Brabus, Mansory and the rest: a guilty desire

I’m a fairly unassuming kind of bloke. Most of the time, I don’t like to draw too much attention to myself and my choice of car reflects as much. The most attention-grabbing car I’ve ever owned was an Audi A3, and only because of its awful wheels.

Which makes me wonder why I’m drawn to cars customised by the likes of Brabus and Mansory. Now, though there is undoubted craftsmanship and engineering integrity in these cars, which appeals to me, they are all massively excessive and about as conspicuous as it’s possible for a car to be, which doesn’t.

Take, for instance, the Brabus Maybach S-Class. Now, the Maybach is a luxury limo designed for a businessman to do business from while his chauffeur deals with the driving thing. But Brabus has turned it into a 890bhp, 217mph Rocket – that’s actually its name – that costs £375,000. It is completely pointless almost to the point of being useless. And yet, if I could afford one, I might actually buy one.

Then there’s the Mansory Sahara G-Wagen, which was launched earlier this year. This is a Seventies throwback with 820bhp, carbonfibre bodykit, 22-inch wheels, spotlights on the roof and a desert camouflage wrap. It’s pointless, excessive and tasteless. And yet, I kinda out one, as well.

Obviously, I’m not alone in this. These cars wouldn’t exist if the people behind them didn’t think someone would buy one. And there are a huge number of people with the means to do so. It’s one of the great ironies of the world at the moment that the gap between the haves and have nots has rarely been bigger, but the number of haves is growing at an extraordinary rate.

I’m guessing here, but the average Mansory customer is probably a Russian or Middle Eastern trust fund kid with billionaire parents. That, in effect, is a bottomless well of potential clients. They buy these cars because they want something unique; something faster and better than what the other guy has.

I get that logic, but it’s only a small factor in my thinking. You see, these kids are used to this kind of excess, so aren’t embarrassed by it. I would be. Intensely.

So why would I want a car that I know to be, frankly, gross, that I would be too embarrassed to be seen out in public with? Well, I heard a line recently – I can’t for the life of me remember where – that succinctly sums up my attitude. It’s this: there’s no point having screw you money if you don’t occasionally say screw you.

Realistically, you could only afford to drop the thick end of half a million pounds on a bauble – which is what these cars are – if you had a humongous bank balance. The kind of bank balance that means you can do literally anything and care not a jot about what anyone else thinks because, well, you’ve got more money than them so they’re opinion doesn’t matter.

It’s a terrible, narcissistic attitude, but one that’s all too easy to settle into when you’re richer than avarice. It’s that attitude that keeps companies like Brabus and Mansory in business and why I would probably buy a Sahara G-Wagen if I could.

But I would, at least, have the courtesy to hate myself for it.

By Only Motors

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