Prince Rainier attended the event and appeared to support it wholeheartedly. Just one closed road would have made it all the better and averted the trouble with the police...

Monaco might be a millionaire's playground populated by as many Ferraris, Lamborghinis and high-end Porsches as people, but even the home of the most glamorous Grand Prix on the calendar couldn't fail to be impressed by the hardware on offer at Top Marques at the Grimaldi Forum. This is more than just a car show, it is a gathering of the world's most desirable marques with Koenigsegg, Pagani and Bentley taking centre stage, with a Mosler, Venturi, Gemballa and $1 million mobile phone thrown in for good measure. This collection of cars and the passenger rides available along the streets that make up the Monaco Grand Prix circuit would be a fan's dream, but those in attendance tend to be serious buyers, One of the stars of the show, resplendent in orange in the pits outside, was the Gumpert Apollo. We have seen this car evolve over the past two years when the first pictures hit the press. Then it looked wrong, but over time it's looks have found their niche and it now boasts the looks to knock a Ferrari stone dead. To be fair it may have been model Ann-Caitrin's assistance that help put the Apollo over the top, but the crowds gathered outside the Grimaldi Forum were entranced by both girl and car.
The turret on top of the cockpit is now sleek and low, while the rest of the lines just looked fantastic against the Monaco skyline. At €249,000 the Gumpert almost looks like good value against the likes of the Porsche Carrera GT and Lamborghini Murcielago, and with 650bhp and more on offer from its tuned Audi 4.2-litre twin-turbo it is just as exciting. When my turn finally came I folded myself into the passenger seat, this is no car for elegant ladies, and fastened the race belt. And sales manager Claus took me out on the Monaco Grand Prix track, unleashing the decibels against the walls of the famous tunnel and building up an insane rate of knots in record time. It's a borderline racing car, but comes with the most advanced traction control system I've ever seen. Accommodating everything from full wet conditions to a race track, this dial can slacken off the electronic aids by the per cent and used to feature on F1 cars. The Gumpert hits 62mph in 3 seconds dead and will blast through 125mph in 8.9s. There are few faster cars on the road and nothing that looks so aggressive. The Apollo is a winner, and the orders are flowing in fast. Castagna Milano just about got its new AZNOM to the ball, despite the fact that incorrectly tooled wheels wouldn't fit and the brake discs were taped over. Ignoring the rough edges that are part and parcel of a show prototype, though, this looks set to be one Hell of a car. With an all carbon-fibre construction the Italian firm has kept the weight down to a svelte 1340kg, which doesn't really need a seven-litre, twin-turbocharged version of the Corvette Z06 GT3 race engine with 750bhp and 980Nm of torque at its disposal. But it has one anyway. There will be two versions of this stunning car, a track car stripped to the bare bones with full telemetry and a comfortable car with heated seats, a communication centre with everything from SatNav to full internet access and a modified version of Corvette's heads-up display will complete the fighter jet styling. It also comes with a removable double-bubble canopy that fits snugly in the 420-litre boot, so practicality hasn't been compromised, even though it might prove difficult to justify calling this an everyday sportscar. Even with traction control, and the best will and skill in the world, 700bhp on a wet dreary afternoon in town might be a little much for anyone's tastes. The quicker version will hit 62mph in an explosive 3s dead, according to their data, thanks to a long first gear that takes the car right up to the 100kph mark. As for the top speed, don't expect any change whatsoever out of 220mph. The car should run for the first time in front of a crowd on May 21st at Monza, from which the car takes its name, and we'll be watching with interest. Weber Engineering gave a debut to its spectacular, if a little ugly, entry into the super sportscar market. The distinctive squared off front means you'll never mistake a Weber for anything else, but then I'm not entirely sure it will have the customers flocking to the gates to splash out €700,000 as a base price either. Form has been entirely dictated by function, the carbon-fibre construction doesn't even have door handles as they'll upset the airflow at the 249mph+ they intend to get out of the seven-litre GM powerplant that has been rebuilt from the ground up. If Weber can genuinely hit 62mph in 2.5s and break the magic 400kph mark with this 900bhp bruiser then it would sell if it looked like the Hunchback of Notre Dame himself. Intelligent four-wheel drive, a sequential gearbox and a high-strength chassis made from aircraft-grade aluminium are just some of the highlights. And the interior will be fitted to order by a company that currently decks out private jets, so if it gets the record then expect enough orders for this 7-litre beast to keep it in business. Caparo brought its T1, too, although there wasn't a running car at the show they still had a stunning looking show car. The firm has dropped the idea of turbocharging and has instead changed the engine's capacity from 2.4 to 3.5 litres. Caparo thinks this will still be good for 700bhp if they want it, with power outputs starting from 550bhp in this 500kg flyweight. With the benefit of monumental downforce and a soft set-up for use on the streets as well as the circuit it should be a stunning and unique car to drive. Apparently we'll have to wait till June 6th, and I'll let you know how it goes. There were other gems at the show, including the F&M Antas that is the epitome of the modern trend for coachbuilt cars. The detail on this machine is exquisite, even if the windscreen wipers look ineffective at best the car with a name that translates as 'Eagle' in Etruscan will still win hearts and minds. Building a car around a 1960s Maserati V8 sounds like a risky strategy, but the Antas has found enough fans already - this handbuilt machine will sell as many as they want to make. But if you have to ask the price, you really can't afford one. There were other highlights, including a passenger ride with Valentino Balboni in the Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera. Balboni is a legend, and even at a total standstill in Monaco traffic it was still an honour to meet the man. And when he offered an invite to Italy for a drifting lesson, well let's just say dates have already been fixed in blood. FIA GT star, former Nordschleife record holder and general all-round German star Wolfgang Kaufmann arrived with Gemballa, and looked set to lose his licence after a series of run-ins with the Monegasque authorities. When an unmarked Ford escorted him back to the pits with a heavily armed man reading him the riot act he swore that the Mirage GT would stay in the pits for the remainder of the day. Half an hour later, as we left the pit of money that is Monte Carlo, he had just been hauled out again while Ariel faced the music in another incident. Prince Rainier attended the event and appeared to support it wholeheartedly. Just one closed road would have made it all the better and averted the trouble with the police, and maybe next year this will have evolved from a classy gathering of cars into the most spectacular show on Earth.

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