Five megawealthy Chinese have each snapped up Aston Martin's limited-edition One-77 coupe - at between $7.5 million and $8.5 million apiece. A report from the Shanghai motor show said the five cars were ordered sight unseen, before the One-77 even appeared at the show. There are almost one million millionaires in China - up 10 per cent on 2010. "Chinese consumers love to show off their wealth by having unique luxury products or getting them one step ahead of the others," said the China Daily. Luxury cars are the fastest-growing segment in the country, where 18.06 million vehicles were sold last year. The One-77 is built from carbon fibre and aluminium and is powered by a 7.3-litre V12 engine.
McQueen's great estate up for auction
King of Cool Steve McQueen was into everything on two or four wheels. One of his favourites was a 1971 Husqvarna 400, a dirt bike he rode for a 1977 cover of Sports Illustrated. McQueen died in 1980 and the bike remained as part of his estate until it was sold in 1984. It's up for sale again, still with the spare spark plug McQueen taped to the frame.
Auction house Bonhams is handling the bike and other McQueen artefacts, on May 14 near Clint Eastwood's ranch in Carmel, California.
Also in the catalogue: two Harley-Davidsons built for Los Angeles publisher Otis Chandler.
Double Deltas get Lancia fans drooling
One Lancia Delta Integrale in your garage is rare - two is hen's teeth territory. But when one is a special edition made over the last two years of the Delta Integrale's life, Lancia-philes go all gooey. A Canadian collector has attracted all sorts of attention with his two examples. There's a 1992 Lancia Delta Integrale Martini 5 Special Edition, one of 400 built to commemorate Lancia's fifth World Rally Championship. The second car is a 1994 Lancia Delta Integrale
Edizione Finale, one of 250 made for the Japanese market. Like all Edizione Finales, it carries a laundry-list of the Delta's desirable options, including grey 16-inch Speedline wheels, push-button start, carbon-fibre trim, and the same Recaro furniture that graces the Martini Delta.
Better than a commemorative tea towel - and faster too
British exotic car company Project Kahn has come up with a special Maybach 57 limousine to commemorate the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The touched-up, pearl-white Maybach - a Mercedes-Benz by another name - gets Kahn-designed 22-inch wheels, smoked glass, an upgraded interior and darkened tail-lights. It also carries the licence plate "4 HRH" - For His Royal Highness.
The designer believes his creation is a cut above commemorative stamps, coins and stuff.
Folding Mini bike is small to boot
Perhaps Mini is preparing for the day when Auckland traffic becomes so congested drivers will take to their skates ... or a folding bike. Mini has come up with a collapsible two-wheeler that fits inside the car's boot. It's made of aluminium, weighs 11kg, packs eight gears, 20-inch wheels with mud guards, an under-seat pouch and a teflon-coated chain that reduces both wear and the prospect of getting dirty while handling it.
The Land Rover Defender is to four-wheel-drives what the Porsche 911 is to sports cars: unapologetically faithful to its original form. But upcoming Euro and US safety legislation banning big vehicles with a tough, ladder-type chassis means Land Rover has to reinvent the Defender. Word is that the new model is likely to be based on an adaptable chassis that will also carry a variety of body types. A concept is due in 2013.