought this would be a difficult, entirely subjective battle. But in the end, the 575’s one significant advantage over the 550 – the steering – plus the numerous small improvements in performance, ride, refinement, interior quality and sophistication, cancel out the 550’s trump card, its joy at the limits of handling. If you are buying a car to drive at its limits every day, then perhaps this trump card would be the killer app to swing your modern classic decision towards the 550. We also think that, from the outside, the 550 looks just a little cleaner and better. But overall, as a Ferrari for fast, real-world driving, combining speed, luxury, handling, refinement and utter aristo-Italian factor, the 575M manual with Fiorano Handling Pack beats the 550, and by a quite distinct margin. With only 69 made like ours, it’s also a true modern classic.

FOOTNOTE: Party Pooper? 

The Maranellos were succeeded by the 599 Fiorano, which sported a massive increase in power and technology; it heralded a new type of hyperactive V12 from Ferrari. The 599 itself was replaced by the F12, much more powerful, lighter, more agile and much faster again.

But the predecessor to the Maranellos was such a different type of car, never to be made again by Ferrari, that it has gained a cult following and commands roughly twice the price of a 550 in the classic car market. The F512M (LUX owns one) was a two-seater with a lightweight 12 cylinder engine behind the driver’s head and a modified body from the legendary Testarossa. Impractical and loud (in every way), it was also much lighter than the Maranellos, to the extent that Ferrari itself admitted the F512M had better acceleration than the 550 that replaced it.

It also has the sense of occasion of an Italian countess arriving at a Roman ball. Every minute spent in a F512M is memorable, you can feel the machinery all around you, as well as the stares of passersby. It’s also wildly exciting on a twisty road, until a point, easily reached, when it’s just wild. The Maranellos are far better cars, but for sheer presence and occasion, their predecessor still has what it takes.

Acknowledgements:

No serious collector of investments of passion, be they mechanical watches or modern classic cars, can be so without the wise counsel of trusted professionals in the field. For the 575M Maranello, LUX would like to thank Joe Macari whose unrivalled knowledge and nous makes up London’s greatest Ferrari dealer and service specialist: Macari takes as much care over the service of a modern classic as he does over the restoration of a £10m unique classic.

The 550 Maranello resides in the hands of The Ferrari Centre in Kent, south of London whose owners, Roger and Claire Collingwood, are both ex-racing drivers and mechanics with a deep understanding of the cars and the market: they both own modern classic Ferraris as their everyday cars.

Anyone researching or owning a Maranello will find the Ferrarichat board an invaluable resource; technicians, owners, dealers and others offer fellow members a formidable knowledge-bank.

Passion is the essential element for an investment of passion, and we share just a little bit of all of theirs.

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Reading time: 15 min
Modern classic cars
Modern classic cars

The 1997 Ferrari F50, of which only 349 were made. Image courtesy of Ferrari S.p.A.

Classic cars are, for a new generation of luxury collectors, something of a conundrum. On the one hand, they are perhaps the ultimate ‘investment of passion’, objects which you can cherish and use, and which nonetheless gain value over time. On the other hand, for some people the idea of a classic car conjures up an unappetising image of an ancient, uncomfortable contraption sitting broken down by the roadside, leaking unidentified fluid, while people of today breeze past in Teslas or in the back of their Uber.

And I sympathise with both sides. With all the opportunities afforded by digitization, internationalisation, and a connected world – developments I see as almost entirely positive – who now has time to spend their Sunday mornings trying to fiddle around with a vehicle that, even when running properly, has no air conditioning, no connectivity, and is slower and noisier than the average contemporary people carrier?

And yet…the greatest cars are a combination of art, engineering, and, for those who enjoy driving, enjoyment beyond what many of the hi-tech vehicles of today can offer. Today’s new car market offers dozens of cars that can exceed 150 mph, and post breathtaking times on racetracks, but most do this so competently that the joy of driving has turned into something akin to a dull feeling of being driven. And this will only accentuate as people increasingly are driven, by self-driving machines.

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All of this has been postulated as a reason behind the rise of what has been dubbed the ‘modern classic’ collector’s car market, a term that your author helped bring into the mainstream back when this development was in its nascence a few years ago. The term encompasses cars that are as rapid, comfortable and reliable as most contemporary cars, but, through either quirks of engineering or having been manufactured at the point where the old classic car era turned into the new, are as enjoyable as the older ones.

Ferrari modern classic car

The 1995 Ferrari F512M, of which only 501 were made. Image courtesy of Ferrari S.p.A.

A word of warning though. The ‘modern classic’ has been adopted by marketeers and average car dealers, to the extent that it is now turning meaningless and being used as a cover for almost any used car of the past two decades. Most of the ‘modern classics’ so dubbed at today’s auctions are nothing of the kind. To have collectability, the criteria for a modern classic are the same as for anything collectable: they have to have been made in limited numbers, be special in some way (via brand, or history), and be genuinely desirable. A Ferrari F50 (349 made) or F512M (501 made) from the 1990s is a modern classic; a Ferrari 360 (more than 15,000 made) is likely not. (Full disclosure: there is a F512M in my stable). Production numbers are partly, but not wholly, responsible for this distinction.

Does all of this signal the end of the era of the traditional ‘classic car’, with its quirky, hand-beaten body panels, tiny production quantities, and 1950s and 60s design quirks? The obvious answer is of course not: assuming you could find them, you could buy seven or eight of my 1995 Ferrari F512Ms for the price of a single 1969 Ferrari Daytona Spider, or 365 GTS/4 to give it its correct nomenclature. (I use Ferraris as a reference partly because they are the most significant brand in car collecting, and partly because I am most familiar with them.) The most expensive cars ever sold are still those (mainly Ferraris) from the 1950s and 1960s.

But real modern classics are gaining in value fast. Certain Porsches of the 1990s have overtaken the prices of all but the rarest of their siblings from the 1960s, and some 1990s cars, like the McLaren F1, are now selling for more than ten million (pounds, euros, or dollars). Even relatively common but collectible Ferraris, like the 1997 550 Maranello (around 3000 made), have trebled in price over the past four years.

Investment classic cars

McLaren F1 GTR

Whether they will continue to make ground is a question in the mind of collectors – although it tends to get blown out of my mind when I am driving at full speed in any of my Ferraris, as they are of the era when total concentration is required of a driver at any speed, which is a key part of their appeal. One the one hand, there is plenty of evidence that Millennials and Generation Y are less interested in cars: as LUX Contributing Editor and columnist Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of LVMH Watch & Jewellery told me, “teenagers do not wear watches and they do not buy cars”. (Biver is himself a significant collector of what he would call ‘real classics from the pre-electronic era’, including a gorgeous 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/4, worth multimillions). There is also an argument to say that the younger generation of purchaser is only interested in the newest, most connected cars. I broadly call these the obsolescence argument and the antiques argument: either collectible cars will become like fax machines, entirely redundant; or they will become like antique furniture, out of fashion.

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There is also the view that the current spike in prices for all these cars is due to money chasing after investments in an era of low interest rates, which will inevitably change.

I don’t know. These are probably correct for the vast majority of self-proclaimed ‘modern classics’ which are neither as cool as the real classics which preceded them, or as good as the cars of today. But when I am out in my cars, there is no shortage of young people taking selfies or videoing the car, and many of my spectators are, in time-honoured tradition, small boys dreaming of fast cars who one day will grow up to be purchasers of the car they admired in their youth. Uber, Tesla, and regulations restricting the use of cars in cities can only do so much. And while fax machines and 19th century desk bureaux may be worthless today, try telling your art dealer that a Da Vinci or a Monet is now worthless because of the demand for Jeff Koons.

Which is why I am continuing to acquire modern classic cars – the right ones. And why you will be reading, in LUX, some detailed articles on this most exciting of ‘investments of passion’.

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Reading time: 5 min
By Darius Sanai
Editor in Chief

Starting on Friday November 25, around 480 supercars and classics will be up for sale in Milan at the RM Sotheby’s Duemila Route (“two thousand wheels”) auction. But it’s not the just the quantity of stock or the lack of a reserve that has excited collectors and dealers from around the world: it’s the quality and variety of the collection.

From a single owner whose business assets were seized by the Italian government, the sale is of a connoisseur’s collection of some of the most exciting and prized cars of the past 40 years, including a phenomenal selection of the hottest market category right now, so-called “modern classics”. The collection is short on the prewar Bentleys and 1950s Jaguars that might have made up a classic collection in the past; instead, it features some of the hottest cars of the modern era.

Read next: Mercedes-Benz launches new book with Condé Nast

The star of the show may be a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/6c Alloy, estimated at more than 2.5 million euros (although, hypothetically, if nobody else bids, it could be yours for a fraction of that). However much of the attention has been focused on more modern cars. These include one of a handful of Ferrari 599 Fioranos made with a manual transmission instead of the much more common paddle-shift; a rare Ferrari 575 Maranello with the same transmission; two Porsche 911 GT2s from the ‘996’ model designation, considered the last of the raw driving experience Porsches; a Ferrari F512M, the final, rarest, most powerful and desirable of the Testarossa series of the 1980s and 1990s; and many more, including rally cars from Lancia, a desirable ‘plexi’ Ferrari Daytona, and a 25th Anniversary edition of the legendary Lamborghini Countach, designed by Horacio Pagani, who later went on to found the Pagani supercar brand.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”7″ gal_title=”rm sothebys”]

The collection of the unfortunate, bankrupted collector was as broad as it is deep, with cars for fans of every marque and at every price level: if fast BMWs are your thing, there is a brace of original BMW M3s, a M635 CSi and an original M Coupe. There are Porsches from 1970 to 2007 (a 997 GT3 RS).

Read next: Salvatore Ferragamo on Tuscan indulgence

“It’s an extraordinary selection – there is every Porsche 911 you can imagine, for example,” says Alain Squindo, COO of RM Sothebys. “It was amassed relatively discreetly, the collection was not known about before. What’s particularly interesting about this auction is that it highlights what’s particularly appealing to new collectors, 30 and 40 year olds coming into the car world. They are not interested in prewar grand sedans: instead we have sporting high performance stuff, Porsche 911s, Lancia Integrales, Alfas, Astons, thrilling high horsepower stuff.” It’s the sheer quantity that fascinates, he points out: there are two fibreglass Ferrari 308s, four Ferrari Testarossas (all red).

Squindo says most of the cars are “cosmetically pristine” while emphasising that RM Sotheby’s hasn’t had time to inspect them all and that bidders need to look carefully at the particulars in the catalogue. If your newly acquired Ferrari 400i doesn’t work, there’s no comeback.

Still, for a collector of modern classics, the atmosphere will be of a child in a sweetshop. The world’s biggest sweetshop. Just don’t get carried away. Now, I’m going to look at one of those Ferraris…

rmsothebys.com/tv16/duemila-ruote/

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Reading time: 2 min
Joe Macari is one of the most renowned names in the classic car business, his showroom in London a wonderland of racing cars, supercars and hypercars of all eras, plus the occasional dalek. A racing driver and car nut himself who spends much of his time crisscrossing the world to secure multimillion dollar deals on automotive rarities, Macari has high net worth customers all over the globe and cuts a flamboyant figure commuting to work in his $3m 1960s Ferrari Daytona Spider, cigarette firmly planted in mouth. Macari also has an official Ferrari and Maserati servicing workshop, and was recently appointed an Approved Ferrari pre-owned dealer. For our Luxury Leaders series he speaks to Darius Sanai about his maverick reputation, Brexit, and the hottest cars to buy now.
Joe Macari Ferrari dealer showroom

The Joe Macari Showroom. Image by Dylan Morris

LUX: How is the classic car sales business? Are modern classics important, or just incidental?
Joe Macari: I would argue that the classic car business is as strong as it has ever been! classic cars are now, more than ever, seen as a very strong alternative asset class, with a series of incredibly strong auction results proving that people are willing to pay good money for good cars.

LUX: Is the younger generation as passionate about the mechanics of cars as the older, and is that a problem?
Joe Macari: I think that there will always be a huge proportion of young people who take a keen interest in mechanics, it’s a timeless interest that evolves with the leaps and bounds technology takes over the course of time. I don’t think we’re in any danger of experiencing a shortage of petrol-head technicians any time soon.

Read next: LUX test drives the Rolls Royce Wraith

LUX: Are people more or less into racing than they were when you started out?
Joe Macari: I think racing has become more popular and accessible. F1 has obviously changed massively over the last few years, and my perception is that the changes have led to a migration of sorts. People seem to be more and more interested in events like Goodwood Revival and other classic car racing events in order for them to get their fix of unadulterated, noisy, raw racing.

LUX: How has the typical buyer changed over the decades?
Joe Macari: Certain areas of the world have changed tastes over the years. For example, the Middle East is really waking up to how investable the classic car market is. Obviously there have always been a number of collectors from the Middle East who have sought after classic cars, but there seems to be a broadening in the consumer demographic. Ultimately though, the buyers haven’t changed a great deal. Every single person who buys anything from me shares a burning passion, one I quite obviously hold very dearly, and have used their passion to drive themselves to a level of success whereby they are in a position to buy into their dream. Very few industries share that trait.

LUX: What is hot in the market right now?
Joe Macari: Ferrari are the pinnacle of the classic car market, almost every variant of the 250 sits at over £1m. The Testarossa (particularly the Monospecchio) and the 206/246 Dino are two cars that are picking up value very quickly. Anything limited Edition from Ferrari tends be a safe investment; the 288 GTO, F40, F50, Enzo, Challenge Stradale, 430 Scuderia, 599 GTO, LaFerrari and F12 TDF’s have all picked up value hugely from their list price and seem to be continuing to rise in value.

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LUX: Is the classic car market overheated?
Joe Macari: Not in my opinion, were that to be the case we’d be seeing average cars sell for huge money and a quick browse of recent Auction Results will show you that people hold provenance and condition of the cars in high regard. If a car has very obvious flaws, it won’t make money. If a car has questionable history, it won’t sell.
If we ever reach a point where very obviously terrible cars are being sold for far more than they’re worth, then there would be cause for concern, but until then I firmly believe the market to be the healthiest it’s ever been.

img_5453

Left to right: Joe Macari & Tom Kristensen after their win at Goodwood Revival. Image by Andrew Gill

LUX: Some 1950s and 60s Ferraris sell for multimillions. Will the newer ones ever do so (even the limited editions)?
Joe Macari: Undoubtedly so, it all boils down to the relationship between supply and demand. The supply of past-generation Ferraris remains fixed, however as the younger generation reaches financial maturity the demand for these cars increases, resulting in rising price. We saw a LaFerrari  sell for $4.7m at Pebble Beach in August, who knows where they’ll be in 10 years time!

LUX: Do people really buy the cars they hankered after when they were kids – does that mean the 50s and 60s cars will drop in price as their owners get old/pass away?
Joe Macari: Not at all! The value these cars have accrued has given them serious kudos amongst the younger generation, I can’t conceive of a time when a 250 GTO or California Spyder are seen as “just another old Ferrari”, they are primarily works of art, and much like art they will continue to cause a reaction and be desired by many.

Read next: Rustic luxury on the coast of Devon

LUX: What gives you the greatest pleasure in your business?
Joe Macari: Witnessing the transformation a car goes through during restoration. We take a car in average condition at best and pour our blood, sweat and tears into making it as beautiful as it was the day it rolled off the production line. I can think of few feelings as totally satisfying as seeing a customer’s face when they see their “new” car for the first time.

LUX: What makes you most frustrated?
Joe Macari: Potential not being utilized to its fullest extent. When someone isn’t doing as good a job as I know they’re capable of doing I get very frustrated. I don’t tolerate carelessness because in my mind the only reason one gets involved in the motor industry is because they have a passion for it, if you aren’t working at your best then you’re clearly not passionate about it.

Porsche Carrera RS pictured in Joe Macari showroom

A Porsche Carrera RS. Image by Dylan Morris

LUX: Do you purchase many cars and hold them back before selling? What car would you like to purchase for your business, that you haven’t done already?
Joe Macari: The only reason that would happen is if we’re planning on restoring a vehicle, we have storage with a number of cars in varying stages of restoration but very rarely, if ever, would we buy a car simply to hold it off market and then sell it at a later date as space is a very valuable commodity.

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LUX: What is the effect of Brexit on your business?
Joe Macari: I think we’ve been relatively fortunate, obviously we specialise in LHD (left hand drive) cars which means that due to the swaying currency our cars became cheaper for Europeans quite literally overnight. A large proportion of our clientele tends to be relatively immune to financial shocks, so the demand for high performance cars is still very much alive.

Ferrari Daytona Sypders pictured in the Joe Macari showroom

Four Ferrari Daytona Spyders. Image by Dylan Morris

LUX: Some years back you became an official Ferrari service centre, and now you are an official Ferrari approved used car dealer – is this significant and what does it mean?
Joe Macari: Above all else it bestows a huge sense of confidence onto our clients that we are supplying the absolute best product that we possibly can be. The fact that before we sell a car we’re able to perform Ferrari Approved Servicing and Sales Prep, as well as provide the customer with ongoing maintenance support, puts us in a position that very few other people find themselves in, and ultimately makes our business unique amongst a host of other very competitive businesses.

LUX: People refer to you as a maverick. What does that mean?
Joe Macari: I suppose people see the showroom and the service centre & imagine they’re run by someone in a suit; I think seeing me with greasy fingers and a cigarette in my hand comes across as a bit of a juxtaposition when in actual fact I like to lead from the front. I gain more pleasure from putting a car back together than pretty much anything else on earth, why would I turn my back on my roots?

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LUX: You have good personal relationships with your big customers. Is that important?
Joe Macari: Relationships are without question the most important aspect of any business, anywhere. The friendships I have forged over my years in the industry are far more important than any deal I’ve ever done, the fact that people trust me enough to return to me for business is something I don’t take lightly, it spurs me on to maintain the standards I have become known for.

LUX: How do you secure the cars you want, when everyone wants them?
Joe Macari: By building relationships and gaining trust. Everyone knows that if they need a car, I can find it for them. They know that the car will undergo the highest possible level of scrutiny and ultimately I have cultivated an environment around me and my business whereby people selling through me know that they’re getting the best deal they possibly can. Everything lies in relationships and trust!

joemacari.com

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Reading time: 8 min

By Darius Sanai
Editor in Chief

One of the truisms of collecting, whether you are Imelda Marcos hoarding shoes or a 21st century gentleman acquiring classic cars, is that enlightenment comes with possession. You research your subject, speak to fellow collectors, make an acquisition, and, through the circle of friendship and contact endowed by possession, acquire more and better knowledge.

Thus it was with my Ferrari Testarossa. The fabulous looking 1980s supercar is still being fettled to perfection by Joe Macari Ferrari, the celebrated London dealership. Joe Macari has the reputation as one of the most exacting, and most expensive, places to set your classic right. In the course of my conversations with their chief guru (gurus are essential in this game), Andrew Gill, head of aftersales and a man long-term Ferrari aficionados regard with awe, a new dream came into view.

It started when I told him , slightly playfully, that having acquired a Testarossa I was now interested in its successor, the 512 TR, a car that was basically an improved version of the Testarossa: looking just as beautiful (and almost identical), but better to drive. It is also, and this is important for a classic car’s value, rarer. There were 7177 Testarossas made (though mine is one of the 438 UK, right hand drive models), and just 2280 512TRs.

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Forget the 512 TR, Andrew said: the 1995-1996 512M was the car to have. “Amazing car. They ironed out all the faults and they drive like nothing else.” Another friend, a very big and respected collector, gave it the nod also and said he’d even go halves with me if I found one.

The 512M was the final iteration of the Testarossa series, and one of the most outrageous looking Ferraris ever. It was given a dramatic aerodynamic makeover which divided opinion at the time (I remember thinking at the time it looked cool and fast, but no longer like a Testarossa) but now looks slick and modern, 20 years on. And its mechanical credentials were legendary. Essentially, the 512M was a racier, lighter, faster and more hi-tech version of the 512TR, down to the engine’s titanium alloy connecting rods and variable pitch valve springs.

 It was Ferrari’s flagship. When it came out, it was the fastest Ferrari and for a while the fastest car in the world. It was also a beast, the last mid-engined production 12-cylinder Ferrari, the end of a line that started with the 365 GT/4 Berlinetta Boxer in 1973, with all the flamboyance that implies. Its successors, from the 550 Maranello to today’s F12, all have engines in front and are far more sober looking.

And there were only 501 made, in the world. I really wanted one.

F512M interior

But where to find one? Calls to friends in the Ferrari universe saying I wanted one received replies of the “so does everyone else” variety. Someone knew of one coming from Japan; no, already been sold. A classic dealer had one advertised in southern Germany, but he wasn’t getting back to me and, no, sold weeks ago. A friend in Switzerland knew of a friend who had one, but values were going up and he wasn’t selling. One in Holland: but lots of miles and looked a bit tired. One at auction in London, but it was missing a lot of history. If you don’t have history, you have to take the mileage and the fact that it has been maintained properly on trust.

One evening, an ad popped up on an alert from an Italian website I subscribe to. Yellow 512M, great history and condition, low miles. I rang the number. “So sorry,” said the owner, a gentleman I would guess in his 70s. A dealer had seen the ad hours earlier, come over with cash (more than 200,000 euros in cash!) and taken the car. When dealers rush for cars, you know they’re hot.

Two days later, on a Friday, another alert, this time from a Spanish specialist site, a car in Barcelona. Pictures, obviously taken by an amateur, of a car on a sunny hillside. Ferrari Red (rosso corsa) with red and black carbon fibre racing bucket seats, a rare option. Only 12,000 miles, a 1995 car, always serviced at a main dealer. An even better car. I dropped the iPad and rang. “Yes, there are lots of people calling,” said a distinguished voice in Spanish. “Dealers, who don’t even speak Spanish!” (a disgusted tone). “I am going away until Tuesday night”. The ad only stated a landline, which meant nobody would get through to him until then.

I’ll meet you on Wednesday at 9am at the Ferrari dealership in Barcelona, I said, to get the car inspected and seal the deal. He agreed. Nobody would be able to get there before me, or would they?

On the Tuesday evening, I flew out to Barcelona and settled in at the Majestic. I had to finish some work, and then drank a couple of cocktails by the (closed) rooftop pool. What if he didn’t show up? What if someone else had managed to get hold of him and put a deposit down sight unseen on the phone, common with such desirable cars? What if the car was not as good as advertised? Did I really want to spend this money on a car which, until last year, had just been another old money pit? Was I ahead of the market or a sucker? A. wasn’t answering his phone.

At 9 the next day, A. (as I will call him) was there, besuited, with his 512M already up on a ramp at Ferrari Barcelona. It looked so clean and barely used, underneath and above. “We service all his Ferraris,” the mechanic told me. All? What others does he have? “A F50 and a 550 Maranello,” he said, naming more than a million euros worth of car. “And then there are all the Porsches and the Aston DB6 and the Rolls…”

A., a scion of Barcelona society in his late-sixties, was delightful. I looked over the car in detail, a list of tips in my hand from both Andrew Gill and the experts on the Ferrarichat online forum. We agreed a price, subject to a full formal inspection by the dealership. I gave him a copy of one of my magazines containing a feature I had written about Ferraris. He zoomed off and came back with a full set of bespoke Schedoni luggage for the car, which hadn’t been mentioned before (market value, more than £10,000). He threw it in for free. We left the 512M with the dealership and he took me for the finest paella I have had, and then a tour of his cars at his stunning modern hillside home (next to Neymar’s house) and in his storage garage. The 512M was neither the fastest or finest of his possessions. We spoke in a blend of French and Spanish, and I pondered that any English or German dealer who had rung A. would not have been able to communicate. He received several messages about enquiries about the car.

The dealership rang me. “We’re emailing the results through,” they said. These included a compression test, which doesn’t lie. It was perfect; as beautiful an example as you could dream of. We shook hands, I transferred the money and boarded a flight to Switzerland for a business meeting the next day, with the elegant gentlemen of Ferrari Barcelona looking after the car for us. A couple of weeks later, my 512M arrived in Britain. I entrusted it to Roger Collingwood of The Ferrari Centre in Kent, a former racing mechanic so honest he needs to be reminded by customers to send his invoices. It passed its UK inspections with flying colours and received a number plate.

I took the train out to Kent to drive it back to its London garage home. The flat-12 engine rumbled behind my ears like a pair of growling hunting dogs. The steering told you everything about the road and more – it has no power assistance and is heavy and astonishingly direct and real compared to today’s cars. The gearlever is grumpy and obstructive when cold but slashing it through the bare metal gate is a joy in itself on the go. The carbon fibre seats are amazingly comfortable. At speed, around corners, it feels on edge (with a big 12 cylinder engine behind you) alive like no modern car and just a little bit dangerous – it has no traction control of any kind, apart from the driver. And the howl when you take those lightweight pistons towards the top of the rev range is properly frightening – you feel this is why they made the car. Even idling, you are always aware of those two angry mastiffs behind you – I keep wondering if a superbike is dawdling by the rear three quarter flank of my car, only to realise it’s my own engine.

While it is now 20 years old and not as fast as any of today’s Ferraris, it feels very fast because it’s so raw, and it is still a properly quick supercar (200 mph, 0-60 in 4.1 seconds).

 Its value has also risen 50% in the six months since I bought it. A is happy, as I paid a strong price at the time; we went to his wedding last month. I don’t intend to sell it anytime soon; it is one of the greatest Ferraris ever made, and I recommend tracking down one of the remaining 500 or so in the world before the prices hit the moon.

Meanwhile, the bug hit again. The 512M’s successor, the 550 Maranello of 1997, was as different as it is possible to be: front engined, understated, wearing a Milanese suit rather than a Versace shirt and Gucci loafers. But a magnificent car, even more powerful, and apparently much easier to handle. Prices seemed very low. With two outrageous Ferraris for those Versace moments, I needed something sober suited and sleek: bespoke Zegna. Time to start looking for one.

(to be continued…)

Darius Sanai

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Reading time: 8 min