Few shows, let alone geographic locations, say more about their "premier luxury" intentions than the 10th annual Top Marques show in Monaco. As a millionaire's playground, the principality of Monaco is overflowing with opulence. Take one look at the harbor with yachts larger than many traditional family homes, and you'll know what we mean. The streets aren't paved with gold but they certainly smell of it.
Our hosts were Vredestein Tire's Premium Styling division. They guided us through a world that many dream about but few actually experience. With our tourist hat cast aside, we figured it never hurts to play millionaire in a city filled with so many. So we entered the 2013 Top Marques show with the intention of sharing a new reason to tell your boss you need a vacation in Monte Carlo.
While The Grimladi Forum venue might be modest in size, it certainly didn't lack ambience. Its glass ceiling and steel frame allow just enough Mediterranean light to shine on some of the most exclusive cars in the world. Exotic brands like Ferrari, Spania, Savage and Koenigsegg, all wanted the attention of prospective buyers and the media.
Vehicles from top tuning companies like Hamann Motorsport, Mansory and Abt gleamed under the spotlights. Mansory, for example, showed its exclusive carbon fiber aero kit for the new Ferrari F12 Berlinetta. The V12 engine was boosted to 775hp, thanks to a software flash and free-flowing exhaust, if you can afford the entry price.
Abt specializes in the VW/Audi brands, bringing two new conversions to impress the crowds. The Audi RS5-R and R8 GTR models were each fitted with aerodynamic body kits including Le Mans-inspired dive plates, canards and deep bumpers. After massaging the engine, the R8 GTR was boosted from 525hp to 620hp, and it's 220 lb lighter thanks to the use of carbon fiber. Only 25 examples will be produced, so get your order in now!
Prince Albert II drops in every year to speak to each vendor and tries to score discounted wheels
Prince Albert II drops in every year to speak to each vendor and tries to score discounted
Abt RS5-R is a DTM-inspired street machine with a full rollcage
For Sale: Audi S1 quattro
In the Vredestein booth, Hamann Motorsport unveiled its chrome-painted, BMW M6 "Mirror" coupe, fitted with a widebody aero kit and the new Vredestein Ultrac Vorti R designer tires - complete with Hamann branding. Italdesign Giugiaro were the masterminds behind the tread design and unique carbon-look sidewalls.
Koenigsegg is always a rare sight but the Swedish engineers brought the Agera S Hundra. Its meticulously hand-laid carbon fiber body panels and wheels were contrasted by gold engine-turned graphics, raising the bar for exotic sports car detailing. The twin-turbo 5.0L V8 pushing 1100hp had everybody begging for a ride, including us.
Finding time to pull ourselves away from the cars, we came across everything from carbon fiber champagne bottles to iPod speaker docks housed inside exhaust headers.
Adding to the list of extreme items you could own was a jet-powered surfboard. The JetSurf is capable of 30mph in water while you stand on it. The choice of 86cc or 100cc two-stroke engines can propel you across a body of water for almost two hours with the fuel onboard.
The Top Marques show proved to be a destination your friends will envy from the first Facebook post. Witnessing unimagined luxury and opulence, with a few well-placed supercars, while enjoying the layout of the most historic street course in the world put us in the mood for champagne and gasoline... but not together, of course...
The insane jet-powered surfboard from JetSurf
Racing headers wired to blast your iPod playlist
Mansory Ferrari 458 Spider was drawing a good crowd outside the main hall
Hamann "Mirror" M6 debuted with new Vredestein Vorti R tires
Hamann Mission BMW M5 soaking in the Mediterranean sun
Spania GTA in its perfectly laid carbon fiber glory