This is the tale of two motor events that took place last month. Now, I'm a sucker for a fast sports car. Especially if it's red. I go all googly at the sight of one. Immature, I know. Call it childish, I just can't help myself.
The first motor event was the release of the world's fastest convertible, a Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Red Edition. It was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show. This super car, powered by a W16 engine delivering 987hp, is capable of a top speed of 253 mph. 0 to 62 comes up in 2.7 seconds and it's packed with the latest in motoring technology.
The second unveiling was at Pebble Beach in the USA. A 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa was sold at auction. Although this car raced at Le Mans (without winning) it's a snail compared to the Veyron's performance figures.
The Veyron was $2.4 million. A world record and it's new.
The Ferrari was $16.4 million, also a world record and 54 years old with plenty of miles on the clock.
This Bugatti is a rich boy's car because you need a healthy ticker to even get insured to drive it. This Ferrari is a rich old man's fantasy car. The one he promised himself if he ever made it big. Personally, being a poor old man, I must settle for the matchbox toy version of the Testa Rossa. No tech but all class.
The Wall Street Journal reports that although the income of the rich, who buy these vehicles, has remained flat since 2008 for obvious reasons, paradoxically the price of these classic cars continues to soar, showing that the prices of collectible cars may be de-coupling from the Western stock markets and its top income earners.
So who's buying them and forcing the prices up? Step forward the inscrutable nouveau riche from the Far East and China. The world really is changing.