Friday, 12 October 2007

Lamborghini Reventón



There are some things that we, in our happy but deprived little lives, know we’re never going to own. The Riva 68’ Ego Super, for example. Whether you enjoy the homoerotic extravaganza of mucking about on the water or you consider the whole process to be a salty waste of energy, you can’t deny that this is truly a king among boats. 38 knots in a black walnut stealth missile with a Martini in one hand and a Montecristo in the other? You’re just a cravat away from being David Niven. Sitting beyond the scary end of three million euros, it’s an extravagance few men stretch to.

Likewise, the dream of a private island is one that must remain in the cerebral reverie of the common man. Little Ragged Island, a seven hundred acre chunk of paradise in the Bahamas boasts pure white sand, turquoise water, a sheltered harbour and numerous coconut trees. Yours for $23,500,000.

The automotive world is naturally rich in such unreachable aspirations. The flagship of this decadent opulence is, of course, the Bugatti Veyron (an achievement of engineering so magnificent and breathtaking that you truly have to be a twat to buy one; trust me, if you get stuck chatting to a Veyron owner, make your excuses as quickly as possible and find somebody who doesn’t have his head so far up his own arse he can lick his kidneys), and moves down the scale through the Ferrari Enzo, Porsche Carrera GT, Pagani Zonda, Koenigsegg CCX and so forth. ‘Down the scale’ is all relative, obviously, the meaning here being ‘only the price of one house’. The kind of people who shell out for these passionate figureheads fall into two distinct categories: those who enjoy the car holistically, appreciating the heritage, the verve, the mechanical complexity, the two fingers up to physics, and those who want people to see that they’ve got loads of cash. For the former, see Damon Hill or Gordon Murray; for the latter, see wreckedexotics.com.

There is a middle ground between these two groups, a halfway point between ballsy and bling. Organically, there has to be. It stands to reason that no matter how pure the intentions of the driving enthusiast, there must be at least a little ego involved in hypercar ownership. So where do you go if your exotic powerhouse starts to seem a little pedestrian? Don’t worry, your friendly auto manufacturer is one step ahead of you…

The Lamborghini Murciélago is one of the best cars ever created. This is a fact. Not so much built by men as hewn from the collective dreams of a generation of schoolboys, it ticks every box for a car of its genre – monstrous power, looks that make grown men weep, a deep history of automotive pioneering, a price tag to make Solomon blush. But oh, they’re awfully common these days aren’t they? They’re an everyday sight in Soho, generally driven by the sort of people who really don’t deserve them, have probably never taken it out of the city and certainly never venture as far as a race track. These posers are not the sort of people that the modern self-respecting enthusiast-cum-cash-haemorrhage wish to associate themselves with.

What’s available to these people? How do they differentiate themselves? Why, they buy a Reventón of course.

In simple terms, think of it as a tarted-up Murciélago that will be harder to fix when somebody bangs a Metro door into it in Waitrose car park. Officials say that just twenty will be built (although some say a hundred – either way, it’s a guarantee of exclusivity), and it’s a genuinely terrifying sight in the metal. Taking styling cues from the F-22 Raptor – an American fighter plane with fourth generation stealth technology – it seems to be composed entirely of corners; a sort of Cubist representation of the Murciélago, if you will. There’s also, somewhat bizarrely, something of the fifties American boulevard cruiser about the front end, due to the fuck-the-pedestrians jagged pointy bits that menacingly poke out. This thing doesn’t need to be friendly to passers-by on foot. If you do hit someone, you’re likely to be going so fast that they’ll be immediately pulped no matter what shape the nose is.

The 6.5 litre V12 has received a few tweaks to take output to a more than respectable 660bhp. As if this weren’t enough to keep the driver entertained, Lamborghini have fitted a G-force meter so that he may keep tabs on exactly how much damage he’s inflicting upon himself every time he powers through a corner, grinds the noisy pedal into the bulkhead or engages those Frisbee-esque brakes. It’s an event. It’s unique.

A concern for the driver, inevitably, will be whether or not to use it to its full potential; how far to take the shenanigans in such a prized and irreplaceable creation. You know the feeling you get when you see an F40 being thrashed to within an inch of its life on the racetrack? Part of you thinks ‘this is fabulous, that’s exactly what it was built for’, while the pragmatist in you asks ‘Christ, what if he stacks it into the Armco? There can’t be many of those left…’.

Annoyingly, this is a decision I’ll never have to make.

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