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– A… a what?

– A Corbellati!

– What’s a…

– An 1800hp Corbellati Missile! By the time you’ve said its name, I’m already doing 300kph! Its top speed is 500kph!

Utterly insane isn’t it? An unknown manufacturer coming up with a level of power that there’s clearly no good use for. And that’s before we get to the price, which I didn’t even ask. What would be the point? I was so shocked I didn’t even remember to take a photo! But you’re not missing much. In design terms, it’s nothing special.

Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Porsches may be far better-establiched but they now pale into insignificante at under 1000hp! Ferdinand Piëch is the one to blame. The father of the Porsche 917, 908/3 and Audi Quattro is an ingenious engineer but a questionnable boss and by creating the Bugatti Veyron, he opened racing up to excess.

Excesses and fripperies of any kind tend to mark the end of an era. I’m afraid that’s what this might be: the end of the car we are passionate about. We are going to enter the era of self-drive and sharing. We’re reinventing the train except instead of it running smoothly along rails, it will bestride the tarmac or take off and soar over traffic jams if they will exist. According to statistics, our cars spend 95% of their time in the garage. Who can predict the effect that a reduced number of cars being driven a lot more often will have on traffic?

For my part, quite aside from the nostalgia I feel when I think of the times when there were no speed limits or cameras and there really was joy to be had in driving, I deplore the idea that governments will impose technological options and ban the internal combustion engine. Some say its death will come as early as 2025. Others that we’ve got until 2030, 2040. Have they come up with a network of battery charging points? A system for recycling the batteries? Have they thought about us running out of rare metals, such as lithium and platinum? Have they thought about how to produce electricity and produce it in a clean way? Do they understand that our combustion engines are not cast in stone and that in the years ahead, they will continue to improve and probably end up polluting less than electric power stations? And what of the public coffers? What will replace the tax on oil products? Rather than insisting on certain technological solutions, wouldn’i it have been wiser to give industry the freedom to come up with appropriate solutions and thus fall within the set limits for harmful emissions?

With that in mind, it isn’t easy being in charge of a car firm these days. Especially since the situation is so different depending on whether you’re in a developed country or an emerging economy. I have just returned from Delhi. The pollution is unbearable yet electricity production is clearly still not up to electrifying the car fleet. Furthenmore, Daimler says that while the sale of diesel vehicles has fallen dramatically in some European countries (to be replaced by petrol – not electric – engines which certainly reduces NOx but increases CO2!), globally, their diesel sales have only fallen by 1%. So diesel is not yet dead. VW predicts that there could even be increased interest in it again before long. So where should one invest? Decisions, decisions! And as if that wasn’t enough, there are all the uncertainties bound up with Brexit…

So what car should one buy? Just don’t buy one, at least not now… Let’s be patient and wait for things to settle down; let’s see if petrol really is condemned to death or receives clemency, if the promised improvements in batteries are real or remain confined to very specific areas of use. I’ll be hanging on to my five-year-old, naturally aspirated, six-cylinder engine and can smile at the thought of appreciating the music of its revs for as long as it’s allowed to live and breathe.

Bugatti Chiron Sport, 1500 hp

Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro Edition, 1100 hp

Hennessey Venom F-5, 1622 hp

Königsegg Reggera, 1500 hp

Rimac C_2, 1915 hp

Techrules REN, 1287 hp

Zenvo TSR-S, 1177 hp


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