I’m sorry, it’s too easy to be mean. For the uninitiated, let me explain – or just examine the pictures above. Mansory is a German tuner of luxury vehicles, and its stand at Geneva is legendarily spectacular. Bypassed by the studious and sensible, it’s a riot of colour and bare carbonfibre. The new Rolls-Royce Cullinan Coastline barely scratches the surface.
It’s fair to say that what Mansory produces isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. Too strong for me, certainly. It tends to take cars that wouldn’t always sit in my dream garage anyway (the Cullinan, Lamborghini Urus, BMW X6 and a golf buggy, for instance) and go full on at their bodywork and tuning their wheels and interiors. How brash are Mansory’s products? Put it this way: it offers a Cullinan edition called the Billionaire.
It makes wide-bodies, composite add-ons and wheels so big that you could put them on their side and seat eight around them for dinner. What it calls its Refinement, Performance and Interior Programmes are what I call “aargh!’’. Bluntly, I think some of the vehicles it puts out look terrible.
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And I love it. Not because ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, because if that was true and so there were no science or objectivity to aesthetics, you wouldn’t be able to study design at university. No, I love that, even if some of its output is a little squiffy proportionally, it puts huge energy into making cars for people who love them and who want to express themselves with them. It isn’t my form of art, but it is art.
Besides that, are they so bad? Do you really think the Coastline looks worse than the original Cullinan? There are cars that look a bit like Mansory’s in my virtual garage in Grand Theft Auto. And that aqua-blue interior in a Cullinan may make me feel slightly queasy, but I own a 1973 Baja Beetle in which it would look utterly fantastic.
Also, this particular Cullinan has been pictured with different wheels on each side of the car, which is probably for the marketing photos but actually a work of genius. Can’t decide which set of alloys you like? Pick one for each side; it’s not like you’ll ever see the two together.
Most of all, though, I like Mansory and others of its ilk because, while there are plenty of people in the world who would like to see the back of cars completely, they make cars for those who unashamedly champion them far and wide. I’m for anyone who celebrates anything automotive.
And if it’s not my cup of tea? Well, I don’t have to drink it.
I sold you a duff link in a recent Renault Mégane feature, pointing you to my column for a story that wasn’t there about a three-litre Clio. So here it is.
The ‘three-litre car’, one that could sip fuel at just three litres of petrol per 100km (about 94mpg), was once what manufacturers strived for.
On the approach to the Paris motor show one year, Volkswagen boss Ferdinand Piëch heard that Renault planned to launch a ‘three-litre’ Clio.
Enraged, he directed his team to rush a super-frugal Lupo prototype to a nearby test track and make sure journalists got in it. Which they did.
And then Renault launched a Clio with a 3.0-litre V6 in its middle.
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