The Top 10 Toys of Summer


Featuring the Audi R8 Spyder V10, Porsche Boxster Spyder, and BMW GS Adventure. Plus, all-new super sedans from Bentley & Jaguar. Also, Grand Openings: London, Los Angeles, Dubai & more.

From This Issue

Blood Horse

Few entertainments can match the pomp that Thoroughbred racing affords its spectators, as Jack Smith observes in this month’s article on the Maker’s Mark Mile (see “Spirit of 46,” page 141). Yet the sport of kings has not always been a pastime in which monarchs could indulge with impunity. As Prince of Wales, Edward VII […]

FrontRunners: Mullin Automotive

Opened in April, the Mullin Automotive Museum ( in Oxnard, Calif., displays nearly 100 vehicles from the collection of philanthropist and financial services entrepreneur Peter Mullin (see “The Robb Reader,” page 156). Mullin’s lifelong obsession with French cars from the 1920s and ’30s is apparent in the warehouselike space, where his vehicles—which include a 1937 […]

FrontRunners: Fat Cat

The hull of the first Royal Falcon Fleet RFF 135 ( arrived in Sweden in April, where it will be completed prior to its expected launch next spring. The 135- foot catamaran is the inaugural boat from Royal Falcon Fleet, which formed in 2007 as a collaboration between Swedish shipyard Kockums, Australian naval-architecture firm Incat […]

FrontRunners: Time Capsule

This past January marked the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s first observation of Jupiter’s moons, an occasion that inspired Officine Panerai to try an astronomical venture of its own. The Officine Panerai Jupiterium (, which the company announced in January, has 1,476 components and renders the movement of Earth’s moon, Jupiter, and the four Jupiterian moons […]

FrontRunners: Compact Flash

Fitted with the same 6-liter V-12 engine that powers Aston Martin’s larger, more expensive cars, the 2011 Aston Martin V12 Vantage ( produces 510 bhp and 420 ft lbs of torque while handling with more agility and precision than any Aston Martin before it. The $180,000 car moves from zero to 60 mph in 4.1 […]

FrontRunners: In Flight

The Cessna Aircraft Company delivered its first Citation CJ4 (—an eight-passenger, twin-turbine light jet—in April, almost four years after the Wichita, Kan.–based manufacturer announced the model as the newest addition to the CJ line. Aside from the super-midsize Citation Sovereign, the CJ4 is the largest and fastest jet from Cessna. The plane is 2 feet […]

FrontRunners: Minute Made

Blancpain took a first step toward updating its inventory of complicated movements with the March release of the Blancpain Carrousel Minute Repeater ( The watch’s restricted run of just 10 pieces will be followed by several more limited releases leading up to the company’s new grand complication. The carrousel system, which Blancpain built two years […]

FrontRunners: Cuff Love

“What better way to accessorize a crisp white shirt than with a pair of enchanting cuff links,” says Hong Kong jewelry designer Michelle Ong, whose men’s cuff link collection for Carnet ( includes a pair shaped like hazelnuts and set with colored diamonds (pictured). Greek mythology and colorful, rare gemstones inspired Ong’s series, which debuted […]

FrontRunners: Soft Water

The family-owned Italian outerwear company Allegri has introduced a fall line of jackets made from the designer’s newest fabric innovation, Rain Cashmere ( Achieved by dipping cashmere thread in Teflon before weaving it into fabric, the material remains soft, but is also water-repellent. The collection, priced from $995 to $1,595, includes a five-pocket travel blazer, […]

FrontRunners: Mystery Writing

Graf von Faber-Castell fashioned its Pen of the Year 2010 ( using the techniques of craftsmen who made hunting rifles in the 19th century. The production of case-hardened metal, which was used on fine guns from the period, was something of a secret art, handed down for centuries by word of mouth. Graf von Faber-Castell’s […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

In 1981, Deborah and Justin Baldwin purchased 160 acres in the Adelaide hills west of Paso Robles, Calif., intending to produce central coast interpretations of first-growth wines from Bordeaux. At the time the Baldwins embarked on their venture, which they named Justin Vineyards, locals were still discovering the impact of the area’s microclimates and soils […]

Armani Hotel Dubai

Like the surrounding desert, Armani Hotel Dubai derives much of its appeal from its general absence of things. Fashion designer Giorgio Armani, known for his minimalist style, has all but eschewed color, ornamentation, and natural light for his inaugural hotel, creating a low-lit oasis within a metropolis of dazzling abundance. Opened in April, the 160-room […]

The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles

When the Staples Center opened in downtown Los Angeles in 1999, ticket holders for the venue’s sporting and entertainment extravaganzas had to venture far afield for a good pre- or post-event meal. Just over a decade later, the area near the arena abounds with eateries, movie theaters, and more as the home of L.A. Live, […]

The Top 10 Toys of Summer: Out of the Boxster

Fifty-six years ago, American Porsche distributor Max Hoffman convinced Ferry Porsche to make a bare-bones convertible for the U.S. market. The resulting automobile, the iconic Speedster, proved that less is indeed more when it comes to Porsches. As was the original Speedster— and subsequent versions from 1989 and 1994—the modern Boxster is regarded by Porsche […]

The Top 10 Toys of Summer: Smooth Operator

  From a design standpoint, convertible versions of popular coupes are often just that: the identical car but with a retractable roof. The same cannot be said of the 2011 Audi R8 Spyder V10. Available in the United States this fall—three years after the launch of the standard R8—the Spyder is immediately distinguishable from the […]

The Top 10 Toys of Summer: Pedaled Performer

While the gs and other BMW motorcycles enjoy a large and loyal following, two-wheel enthusiasts are less familiar with the German vehicle maker’s nonmotorized bikes. The BMW M Bike, which debuted in June, is the latest product of the company’s occasional efforts in the realm of performance bicycles, a tradition that dates to the 1950s. […]

The Top 10 Toys of Summer: Under Pressure

The $79,000 Richard Mille RM 028 is an offshoot of the Swiss watchmaker’s RM 025 diver’s timepiece—a highly complicated tourbillon chronograph that, with its half-million-dollar-plus price tag, would make most wearers think twice before plunging into the water. The new watch should cause less hesitation, though it is by no means a strictly utilitarian tool. […]

The Top 10 Toys of Summer: Flying Fish

Since its founding in 1969, Cigarette Racing Team has become synonymous with fast and tough powerboats. More recently, the South Florida builder has ventured beyond its signature racers while staying true to its swift and sturdy heritage. With its new 39 Top Fish, the company brings some of its brawn to the world of big-game […]

The Top 10 Toys of Summer: Scuba Driver

The Scubacraft hybrid water vehicle lends itself to marine research and other practical applications, but this versatile new machine can also serve as the ultimate summer plaything for megayacht owners. As a svelte surface tender, the craft can exceed 50 knots when equipped with an optional 250 hp supercharged engine. But the Scubacraft offers its […]

The Top 10 Toys of Summer: Prancing Sea Horse

Though it lacks the brute power of its 503 hp automotive namesake, the Ferrari Surfboard Scuderia Spider is sure to deliver enough thrills to satisfy fans of the prancing horse. At 7 feet 2 inches, the Scuderia (about $1,500) is an ideal length for beginners, providing a forgiving balance between unwieldy longboards and unstable shortboards. […]

The Top 10 Toys of Summer: Taking Command

Can-Am—the manufacturer of the outlandish three-wheeled Spyder—in September will release its latest extreme machine: the Can-Am Commander. Built for two side-by-side occupants (a first for a Can-Am vehicle), this rugged and powerful four-wheeler can navigate a range of off-road terrain, aided by such features as a progressive front differential that automatically transfers power away from […]

The Top 10 Toys of Summer: Pick Your Poison

Though an inordinate amount of customization goes into designing a megayacht, little personalization is available for a yacht’s most personal tenders: PWCs. The new generations of personal watercraft from such manufacturers as Sea-Doo, Yamaha, and Kawasaki are faster, safer, and more fun than ever, but their aesthetics rarely measure up to the bold look of […]

The Top 10 Toys of Summer: Adventure Traveler

When it debuted 30 years ago, BMW’s GS motorcycle helped spawn a new category of all-terrain travel and adventure bikes. To celebrate three decades of its go-anywhere, do-anything machine, BMW introduced the 2010 BMW R 1200 GS Adventure in March. This latest iteration of the GS line features the most powerful version of BMW’s opposed […]

Golf: Member of the Bordes

Most of Europe’s elite golf courses are clustered in the British Isles and, to a lesser extent, the Iberian Peninsula. Like its joie-de-vivre-centric counterpart Italy, France has always been an underachiever when it comes to this particular leisure pursuit. But the Gallic golfing landscape is not without its gems, most notably the forested and mysterious […]

Wardrobe: Suitably Framed

When Randy Barnett wanted to replicate the long-discontinued plastic tortoiseshell eyeglass frames that he had been wearing for three decades, he could not find a source capable of creating an acceptable reproduction. He discovered that many eyewear stores would build semicustom frames from metal components, but he was surprised to learn that nobody was making […]

Home: Period Pieces

During a trip to London in 1992, John Levitties wandered into a stall at one of the city’s antiques markets and came across an early-20th-century silver tea service by the late Archibald Knox. Unfamiliar with the Englishman’s work, Levitties, then a graduate student of American cultural history at the University of Pennsylvania, borrowed a book […]

Vacation Homes: Parc Place

For most of the 20th century, Switzerland’s Hôtel du Parc was an exclusive retreat for European nobles and other distinguished guests. The Belle Epoque property—set high above Lake Geneva in the Alpine village of Mont Pèlerin—closed as a hotel in 2000, but the landmark is readying to reemerge as a more permanent refuge for an […]

Sport: Ministry of the Interior

Every year, Gail Nissly and her husband, Everett, take an adventurous journey far from their Cincinnati home. The couple—ages 60 and 70, respectively—have white-water rafted from Alaska into the Arctic Ocean, hiked the Mont Blanc circuit, dogsledded above the Arctic Circle, and scaled Kilimanjaro. But it was in Antarctica, on a trip last November with […]

Travel: On the Rise

In 1911, Crans-Montana distinguished itself as a ski destination by hosting the first major downhill racing event in the sport’s history. But it was sun, rather than snow, that first attracted visitors to this resort town in the Swiss Alps. At the turn of the 20th century, health-conscious tourists and tuberculosis patients began flocking to […]

Dining: Star Quest

‘‘The room is like a museum,’’ says 28-year-old Christopher Hache of the recently revamped dining salon at Hôtel de Crillon’s Les Ambassadeurs, the century-old Parisian temple of gastronomy where, in April, he took charge of the kitchen. Once the ballroom of an 18th-century private palace and now a historic monument, the majestic space is filled […]

Wine: First and Last

With any investment, timing is everything. Well-honed instincts have played a crucial role in the professional life of Frank Husic, founder and managing partner of Husic Capital Management. But the deal that transformed his life and that of his wife, Julie, was more a matter of accident than acumen. While looking for a home outside […]

Watches: Precisely as Planned

‘‘It’s something of an experiment,” says Stefan Ihnen of the latest tourbillon movement released by IWC. The Tourbillon Hand-Wound, which was recently added to the company’s Portuguese watch line, combines high-quality watchmaking with the clean lines collectors desire. But more importantly for the 36-year-old Ihnen, who has served as head of IWC’s movement research and […]

Electronics: On the Road Again

The 33-year-old German hi-fi manufacturer Burmester has gained a faithful following among audiophiles with such products as the recently introduced 089 CD player, which costs nearly $30,000. Last fall the company made a foray into car audio with a hi-fi system for the then-new Porsche Panamera sedan—and immediately earned accolades for setting a new standard […]

Boating: Seeing the Light

Arcadia Yachts arrived at the Düsseldorf International Boat Show in January hoping to draw attention to the new Arcadia 85′. It didn’t take long for the shipyard’s presence to pay off: The second hull from the nascent builder’s 85-foot line sold within 12 minutes of the show’s opening. A subsidiary of the Italian industrial group […]

Autos: Bull Speed Ahead

The name Superleggera (Italian for “superlight”) is nothing new to Lamborghini’s baby bull. Only three years have passed since weight-shedding was applied to the Superleggera Gallardo, which—despite its overly responsive carbon-ceramic brakes—was the first modern-day Lamborghini to challenge the handling capabilities of Ferrari’s road cars. More than 600 Superleggera models were sold in its only […]

Nyungwe Forest Lodge

Set on a rolling tea plantation on the fringe of Nyungwe National Park, Nyungwe Forest Lodge opened its doors in March as the first true luxury resort in Rwanda. The 24-room property, which is tucked deep in the mountains a few hours’ drive from the bustling capital of Kigali, underscores its plantation setting with chandeliers […]

Bar Boulud, London

Daniel Boulud—the French-born chef who built his culinary career and restaurant empire in New York—this May opened Bar Boulud, London, at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park hotel. The wine-themed modern tavern, Boulud’s first restaurant in Europe, puts a British spin on the best of the chef’s casual New York eateries, which include the original Bar […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Torpedo Rally

1930 Duesenberg J Murphy Disappearing Top Torpedo Convertible Coupe Duesenberg is the quintessential American prewar sporting marque, and the Murphy-bodied Disappearing Top Torpedo Convertible Coupe tops the list of topless Duesys. The example pictured—one of five built with this wheelbase—wears a svelte aluminum body by coachbuilder Walter M. Murphy, who, by leaving areas of bodywork […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Altitude Adjustment

Colorado’s Ecosse Moto Works ( builds its new X-9 Titanium 29er bicycle the same way it makes its motorcycles: tailor-made to each buyer’s bodily proportions. The mountain bike—Ecosse’s first nonmotorized two-wheeler—takes its name from the company’s X-series concept motorcycles and from the bike’s titanium frame and all-terrain 29-inch tires. The titanium used for the X-9’s […]

The Biggest Bentley Ever Built

During the formative decades of the luxury motorcar, oversize was a virtue. Girth was good, and bigger was even better. One of the outward signs of a driver’s financial success was automotive excess. A Bugatti Royale weighed more and stretched farther than today’s Hummers and dually trucks. Vehicles bearing the badges of Cadillac, Delahaye, Lincoln, […]

The Biggest Bentley Ever Built: Bentley’s Break Shot

The shooting break, or break de chasse—a two-door estate car with rear liftgates—was typically European, traditionally custom-built, and decidedly de rigueur for country hunts or Champagne-and-pork-pie picnics along the Thames. In the mid-1930s, Rolls-Royce Phantoms and 20/25s were converted by coachbuilders into shooting breaks for Indian maharajas and Africa’s big-game hunters. David Brown, an acknowledged […]

Sur Thing

The stunning, sparsely populated Big Sur coast attracts those seeking the most leisurely of California lifestyles—no exception the retired business executive and his wife who four years ago acquired this two-and-a-half-acre stretch 1,000 feet above the Pacific. “My husband and I had been visiting [Big Sur’s] Ventana Inn every year for 18 years and had […]

Wheels: Ferociously Refined

Since the launch of the original XJ6 in 1968, Jaguar fanciers have regarded the XJ as one of the world’s sexiest sedans. For more than four decades, Sir William Lyons’ formal four-door aged gracefully, showing improvements through each subsequent generation of the model. Every XJ combined the traditional accoutrements of British luxury with the aesthetic […]

Jewelry: Natural Wonders

As the daughter of a sculptor and the granddaughter of an architect, jewelry designer Cindy Chao developed an awareness of the arts at a young age. As she grew older, Chao knew she would pursue an artistic career, but she was uncertain about the medium she would employ to express her creativity. She ultimately chose […]

Leisure: Spirit of 46

The 14th running of the Maker’s Mark Mile is just minutes away, and the moment here at Keeneland—the fabled horse track in Lexington, Ky.—is magic. Pink and white blossoms veil the dogwoods; tents striped in green and cream billow like sails over the lawn; and brass-buttoned blazers attire the male onlookers, while broad-brimmed hats and […]

The Robb Reader: Peter Mullin

In April, financial services entrepreneur Peter Mullin opened the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, Calif., to showcase his collection of more than 100 pre–World War II Bugattis, Delahayes, Talbot-Lagos, and other fine and rare vehicles. For Mullin, cofounder and chairman of M Financial and M Life, sharing his automobiles with the public is a natural […]