I had such a great time in Germany last week and now find myself already trying to book a return trip to complete some unfinished business and I literally just got in the door. Usually, my whole body would be about to collapse after a trip such as the one I’m about to describe, but the Spyder SV slip-on driving shoes that Piloti rushed to me hours before my departure have helped alleviate that.
My feet and hands have had a real workout and now my head is spinning after two days in Hockenheim driving cars like the Z-Art Porsche Boxster and MTM Bentley Continental GT at speeds greater than 240 km/h on the infamous autobahn highway. German automotive tuning press agency Mediatel definitely hooked MLE and I up. They even called up the nation’s top car T.V. show to follow us in the Hamann BMW 6-series to Heidelberg for an award-winning caliber shoot by my Belgian friend PhotoJoost.com.
I also turned 29 while in Deutschland and spent the night partying in the tiny town of Hockenheim until much after sunrise. The friendly cheers and congratulations offered by everyone in our party was most overwhelming. Mediatel invited a handful of journalists, photographers and tuning company reps from around Europe, including the U.K., Italy, Spain, Norway, Dubai and Russia. With the few I’d met last year it was like going over old times; but there were many more friendships formed on this trip.
Gallardo and Spyder get together in the paddock
Having my cake and eating it too; when our time in Hockenheim came to and end, Joost and I made bee-line towards the Czech Republic, stopping short of the border by some 150 km, to spend two more days at Mansory headquarters in a small town named Brand. Here, my birthday present came in the form of me driving two more incredible cars tuned by Mansory.
First up was their Aston Martin Vanquish V12, followed by the absolutely stunning Mansory Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Having barely completed but five days prior to our arrival, the car and Mansory’s modifications to it totally blew me away! That’s about all I can say about that right now, but don’t worry because the world premiere of this awesome coupe will take place in an upcoming issue of Modified Luxury & Exotics magazine.
Joost and I spoke at length with Kourash Mansory, the company’s CEO, who told us the Aston Martin DBS in the upcoming James Bond movie, Casino Royale, “…has a few parts copied from us.” Definitely keep your eyes peeled for that, but Mansory has done well enough on their own after barely two years in business that the new showroom they’re building in Brand is nearly finished. It should be ready in time to show off their own upcoming Continental GT widebody conversion to be released sometime this year.
A few other cars on hand at Hockenheim included the Hamann 996 Turbo updated to a 997 body with 540 hp on tap. They also had a Range Rover HSE with a full body car. Koch Tuning brought along a driver to illustrate what their 400 whp Mitsubishi Evo 9 could do. And, that’s getting sideways of course. Z-Art’s 2001 Boxster, by the way, has been economically converted to the new body style and they have a hard top on the way.
If all this isn’t enough to make any sane person want to go back to Germany and soak in the passion and knowledge that German auto enthusiasts possess, then I don’t know what is. But, one of the reasons I’d like to go back (and soon) is to test drive the BF-Performance Bentley Flying Spur. I sat in the huge posh back seat of in this ultra-exclusive limo and it even came with a driver named Tommy, but it just was not quite finished enough for a photo shoot. You’re thinking, ‘Did he just say what I think he said? It’s a freaking Flying Spur!’ I had a chance to duck inside the very luxurious limo to cool off in the back seat and chat with Tommy for a bit. The seats are so comfortable and it even gave me a lower back massage with the electric window blinds drawn shut. Some of the other exclusive interior upgrades that had been promised were missing, so we agreed on stopping by their dealership Stuttgart the next time we’re by. LOL!
This year, they also brought a Gallardo Spyder model as well as the former car with a few revisions to the chassis and aerodynamics. Being a big fan of the bull-badged cars (I’m also a Taurus), I’m practically salivating as I write this and recall. Mr. Forstner was nice to offer me a test drive in all these cars upon our return. And, I plan to take him up on that. As for Mr. Mansory, he said to me just before he heading off to Italy, “Good things come to those who wait.”