Editorial: Supercar – Peter’s Response



Stan, Stan, Stan. How could you be so wrong about so many cars and forget so many others. Clearly, your age is showing. For starters, forget about all those old cars. Yes, they have “character”, but that’s just another word for “electrical problems”. If you want a great GT car, how could you neglect the mighty SLR McLaren? Heck, if you’re mental adventurous enough, you might even go for the one we showed you on How Hard Can It Be? And you brushed off the American and German supercars like they were dandruff on your shoulder! I’m no American stalwart, but I’ll give credit where credit it due. The Corvette is a great GT car and the ZR1 is one of the best cars on the planet with its colossal supercharged 6.2L V8. The ZR1 might lack the sense of occasion necessary in the supercar arena, but no one will argue its performance credentials. And I don’t really think that the Corvette’s trunk is that small. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s huge. Also, for all of ChryCo’s shortcomings, the Viper stands as one of their great achievements. Just look up the fastest lap times for production cars on the Nurburgring. Notice which car stands atop that list? Here, I’ll save you the time, it’s the Dodge Viper ACR. Not bad for a car you claim is “not really a driver’s car”. I could go on, easy. 

As for the Aston Martin DB9, I think that it would make a perfectly good daily driver. It even has doors that raise slightly when you open them so that they don’t scrape the curb. It might be a little low in the ground clearance department, though. So I’ll agree that Astons aren’t the right cars for our climates, although the V12 Vantage might make me reconsider that position. The V8 Vantage is outclassed in this competition, though. Too bad, because it’s a looker. The XK-R (the new supercharged one with the XF-R engine) is the dark horse in the supercar category, it has Ferrari quantities of power in a wrapper that stops you dead in your tracks. I’m not going to dismiss this Jag just yet. 

For other British cars, there’s Bentley and RR. If you can call the VW and BMW subsidiaries “British”, that is. The Conti range, with their borrowed Quattro system, would make fine cars for Canada. Too bad they’re all so ugly. The Brooklands Coupe is on par with the RR Phantom Coupe but is even more rare. Therefore, the Brooklands gets a (5.4 m) spot on to my short list and the Roller gets snubbed. Yes, I’m expanding the definition of “supercar” with this 5,800 lb selection, but this is my list. Make your own if you don’t like it. 

While putting Italy on a pedestal, Stan, you forgot the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione. Not that I think it’s the world’s most competent car, but its looks alone are worthy of mention in any article about supercars. The Gallardo LP 560-4, on the other (Sant’ Agata) hand, makes my short list, especially after what we saw when Tiff got behind the wheel

Also, to snub Germany would be to neglect the Audi R8, the Merc CLK Black and SL Black, and the previously mentioned SLR. I’d call the SL Black a hardcore track car and unsuitable for our climate, but the others would make fine choices. And don’t bash the R8 just because its engine is behind the driver. The R8 was designed to fit two sets of golf clubs on the shelf behind the seats. But that probably doesn’t include staff bags, so Tour pros need not apply. I know that the R8’s Quattro would certainly come in handy when the roads get snowy. I think I’ll have to cut the CLK Black, though. It just isn’t quite special enough to keep up with this field. Shame really, it’s a great car. 

Also, you dismissed the Ferrari for its lack of reliability and servicing locations but later said that you would put up with these grievances for the GranTurismo. Don’t get the wrong idea, I think that the Maserati is a fantastic work of art and the GranTurismoS transforms the portly standard car so that it handles with aplomb. Still though, this is a bit like putting a pig in ballet shoes instead of work boots. You’re still not going to fool anyone. 

That’s quite enough for what we disagree about, now let us focus on what we agree about. I think that choosing a car that is livable with in the city, especially ridiculously-far-North Canadian one, is a great idea. Normally, I’d be tempted to pick the best car for windy roads and hot tracks, promptly forgetting that I live in a reality called Edmonton. So that eliminates the Koenigseggs, Bugattis, Vipers, Ascaris, Gumperts, Paganis, Caterhams, and Ferraris. What does that leave me?

Well, from what I’ve deduced so far, I’ve got the Mercedes McLaren SLR, Aston Martin V12 Vantage, Jaguar XK-R, Bentley Brooklands Coupe, Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4, and the Audi R8. Now we get down and dirty. V12 Vantage is out. All the vents and side skirts and spoilers ruin the classic design. The XK-R is out. The Jag looks great from the rear, but the front end lets it down. Now it gets really tough. Gallardo is out. Ouch, that physically hurt me to write. Probably too demanding for day-to-day driving, though. Try parallel parking it. R8 is out. Stan is right, not enough room. Where do I put my skis? Down to two, the Brooklands and the SLR. I really didn’t see it coming down to these two when I started the article, but here I am.

It has to be the Bentley. I just realized that the one thing you really look for in a supercar is a sense of occasion. That can come in many shapes and forms. It can be performance, design, price tag, exclusivity, or the mystical je ne sais quois. As a gearhead, I’d always assumed that performance was the number one factor when choosing a car. Until I went through the problem step-by-step, that is. Now, a whole lot of design, price tag, exclusivity and yes, performance, have led me to the Brooklands. With its 6 and 3/4 Litre, twin-turbo, hand-built engine producing 550 hp and 774 torques, the supercar power statistics are certainly in place. But the Brooklands is much more than just power stats (or even weight stats). For example, the interior of the Brooklands takes 125 hours just to trim and 16 cows make the ultimate sacrifice to make the leather for said interior. The level of detail and rampant excess that goes into the Brooklands is just mesmerizing. To me, this is what a supercar should be about. Plus, you can fit four above-average adults in it. The SLR is just too compromised and hardcore. I guess I’m getting old. Hey Stan, warm up that seat next to you at the Bingo. I’m on my way in the Brooklands.