One of the more startling things on display this year was from a very young manufacturer, Spyker. It's the C8 Aileron:
It has a top speed of 187 mph and goes from 0-60 in a little over 4.3 seconds. At around $266,000, it probably should do no worse, and I don't think that's including the cost of shipping from the Netherlands. I guess when I'm able to spend that kind of money on a car, an extra $10,000 in shipping costs won't likely bother me all that much.
The best thing about the Aileron is that I think it's the first car I've seen since probably the 1970s that has a theme to its design. All its details are inspired by the early days of jet airplane flight.
The airscoops look like jet engines, the wheels look like turbines, the rear view mirror arms look like turbine blades. Everything leads in the same stylistic direction. It's really brilliant and the work of Victor Muller, who co-founded the company in 2000.
I think the interior is where this car becomes truly magical:
I want mine in gun-metal gray with a gold interior...or maybe dark navy and beige...oh, who cares, just get me any color you like. But this combination is awesome, something about the top view looks very futuristic to me. Anyway, all the details look exactly like the cockpit of some fancy private jet from 1960.
...or earlier. There's something about the instrument panel and especially their trademark exposed gear-shift that looks totally Steampunk, as if jet-propulsion had become a reality in the early part of the 20th century.
Whether you like its styling or not--I happen to be drooling, personally--there's no question that it's distinctive. There is nothing else like this out there, to my knowledge. In my opinion, if you're going to spend this much money on a vehicle, you deserve more than a badge on the hood that some car lover may or may not recognize. You deserve something that no one else has ever seen or will ever own. It's not that I have any fondness for exclusivity or the snobbery that can so easily accompany it, quite the contrary. But with all the cars out there, even including the concept cars, trying to squeeze every last drop of life out of futuristic hypermodernism, it's refreshing to see a design explore a timeless and obviously handcrafted luxuriousness. I also believe that the sports car purist enjoys connecting with his or her vehicle in a very simplistically mechanical way, to completely feel the car, engine on road. The pure pleasure of driving is what this is about, not transportation to a destination, and the Aileron captures that with the utmost majesty.
©2009, Ryan Witte