Monterey Car Week – held every August in Monterey, California – is arguably the ultimate celebration of automotive exotica, with several premium manufacturers using it to showcase their latest and greatest debutants. After being cancelled last year owing to Covid-19, the motoring extravaganza was back in full force this year, featuring a veritable bonanza of showstoppers.
Here’s our top 10:
Aston Martin Valkyrie Spider
The Valkyrie is billed as essentially a road-legal Formula One car, and the Spider derivative (85 units only) adds al fresco touring capability to the recipe. As per its coupe sibling, the Valkyrie Spider is propelled by a screaming hybrid 6.5-litre V12 that revs to 11,000rpm and kicks out 1,176 horsepower.
Aston Martin claims it has reworked the aerodynamics and chassis to suit the Spider’s topless format, while the Valkyrie coupe’s gullwing portals are substituted by front-hinged scissor doors.
Audi Skysphere concept
Audi’s electric two-door roadster concept provides a glimpse of the German marque’s future design language, as well as previewing Level 4 autonomous capability that enables it to drive unaided on roads with the necessary infrastructure.
However, the concept’s most revolutionary element is a variable wheelbase whereby the bodywork ahead of the windscreen pillar can be extended to give the Skysphere the proportions of a grand tourer or retracted to make it a more agile and focused sports car.
Bentley Flying Spur Mulliner
Touted as the “ultimate in four-door luxury”, the Flying Spur Mulliner comes loaded with goodies, including bespoke two-tone 22-inch wheels and a grille and lower air intakes that feature a "double diamond" mesh pattern. There are also silver-capped wing mirrors, an electronically deployed Bentley logo and a "jewel" fuel cap.
Inside, you’ll find a brushed silver Mulliner clock, Mulliner-branded tread plates and deep-pile mats, embroidered seats, "3D" leather on the door panels, and electrically folding picnic tables for rear passengers. Jolly good show, chaps.
Ford GT ’64 Prototype Heritage Edition
If you’ve seen Ford v Ferrari, you’ll be aware of the legacy of Ford’s 1960s GT. The blue oval brand is now paying tribute to the prototypes that preceded its Le Mans-winning mid-engined sportscar via the ’64 Prototype Heritage Edition.
Although based on the modern-day GT, it harks back to its ancestor via Wimbledon White paint with blue graphics. It also scores silver brake callipers and exposed carbon fibre on the mirror stalks, side sills, engine louvres, front splitter and rear diffuser.
Gunther Werks 993 Speedster Remastered
The stunning 993 Speedster Remastered is the creation of California customising house Gunther Werks. Clothed within its eye-catching bodywork is a stiffened 993-generation 911 chassis, while slung behind the rear axle is a 4.0-litre air-cooled flat-six with 442hp and 454Nm.
External mods include a new front fascia with a carbon-fibre front spoiler, a revised duck-tail spoiler and a ram air scoop for improved aerodynamics. Inside, carbon fibre is used for the dashboard panel, steering wheel and seats.
Only 25 units will be built and sold.
Honda NSX Type S
Honda is bidding farewell to its mid-engined NSX supercar (sadly, never offered in the UAE market) via the last-hurrah Type S. The Japanese carmaker claims it’s the fastest, most powerful and best-handling NSX ever, thanks to a raft of upgrades to its powertrain and chassis.
The hybrid twin-turbo 3.5 V6 is uprated to thrash out 600hp and 667Nm, while grip levels are enhanced by stickier Pirelli tyres and retuned adaptive dampers.
Only 350 units will be offered globally.
Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4
The 1970s Countach is a hard act to follow, but Lamborghini took up the challenge by unveiling a modern-day take on the ground-breaking supercar. Although based on the current Aventador, the Countach LPI 800-4 is replete with styling cues that link it to its half-century-old ancestor.
That said, Lamborghini execs insist it’s a thoroughly contemporary hypercar, as reflected in a cutting-edge hybrid V12 that utilises a lightweight supercapacitor – rather than a bulky lithium-ion battery pack – for added electrified grunt.
Pagani Huayra BC ‘Pacchetto Tempesta’
The Huayra has now been around for a decade, and Pagani chalked up its 10th birthday by unleashing the "Pacchetto Tempesta" (Storm Edition).
Even fiercer than the already-rapid standard car, the latest model thrashes out an eye-watering 815hp and 1,100Nm from its Mercedes AMG-based V12 engine.
There are no less than six exhaust pipes, along with a redesigned rear wing with an integrated central fin. Pagani claims the retuned suspension delivers better ride comfort, thanks to a new Soft Driving mode.
Pininfarina Battista (in its current form)
Pininfarina debuted the Battista in concept form at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, but it used this year’s Monterey Car Week to unveil the production-ready reality.
Rather than merely being a static display, Pininfarina enabled customers to feel and hear the car by showcasing it on the roads around Monterey.
The company claims the sound of the electrified car is an organic frequency that is a multiple of 432 Hz, known as “Verdi’s A”, as it was conceived by the Italian composer.
Radford Type 62-2
US coachbuilder Radford attracted plenty of eyeballs with its Lotus-based Type 62-2 coupe. An homage to the 1960s Lotus Type 62 racer, Radford’s offering is trimmed in red-and-white Gold Leaf livery and its profile is also retro-inspired.
Radford is yet to reveal detailed specifications for the car, but the company – which is fronted by former Formula One champ Jenson Button and TV presenter Ant Anstead – says only 62 examples will be built and sold.