Here’s a list of amazing, yet true, short stories behind some of the world’s most exclusive cars that schmucks like us could never afford.

by Michael Cole 

By Michael Cole

Luxury auto-makers: every part of their cars are made at home, and usually for monumental costs. From the dashboard to the interior leather, all of the parts have a story involving sweat, labor, artisans and, of course, at a stratospheric price to consumers. The Mercedes Benz sedan favored by dictators and heads of state had a horn louder than a tornado siren to startle would-be assassins. To buy an old Ferrari in the day usually required a sit-down with old man Ferrari himself, and if you wanted a crack at an old Lambo, it helped to be either dating Sophia Loren or Italian; maybe both.

Now, ultra-luxury doesn’t require the same security clearance or recognition, but it does require deep pockets and a super-affinity toward cars that boast more stories than Mark Twain.

Here’s a list of amazing, yet true, short stories behind some of the world’s most exclusive cars that schmucks like us could never afford.

Holy Roller

Rolls Royce Motor Cars has long been king of being a pain in the ass. The bespoke builder out of England is famous for acres of pristine woodlands, cultivated only for dashboards and wasting more wood than milling single toothpicks from baseball bats. Having said all that, the Ghost — its smallest, “driver’s” car — is palatial like the Taj Mahal. Inside a Ghost, a four-door sedan with rear doors that open the wrong way (so you don’t climb out, rather you glide out) is serene. The switches for climate controls and radio controls are milled like organ stops and violin keys because clearly you frequent the symphony.

On the instrument cluster, the RPM gauge is replaced with a signature Rolls dial that speaks volumes about the car’s character and the buyer’s elan: Power in Reserve. It functions exactly like our Toyota Corolla’s RPM gauge, from 100 percent at stop to 0 percent at full throttle. A massive 6.6-liter V12 engine planted up front means you’ll never actually tap all of that power. Rollers aren’t built for speed, even though they’re faster than hell.

Want more indulgent features? That annoying sound that echoes around the doors every time you forget to put on your seatbelt is actually a harp in the Ghost. It rings, subtly, to remind your chauffeur to get his act together.

Perhaps the piece de resistance of every Roller is bull-leather seats. Why? Because cows get stretch marks; bulls apparently don’t. The bulls live their entire lives away from fences
to keep their skins from getting nicked.Not bad for a cool quarter million.

Fussy Ferraris

The famous kings of speed from Maranello don’t screw around when it comes to their cars. Enzo Ferrari, who loved women almost as much as he loved racing, was a true savant when it came to cars and nitpicked over every racecar he produced. That legend has carried on to Ferrari’s current cars, including the F12berlinetta — yeah, that’s all one word — which is unbelievably $330,000 in base spec.

The F12-Berlinetta is the fastest production car Ferrari has ever made. It’s also the most expensive, but it’s not the most expensive Ferrari to come out of the factory. It’s not even the most exclusive, and that takes into account that if you wanted an F12-Berlinetta right now, you’d still have to wait forever and a day unless you were invited to buy it. (Yeah, Ferrari still invites people to blow a mid-sized fortune on its cars like in the 1960s.)

The Ferrari FXX holds the title of being the most insane buyer’s program car of all time. Only 20 or so buyers were ever asked to buy the car, which was based on a 2002 Ferrari Enzo, and sold for €2 million (about $2.5 million) to the lucky buyers. Here’s the best part: Buyers didn’t get to keep the car.

For that much money, Ferrari kept all of the FXX cars in Italy and would send the car to the track where you could whale the hell out of it for a day and give it right back. Ferrari used information from the drives to develop other cars, making FXX buyers the most ove-reager guinea pigs of all automaker history.

The V12 engines for the FXX (like the outgoing 599) were each cast in sand molds that were scrapped after each use, hand-built by single engineers, and tuned by Ferrari test drivers. Forget about driving the damned things on the road. None of them were street legal in the U.S.

Bonkers Bugatti

Simply put, the Bugatti Veyron is the world’s most insane car. By the numbers no other car comes close. Not at all. Not the one your uncle built in his driveway. Not that one guy you knew in school’s. Bugatti made the Veyron like we went to the moon. No one will go back; been there, done that.

Here’s the tip of the very expensive iceberg: The Michelins on the Veyron Super Sports’ enormous wheels are $42,000 to replace. They last 10,000 miles or 15 minutes at the Veyron’s top speed, which is still the record holder at 268 mph. (You wouldn’t eat them that fast, its 26-gallon gas tank lasts only 10 minutes at that speed.) After three sets of tires, Bugatti asks you to replace the whole wheel, $69,000 for the set, on top of the price for the tires.

The whole car costs $2.5 million, but at that price here’s what you get: More than 1,000 horsepower — 1,200 actually — that propels the car from zero to 60 miles per hour in 2.4 seconds.

A 16-cylinder, four-turbocharger engine would propel the Veyron Super Sport into sub-orbital earth if the car weren’t built with enough downforce to drive upside-down. A total of 10 radiators (your car has one) cools everything in the car, including the super swank cabin. If you’re thinking it’s downhill after buying it, think again.  Annual service comes in at $20,000, and even changing the spark plugs requires taking the whole body off of the car.

Let’s do the math real fast: Three sets of tires, one set of wheels, annual service, a healthy dose of insurance and gas guzzling boils down to a three-year cost of ownership at well greater than $300,000.

Or if your commute to work is 15 miles daily, you spend more than $300 every day to drive to work. And if there's anything more hipster than that, we can't damn well think of it.