So you have a couple million dollars to spare and want to splash it out on a certain limited edition car you’ve been eyeing? Unfortunately, you may find yourself returning home empty handed. The idea of exclusivity has always been at the top of luxury car manufacturers’ minds but by-invite-only cars take the idea to a whole new level.
That’s right, you don’t choose the car. The car chooses you.
This means that even if you’re desperately pining for a Ferrari Sergio (mentioned below) while sprawled in your massive Fifth Avenue penthouse, your chances of owning one are just as low as the millionaire next door. By-invite-only cars have become a marketing strategy — and a very effective one at that — for luxury car manufacturers to sieve out the serious enthusiasts from those merely looking to invest. Deep pockets aren’t the only qualification; they also look out for passion and commitment to the brand. In other words, if your garage already has 20 other Ferraris, you’ll be higher up the consideration list at the Maranello office.
Like forbidden fruit, cars that are notoriously hard to obtain are always more intriguing. Here, we’ve sifted out five by-invite-only cars that you can only dream of owning.
Just when you thought regular Ferraris were an absolute luxury in itself, the Maranello automaker took exclusivity up many notches in 2013 with the Pininfarina Sergio. Only six people were able to take the wheel, and only if they were invited to do so. The Targa-topped 458 Speciale — equipped with a windshield this time — hosts the same naturally-aspirated 4.5-litre V8 that makes 597hp and a whole lot of grunt. While all six were snapped up back then, one has resurfaced on the market again recently for a cool S$6.9 million.
Getting your hands on one of these sleek luxury super-sedans will require meeting two criteria: 1. That you get an invitation; 2. You live in the Middle East. This pretty much reduces your chances of obtaining one to impossible. Last used almost 25 years ago, the Lagonda badge was resurrected with its predecessor’s styling cues, characterised by its sinuous, low-slung body and narrow headlights. While the Lagonda shares the same V12 underpinnings with other Astons, the rest of the car can be tailored to the buyer’s specifications.
You don’t just walk into a showroom, pay S$3.7 million, and walk away with the keys. Bugatti wants every owner of its latest baby, the Chiron, to only go to the best homes. This means that while you’ll need to own at least a few yachts, maybe two private jets, and a palace, Bugatti also wants to know if you’re a passionate fan of their latest speed demon before deciding on extending an invitation to the factory in Molsheim. There, you’ll decide whether your collection requires yet another hypercar. You’re going to say yes after the test drive though; after all, who doesn’t want a 1,500hp monster with an insane 420kph top speed?
Only 20 examples of this track-only beasts were made, and only the most loyal of Lamborghini customers had the good fortune of partaking in the dilemma of getting one. Italian for ‘Sixth Element’, which is carbon on the periodic table. This is no coincidence, because the car is made from little else. With an acceleration speed of less than 2.5 seconds and a top speed of 322kph, such an extreme car would’ve never made it to regular roads, only as a rich man’s toy at his favourite track.
When nine of the original 25 XKSS were destroyed in a fire back in 1957, Jaguar sought to recreate these ‘missing’ legends again one day, an accomplishment in which they succeeded at last year. A painstaking effort that required over 10,000 man hours, the million-dollar replica involved plenty of research and scanning of originals to make the new versions accurate — a move that reaffirms Jaguar’s dedication to heritage. And because the British marque didn’t want collectors locking up their hard work away in a vaulted garage, only those they were sure would take the car out for a spin were invited to join the ultra-exclusive XKSS posse.