New Cars and Concepts from Monterey Classic Car Week

Not long ago, the big international car shows, from Detroit to Frankfurt, to Paris and Beijing, were the principal venues to introduce new vehicles to the public. Today, the CES trade show has become a popular destination to launch new automotive technology, and Monterey’s classic car gathering of affluent prospects seems just the ticket for luxury car introductions. This year was especially rich with new models and wild concepts from a host of automakers, with an emphasis on performance. The following is a recap.

Brabham BT62
Jack Brabham was a racing legend, winning three world championships in the early 1960s. His sons and grandsons have continued the family dynasty and the family has designed and manufactured more than 500 racecars. The Brabham BT62 looks nearly street drivable, but it’s a 2,100-pound track car pushed by 700 very serious horsepower. About $1.5 million will give you quite a ride at a local track day, or if you’re bold, use it to zoom to a cars and coffee gathering.

Hennessey Venom F5
John Hennessey is an affable Texan who has built quite a company by super-tuning already fast production cars. So the cars that carry John’s name have to be really remarkable, and his 7.6-liter, 1,600hp F5 is certainly up to the task. Hennessy’s previous GT model achieved a top speed record of 270.49mph and the new Venom F5 has a 301mph specification with a 0-to-186mph spec of just 10 seconds. Twenty-four examples will be produced for a reasonable base price of $1.6 million. Fifteen were spoken for at press time.

Audi PB-18 e-tron Concept
Audi combined pure sports with a nod to shooting brake utility in the pure electric named for its Pebble Beach-week appearance. A 95kWh solid-state battery powers front and rear electric motors providing 612 lb-ft of torque, enough to launch the 3,400-lb car to 60mph in around two seconds. And if you’ve got 800 volts in your garage, 15-minute recharging is suggested to provide a 300-mile range. A novel feature of this high-performance Audi is its “Level Zero” design philosophy that scuttles various levels of autonomous driving and traditional luxury bells and whistles to focus on a real human in control. And the driving position can be moved from the left (or presumably right) side of the car to the center for racetrack use. That’s fun!

Bentley Mulsanne W.O. Edition by Mulliner
In the ultra-luxury pecking order, the top model Bentley prices have hovered just under archrival Rolls-Royce. But for 100 buyers of the W. O. edition of the flagship Mulsanne, the bar of exclusivity has been raised. The current Bentley Boys dug into the company archives and discovered a new crankshaft for the massive 8-liter engine that powered the founder’s personal limo in 1930. They’ve carefully sliced the crank into 100 pieces and each W. O. model gets its own slice of automotive history, beautifully encased for display in the hand-stitched cabin by coachbuilder Mulliner. Prices were not provided (it’s so boorish to ask), but our guess is to bring at least $400,000 with you to the Bentley store.

McLaren 600 LT
McLaren’s Special Operations create bespoke cars for the automaker’s clients, and the 600LT model, first shown on the Pebble Beach Lodge concept lawn, is as “track focused” as one might wish for. The lightweight, 592HP supercar is clearly track ready, with its carbon-fiber roof scoops and howling top-exit exhaust pipes. The well-equipped Stealth Grey model on display was $363,500, complete with a Bowers & Wilkins sound system. Just the ticket for street and track duty.

Infiniti Prototype 10
Last year, Infiniti unveiled a very retro racer style concept with electric propulsion. This year’s Prototype 10 may have the same racecar proportions, but its contemporary design suggests a possible styling direction for the automaker’s near-future lineup.

Bugatti Divo
I know what some are thinking: I’ve misspelled Diva. Actually, Albert Divo was a very fast driver for Bugatti in 1920s and ’30s, so this extremely fast Bugatti honors his legacy. It’s lighter and quicker than the amazing Chiron—and more precious. The 40 hand-built Divo models have fetched $5.5 million each.

BMW Z4
This all-new edition of BMW’s two-passenger sports car should help reignite sales, and that’s an important objective in a low-volume segment. To help amortize production costs, BMW co-developed the Z4 with Toyota’s new Supra, a strategy reminiscent of Mazda Miata and Fiat’s 124 cooperation. The new Z4 is generational in design, with clean, sculptured lines, and the M edition should generate sporting passion.

SSC Tuatara
The model name Tuatara sounds like it’s a car from a small principality overseas, but it is, in fact, the name of a really quick lizard. And if the hypercar maker Shelby Super Cars (SSC) seems familiar, owner Jerod Shelby is not related to the late Carrol of Shelby Cobra fame. The lesser-known Shelby builds this carbon-fiber rocket near Seattle and squeezes up to 1,750 horses from a 5.9-liter V8. Jerod had planned 40 models at about $1 million each but has increased the number to 100. Don’t worry, though—you won’t bump into too many of these or the other cars on this list, even in Silicon Valley.

Salaff C2
Carlos Salaff sharpened his design skills over the last decade as a Mazda designer. Today, Salaff can create this very cool and rare C2 that’s based on the Lamborghini Gallardo and takes the Italian automaker’s razor-sharp design a jet-fighter step further in style. Pricing is as mysterious as the exclusivity.

Porsche Mission E
Porsche will plunge into the pure electric scene with its very stylish Mission E, joining Jaguar, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz to respond to Tesla’s luxury EV dominance. Let the fun begin.

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