Top Gear’s Top 9: customer-commissioned supercars | Top Gear
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Top Gear’s Top 9: customer-commissioned supercars

Standard supercar not exclusive enough for you? Try these for size...

Lamborghini Aventador J
  1. McLaren X-1

    McLaren X-1

    Look up the word polarising in the dictionary, and you’ll likely find the words 'McLaren' and 'X-1'. Unveiled back in 2012 at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, it certainly divided opinion. It is, largely, an MP4-12C in a new outfit – same MonoCell chassis, interior and twin-turbo V8 – but what a fashion statement it is. 

    Built by McLaren Special Operations at the request of a McLaren regular, it reportedly took around 18 months to conceive and complete. Everything bar the glasshouse is bespoke, including the carbon-fibre body, aluminium rear wing, and those enclosed rear arches, designed at the request of the client to reflect “timeless elegance”. If you say so…

    The result was one very exclusive (road-legal) supercar measuring 11cm longer and 19cm wider than the 12C it originated from. Cost? Around seven million dollars, or around 30 times the cost of a 12C when launched. That’s one expensive new frock.

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  2. Ferrari 458 MM Speciale

    Ferrari 458 MM Speciale

    You’d have thought that most people would be happy with the extensive time, effort and resource that goes into every car that emerges through the doors in Maranello, but seemingly not everybody. Fortunately, that’s where Ferrari’s Special Projects team steps in. 

    See, it’s those kind folk who’ll help you to build the Ferrari of your dreams. The 458 MM Speciale, for example, which is based on the standard 458 Speciale but has several bespoke elements including a ‘visor’ effect cockpit (like the 1984 Ferrari GTO), which essentially means black A-pillars to make the windscreen and side windows appear as one. Otherwise there’s remodelled bumpers plus new side intakes, wheels and a subtle spoiler flick.

    Of course, as we all know, it wouldn’t be truly bespoke unless it had a custom paintjob, in this case Bianco Italia paint (read: white) with Italian flag livery. So if you’re sat there asking yourself “what do you buy the person who has everything”, now you know.

  3. Rolls-Royce Sweptail

    Rolls-Royce Sweptail

    Back in 2013, Rolls-Royce was approached by one of its most valued customers with a very particular request. Inspired by the swept-tail Rolls-Royces of the Twenties and Thirties, he wanted a two-seater coupé featuring a large panoramic glass roof. At any cost.

    Over the next five years, and working closely with Rolls’ coachbuilding department, the Sweptail was born. It featured the largest grille ever fitted to any modern era Rolls.  Bodywork that wraps under the car with ‘no visible boundary’, like the hull of a racing yacht. And an upward arc at the rear, producing the swept-tail that gives the car its name.

    And, of course, there was the panoramic glass roof, “one of the largest and most complex ever seen on a motor car”, says Rolls. Considering that back in 2017 it was the most expensive car in the world, at just the casual $12.8 million, you’d expect nothing less.

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  4. Bugatti La Voiture Noire

    Bugatti La Voiture Noire

    Say hello to The Most Expensive Car in the World. No biggie. Yep, the Bugatti La Voiture Noire stole the Rolls-Royce Sweptail’s crown back in 2019 – with unconfirmed rumours suggesting it had been bought by Cristiano Ronaldo for a cool $18 million. 

    Why? Well, it’s a Bugatti for starters. So it was never going to be cheap. But it’s much more then that; it’s steeped in heritage too, paying homage to Jean Bugatti’s personal Type 57 Atlantic, of which only four were ever made. Hence the colour (La Voiture Noire literally translates as The Black Car), dorsal seam and six-pipe exhaust. Other highlights include a longer wheelbase over the regular Chiron, handcrafted carbon-fibre body, end-to-end LED tailgate and 3D printed wheels.

    And then, of course, there’s the near-1,500bhp, 8.0-litre, quad-turbocharged, 16-cylinder engine – somewhat more powerful than the Type 57’s twin-cam 3.3-litre straight-eight. Given the price, whether you’d be willing to push the La Voiture Noire to its maximum is another matter...

  5. Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina

    Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina

    Another Ferrari, but this time built not by Ferrari’s Special Projects team, but instead Pininfarina, at the request of former film director, avid car collector, and supercar company owner James Glickenhaus. Not a bad CV.

    Approached by Pininfarina back in 2005, he was asked if he’d be interested in commissioning his own Ferrari. “Damn right I would,” he replied. Or words to that effect, we presume. So Glickenhaus did what anybody would do: went and purchased the last unsold Ferrari Enzo and delivered it to Pininfarina. Where it was promptly dismantled. 

    Glickenhaus wanted his Ferrari to resemble the 1967 330 P4 racecar, with the Special Projects team only too happy to oblige. While much of the Enzo’s mechanicals remained a new body was sculpted, and a year and four million dollars later the keys were handed back.

  6. Aston Martin GT12 Roadster

    Aston Martin GT12 Roadster

    Not one to miss out on a party, Aston Martin joined the customer-commissioned one-off game back in 2016 with this, the Aston Martin GT12 Roadster, courtesy of its ‘Q’ division. It was, essentially, a convertible Vantage GT12, itself limited to 100 examples.

    Revealed at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, it retained pretty much all of the roadster’s goodness, including that glorious 595bhp 6.0-litre V12 engine. The best bit, though? The customer specced a titanium exhaust, to ensure he could hear it in all its full glory. TG.com is still working on tracking down said individual to see if they have any eardrums left.

    Naturally, there had been aerodynamic and suspension tweaks, to compensate for, y’know, lobbing the roof in the skip. No price was ever given, though with the Coupe costing from £250,000, we imagine the buyer had very deep pockets indeed.

  7. Rolls-Royce Boat Tail

    Rolls-Royce Boat Tail

    How do you follow a car like the Sweptail? Like this, we guess. The latest car to emerge from Rolls’ coachbuilding arm, the Boat Tail is a 5.8-metre-long grand tourer that reportedly cost its owner $28 million. Reportedly, meaning the La Voiture Noire still holds the official title.

    It takes its name from the Boat Tails of the Twenties and Thirties, which saw coachbuilders graft the hull forms of sailing boats onto terra firma-based transport. We doubt that back then they came with such luxuries as this thing, with 1,813 bespoke parts including a rear-deck that opens butterfly-style for your very own al fresco dining experience.

    The Boat Tail was, however, a team effort, commissioned by three clients who shared the same (expensive) nautical-themed tastes – including, it has been rumoured, Jay-Z and Beyoncé. The biggest clue? The interior is said to be ‘Blue Ivy’ coloured, which just so happens to also be the name of their daughter. We’ll let you know more as we get it…

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  8. Ferrari SP12 EC

    Ferrari SP12 EC

    Commissioned by none other than British guitarist Eric Clapton, the SP12 EC harks back to an era when car names made sense. The SP12 refers to Ferrari’s 12th special project, and EC, Clapton’s own initials. Except, well, it was actually Ferrari’s 11th project… Clapton wanted number 12 as three is his lucky number, and one plus two equal three.

    Its story goes as follows. Clapton’s favourite Ferrari is the 512BB – he's owned three of them – but he wanted a modern-day supercar inspired by said model. Guess they must have been going rusty, or something. So he turned to Maranello for help.

    Unsurprisingly, they were only too happy to oblige, and suggested the 458 Italia as the base model. Which did mean Clapton had to sacrifice the 512 BB’s V12 in place of the 458’s V8, but not many people can claim to have a Ferrari named after them – or £3 million in the bank to buy one. Perhaps you should have kept up those guitar lessons after all, eh?

  9. Lamborghini Aventador J

    Lamborghini Aventador J

    OK, OK, we’ll admit – we're slightly bending the rules with this one. The Lamborghini Aventador J wasn’t commissioned by a customer, but instead then-Lambo CEO Stephan Winkelmann (now of Bugatti), who asked the team to come up with ‘something special’ for the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. With six weeks to go. No pressure.

    But as the saying goes, some people work best under pressure. Unveiled on schedule at Geneva, what they came up with was very special indeed. Because far from just taking a chainsaw to the standard Aventador’s roof and windscreen, Lambo's design team gave it the full works, modifying the chassis and bodywork and stripping non-essentials like the air conditioning and radio. Heck, they even gave it a periscope rear-view mirror.

    It was a car fully deserving of its ‘J’ status, short for Jota, the Miura-based one-off racer of the Seventies. Quite why Winkelmann didn’t decide to keep it for himself we’ll never know, with Lambo instead selling the one-off for $2.8 million. We’re not jealous, promise…

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