While most cars are treated like white goods, spending years taking the children to school and rubbish to the tip, before being unceremoniously scrapped or traded in for a fresher model, some are different. There are some models that are an absolute expression of art, the pinnacle of engineering, or just so fast that they occupy a higher plane in the hearts of both car fans and the people who created them.
Some cars are so loved by their makers that they cannot bear to say goodbye. So when the car reaches the end of its life cycle, they give it one last hurrah by fine-tuning, fettling and generally improving it to an even more rarefied level. Unsurprisingly these cars aren’t your average hatchbacks, but rather the most exclusive supercars, which are made even more so by the creators’ obsession.
Here are our top five supercar swansongs:
Pagani Zonda R
The striking Zonda R was built by specific request for one of Pagani’s favoured customers, who wanted something a bit more edgy than the three regular Zondas he already had in his garage. As well as its beautiful minimalist interior and specially crafted carbon-fibre body, the Zonda R boasts phenomenal performance. It can reach 60mph in just under 3 seconds and has a top speed of 217mph, thanks to its Mercedes sourced V12 engine. Only 15 were ever made, and you’ll never see one on the road – the lightweight makeover sheering the Zonda of indicators, ground clearance and everything else you need to drive on the Queen’s highway.
Click play to watch the Zonda R annihilate the lap record of the fearsome Nurburgring Nordschleife.
Taking design inspiration from the F22 Raptor – the US air force’s latest fighter jet – the Lamborghini Reventon is the brand’s most expensive car to date. The exterior is shaped like an arrow and the interior has an airplane-inspired display in place or regular clocks. With its 650bhp engine, it can travel from 0-60mph in just 3.4 seconds and has a top speed of 211mph. The car was sold for $1.4million apiece, with all twenty examples being snapped up in quick succession.
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Ferrari 599 GTO
The Ferrari 599 GTO had ‘future classic’ written all over it, bearing the hallowed GTO nomenclature that had adorned successful Ferrari racers from the golden era of motorsport. 599 models were made and each sold for £285,000. The car can go to 60mph in 3.4 seconds and tops out at 208mph. It was built to be lighter than the standard 599, with thinner aluminium, glass and liberal use of carbon fibre, including the heavily sculpted race seats.
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Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse
The 2013 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse epitomises excess. Costing a whopping $2.5million and with a top speed of 254mph, it is the fastest and most expensive convertible car in the world. Only 450 were ever made but it was a car that significantly moved the performance goalposts and one that is often referred to as motoring’s ‘Concorde moment’.
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive
The Mercedes SLS AMG took the world by surprise when it was unveiled in 2009, being the first ground-up car from the company’s in-house performance division AMG. With the usual Mercedes build quality and a driving experience to rival the established Italian exotics, it proved an instant hit with customers and the media alike. The model has undergone significant revisions over its life, most notably in the form of a convertible version, as well as a hardcore Black Series edition. However, while that car was technically the finale, it was comprehensively outshon by another special version, the SLS Electric Drive, the company's first ever all-electric model. It was no hair-shirt edition either; with the equivalent of 526bhp from its gigantic battery pack, and a 0-60mph time of 3.9 seconds, the SLS Electric Drive could hold its head high amongst its petrol-powered contemporaries.
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