To some of us, certain cars are better than women. They can be depended upon. It is easy to know what is wrong if they are acting up and they never put you through any kind of mind game. Straightforward and sexy as hell. If women didn't have uses that a car can not fulfill, men would do without them all together. Yes, that is offensively sexist, so no need to mention it in the comments section. By the by, this writer's opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the owner of this blog. Whew, now that the legals are covered, let's have a look at a few cars that are so outlandishly expensive and/or impractical that you may almost feel as if they are must haves in your life.
We went back in time a bit for the Lotus Seven for a few reasons. First, the car is a damn solid bit of history that only a limited number of auto enthusiasts know about. Secondly, it fits nicely on our list. The Lotus Seven was produced between 1957 and 1972 and enjoyed immense success for a car produced by a boutique automaker. More than 2,500 units were sold, with many being tuned to race on the clubman circuit. Once Lotus turned away from producing the Seven, Caterham purchased the rights to all aspects of the car and continues to produce body kits and entire cars. Amazingly, that segues nicely into the next car!
The Caterham Seven instantly transports you back to the earlier days of the Lotus Seven. The basic design of the car has remained nearly unchanged since 1957. The main changes have been in production methods and materials used. The Seven can be bought in three types and multiple trim levels, but we think the most exciting is the CSR260 Superlight. This unit is powered by a 260 bhp Ford Cosworth Duratec, yet only weighs 550 kg. The Superlight offers a 0-100 km/h time of just 3.1 seconds and has a top speed of 249 km/h. The car also incorporates an interesting Multimatic ''Dynamic Suspensions'' system to improve handling and cornering. In other words, the thing corners like it is on rails!
The Briggs Automotive Company produces the BAC Mono. The Mono is billed as a single-seat road legal sports car. Given that the car is all carbon fibre stretched over a steel chassis and is based on the construction techniques used in DTM racing, that is a very accurate billing. The Mono is powered by a Ford Cosworth that has been heavily tuned to produce 285 bhp and 279 N-m of torque. The engine is paired to an F3-compliant six-speed sequential gearbox from Hewland. The result is a 0-100 km/h time of 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 274 km/h. It came down to a coin toss as to whether to include the BAC Mono or the Ariel Atom. The coin kept landing on its edge, so...clever segue to the Atom.
The Ariel Atom is a very distinctive car. It is in its seventh generation and has several variants. Perhaps the most interesting variant is the Ariel Atom 500 V8 Limited Edition. This variant is powered by a 500 bhp engine developed by John Hartley. The body is, of course, carbon fibre. The Atom uses aerofoils, chromoly aerofoil wishbones, an integrated function steering wheel, and Alcon four-piston brake calipers to help control the raw power. The powerplant is mated to an SADEV 6-speed sequential gearbox. Claimed 0-100 km/h time is ''less than 2.3 seconds.'' Unfortunate for the common man, only 100 atoms are made per year. Yeah, limited production is why we don't all have one.
Alfa Romeo 4C
The Alfa Romeo 4C creeps a bit closer to practicality, but not for us mere mortals. This is a car for the gods...well maybe for someone with a bigger bank account than most of us. The 4C is powered by an aluminium 1,742cc turbocharged I4 that pushes 240 bhp to a six-speed TCT Dual Dry Clutch Transmission. The engine has been designed for minimal weight and maximum speed. The 4C has a 0-100 km/h time of 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 258 km/h. If those numbers are not impressive enough, Alfa has confirmed that a larger engine is on the immediate horizon for the 4C. The new engine will offer closer to 280 bhp.
Bentley Flying Spur
It is impossible to build a list of impractical cars without including a Bentley! What better car to include than the 5,998 cc W12 TSI twin-turbocharged Flying Spur. The engine thrusts 616 bhp through an eight-speed ZF transmission. The total effects is a 4.6 second 0-100 km/h time and a top speed in the neighborhood of 300 km/h. Those numbers would not be very impressive if they were not attached to a very heavy luxury saloon.
Dodge Viper ACR
Might as well let the Americans have a mention. The Dodge Viper American Club Racing (ACR) Edition is a road legal sports car by the barest of technicalities. On the pavement, it is as impractical as you can get. It is nearly impossible to imagine handling 600 bhp and 760 N·m on the streets on a regular basis. Designed to take to the track like a duck takes to water, the ACR offers 4.45 Kn of downforce. The power output and downforce must work, because the ACR has set records on thirteen different tracks in the States. According to Tim Kuniskis, FCA's North American Head of Passenger Car Brands, ''The SCCA has certified that the new 2016 Dodge Viper ACR holds more track records than any other production car in the world. We expected our new Viper ACR to be the fastest street-legal Viper track car ever. Now we know without a doubt that it is.'' Yep, as impractical as hell and any driving enthusiast would be happy to sit behind the wheel all day.