Three future classics at Retromobile we just couldn’t ignore

13th February 2020
Seán Ward

You’d think with a name like ‘Retromobile’ that every car on display would be old, maybe from the 1990s at the very youngest. But you’d be wrong.


While Retromobile is a celebration of the slightly older motor car (walking through the doors to the show is like walking back in time in certain respects) there were quite a few younger cars dotted around.

I enjoy poring over every detail of a Lamborghini Miura SV as much as the next person, but some of the newer cars at Retromobile were drop dead gorgeous. The term future classic is probably used too much, but for these three it works rather nicely.


Maserati MC12 Versione Corse

What you’re looking at here is the most powerful Maserati ever made. Just 12 ‘Versione Corse’ models were built, created to celebrate the MC12 GT1’s win at its maiden 24-hour race, the 2005 Spa 24 Hours. As you can imagine, then, it didn’t have quite the same performance as the already bonkers MC12, itself a slightly more aggressive sister to the Ferrari Enzo. The 6.0-litre, naturally aspirated V12 produced 755PS at 8,000rpm, the same as the GT1 and 122PS more than the standard MC12.

Unlike the normal MC12 the Versione Corse was for track use only, built to meet the demand Maserati had from customers who didn’t want to go racing but wanted something even faster and more extreme to push at their local circuit. But still, it’s very, very cool.

This car, for sale with Girardo & Co., is in “track-ready condition” following a recent service. If only there was somewhere near Goodwood with a track...


Ferrari 599 Manual

The Ferrari 599 was a monster. With a 6.0-litre, naturally aspirated V12 (the same basic unit as the one found in the aforementioned Enzo and MC12) and 620PS it would blast past 62mph in 3.7 seconds on its way to a top speed of 205mph. It would blast through a set of tyres rather sharpish, too.

But for some the 599 had a weakness. It was born at a time when Ferrari was really fond of automatic gearboxes. Gone were the six-speed manuals of old, replaced instead by six-speed, semi-automatic, single-clutch transmissions. Ferrari’s double clutch gearboxes today are excellent, but they’re only as good as they are because Ferrari learnt an awful lot using single-clutch ‘boxes in cars like the 599 and F430. However, 10 brilliant human beings in Europe did the unthinkable: they ordered 599s with six-speed manual gearboxes. This is one of those cars.

Naturally a 599 with a manual was slower than its auto counterpart, but I’d be willing to bet that not a single owner cared in the slightest. Just imagine driving a big, still fairly modern V12 Ferrari, swapping cogs yourself with that glorious, exposed metal gear lever surround? The 599 was the last of its breed, and we can’t help but think this cars will only ever be highly sought after. What a machine.


Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport

Production of the Veyron might have dragged a little towards the end, with seemingly endless special editions, but we shouldn’t forget just what an incredible machine the Veyron was, and indeed still is. Think about it: the Bugatti name was resurrected with the sole ambition of building not just the fastest in the world but the fastest luxury car in the world. Making a car go fast isn’t an overly difficult task in itself, but building a car like the Veyron, with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, cruise control, an incredible sound system, gorgeous leather heated seats and so on, and making it do more than 250mph remains an unbelievable achievement.

The Grand Sport was the convertible Veyron, and came with a removable carbon roof and a temporary two-piece umbrella-like roof, for times when you were out and about and a sudden rain shower descended. With the umbrella roof you were limited to 81mph, but with the carbon top you could go just as fast as a regular Veyron: 253mph.

The Grand Sport at Retromobile was on display with RM Sotheby’s, and it was nigh-on impossible not to have a poke around. The Veyron is, and always will be, an incredibly cool car.

Photography by Pete Summers and Ben Miles.

  • Retromobile

  • Retromobile 2020

  • Bugatti

  • Veyron

  • Maserati

  • MC12

  • Ferrari

  • Enzo

  • 599

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