Supercars are everywhere these days. In the 1970s and 1980s when they were built by a handful of companies, and the handfuls each year, it was a rare treat to see a supercar on the road. Even if you visit most of the major cities and discover something like a Ferrari 308, it will add to your day. If you catch a glimpse of a Lamborghini Countach, this is the month, maybe even the year.
But more supercars will be made by more companies in 2021, and more ways to see one than ever before. Take Lamborghini, for example. Fewer than 300 cars were sold in 2001. Last year, 3,039 Huracans and Aventadors and a further 4,391 Urus SUVs were transported despite the debilitating effects of a 70-day COVID-forced factory shutdown.
This is great news for 13-year-old supercar spotters who are crazy about cars (and much older ones like us), but not so good for the rich man who doesn’t want to drive around the corner of his neighborhood in his $ 500,000 exotic car and face one identical car to be faced.
Make it personal
To mitigate this, manufacturers have made it easier for owners to personalize their cars. Aston has its Q department; Ferrari has Tailor-Made and Lamborghini, Ad Personam. Paint-to-sample, bespoke stitching, and even in the case of Scottish golfer Ian Poulter, a tartan headliner for his Ferrari, are regular requests. Up to half of all Huracans and 70 percent of Aventadors get ad personam treatment, while the average Bugatti buyer spends a whopping $ 300,000 on personalization options.
Related: Absurdly expensive supercars without a windshield is a trend that is going to die
Mine all mine
But if you really want to stand out, and money really doesn’t matter, automakers will make sure you never have to suffer the automotive equivalent of showing up at the Academy Awards in the same dress as your arch-rival. They will build you a car that looks like no other on the planet.
In a way, there is nothing new about the idea. Until the advent of unibody designs in the 1960s, it was pretty normal for customers to buy a chassis and have it shipped to a coachbuilder like Ghia, Pininfarina, or Touring to get dressed.
Ferrari has developed at least 10 individual cars in the past few years. McLaren also offers something similar through its MSO division, and even the Singer ACS was a commission.
These are not new cars. They are always based on existing machines, but are heavily modified to reflect the dreams of the client – who in the case of Ferrari’s Service has to wait years for their turn. And everyone is unique.
But what about the cars that are exclusive in the sense that they’re rare but not exclusive in the sense that they’re the only ones of their kind?
What about cars like the Bugatto Divo or the EB110-inspired Centodieci, 10 of which are built and cost around $ 9 million each? That’s three times the price of the Chiron, which donates a lot of the components, and the Chiron itself isn’t exactly commonplace.
Or the Lamborghini Sian? Yes there is some new technology in the form of the supercapacitor hybrid system but it only adds 34hp. And while the car looks amazing, is it really different enough from the $ 421,000 Aventador that’s hiding underneath to warrant a price tag of roughly $ 3.7 million? Apparently 63 people who managed to put their names on the list for the coupe and 20 who accepted deposits for the roadster (plus, no doubt, dozens more who missed the cut) believe it does.
And former Lamborghini CEO Stefano Domenicali when we asked him before he left to head the FIA. When asked whether the Sian was good value for money, he replied: “Yes! It’s a good investment. ‘
And it probably was. The few used examples currently for sale seem to be POA, so we may not know exactly what they are worth, but it is unlikely that they will have lost half their value once the keys are in the palm of your hand like mass-produced cars landed do.
The thing is, an “investment” is exactly how many buyers see these cars. The question they ask before signing on the dotted line is not whether these limited edition cars offer enough above the base car to justify the markup, but what things might look like when it comes time to move on.
Of course, nobody wants to lose their shirt, be it from JCPenny or a sophisticated Italian tailor, through a car. An expensive car that doesn’t depreciate has better value than a cheap car that halves the price in your time.
But we have to ask ourselves whether this investment mindset is driving automakers to produce cars and buy people whose list prices are simply not reflected in the tangible benefits they offer over a standard car.
Not that supercar makers care. These cars aren’t cheap to produce, but the development costs are low, in addition to creating a completely new car from scratch. The bottom line is that they are great for the bottom line. They keep the accountants happy, they keep the brands in the public eye, and they allow the research and development team to develop and test new technologies like the Sian’s superconductor at the customer’s expense.
It’s not you, it’s me
And in the case of multi-million dollar supercars like the Centodieci, those customers are so rich that they often don’t have to worry about resale values or performance gains. They only see something they like and are rich enough to hit go and make it happen.
Maybe the problem isn’t with the cars, but with us: normal car fans who strive for cars like the BMW M4 and the Porsche 911, who may never own a supercar and who can’t imagine what it must feel like to be like that You can order six chirons at the same time without opening an eyelid. We are happy to keep trying.
What do you think? Are these limited edition supercars worth the money? Is a one-time Ferrari a better buy than one in ten Bugattis? What are the best and worst limited edition supercars? Let us know in the comments.