By Angus Frazer
This story originally appeared in the July/August 2017 issue of Elite Traveler.
From the timeless to the technologically fantastic, we have selected the very best in automobile innovation. Highlighting the classic cars that created a legend, alongside the latest offerings on the road that will turn heads, our rundown of top cars is sure to inspire those in the market for a new ride.
Ferruccio Lamborghini was born in 1916 under the star sign of Taurus the bull. He formed his car company following a spat with Enzo Ferrari. Already a very successful manufacturer of tractors, Ferruccio produced his first car, the 350 GT, in 1964. However, the big breakthrough came in 1966 with the mid-engined Miura—the world’s first supercar. Over the years, subsequent Lamborghini creations such as the Countach and the Diablo have been a cause of shock and awe. Today, under the ownership of Audi, models with the raging bull on their noses, such as the Huracán and Aventador continue to have the same effect. lamborghini.com
Up until 1965, conventional wisdom dictated that racing cars had their engines mounted in the middle of the chassis, while all road cars, including the very fastest, had theirs mounted up front under the hood. Lamborghini changed all that when it revealed a bare road-car chassis with the engine mounted in the middle, racecar style. The only problem was it did not have a body to cover its revolutionary chassis. “I’m the one who can make the shoe to fit your boot,” bus-builder Nuccio Bertone told Ferruccio Lamborghini. Thus the sublimely beautiful Miura, designed by Bertone employee Marcello Gandini, was born. However, only 764 were ever built and just one single roadster, that upon valuation back in 2013 was deemed the most expensive Lamborghini in the world at $8-10m.
Lamborghini already has five versions of its Huracán on sale, but that hasn’t stopped its engineers creating an even more intense, driver-focused version, the Performante, which the company says takes the notion of performance to levels never seen before. The development program focused on cutting weight by 88lb, boosting engine power by 30bhp, sharpening the chassis to a knife-edge and introducing an innovative system of active aerodynamics known as Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva (ALA) to significantly increase downforce. Has it worked? Well, the car lapped Germany’s fearsome Nürburgring race circuit in 06:52:01, the fastest time ever for a standard production car.