Rolls-Royce Reborn: A Glimpse of a Remarkable Brand Journey

Take a moment to take in the Rolls-Royce brand as it stands today. It is a force to be reckoned with, selling a record number of luxury automobiles in 2014 and continuing forward with much momentum. It is rather difficult to fathom that just 17 years ago it was sold to BMW with no factories and no cars—only the name survived a serious drought in business.


BMW acquired the Rolls-Royce name in 1998 for £50 million euros. Not a bad investment when you look at the brand today. That sum only bought the famous name, no cars and no factories. 

Now BMW has infused the Rolls-Royce brand with the desperately needed funding to flourish, and that it has. Rolls-Royce sold 4,063 cars in 2014 for the first time in the brand’s 111-year history. For the past five consecutive years, sales have only increased. The brand held on as long as possible before selling the Crewe, Cheshire headquarters and the Bentley badge to Volkswagen Group. The last to go was the official Rolls-Royce name, which after a bit of back and forth, ended up with BMW.

Not only are sales up, but also the Rolls-Royce factory is working at capacity just to meet demand—which creates jobs. BMW has proven that a traditional brand with a powerful name can indeed be resurrected into something able to continuously evolve and remain on top. Let us take a look at the current brand lineup for a better feel:

Rolls-RoyceThe 2015 Rolls-Royce lineup proves that the brand is fluid and forward-focused:

  • Rolls-Royce Phantom: Coupe, drophead coupe and extended wheelbase
  • Rolls-Royce Ghost: Ghost series II and extended wheelbase
  • Rolls-Royce Wraith: The frontrunner and unprecedented example of evolution for the marquee
  • There are several variants and customizations for the lineup available

The story of Rolls-Royce proves that a name can be salvaged and rise from the ashes—also that BMW has many talents in the luxury automotive arena.

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The Aston Martin Vulcan Is Proving Itself All Around the World

The track-only Aston Martin Vulcan has been busy proving its beast mode at events all over the world. The racer climbed the hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in Sussex and took on 2 flying laps at the 24 Hours of Spa in Belgium to help revv up the crowd prior to the start of the endurance race.
The clip above shows more of the Vulcan in action.

The Aston Martin Vulcan is a 7.0-liter 800 horsepower weapon. Just 24 units of the Vulcan are planned for production, and buyers will have to separate from around $2.3 million USD in order to own one of them. Some of the Aston Martin Vulcan’s siblings competed in the race, making it a fitting introduction indeed. Will the Vulcan participate in an endurance race soon? That remains to be seen. In the meantime, the mad machine is making her publicity rounds and showing off all of her beauty and brawn.

Aston Martin VulcanThe motorsport-inspired Aston Martin Vulcan is perhaps the most extraordinarily beautiful track car from the brand to date. It would be a challenge to be charged with altering the exterior in any way.

They seem to be starting the Vulcan off a bit slowly, teasing in a way because it is clear that the car is certainly capable of achieving some serious wins in several racing circuits. According to Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer: “Seeing the Aston Martin Vulcan unleashed at Goodwood today is a memory I will cherish for many years. We wanted to give this car its debut on ‘home soil’, and where better than at this hugely popular and globally renowned event.”

Aston Martin VulcanPhotos courtesy of ©Aston Martin 

Where will the all-new Aston Martin Vulcan end up next?

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New 800-Horsepower Lamborghini to Be Privately Previewed

Word is that the Raging Bull will be introducing a new 800-horsepower Lamborghini at a private showing. The car is such a secret that none have an inkling of what it is. The new Lamborghini could be a one-off, very limited special edition or a special version of an existing model.

800-horsepower LamborghiniThe Lamborghini Asterion

The anticipation of the new 800-horsepower Lamborghini is burning up the internets. As it stands, there are currently two production models out there, the Lamborghini Aventador and the Lamborghini Huracan. Is the brand going to unleash something completely different? There is the Lamborghini Egoista, of course, which came out in 2013 and the awe-inspiring Lamborghini Veneno hypercar. Will this be of the same breed of Bull, or perhaps a hybrid or electric super ninja to compete with the LaFerrari and Porsche 918?

The $4.5 million dollar Veneno boasts a thirsty 6.5-liter V12 engine capable of catapulting it from not to 60 miles per hour in 2.9 seconds. The Egoista was a bit of a 50th birthday gift from Lamborghini’s parent company, Volkswagen Group. The Egoista borrowed the 5.2-liter V10 from sibling Gallardo and kicks out 600 horses. It would certainly make sense to see an electric or hybrid…but wait! Could it be the Lamborghini Asterion plug-in hybrid being released in production form?

800-horsepower LamborghiniWill it look as fantastic as the Lamborghini Veneno?

The Lamborghini Asterion plug-in was introduced at the 2014 Paris Motor Show in concept form, packing 900 horses. While it typically takes around 2-3 years for a car to travel from concept to completion, this is a definite possibility in regards to the mystery machine. Lamborghini is currently denying that such a vehicle is coming to a private event at Pebble Beach, but that type of secrecy is quite common prior to a huge release.

Lamborghini EgoistaIt is a safe bet that few wish it to look like the Egoista. Some likely do, and they know who they are.

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Listed: 2014 Bugatti Veyron Vitesse L’Or Style

This sibling displays that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery–showing off that famous Bugatti L’Or Blanc exterior styling. The 2014 Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse with L’Or Style exterior finish is available for those who cannot have the one-off L’Or Blanc. It comes in red and black, and also white and blue.

Bugatti Veyron Vitesse L’Or StyleSomeone can have a 2014 Bugatti Veyron Vitesse L’Or Style, similar to the well-adored L’Or Blanc shown above.

This one is listed on DuPont Registry for $2,395,000 with the following details:

  • The finish is described as a Lamborghini White and Bugatti Light Blue Sport. The swirls mimic the unparalleled porcelain L’Or Blanc.
  • The cockpit carries on the art-forward theme with a bright tangerine leather to welcome occupants.
  • It was crafted via a partnership with Konigliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin (KPM), the famed porcelain people, just like the L’Or Blanc.
  • The dash was ordered with special permission from the factory, so you know it is spectacular.
  • It is electronically limited to 233 miles per hour…which can likely be err…corrected with the proper know-how if you are a track junkie.

Bugatti Veyron Vitesse L’Or StyleSpecifications

This Bugatti Veyron Vitesse L’Or Style features the same W16 engine, which is a set of two V8 engines crafted for pure beast mode. The acceleration was improved and total output is 1,200 horsepower. These are typical numbers for the fierce Veyron Vitesse model, but the exterior and cockpit are quite unique. The Bugatti Veyron Vitesse is the fastest roadster produced by the badge, making it an admirable addition to any exotic car collection. Overall, this seems to be the ideal solution for those who adore the porcelain beast but cannot exactly obtain her. It would be the perfect collection piece or traveling show car, guaranteed to ignite jealousy in even the most astute car connoisseur.

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Ferrari 488 Spyder: She Has Appearance and Acoustics

Details are finally out of the stable for the latest Prancing Horse: The Ferrari 488 Spyder will replace the much-adored 458 with her own set of perks. While the official debut for the machine is slated for the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show in September, we all know that secrets are tough to keep in this industry!

The short clip of the Ferrari 488 Spyder above will make a believer out of you: Just listen to that delicious throaty rumble!

Ferrari 488 Spyder

The Ferrari 488 Spyder at a glance:

  • The engine is a pristine 3.9-liter turbocharged V8, though the horsepower has been jacked to 660 with 560 pound-feet of torque.
  • Unique retractable hard top folds neatly into 2 overlapping flush sections over the engine. Word is that it can be controlled in about 14 seconds.
  • Space frame chassis
  • Seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and Side Slip Control 2 to keep her on the road.
  • Aerodynamics and drag have been meticulously addressed to ensure similar performance to the hardtop standards.
  • The center console is now a sort of central tunnel, making all of her gadgetry easy to access in the cockpit while operating.
  • Design house Pininfarina had no hand in this model, though the distinctive styling cues from previous projects did carry over. The relationship between Ferrari and Pininfarina has always led to incredibly beautiful features and flow.
Ferrari 488 Spyder
Photo ©Ferrari Official Website

All of these changes coupled with revisited cosmetics allow the Ferrari 488 Spyder to achieve speeds over 200 miles per hour. The not to 60 mile per hour sprint is hit in 3.0 seconds, with 124 miles per hour reached in 8.7 seconds. We expect the 488 Spyder to take center stage at the Frankfurt Auto Show next month and give gearheads worldwide something to talk about for quite a while.

The official Ferrari 488 Spyder launch teaser: Thoughts on the choice of exterior color?

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Bentley Says Not So Fast on the SuperSports

Bentley has occupied itself for quite a length of time by focusing on its iconic line of SuperSports models. The variants of its flagship Continental range have continued to increase in power and technological advancement, but things in the automotive industry rarely stay the same forever. While it may seem like some brands never change, they simply go with what works for as long as the ride lasts and then they adapt (Looking at you, Lamborghini with the guts to finally move on from the Gallardo). According to reports, Bentley may be putting the brakes on the beloved SuperSports for the time being to focus on other projects and endeavors.


The Bentley brand is changing gears for a more colorful future. What changes will be swirling out from the mega brand aside from their SUV concept? 

If your first thought upon reading that last sentence was ‘Bentley SUV’, you would be correct. According to Bentley spokesman Mike Sayer: “While we are always looking at ways of extending our unique combination of luxury and performance even further, we are currently focused on delivering the all-new Bentley Bentayga SUV. The Continental family has just received a suite of styling and usability upgrades for 16MY, and a future SuperSports model isn’t on the horizon at the moment.” 


Does that mean that Bentley cars capable of delivering large numbers in the horsepower and miles per hour arenas are to be a thing of the past? Not so fast. A luxury Bentley SUV is likely to be packing similar powertrains and specifications as those of its siblings. Not that a Bentley SUV is ever going to be as aggressive as a Continental GT3-R, but it will most certainly not be a slack. After all, whatever future products are in the Bentley pipeline will have to compete on the now versatile and tech-focused current market—making a bit of change to the traditional stance a bit of a necessity.

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Bugatti Racing Aircraft: The Bugatti 100P Lives On

The name Bugatti is synonymous with the fastest cars on the planet, but a handful of fans still remember that founder Ettore Bugatti also had his mind set on a Bugatti racing aircraft. The Bugatti 100P aircraft is a project that continues to evolve all of these decades later.

Bugatti 100P

Photo ©Bugatti 100P Project

Back in the 1930s, Ettore Bugatti developed a desire to engineer the best racing aircraft of the era. Unfortunately, the Bugatti racing aircraft project was forced on hold during World War II when Ettore had to flee Paris, France and take his aircraft with him. The project never left the ground, though enthusiasts have since kept the dream alive and worked toward completing what was started so long ago.

The Bugatti 100P aircraft at a glance:

  • This was a futuristic aircraft concept for its time, with an innovative forward swept wing layout, a twin-V tailplane and twin contra-rotating propellers.
  • Power stemmed from a healthy set of Bugatti straight-eight engines located just behind the cockpit. The engines were specially tweaked 4.9-liter racecar variants with around 450 horsepower.
  • The estimated top speed for this aircraft was set at 500 miles per hour.

Today, the Bugatti 100P project carries on the vision and will soon leave the ground. The original shell became a barn find after spending some 30 odd years hidden in a Paris barn, where it was hidden during the war. Following Ettore’s death, the plane changed hands a few times through various collectors before ending up stateside where the two engines were removed and placed in Bugatti vehicles. The original shell is now located at an aircraft museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Ettore Bugatti

Ettore Bugatti

You can follow the Reve Bleu (Blue Dream) Facebook page to follow the remarkable journey of the Bugatti 100P as it continues to develop!

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Will Tesla Ludicrous Mode Be Equipped to Compete with Bigger Brands?

The Tesla Model S emerged as a more modestly priced and eco-gentle luxury vehicle. With its power and admirable trim options, it provides something for those not quite at the Maserati or Bentley levels but still craving a suitable daily. That may be changing with the introduction of the new Tesla Ludicrous Mode, an option to take the looker up a notch in the power arena and possibly compete with supercars.

Tesla Ludicrous Mode

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X SUV

Is the Ludicrous Mode exactly what it claims to be? Let us examine the specs: The Tesla Model S Ludicrous Mode at a glance:

  • AWD P90D kicks out a 2.8 second not to 60 mile per hour jaunt. Not too shabby.
  • The underdogs include the 85D, 85, 70D and 70 trims. While the cockpits remain the same, range and performance are not ludicrous for these models.
  • Range is not sacrificed via a robust battery capacity and expanding supercharger network.
  • The Ludicrous Mode will be offered in the electric Model S sedan and the upcoming Model X SUV. The 0-60 mile per hour sprint will be 3.3 seconds for the Ludicrous SUV option.
  • The mode will tack on an additional $10,000, placing it right at the $100,000 level, depending on trim choices.

Overall, the Tesla Model S Ludicrous Mode should prove to be a welcomed option for those after a bit more power and range for their daily commutes. Word is that Tesla is possibly plotting a sexier roadster version to emerge in a few more years that will boast a “Maximum plaid” speed mode. Yes, that is a reference to the old blockbuster “Spaceballs”. Tesla is rounding out the fleet options with something for every taste, perhaps the brand is becoming a bigger competitor to the leading exotic sports vehicle brands than some realize, and they are not even being sneaky about it. Way to go, Tesla.

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The 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione From the Pinnacle Portfolio

Previously we highlighted the upcoming Pinnacle Portfolio sale by RM Sotheby’s that is about to take place in Monterey, California. Among the coveted collection is a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione. This Ferrari is one of the most valuable collector pieces in the world, and RM Sotheby’s has emailed us with further details.

Ferrari 250 GT This remarkable and rare Ferrari 250 GT underwent an extensive $650,000 restoration process prior to auction. What sum shall she fetch when the time comes? It is likely to make heads roll! Photos courtesy and © RM Sotheby’s. 

The 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione at a glance:

  • Chassis 1773GT is a competition Berlinetta, as the name implies. One of just 45 alloy-bodied Competizione cars created in its time.
  • The engine is a 2,953 cc SOHC Colombo V12 with 3 Weber 40 DCL6 carburetors mated to a 4-speed manual transmission.
  • Independent front suspension with parallel A-arms and coils, robust rear axle and 4-wheel Dunlop disc brakes to bring her to a smooth rest.
  • Racing history includes 7th overall and 5th in class from the 1960s 12 Hours of Sebring as a NART entry.
  • Recent restoration investment of around $650,000 has refreshed the ride to original specifications and meets concours-level expectations.

Ferrari 250 GT Photos courtesy and © RM Sotheby’s. 

This Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione was delivered to Ferrari experts at Motion Products Inc. prior to arriving for its slot in the Pinnacle Portfolio of RM Sotheby’s. Notice the gorgeous yellow Sebring livery, which will certainly attract many spectators at any concours events, to which this particular car is a virgin. That is correct—the lucky new owner will be the first to show off this lady in proper style. This is but one of the approximately 30 specialty vehicles slated to change hands at the Pinnacle Portfolio event. Follow link to view the entire inventory with rich details on each and ever vehicle.

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Just A $10 Million Dollar Driverless Car City

With the world barely grasping the idea of an autonomous vehicle, the University of Michigan is constructing a $10 million dollar, 32-acre driverless car city where companies can freely utilize and test their products. The city is named “M City”, fittingly, and the idea lends some interesting avenues to explore.

The clip above provides a brief synopsis of the overall goals and perks of M City along with helpful visuals.

The driverless car city would provide the ideal testing field in an urban setting, where things are constantly changing and the volume of vehicles and pedestrians is concentrated. How will autonomous vehicles react together in such a setting? That seems to be exactly what is on the agenda to learn and study prior to them becoming legal in regular cities with…you know, humans gripping the wheels.

M City is to be located on the grounds of the University of Michigan with funding from several automakers, including Ford Motor Company, General Motors Company, Nissan and Honda. Interestingly, Google is not a part of this revolutionary project, perhaps feeling the burn of not thinking of it first. The cityscape will feature a typical spread of around 40 building structures to simulate a metropolis, complete with blind turns, tight squeezes, bridges and a traffic circle. They even tossed in some gravel to increase the challenges and ensure poor paint jobs.

Driverless car city

The role of pedestrians in M City shall be played by robot dummies programmed to carelessly dart into traffic, perhaps to simulate standard city walkers transfixed with their nifty smartphones and other devices. Will driverless cars prove safer than traditional travel modes? What legal ramifications will unfold along with the technology? Overall, M City will pave the way to not only answer a variety of questions about autonomous vehicles and safety, but will indeed raise just as many new ones as situations unfold.

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