Dodge Challenger Demon
More American than apple pie, litre-sized takeaway cups of weak brown water they call coffee and being a global supercop is the Dodge Challenger Demon. More than the supercharged 840bhp 6.2-litre V8 under its bonnet, drag strip-optimised setup and how Dodge proudly touts it’s the world’s first car to achieve a front wheel lift during launch (Guinness World Records verified) is its unabashedly retro styling. Its simple, blocky lines, widebody kit and classic muscle car proportions gets us all hot under the collar. There’s a certain crude charm to how tacked-on (and slightly tacky) everything looks, from its widebody kit, to its matte black plastic rear diffuser and chrome-badged SRT rear lip spoiler. But as Childish Gambino will tell you, This Is America, and America don’t take no gaff from nobody. And even if you do laugh at it, you’d best do it out of earshot, because it’ll obliterate you with missiles launched from its big, beautiful nuclear button. Or in the Dodge Challenger Demon, deafen you with a completely ridiculous V8 motor and asphyxiate you with tyre smoke.
In true McLaren fashion, nothing on its flagship (serially produced) supercar is put there by accident. Every kink, strake, vent and vane is functional, but surely there has to be a more elegant solution than its empty eye socket headlight cluster. McLaren says this lends the 720S a “distinctly predatory gaze”, but unless it means the Grim Reaper, we can’t remember the last time a predator had no eyeballs. Anyway, while its front end might be controversial, it’s hard to argue with how gorgeous the 720S looks from the back. The full-width deployable rear spoiler that doubles as an air brake, those rear haunches, the grille over the engine playing peekaboo with the 720hp V8 underneath. Plus, there’s its high-mounted twin tailpipes and monstrous rear diffuser. Everything comes together in a glorious, purpose-driven, yet elegant whole. Which brings to bear the bigger question: why couldn’t McLaren have applied this treatment to the front too?
Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary
Where its German neighbours up north were content with building discreet super saloons like the E28-generation BMW M5 and AMG the aptly-named Hammer, the Italians embraced 80s excess like nobody else. The Horacio Pagani-designed (yes, that Pagani) Countach built to celebrate the brand’s 25th birthday was perhaps the most egregious example of the freewheelin’ 1980s. It took the already overwrought styling of the LP5000 QV and, in the immortal words of Nigel Tufnel, turned it up to eleven. Ferrari Testarossa-esque strakes were added, vent and ducts were enlarged, most notably the ‘hump’ on the engine lid, which rendered the rear window an entirely vestigial feature. Objectively, late-model Countachs like this aren’t pretty, losing the clean, wedge-shaped profile of earlier models, but it is distinctive and important. If only because it perfectly preserves in amber an era when there really was no such thing as too much.
If you were to ask us which Porsche 911 had the best-looking rear end, we’d tell you “all of them”. From any angle, any model through its lengthy 55-year lifespan, and even to a person who doesn’t have the least interest in cars, a 911 is instantly recognisable. While there are many who will argue that 911s look best when viewed from the side, what with its iconic silhouette, we say the car looks best when heading away from you. And it’s also a testament to how versatile and timeless its basic design is that older models take exceptionally well to modern touches, such as a ‘restomod’ 911 from Singer. Or how new cars can easily be retroed up, much like how the stainless steel rollover hoop from the 1960s was revived in the current Targa, or the car pictured here, a concept version new limited-run Speedster meant to evoke the feel of the original 356 Speedster of the 1950s.
Aston Martin Valkyrie
What you’re looking at is not, contrary to what you might think, a space beetle from the year 3018. Rather, it’s the Valkyrie, the hypercar to end all hypercars, or at least, that’s what Aston Martin hopes. Built in conjunction with Adrian Newey of the Red Bull Racing Formula One team, the Valkyrie employs all sorts of aerodynamic tricks banned under current rules. It’s so serious about this Formula One stuff, the Valkyrie touts a reclined driving position, like the race car, which allows for its impossibly low roofline. And you see that giant tunnel between the wheels? No, that’s not Aston Martin forgetting to put something there. That is, in fact, part of the design, and the aerodynamic element that contributes to most of the car’s downforce. Built entirely out of carbon fibre (but of course) and powered by a large-displacement naturally aspirated V12 (oh dear lord, yes), Aston Martin claims the car will have a power-to-weight ratio of 1:1. Translation: it’s capable of reaching an appreciable fraction of lightspeed. Oh, and this also needs to be mentioned – it’ll be completely road legal.