This car was at the opening weekend of Exotics@RTC and I have to admit I had no idea what it was at the time. A couple of days later, I saw a YouTube video about it and realized that it was what I had seen. The McLaren Elva is a strange vehicle. No roof and not even a windshield. Apparently, it is strange enough that they are not selling so well and the production run has been reduced. I guess the best part of two million dollars is too much for a car that requires you to wear googles and probably a helmet!
I must not be a typical Brit because I seem to have an affinity for things French. This is something I have acquired over the years (and may be the reason I was driven from the UK!). The French do things their own way and it results in some really interesting stuff. The Citroen DS is just such an interesting thing. I first noticed one when traveling on a ferry and was fascinated when it started up and the suspension inflated. I had never seen something like that before.
The looks didn’t appeal to me then because I was used to the more familiar vehicles of the time. Now I have come to appreciate it for being a stylish looking vehicle. Sure, it has quirks that might make it a nuisance to own but it certainly looks very swish. One was on display at Exotics@RTC and I was drawn to it. It certainly didn’t hurt that the owner had applied hubcaps that looked like some sort of hypnosis device. What a fantastic addition to the day.
Another supercar at the opening weekend of Exotics@RTC was a BMW M1. This one was slightly away from the center of things but still in the premium area. However, I suspect it wasn’t getting as much attention as some of the other cars. I ended up chatting to the guy that owned it. He was from Sarf London but now lives out here and was a fun guy.
The M1 came out a while before I went to university and I recall that one of my aero professors had been involved in the design team. It has the look of a supercar from that era but that doesn’t stop it looking cool. I was particularly taken by the wheels which were made by Campagnolo – the manufacturer of the group set for my road bike!
Cars like this showing up are what makes Exotics@RTC such a fun event. There will always be a lot of super expensive cars on show – many of which are brought along from dealers – but there will be some unusual and interesting vehicles that are a bit out of the ordinary. For someone that knows their cars better than me, it would be a particular treat.
Exotics@RTC has attracted a few Minis during the 2021 season. Having learned to drive in a Mini and used one a lot in my teenage years, I am always happy to see the original versions. Sure, the modern Minis are fun vehicles but the originals are more interesting, even if they would not provide much protection in the event of doing something silly.
The one I drove was powered by an 850cc engine. The 1275 engines were far more exotic. Coopers were something else. Here the focus is mainly on the Coopers but that is fine. Finding one turned in to a convertible was a bit of a surprise. It is fun to see that plenty of people still find the Mini fun and keep them going and in great condition.
The Karman Ghia is a car that is rightfully considered a classic. People spend large sums of money on keeping them in working order and as close to or better than the condition in which they left the factory. One I saw at Exotics@RTC had taken things a different way. It had been converted into an electric vehicle.
The owner had everything open to inspect with the batteries and control electronics fitted in to the available space within the car. I would imagine that a car as light as a Karman Ghia would, when given the power and instant torque of an electric drivetrain, go like stink! It was certainly attracting a lot of attention. Getting a photo of it without people all around it proved impossible. After a while of waiting, I concluded that the attention was really part of the story so accepted that it should have a lot of people in the photo.
A while back I posted some shots of a Lancia Delta Integrale. The Integrale was the road homologous on version of the rally car that came about when the Group B rally cars were closed out. However, the Group B cars were the really crazy ones. The S4 was the Lancia that competed in Group B. It replaced the Lancia 037 and, at Chateau Ste. Michelle, the two were on show together. Both were road versions for homologous on but they were both beasts.
The S4 was the pinnacle of crazy rally cars. A huge engine and four wheel drive in what was really not a road car. They built some to meet the rules and this was one of them. It was surprisingly nicely finished on the interior given what type of car it was. However, the way in which the body looked like it was different pieces bolted together made you know this was not a car designed for consumers. I was designed with a single purpose in mind. However, it looked like it could eat anything else on the road. What as absolute monster.
The Avants event at Chateau Ste. Michelle had some very high end hypercars on display. A Ferrari Enzo or a La Ferrari might seem like they are the best. How about a McLaren Senna? Seems like the best huh? That might be true but the one next to them was the one I really was taken with. I am not a big Porsche fan. I don’t have a problem with Porsches but I have never been taken with them in the way some have. However, I make an exception for the Carrera GT. That is a car that seems to be special and the end of an era of car types. I recall seeing one on the streets in Chicago and being blown away. Consequently, when I saw this one next to the more recent high end creations, I was really excited. It is a great looking car and something more traditional in the way it is designed. It was also super expensive when it was new. Of course, if you want one now, it is even more expensive!
During the British day at Exotics@RTC, there were some old Jaguars taking center stage in the shopping area. I was checking out the grill on one of them and looked at the headlights. There was a little logo in the middle of the lights that I had not noticed when looking at previous cars. I guess it is an original feature but it could be an aftermarket thing. That seems out of keeping with the way these vehicles are maintained so I hope it is original.
Exotics@RTC provides cars of many vintages but I always find myself drawn to cars from the 80s. Since I was a teenager in that decade, they were the cars that I was paying attention to – assuming they were available in Europe at the time. US cars of that vintage are generally a mystery to me. The appearance of a Renault 5 Turbo 2 was a really nice surprise. The Renault 5 was not a particularly wonderful car. I drove one for a while and, while it could go quite quickly in a straight line, it didn’t have great grip.
However, the similarities between that car and the Turbo version were basically the name and nothing else. The Turbo was a monster of a vehicle in comparison. It went like stink and it was so wide, it was basically a different car. There wasn’t even a back seat because the engine had been put there instead. The owner happened to open up the engine cover while I was walking by which was a lucky break. It showed up again at a following meet so I was able to get a few shots of it from various angles. I was back to being a teenager dreaming of a hot hatch.
The mid-80s was very different to today when it came to expensive cars. Now it feels like a new super car or hypercar is being unveiled every other week. The market for big cars was obviously a lot smaller back then. One of the cars of that era was the Ferrari Testarossa. It was a beast of a car with conspicuous grilles on the side and, in an early iteration, only one wing mirror on the driver’s side.
When I come across one these days, it is always a nice reminder of my teenage years. There is one that is a regular at Exotics@RTC. It was there on a normal day and returned for the Italian Day along with some other examples. It is a car with a muscular look to it with a very wide and low profile and some flaring at the back to emphasize its features. I still think it looks great. Whether it is a fun car to drive, I have no idea.