Acura / Honda NSX Key
It was said that the early-run Honda/Acura NSX in 1990 featured a titanium key that was crazy expensive. Also, the key couldn’t be cut by normal methods because it was freaking titanium. In actuality the key wasn’t titanium, but a nickel-copper alloy called Monel, and it was offered on the NSX through 1996. Some might say its simple-yet-elegant look mirrors the car for which it starts. We simply say it looks sublime, and if you keep your eyes peeled, one pops up for sale like this factory key on Amazon.
BMW Key Fob
Key fobs from BMW have always been attractive, but the current batch with all their functionality – including a mini touch screen – are pretty amazing.These are definitely the high-tech keys of choice for collectors, and they're not bad to look at either.
We couldn’t compile a list of cool keys without having something from Maranello on-board. There are all kinds of aftermarket key options that simulate many modern Ferrari keys, and most would look quite nice in a key collection. This uncut OEM key from the early 2000s, however, is epic with its simple-yet-unmistakable design. Admittedly these originals can get a bit pricey – this key set pictured above is currently listed on eBay for $2,500 – but that’s still far less than the cost of the actual car you’d used it on.
Formawerx Porsche 911 Key
Given the vast amount of aftermarket parts available for the Porsche 911, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that there are even companies offering stylish, custom keys for the venerable sports car. This one from Formawerx starts as a solid block of 303 stainless steel until the firm machines the metal down into a shape with six holes that evokes the model’s flat-six engine. At $250 for the standard version or $300 in various finishes, this is a neat way to put some chic automotive jewelry on your key ring.
Formawerx Land Rover Defender Key
Formawerx has expanded its offerings beyond the Porsche 911 key by now offering a similarly cool piece for the Land Rover Defender. The firm mills them from 303 stainless steel, and they work on examples of the Defender 90, 110, and 130 without transponders. Formawerx says the new key maintains all of the original specs of Land Rover's OEM part, and it's selling them for $250. Engraved versions are coming later.
The part has a utilitarian look with a minimalist design. The open sections on each side of the key offer two spots for hooking it onto your keychain.
Koenigsegg Platinum Key
This list couldn’t possibly be complete with the world’s most expensive key. The standard Koenigsegg shield-shaped key is plenty attractive all by itself, but this custom-made platinum/diamond affair is pretty much the epitome of opulent automotive accessories. It was made for a Koenigsegg Agera customer a couple years ago and it’s estimated to be worth $250,000, or roughly the cost of a new Ferrari 488.
Mazda Rotary Key
The Mazda RX-7 comes with a basic, boring key that doesn’t match with the car’s performance. This aftermarket option on Amazon offers an aesthetic upgrade, and it’s potentially educational, too. If you need to explain how a Wankel works differently than a traditional combustion engine, just show the little rotor at the end of your key as an example.
Mercedes Smart Key Card
Mercedes-Benz pioneered remove hands-free keyless activation back in the late 1990s, and it’s now a common option for many vehicles. Admittedly the early Smart Card wasn't super attractive, but it’s certainly a neat part of automotive history. It’s also a bit thick and wasn’t well received as a convenient wallet accessory back in the day, so you can probably find an old key like this one on eBay for a fairly reasonable price.
Nissan GT-R Key
Unfortunately, this Nissan GT-R key is only a concept, but it's so cool that we really hope that the company builds something like this fob for the next generation of Godzilla. The design comes from Danny Burnside, Creative Director and Designer at Square Circle Media.
The concept GT-R key features a touchscreen in the center that lets drivers swipe between multiple screens. It allows for pre-setting the cabin temperature, checking remaining fuel range, distance to next service, and more. Three physical buttons allow for locking the door, opening the trunk, and honking the horn.
Nissan 300ZX Key
The 300ZX arrived at about the same time as fellow Japanese sports coupes like the Mazda RX-7 and Toyota Supra, but the Nissan had the coolest key of the bunch. Made from a hunk of titanium, the opener had a futuristic look that matched perfectly with Nissan’s marketing push – billing the 300ZX as a machine on the cutting edge of automotive tech in the early 1990s with options like twin-turbo engines and four-wheel steering. And if you so desire, you can grab a blank from RGS Performance to add to your garage art.
Tesla Model S Key Fob
Key fobs are standard-issue items for just about every new car, but Tesla’s car-shaped fob for the Model S is a favorite of ours. What’s not to like? It’s functional, it can actually summon your car, and when it you’re relaxing at home it looks like a cool little piece of car art sitting on your dresser.
13 / 13