Dan Green

Hypercar Exhibit at the Petersen Museum

Having been fortunate enough to garner an invite to the opening of the incredible Hypercar exhibit currently on view at the Petersen Museum, I only have one word to describe it: Snkqcywegvdrfbku!   You may say to yourself “Snkqcywegvdrfbku is not a real word,” and you’d be correct. However, we’re talking about vehicles which aren’t “real”, and that you’ll also likely never see!

The Hypercar Exhibit at the Petersen Museum currently includes 15 outrageous cars and 2 motorcycles. Here we see the 2008 Bugatti Veyron 16-4, and a 2021 Hennessey Venom F5 behind (a $2.1M car with 24 examples built). [Petersen Museum]
The Hypercar exhibit itself was curated perfectly…start off with some French-German inspiration, add in heavy helpings of Italian bravado, a hint of Croatian ingenuity, a bold dash of Emiratean flamboyance, and finished off with an air of British classiness. I was here, primarily, for said classiness…but not the four-wheeled sort. I was chomping at the bit to lay my eyes on the two motorcycles which made the cut for this exhibit: the Aston Martin x Brough Superior AMB 001, and the Lotus C-01.

The Aston Martin AMB 001 is a collaboration between the Aston Martin Special Projects design team and French company Boxer Design, who builds the new Brough Superior platform in Toulouse. [Dan Green]
The Aston Martin x Brough Superior collaboration is one which simply had to happen. With Aston Martin’s deep history of producing elegant sports cars, their unwavering support of the most famous secret agent ever to grace the big screen, and a coveted direct connection to the royal family, Aston Martin represents quintessential British aplomb. Brough Superior motorcycles, in similar fashion to Aston Martin, oozed style and elegance from their beginnings, quickly becoming known as “the Rolls Royce of motorcycles.” Unfortunately, WWII and its after-effects would see the end of Brough Superior, but not forever! Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, Brough Superior was reborn just over a decade ago, and has immediately reclaimed the admiration of those who cherish classic design and glory. The fusion of these two brands resulted in a limited production motorcycle that is utterly astonishing, with a spec sheet that reads like a moto-afficionado’s Christmas wish list: a turbo-charged, short stroke, 997cc v-twin engine, producing 180HP, strapped to a machined, alloy spine/frame, topped off with a structural carbon tail section and titanium interfaces, packed into a sub-400lb package! This gorgeous, rideable piece of art rolls along on custom, lightweight alloy wheels, and lets the Öhlins rear damper soak up bumps effortlessly. The true awe-inspiring details of this bike include the engine case covers, the turbo components and intercooler, and the milled handlebars/controls. Limited to only 100 examples, and with a price tag of 108K Euros ($121,000), this will be a motorcycle which finds its way into only the most exclusive collections around the world…and perhaps the occasional invite-only track day.

The 2014 Lotus C-01 is a striking motorcycle, designed as an homage to Lotus cars by designer Daniel Simon (Tron Legacy). The Lotus license was arranged by the Holzer Group, with a chromoly trellis tube chassis under that skin built by Kalex. The engine is a 175hp KTM 1195cc B-twin from the RC8R. Only 100 examples were built. [TED7]
With hardly a moment to catch my breath, I was tasked with preventing a euphoric brain meltdown, as the Lotus C-01 seducingly displayed itself. To stand before it and slowly absorb all of the design details is a truly exhilarating experience. Its long, slender silhouette is led by a fully-faired front fork, and wrapped in a cocoon-style fairing that encompasses the fuel tank, this bike looks like the brainchild of Burt Munro if he’d been forced to watch the TRON Light Cycle scene on repeat, a lá A Clockwork Orange. The Lotus is so striking (especially this particular example, in a Martini Racing livery) that it’s hard to look away! I could honestly just stare at it for hours! However, the C-01 is not just for show…it absolutely has the GO! The 1195cc v-twin motor churns out 200HP, and this beauty only weighs 399lbs. A combination of Aerotech steel, carbon fiber, and titanium seek to guarantee that the bike remains nimble and compliant, with the suspension duties handled by the class-leading (and ever-present) Öhlins rear shocks. Braking duties are handled by Brembo calipers front and rear, and rolling duties are handled by a set of custom, carbon fiber wheels, built by BST specifically for the C-01. The monocoque carbon fiber fairing/bodyshell is what really brings the package together, and makes you want to park it in your living room and just get rid of your TV! With a claimed top speed of 200MPH, a 0-60MPH time of less than 2.6 seconds, and a $137K sticker price, it becomes crystal clear that the Lotus C-01 fully deserves the ‘hyper’ vehicle moniker.

All that finned plumbing for the turbo is the centerpiece of the hotrodded Boxer V-twin engine. [Dan Green]
All in all it was a treat to see so much design, ingenuity, and history in one place. I am always in awe of the exhibits of the Petersen Automotive Museum, and of course The Vintagent team (through its non-profit arm the Motorcycle Arts Foundation) has been producing motorcycle exhibits there since 2017 (the current exhibit is ADV:Overland, which is also awesome). I eagerly await whatever it is that they’re cooking up next!  If, like me, you enjoy seeing and learning about the truly rare and eccentric cars and bikes that exist in the world, I suggest you plan a trip to the Petersen…and don’t wait too long. After all, these are limited editions.

The outrageous 2021 Delage D12 with a 990hp V-12 motor and low 3000lb weight. Projected run is 19 D12s with a $2.5M price tag. [TED7]
[Ed: the Hypercar exhibit at the Petersen Museum will run 18 months (through June 2023), and rotate its vehicles on occasion, for a total of 30 amazing cars and motorcycles.  There are 15 cars and two motorcycles currently on show, with photos included here.  They represent apex automotive design as spare-no-expense hyperluxury items, a relatively new genre the Petersen rightfully explores.  Of course, these cars cannot be used to their full potential on any public road.  On track days perhaps - in the hands of expert drivers - but the point of these mind-boggling aggregations of ingenuity, man-hours, and investment is not real-world performance, but status and statement.  Luxury objects like the hypercar (and the hyperyacht) have taken the place of the chatéau and artist patronage as public symbols of wealth.  In today's globalized system of tax avoidance for the ultrawealthy, there is an ever-broadening market for such items, for better or worse.  But, of course, it was ever thus, and our fine arts museums are stocked with the evidence: precious items commissioned by the ultrawealthy of every era, from the Egyptians to the Medicis to the Guggenheims.]

When a Pagani is not enough...get Hermés to make a special edition! This 2016 Pagani Huayra is unique, and carried a $7M price tag.  Behind it is a 2017 Lamborghini Centenaro. [Petersen Museum]

 

Dan Green is Competitions Manager for Electric Revolution Live. and a Vintagent Contributor. He is a former motorcycle racer, professional athlete, and co-founder of bicycle brand Ritte. He lives in Los Angeles: follow his Instagram.