After a detailed review of the HyperCars at Salon Privé it is perhaps time to have a good look at what else was sitting on the lawns at what is, without doubt, the most agreeable car show of London's season. It was the perfect time to see all the latest cutting-edge being offered by European manufacturers.
Almost the first car I encountered was the Morgan SP1 which is the first creation from the newly formed Morgan Special Projects Division. The aim was to showcase the traditional skills of this 105 year old car builder allied to the modern technology that 21st century motorists demand. It also demonstrated to potential clients the extent that a new Morgan can be tailored to their individual specifications.
Powered by a 3.7 litre Ford V6 engine, as used on the Morgan V6 Roadster, that is mounted on a steel chassis and featuring revised suspension and engine management system. The wooden frame of the coach-built body is constructed using Ash Wood, combined with African Bubinga Red Hardwood, as is traditional with the sportscars built in Malvern. Much more 21st century was the infotainment system, based around an iPad that has been installed in the dashboard and secured by dual hand-stitched leather straps. How very Morgan.
Not all Morgan fans would approve of the styling, opinions were certainly mixed at Salon Privé, with some feeling that the proverbial pudding was being over-egged, particularly from the rear. However no one could fail to see that it was a striking, purposeful adaptation of an existing model to create a unique car, which was the point, to promote the new service from the manufacturer.
Another mix of the traditional and modern styles was to be found with Ian Callum's Jaguar Mark 2. Callum is currently the Director of Design for Jaguar Cars and he joined forces with Classic Motor Cars to redesign and re-engineer a unique Jaguar Mark 2 with these stunning results.
Since the car was revealed to the public, the response has been positive and CMC have announced their intention to build a limited number with a price tag of around $500,000.
My old friends at Spyker, the eccentric Dutch luxury performance brand, were also present at Salon Privé.
They had a brace of cars on display, a C8 Laviolette and a C8 Aileron.
Abarth had two takes on the Fiat 500, the Abarth 595 Anniversario, launched at the turn of the year to celebrate fifty years of producing tuned Fiat 500s.
Joining in the birthday festivities was the Abarth 695 Biposto which first appeared at the 2014 Geneva Salon. Weighing in at just 997kg and powered by a 187hp turbocharged 1.4-litre engine that puts down the power through a quick-shift ‘dog-ring’ sequential manual gearbox. To achieve the reduction in weight the car sports thinner doorskins, fitted polycarbonate side windows, a titanium roll cage, and fitted lightweight front bucket seats by Sabelt, while taking out the rears.
Racing suspension, featuring lowered springs and dampers, extreme track-focused tyres and more powerful brakes are all part of this street legal racer.
Another Italian rarity, the Lamborghini 5-95 Zagato, one of a run of five, was present. Based on the Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4, Zagato has created a collectable with a strong design statement, reflecting 50 years of collaboration between the two great automobile brands.
Lamborghini had a presence in their own right with the LP 700-4 Aventador Roadster. The Roadster has been described by Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann, as "a unique proposition, more extreme than anything we've done before."
This is Lamborghini we are talking about, so that is a pretty bold claim. The $500,000 price tag, the 6-litre V12 engine producing 700hp, the dramatic stance, all certainly back up that assertion.
But then Lamborghini have always been on the wild side, just look at this Countach...
Another Italian classic, though somewhat more modern, the Pagani Zonda was also to be seen.
The Caterham AeroSeven Concept gives a glimpse of the future for Caterham's model range, a Seven for the 21st century as it were. Sporting a full carbon-fibre body with a striking aerodynamic design that increases downforce, all developed with input from the Caterham Formula One Team. For the first time in the company's history the AeroSeven has both traction and launch control on hand.
The Elemental RP1 is a new concept for a road legal track day car. It weighs in at around 450 kilos and is powered by a Ford 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine producing 280hp. The chassis of the RP1 is a carbon fibre and aluminum tub onto which the front and rear subframes bolt on. It has a feet-up driving position that allows for additional aerodynamic aids improving downforce. The aim is to have a car that can be driven to a track, raced, and then driven back. The Elemental RP1 will be on sale in 2015 first as a racer, then the road going versions should follow.
Another British high performance but low volume manufacturer is Noble and they had their latest model, the M600, on the grass at Syon House. The engine, a 4.4 litre V8 Yamaha with twin turbochargers, is located amidships, set in a steel and alumimium chassis and clothed in carbon fibre bodywork. The M600 enjoys a reputation as a strong performer.
Arguably the maddest machine at Salon Privé was the Millyard Viper V10, a unique motorcycle, the creation of Allen Millyard. Powered by an 8 litre V10 engine taken from a Dodge Viper, it is absolutely hardcore, just sitting on it would be a struggle. All parts were hand made in Allen's garage, the bike is fully road legal and it has covered over 4,000 miles since 2009.
Right up to date and perhaps into the future is the BMW i8, which is a completely different solution to task of going quickly from A to B, especially when compared to a V10 motorcycle. With a price tag of around $140,000, and the looks of a concept car, the i8 is certainly different and is constructed in the lightest, strongest materials using the most advanced techniques that BMW could find. Check out the groovy doors...
Powered by a 1.5-litre turbocharged 3 cylinder petrol engine driving the back wheels and a 129hp electric motor driving the front, the 2+2 coupé is a genuine sportscar, capable of rattling the cages of 911 or Corvette owners. All of this performance with just 49g/km CO2 emissions, and certainly in the UK it is eligible for all sorts of tax breaks and subsidies. And when it comes to energy consumption no other car can compete with its 134.5mpg combined claim and the 23 miles that can be run off the electric motor alone.
Next up a look at the the more classic motors that were found on the lawn at Salon Privé.