Say what you will about this “lame duck” Representative from Florida, but Alan Grayson was never afraid to confront the GOP with their stupidity and their greed.
This isn’t news worthy, but it’s sure nice to dream a little…
MSN – Autos
Do you have a million bucks to drop on an automobile? No one here at MSN Autos does, either. But there are those who do. Hate them or love them, the filthy rich drive some of the most enviable rides on the road today. You might be surprised to hear, however, that they aren’t necessarily the sexiest. According to a recent survey by the Luxury Institute, a New York-based research and consulting firm, the wealthy elite are drawn more to conservative offerings from Bentley, Maybach and Rolls-Royce than flashy models from Ferrari and Lamborghini. As an exercise in masochism for those of us without the wherewithal to purchase an ultraextravagant machine, we researched the brands that are most respected by the rich and shameless. Here’s what we found.
If you’re filthy rich and want the respect of your peers, drive a Rolls-Royce. The classic British blue-blood brand, now owned by German automaker BMW, was rated highest in brand clout among respondents to the Luxury Institute survey, based on quality, exclusivity, social status and “self-enhancement,” which means how special it made the respondent feel. The model that many are clamoring for is the Ghost. This stunning sedan is large by normal standards but looks rather moderate in size when seen next to the Rolls-Royce Phantom, the land barge preferred by music moguls and oil tycoons who wish to lord their wealth over passers-by.
Bentley is the second-best brand as ranked by the people with enough money to buy a car of its caliber. The company says owners of its Continental line, which starts at $185,395, typically have between $5 million and $15 million in net worth. Real high-rollers — those worth between $15 million and $20 million — go for the Mulsanne. This replacement to the long-running Arnage sedan is the ultimate modern Bentley, re-engineered from the ground up. Its interior is covered in 17 cowhides and ringed in wood that takes up to two weeks to veneer.
Mercedes-Benz‘s ultraluxury brand ties Bentley for second-best in the hearts and minds of the wealthy. On style alone, the Maybach wouldn’t get very far compared with its rivals. But the automaker conceived of every extravagance imaginable to appeal to the well-heeled. Take, for instance, the electro-transparent panoramic roof. It changes from clear to frosted to opaque at the touch of a button. But why not forgo that $15,300 option available on the $368,750 Maybach 57 or the $459,250 Maybach 62 S, and spring for the $1.38 million Laundaulet, which has a retractable top over the rear cabin.
To enthusiasts with posters of sports cars hanging on their walls, it doesn’t get much better than a Bugatti Veyron, with its 16-cylinder 1,001-horsepower engine. But to those who can actually afford this $1.3 million beast, the Bugatti brand takes a back seat to Rolls, Bentley and Maybach for status. Maybe that’s what compelled the company to develop the Super Sport model, which recently set a Guinness World Record for top speed in a production car, with an average speed of 267.8 mph. Only 300 Veyron coupes will be built, 30 of which will be Super Sports.
Like Bugatti, Aston Martin builds sexy cars that possess a certain understated class not always evident in models from its Italian competitors. The automaker’s One-77, which was unveiled back in 2008 and will be shipped this year, has a carbon-fiber chassis and an aluminum body — both of which illustrate that no expense was spared in creating this $1.5 million car. Virtually every aspect of this machine can be customized for the buyer, down to the feel of the paddle shifters that control the 6-speed transmission. Its beauty is more than skin deep, too; every part on the car was designed for optimal performance