Car of the Year 2007


Bentley, Bugatti, Rolls-Royce, Maybach, Lotus, Lamborghini and more compete for the title.

From This Issue

Home: Auto Motivation

Since 1967, when he introduced his Polo label with a series of handmade ties, Ralph Lauren has been demonstrating his penchant for preppy apparel. The designer, who was born Ralph Lifshitz in the Bronx in 1939, started his Manhattan company with neckwear and over the years added suits, tweed jackets, oxford button-downs, women’s wear, and […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Lady and the Lamps

In a turn-of-the-century newspaper article, a reporter identified Clara Driscoll as the designer of the Dragonfly Tiffany lamp. Such a revelation was rare, for Louis Comfort Tiffany took pains to conceal the names of his artisans. It turns out that Driscoll was responsible for designing several of the 30 lamps that will appear in an […]

Collectibles: The Shape of an Idea

The item pictured here—a miniature model of a 19th-century brush-making machine that could produce tools as small as paintbrushes and as large as brooms—today serves only as a curio, albeit a finely crafted one. But its original purpose was far more serious, for it was designed to impress the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Thomas […]

Art: Best in Show

William Secord can tell immediately whether a person likes dogs by how he or she reacts to the notion of dog paintings. “If they don’t like dogs, they go blank,” says Secord, president of an eponymous Manhattan gallery of canine images and owner of a 3-year-old Dandie Dinmont terrier. “If they have dogs, they get […]

Journeys: Pedestrian Pleasures

It was mating season in Oberstdorf, the brightly frescoed village in the south of Bavaria, and all over town the young folks were pulling on their lederhosen and hiking boots and packing lunches of wurst and strudel for the migration up the surrounding hillsides. Perhaps, suggested my friend Heidi, a medical student home for the […]

Journeys: Pedestrian Pleasures: A Land of Fairy Tales and Nightmares

The simple pleasures of Bavarian folk revels are a world apart from the elaborate displays that greet the hiker farther along Maximilian’s trail. As it continues eastward from Ruhpolding, the purple route winds past Chiemsee Lake (the largest lake in Bavaria) and the Herreninsel, where Maximilian’s son, Ludwig II, built his spectacular, though never completed, […]

From The Editors: Doggone, Daddy, Gone

‘‘If popularity were a true measure of worth,” a reporter for the New York Daily News wrote just prior to a 2005 auction featuring a pair of paintings by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, “then the two paintings being auctioned off Tuesday would be worth millions.” It turned out that the artworks’ popularity was a truer-than-expected measure […]

Vacation Homes: Learning to Share

A year before retiring, Gloria and Randal Baker purchased a pair of one-eighth fractional shares at the Hearthstone Private Residence Club in McCall, Idaho. The Sacramento, Calif., couple planned to spend six of their 12 weeks at the community on Payette Lake and place the rest of their annual allotment into the Registry Collection, an exchange […]

Spas: Healthy Voyage

The poker game’s participants, all men from New York, include a Broadway producer, a former assistant attorney general turned novelist, a real estate developer, and a restaurateur. It is the end of the first day of the inaugural men’s week at the Mayflower Inn and Spa in Washington, Conn., and the players are sipping ice […]

Wine: Tuscan Tales

The story of Tenuta dell’Ornellaia, one of Italy’s most prestigious wine estates, located in the seaside region of Bolgheri, offers more twists, turns, and titles than a page from Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron. This history can be traced back to the 14th century, when two Florentine families, the Frescobaldi and the Antinori, first entered the […]

Dining: Hail to the Chef

To his surprise, chef Walter Scheib III does more talking than cooking these days. Since leaving the White House in 2005, following 11 years of feeding presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and their families, he founded the American Chef in Great Falls, Va., through which he offers catering and accepts speaking engagements. “About […]

The Collector: The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

  Its OwnerGary Milan, a retired dentist who lives in the greater Los Angeles area, maintains collections of material from The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, and Stagecoach, as well as documents from the American Revolutionary War. For years, he has loaned the Maltese Falcon statuette and the piano from Rick’s Café in Casablanca to the Warner […]

FrontRunners: Property Right

Texas’ Lajitas resort town ( is offering a three-night package in which as many as 90 couples can enjoy exclusive use of the property for $1 million. The Own Your Own Town package includes an optional cattle drive across the 25,000-acre resort’s mesas near Big Bend National Park. Saddle-sore greenhorns can nurse their wounds in […]

FrontRunners: From The Robb Cellar

During the final year of the 1970s, much occurred that, through the clear lens of hindsight, we are apt to regard with a mix of embarrassment and confusion. Still reeling from the shock of Watergate and the first three-quarters of the Carter regime, we were subjected to the music of the Village People (who, that […]

FrontRunners: Urbane Renewal

Istanbul’s Swissôtel The Bosphorus (, a 600-room hotel located on the European coast of the Bosporus strait, has spent about $20 million renovating its interior, including two presidential suites. The 1,990-square-foot, two-bedroom accommodations on the 18th floor have 220-square-foot terraces and are priced at about $7,300 per night. . . . In the Caribbean, the […]

FrontRunners: Southern Comfort

By the time Miami’s Havana Club ( opened in December, 700 of its 800 membership slots already had been filled. The renovated space at the Miami City Club on the 55th floor of the Wachovia Financial Center provides an elegant venue for entertaining or conducting business while enjoying a smoke. The Havana Club, which offers […]

FrontRunners: Select Smoke

Las Vegas may or may not be an ironically named city, for in Spanish, vegas means “fertile valley.” However, 5 Vegas is without question an appropriately titled cigar brand, as the tobaccos spring from the rich fields of several Central and South American nations. Each year the company produces a small batch of cigars in […]

Golf: Bear Necessities

When presented with a visually arresting landscape for a golf course, some designers respond with a byzantine layout that is more frustrating than it is thought-provoking. But in building the new Punta Espada course, which opened in November at the Cap Cana resort in the Dominican Republic, Jack Nicklaus refrained from gimmickry, relying instead on […]

FrontRunners: Golf Partner

The Segway x2 Golf personal transporter ( promises to make navigating a golf course much more pleasant. Segway CEO Jim Norrod notes that the $6,000 x2 (second-generation) transporter is built for intuitive driving, with gyroscopic sensors and accelerometers monitoring the changing terrain and the occupant’s position 100 times per second. Golfers can hope that the […]

FrontRunners: Taking the Plunge

Those inclined to plummet more than 40 stories in less than a minute can attend classes in March at the new Stephan Bosch Bobsled Driving School at Utah Olympic Park ( in Park City, Utah. The school will offer six one-day, $500 courses, which Bosch, the current America’s Cup champion, will teach. To avoid whiplash […]

Style: Block Busting

At the sale of actress Ellen Barkin’s jewelry collection last October at Christie’s in New York, the overflow crowd in the auction room barely could keep track of the blistering-paced—and unforeseen—bidding war that erupted over a ring set with a relatively ordinary 22-carat diamond. When the auctioneer slammed his hammer, indicating the final sale, the […]

Watches: Pyramid Scheme

While viewing the early renderings for Jean Dunand’s latest timepiece, Thierry Oulevay, the brand’s president, took note of the futuristic design’s ancient Egyptian undertones. The watch—which combines a perpetual calendar, cathedral-gong minute repeater, moon phase, and power reserve—is particularly distinguished by three turning cylinders that, while displaying the day, date, and month, also evoke papyrus […]

FrontFunners: Dupont Versailles

In 1682, Louis XIV—wishing to lock his fractious nobles in a golden cage where he could keep an eye on them—established the French center of government at a former hunting lodge in Versailles. Until 1789, when rebellion overtook the country, the Château de Versailles stood as a symbol of the absolute power imposed by the […]

Wardrobe: Young American

Although Michael Bastian was only 19 years old when Perry Ellis presented his final collection in 1986, the New York teen already was an avid admirer of the late designer’s work. While Ralph Lauren was honing his take on American preppy and Calvin Klein traded on pure sex appeal, “Perry Ellis was able to straddle […]

Car of the Year: Winner: Bentley Continental GTC

As a prototype convertible made the rounds from one Bentley showroom to another last summer, Robb Report senior correspondent Paul Dean traveled to Miami to drive the latest member of the Continental family—a clan that now consists of the patriarchal Continental GT coupe, a sedan known as the Continental Flying Spur, and this blue-hued, all-new […]

Contributors: In Napa, No Cops, Just Robbers

Visiting Napa Valley’s Meadowood resort, touring the prominent local wineries, and driving 13 of the finest new automobiles sound like enjoyable ways to spend a few fall days. But the readers who participated in this year’s Car of the Year event were told that the extent of their pleasure could significantly affect some businesses. “What […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Flight Cool

For the owner of this Marine Turbine Technologies Y2K Turbine Superbike (, it was not enough that his gas turbine–powered motorcycle would roar like a fighter jet; he customized his to look like one as well. A Rolls-Royce Allison gas turbine propels the bike, producing approximately 320 hp, 425 ft lbs of torque, and a […]

FrontRunners: Rocket Technology

The small engines that brothers Adriano and Marcello Ducati of Bologna, Italy, attached to bicycles in the 1940s produced short bursts of exhaust that earned the vehicles the name Cucciolo (Italian for “little puppy”). A few years later the Ducati company ( was making motorcycles that achieved 40 mph, and by the 1960s its Mach […]

Car of the Year: No. 3: Porsche 911 Turbo

The first Porsche 911 Turbo hit the streets more than 30 years ago, and depending on one’s perspective, the latest, greatest, sixth-generation Turbo can be considered either a descendant from that car or a prototype of cars to come, or both.   As unlikely as it may sound, the late Ferry Porsche—the engineer, inventor, and […]

Car of the Year: No. 4: Bugatti Veyron 16.4

By all the rules of engagement, by every measure of appreciation that automobilists have for their monuments, the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 should have been a clean and untouchable winner. Slam. Dunk. The Car of the Year for 2007 and maybe for several seasons to come.   How foregone the conclusion? With 1,001 bhp, it is, […]

Car of the Year: No. 5: Maybach 57S

Conventional wisdom says that while a Rolls-Royce fairly screams money and status, a Maybach, a less recognizable marque, is more likely to whisper wealth. Phantoms form a line leading to the red carpet, but a Maybach steals its occupants to the side entrance. The car is not flashy: Maybach’s S models are available in either […]

Car of the Year: No. 6: Audi S8

Audi’s new version of the S8 exceeded the expectations of many participants in this year’s event. They were surprised that this S8 was even better than its predecessor, and that it possessed more personality and sporting character than its tasteful, understated styling suggested. But both are characteristics common to most of the marque’s recent models: […]

Car of the Year: No. 7 (Tie): BMW M6

Fresh from Bavaria, the latest M Series coupe follows the M5 sedan’s 2006 Car of the Year showing with identical results: a tie for the seventh position. Equipped with the same venerable 5-liter V-10 engine and the same reviled sequential manual gearbox (SMG) as the M5, the M6 is definitely no slouch. It rockets from […]

Car of the Year: No. 9: Rolls-Royce Phantom EWB

It was a majestic, if meandering, beginning, an elegant yet extended passage. But now, after four years of quietly penetrating our subconscious, the idea of a BMW-built Rolls-Royce Phantom seems to be catching on. Sales are solid, with almost 800 of the nearly $400,000 cars delivered worldwide in 2005. That figure, a 15-year high for […]

Car of the Year: No. 10: Ford Shelby GT500

Anglo-American litterateur  T.S. Eliot—no doubt inspired by the incessant reinvention of Britain’s Austin Seven and the many mutants thereby produced—once argued that tradition is worthless if it consists solely of blindly following the ways of the previous generation. For the past to produce value, Eliot believed, it should be criticized perpetually and brought up-to-date. Such […]

Car of the Year: No. 11: Lamborghini Murcielago LP640

Some car of the year participants approached the Lamborghini with the same trepidation that one might feel when encountering a large male bovine: The drivers accorded caution and respect to the formidable gray bull from Sant’Agata, and that was before they even turned the key. Ingress and egress—the latter of which could not come too […]

Car of the Year: No.12: Lotus Exige S

The complete Lotus motorist is a 5-foot-tall gymnast who wears size 8 driving shoes, sleeps innocently, drinks lightly, eats all his veggies, and is built like a reed. Few if any of our Car of the Year judges fit that description, and so the Lotus Exige S either confused or amused them. Most of the […]

Car of the Year: No. 13: Cadillac XLR-V

Many U.S. Vehicles are masterpieces of compromise and elasticity—virtuous qualities in the realm of realpolitik but fatal flaws in that of automobile design. These mediocrities often come to us courtesy of a marketing culture whose inviolable dictates—formulated in the airless vanilla depths of consumer focus groups—reduce all revolutionary ideas to a palatable blandness. For this […]

Car of the Year: Steering Committee

Jeff Baltonwas a guest of Citigroup, a sponsor of the event.   Joe Blancato is the chairman and CEO of Sunrise Foods in Albertville, Ala., and the chairman of the International Food Group in Plant City, Fla., a division of Sysco. Steve Bond is a real estate developer and actor who has starred in 15 […]

Car of the Year: No. 2: Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG

One carmaker continues to advance standards for technology, safety, and performance in automobiles designed for real-world use. This year, Mercedes-Benz ups the ante once again with what may be the most impressive big sedan on the market. Just when Bentley, Rolls-Royce, and even Mercedes’ Stuttgart stablemate, Maybach, are laying claim to the fanciest and the […]

Car of the Year: No. 7 (Tie): Jaguar XKR Convertible

Some see Jaguar’s latest as a lovely luxury grand tourer that is to the British manner born, with all of its breeding and provenance firmly intact. However, several of our judges equated the XKR with a nipped-and-tucked former starlet: It is an attractive car, but it is showing its years. The car seems to lack […]

Boating: Testing the Waters

By any standard, the 198-foot Blue Moon, the fourth Feadship owned by Chicago industrialist Richard Duchossois, is an extravagant vessel. The $90 million yacht–the largest to appear at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show this past October–includes a glass-enclosed elevator, a library, and two gymnasiums, among other amenities. But this boat is special for another […]

Aviation: Dream Weaver

August Henningsen, the CEO of Lufthansa Technik, remembers the 2000 Olympics well. “That was when we refitted a Boeing 747 to take 10 horses to the games,” he says. Over the years, the Hamburg company also has equipped jets with such amenities as an exercise area, a medical emergency room, and a garage for a […]

FrontFunners: Private Blend

Private helicopter/airplane hybrids are winging our way. As of December, fliers had placed 65 orders for the two-pilot, nine-passenger BA609 Tiltrotor from Bell/Agusta Aerospace Co. ( The aircraft takes off and lands vertically like a helicopter but flies like an airplane at about 317 mph, twice the speed of traditional helicopters of the same size. […]

Car of the Year 2007: The Competition

We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it,” writes Oscar Wilde in his preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray. “The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely. All art,” he adds, “is quite useless.” And so, in Wilde’s […]