Car of the Year

Overview

2002's magnificent seven; race for the title. Also, inside Patek's museum of watchmaking wonders. Plus, a tailored fit for your feet, the return of one-design competition and great garages' modern architecture meets classic autos.

From This Issue

FrontRunners: Rocks Around the Clock

Keeping pace with the changing whims of fashion, Locman has launched a diminutive, half-size version of its trendy Diamond Aluminum tonneau. The new petite version—like its big sister—is shaped in lightweight aluminum and enveloped in an array of full-cut, hand-set, sparkling diamonds. The small-scale design suits the style-conscious woman who favors a more traditional and […]

Jewelry: Hearts Afire

The heart is the classic symbol of love, making it an enduring—yet often mundane—jewelry motif. But in the hands of the world’s most skilled jewelers, the conventional heart is transformed into glamorous, modern, and spirited designs that make a strong style statement while expressing romantic notions. A chunky heart ring or playful diamond and ruby […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Precious Penmanship

A rapidly growing coterie of fountain pen collectors has emerged within the past decade, and august manufacturers like Montblanc and Montegrappa have responded by issuing limited edition writing instruments to pique the personal interest of those so possessed. Elaborate examples of the pen maker’s art commemorate the lives of favorite writers, composers, and artists, as […]

FrontRunners: Rare Royale

A Bugatti Royale is for sale. Next to “You have won Best of Show at Pebble Beach,” those might be the most electrifying words a car collector can hear. There are only six Bugatti Royales in the world—each spectacular enough to elevate a car collection from great to exquisite—and one comes on the market about once […]

FrontRunners: Greek Myth

For centuries the islands of the Mediterranean Sea, once the playgrounds of heroes and gods, have drawn seafarers following in the wake of Odysseus, eager to visit the shrines of Apollo that rise above the long white beaches. This spring, those who secure a berth on the Christina O, Aristotle Onassis’ fabled yacht, will find […]

FrontRunners: The Nose Doesn’t Know

Try this little experiment at your next wine party: Disguise a white Bordeaux as a red by adding a few drops of odorless food coloring. Serve the impostor vintage to your guests and ask them to describe its bouquet. Note the words they use: Do they liken it to honey, straw, or apricots— “yellow” flavors […]

FrontRunners: Making Scents

Clive Christian, creator of an eponymous collection of rarefied perfumes (www.clive.com) and owner of England’s 161-year-old The Crown Perfumers Co., claims to be selling the world’s most expensive scent. The perfumery will custom-blend personal fragrances starting at $45,000 for a 30-milliliter bottle. Christian says it is the exotic, natural ingredients that make his fragrances so […]

FrontRunners: Terms of Engagement

Historians may dismiss the legend that Annie Palmer, mistress of Jamaica’s Rose Hall plantation, murdered three husbands before she was killed in 1831, but that has not stopped the Ritz-Carlton from taking the White Witch of Rose Hall as a cautionary tale. Since opening 18 months ago on the ocean edge of the original plantation, […]

Wardrobe: Wedding Bell Blues

The September 1998 merger of Asprey London with Garrard had all the markings of a regal marriage made in heaven. Asprey, the royal jeweler, seemed like the perfect suitor for Garrard, employer of the Crown Jeweller, the individual who maintains the crown jewels. The union was announced with wedding invitations, a lavish cake, and a […]

Wine: Singular Sensation

Thomas Keller, chef of The French Laundry, often says that he finds food boring when each bite is the same as the preceding one. That’s why his meals consist of a succession of small dishes of powerful flavors. Asked when he first felt this way about the palate, Keller says, “I can remember in my […]

Furnishings: Free Rein

Paul Mathieu named his new furniture collection Bianca after a photographer friend he goes horseback riding with. “She said that the pieces reminded her of a horse’s flank, and that’s exactly it,” says Mathieu. “Like a horse or deer, the furniture is strong on the ground and has a heavy body, but it is light […]

Appliances: Soothing Submersion

A traditional soak tub allows you to immerse your body almost completely in hot, steamy water. The interior is free of whirlpool or air jets. There are no motors, no pumps, and no noise. The water is still and tranquil, providing a sublime setting for a good, long soak—one of the oldest and most basic luxuries […]

Home Electronics: Platter Matters

Eighteen years after the prediction that CDs would kill off vinyl, the turntable is still spinning. Whatever the reason—romance, cachet, or sheer recalcitrance—we continue to support an analog format that is susceptible to wear, requires kid-glove treatment, and dates back almost 50 years. Records, and by necessity, turntables, are simply more evocative of quality music […]

Aircraft: Full Tilt

The holy grail of aviation is an aircraft that requires no runway, needs no airport, and flies long distances at turbine speeds. The BA609 tiltrotor is exactly such an aircraft—one that can take off like a helicopter and cruise like an airplane. The BA609 is designed to take off vertically, with its twin engines aimed […]

Smoke: Drawing on Stereotypes

Years ago, astute television viewers watching Barbara Walters’ interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger caught a glimpse of his pipe rack. It was no accident that the collection was visible—Schwarzenegger rarely leaves anything to chance. He is an avowed cigar smoker, but he was subtly showing a kinder, gentler side of his passion for smoke. Schwarzenegger, who […]

Robb Report’s Car of the Year 2002

The assignment was straightforward, but with a few qualifiers. We instructed our panel of experts (Paul Dean, Paul A. Eisenstein, Ken Gross, Patrick C. Paternie, J.P. Vettraino, and Howard Walker—a group of gentlemen with more than a century’s worth of auto writing experience among them) to select and rank the new luxury car models that […]

Car of the Year 2002: Winner Mercedes-Benz SL500

Admittedly, the 2002 Mercedes-Benz SL500 and SL600 have aged more gracefully than any other automobile designed toward the end of the 1980s. But, after a dozen years, the stentorian SL is long overdue for retirement, especially in light of its competitors’ contemporary offerings. To be sure, Mercedes has extracted every last drop of refinement—and profit—from […]

Car of the Year 2002: 2nd Place Aston Martin Vanquish

It is the car that has won back the heart of steely superspy James Bond, but can the newest in the Aston Martin lineup take on the likes of the Ferrari 550 Maranello or the new Lamborghini Murciélago? The Vanquish’s name suggests the British marque’s steadfast determination. At $228,000, the V-12 GT is the most […]

Car of the Year 2002: 3rd Place Lamborghini Murciélago

For almost 40 years, running with Lamborghini’s bulls has left other exotic sports cars gasping for breath. Well, there is no rest for the weary. The 570-hp, 205-mph Murciélago has arrived as the successor to the Diablo. It easily outmuscles Aston Martin’s Vanquish by 120 hp, and Ferrari is left red-faced with a 550 Maranello […]

Car of the Year 2002: 4th Place Porsche 911 GT2

To the faithful, the 911 GT2 is more the true Porsche than any other model. Simply put, the GT2 is not as sanitized for our protection. The 911 GT2 weighs 220 pounds less than the Turbo and benefits from 10 percent more power. More significantly, the GT2 spurns frivolous, sissy stuff such as all-wheel drive […]

Car of the Year 2002: 6th Place BMW 745i

BMW’s 745i sedan has a polarizing effect on people. There are those who love its visual audacity and those who decry its styling, especially the squinty headlamps and oddly defined but roomy and aerodynamic bustle-back trunk. Critics are also split over the iDrive system, with its multiphase single knob that manages 700 functions—from seat temperatures […]

Car of the Year 2002: 5th Place Maserati Spyder

The Maserati Spyder embodies the cardinal characteristics of the Italian sports car: It is mechanically sound and visually striking, and it is fast. In terms of horsepower per liter, the Spyder’s 390-hp V-8 is the most powerful in the world. If this splendid two-seater looks like a slightly undersized Ferrari, with that same flair for […]

Car of the Year 2002: 7th Place Lexus SC 430

The SC 430 signals that Lexus is daring to build more than mere replicas. Five years ago, if Lexus had wanted to design a luxury two-seater, it would have emerged as a copycat Benz SL or XK8 Jag. The SC 430, on the other hand, is completely original. This is nothing less than the flag […]

Feature: What’s in a Garage?

Several years ago, Bruce Hannay—a senior vice president for Prudential Financials and self-confessed car addict from the tender age of 2—determined to construct a space at his Phoenix, Ariz., home to display his vast bounty of automobile memorabilia, along with two of his vintage race cars. As he and his wife contemplated the possibilities, their […]

Feature: Keeping Time

With the words “We’re out,” Patek Philippe President Philippe Stern hung up the telephone and let the famous 1933 Graves Supercomplication pocket watch slip through his fingers during a Sotheby’s auction in December 1999. His palpable disappointment was tempered only by the fact that the Graves, which was commissioned by the reclusive American collector Henry […]

Feature: The Ugliness of Obsession

The insurance tycoon wanted for nothing, and he planned to keep it that way. At a nursery in West Los Angeles, he set his sights on a new cross of cymbidium orchid. He told the owner that he would pay any amount, but the orchid was not available at any price: Flowering for the first […]

Wings & Water: Old-School Cool

“I am like an alcoholic who cannot put his bottle out of his life. With me I cannot not sail.” —E.B. White When Donald Tofias entered Cornell University in 1965, his freshman English professor handed him a copy of The Elements of Style, the English writing guide written by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White. […]

Journeys: Facing Your Steepest Fears

On the first day of camp, Walter Oetzell listens closely as Jackson Hole veteran ski school instructor Rich Lee presents the agenda for the next day: Meet at 8 am, ride the tram to the top of the mountain, and take a warm-up run. “He sounded so laid back,” says Oetzell, a 52-year-old Los Angeles […]

Facing Your Steepest Fears: Old West, New Image

Tommy Moe sits on the chair lift, occasionally looking down the steep slopes of Rendezvous Mountain in Wyoming’s high country. There, only a few miles down the peak-ringed valley known as Jackson Hole, he is building a new house, complete with what he calls a “monster” garage. “And, best of all, it’s close to all […]

Style: Best Footwear Forward

The London showroom and workshop of John Carnera and George Glasgow, two of England’s best-known bespoke shoemakers, is a dark, three-story space that smells of beech wood, oil, and leather. To say that their G.J. Cleverley shop at 12 The Royal Arcade on London’s Old Bond Street is small is something of an understatement. There […]

Style: With This Ring

While watching a nature documentary on television, Michael and his fiancée, Jill, learned that zebra mates are inseparable. The San Antonio, Texas, couple, who were planning a wedding in Tuscany, became fascinated by the animals’ steadfast partnership. They wanted that natural imagery expressed in their wedding rings, so they turned to jewelry designer Steven Kretchmer. […]

Home Tour: Born-Again Victorian

Carl D’Aquino knows the owners of the 1895 Pennsylvania country house well; he has, after all, decorated 11 other houses for the best-selling author and her businessman husband over the last two decades. And while period decor figured heavily in each of their previous residences, this time they envisioned something completely different. “This is a […]

Home Entertainment: High-Performance Art

David Wilson holds up a Leica M6, marveling at the camera’s timeless design and precision-tooled quality. It is the same reverence he displays as he carefully chooses his words to describe his Ferrari 355 Berlinetta and its classic engineering and style. And it is the same respect he wants his customers to have for the […]

Finance & Investment: Trading Aces

Daniel P. Koutris is on the verge of making a $1.9 million decision. He is a trader at the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), standing shoulder to shoulder with other traders crammed into the trading pits. The trade Koutris is considering started a couple of minutes ago when a floor broker for Charles Schwab appeared […]

Connoisseur at Large: Funny Valentine

“I think we should warn you,” began the lady at the check-in desk, as she handed the Connoisseur a key. “We have a ghost.” “A ghost!” His companion reacted to this news with a delighted shudder. “Did you hear that?” The Connoisseur smiled wanly, as if in the throes of a sudden gas pain. Of […]