Enzo Ferrari, the founder of one of the most coveted brands in the world, once said that he would always make one less car than he could sell. Today, Ferrari is making a lot fewer cars than they could sell, especially when it comes to their limited edition models—but it's not just Ferrari doing business that way.
One would think that part of making a desirable car would be to have people dream about one day taking ownership of it and giving them something to aspire to. Nope, clearly, that's not the case, not these days!
Some cars today are off limits to us mere mortals. By the time we even hear a whisper about some rare special-edition that's rumored to appear, it's already too late. Every single one of those cars has already been snatched up by an insider elite, sometimes before anyone even knows what the car will look like.
Securing a limited-edition doesn't mean someone is just among the first to place an order and hand over a deposit, though. Most of these cars are sold on an invitation-only basis to established clients. The reason why it's done is as simple as it is genius; it's all about exclusivity. It's understandable that automakers want to build a handful of cars that will help increase the prestige of their brand while at the same time rewarding their most loyal customers. Let's take a closer look at some cars that sold out before they were released.
25 TVR Griffith Launch Edition
The sports- and supercar brand based in England, TVR, has been flirting with the reaper for the last two decades or so. But when this new model was unveiled to spark the revival of the brand, they sold out every car within six weeks of their announcement. And this was months before the car was actually unveiled. Only 500 Griffith Launch Edition cars will be produced. It has an iStream carbon fiber chassis and a Cosworth-tuned Ford Coyote V8 that generates 480 wild, galloping stallions—taking the car from 0-60 in less than 4 seconds.
24 Ford GT
Ahead of the 50th anniversary of its famous Le Mans victory, Ford announced the new Ford GT and that it would race again, which it did rather well. But that didn't mean anyone could just stroll into a Ford dealership and buy the new GT. You had to apply to Ford and go through a vetting process before being awarded one of the cars in the original production run of 100 vehicles. Ford would later expand the production run with another 350 GTs, but by the time the news got out, they were probably all gone as well, so most of us will never get to experience the 647-horsepower, mid-mounted, twin-turbo V6 supercar.
23 McLaren Senna
While the McLaren Senna is nowhere near as bespoke as the Speedtail, that doesn't make the Senna any less special. The design is based on the ‘form-follows-function’ principle, which explains why it's named after legendary F1 driver Ayrton Senna. It's designed to be the best of the best on any race track, while still being road legal. No wonder all 500 cars were sold before it was even unveiled. Loosely based on the 720S, the Senna is powered by a 789-hp version of the 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V8, driving the rear wheels and aided by a clever suspension setup and huge amounts of downforce.
22 Mercedes-AMG One
The Mercedes-AMG (Project) One is planned to go into production between 2020 and 2021, with only 275 cars expected to be built. Those who want one are a bit late to the party, though, as the demand was so high that Mercedes-AMG received orders four times the production volume, which they refused to increase. At $2.72 million, the One is far from affordable, but considering it has a hybrid drivetrain, including a road-legal version of the turbocharged 1.6-liter V6 from the W07 Formula 1 car, it's still a bargain. It's expected to deliver 1,231 horsepower to all four corners and will be the Valkyrie’s chief rival.
21 Aston Martin Valkyrie
While the Valkyrie is a collaboration between Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing—and they claim Formula 1 racecar-like performance—they have taken a different approach than the Mercedes-AMG One when it comes to the choice of engine. Instead of using an F1 derived unit, the Valkyrie is powered by a 6.5-liter Cosworth V12 with a Rimac-built KERS hybrid system, for a total of 1,130 horsepower. The Valkyrie was priced at $3.2 million, but even if you had that kind of money available you wouldn't get your hands on one. Only 150 road-going versions were planned, and all the build slots were allocated before production even started.
20 Lamborghini Centenario
The Centenario was unveiled at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show to celebrate the 100th birthday of the company’s founder, Ferruccio Lamborghini. It had an uprated, 759-horsepower V12 from the Aventador upon which it was based, and featured bespoke styling. At Pebble Beach, later that same year, Lamborghini unveiled the Centenario Roadster. There would only be built 20 of each body style, for a total of 40 cars, and every single one of them was already spoken for by the time each version was unveiled. Clearly, it's not easy to become an owner of super-rare supercars.
19 LaFerrari Aperta
The LaFerrari was the successor to the Enzo, and also the very first hybrid to emerge from the Maranello brand. By the time the convertible version, the Aperta, was unveiled, it had already been sold to select clients who had received personal invitations to purchase a LaFerrari Aperta. Who wouldn't want a hybrid-powered Ferrari with 950 horsepower, rear-wheel drive, and an open top to enjoy that V12 sound? Only 200 were built for sale to clients, plus there was one additional model built to be auctioned for fundraising in support of the Save the Children charity foundation, and it sold for $10,000,000.
18 McLaren Speedtail
Remember the McLaren F1? It was the world's fastest car, had an engine bay lined with gold, and a three-seat layout with the driver in the center. A lot of people thought the McLaren P1 was the successor to the F1, but it wasn't; the Speedtail is. The Speedtail has three seats, a 1,035-horsepower hybrid drivetrain, and a top speed close to time-travel at 250 mph. Keeping with the F1 heritage, only 106 Speedtails will ever be made, and every single one of them was spoken for when McLaren first announced the car, most of them going to the same people who bought the original 106 F1 examples.
17 Porsche 911 R
The Porsche 911 GT3 RS is widely lauded as one of the best driver’s cars around. However, the GT3 RS had one huge flaw for purists: it was only available with Porsche’s PDK dual-clutch transmission. No manual gearbox was available. Enter the limited-edition Porsche 911 R. Not only did it offer 500 horsepower of naturally aspirated 911 GT3 RS power, it was lighter, had more subtle styling, and a manual gearbox with a clutch pedal! Only
991 of them were built—correlating with the 991 generation—and when the 911 R was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 2016, all of them were already sold to existing Porsche owners.
16 Bugatti Divo
The Bugatti Divo is named after French racing driver Albert Divo and is basically the result of remodeling a Bugatti Chiron for maximum track-driving capabilities. It features reworked aerodynamic bodywork and 1,479 horsepower from the 8.0-liter, quad-turbo W16. Any gearhead would love to spend some time behind the wheel of the Divo, but unless video games count, the chance of that ever happening is non-existent. Only 40 Divos will ever be made and every single one of them was already sold by the time it was unveiled at Pebble Beach. Previous Bugatti owners received a special invitation. Apparently, it wasn't very difficult to find 40 people willing to pay $5.8 million.
15 Bentley Bentayga
The Bentayga has a waiting list that stretches well into the future, and not just because it's a Bentley SUV; it's also the fastest SUV of all time with a top speed of nearly 190 mph. Even with its 600 horsepower W12 engine, it's somewhat surprising that it really is that quick, considering that it's weighed down by all the amenities of a Continental GT. As far as the interior goes, there's pretty much all the luxury one can think of, and then some. There is handcrafted leather, wood and metal trim as far as the eye can see, plush carpets, a massive sound system, and the list goes on and on...
14 Honda-Acura NSX
There are some NSXs available on used-car sites, and most of them sell for above the new price. That's a testament to how long you'll be on the waiting list if you want a brand new example. Those who pre-ordered the car were on a waiting list for nearly two years before a vehicle was available to them. The latest NSX took two decades to appear, but it was worth the wait. With liberal use of aluminum, composites, and a hybrid powertrain with three electric motors and a mid-mounted, twin-turbo, 573-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6, the NSX has gone from being an everyday sports car to an everyday supercar.
13 McLaren P1
All 375 McLaren P1 hypercars destined for production had found a new owner before production started. Not too bad considering it was priced at $1.15 million in the United States. The P1 was built at a rate of one per day, with a total of 61 people responsible for each, working together to complete them in a 10-step process. The limited-production, plug-in hybrid hypercar has a mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive design that uses a carbon fiber monocoque and roof structure safety cage concept called MonoCage. Power comes from a 3.8-liter, twin-turbocharged engine combined with an in-house-developed electric motor, which adds up to 903 horsepower when combined.
12 Ferrari Monza
When Ferrari only built 499 LaFerrari coupes and 209 open-top Apertas, there were plenty of gazillionaires with open wallets who couldn't get on the list to buy either one.
This didn't make them happy, so in an effort to cheer them up, Ferrari launched the new Icona range, of which the Monza is the first model. The $1.75 million Ferrari Monza was sold out almost immediately. Ferrari's super-limited specials are in such demand that customers are almost fighting to get their hands on one. Only 499 will ever be built, at the rate of one per day. There will, however, be other 'Icona' models in the future.
11 Lamborghini Huracan Performante
Lamborghini sold out its first-year allocation of the Huracan Performante before anyone had a chance to get behind the wheel. The Performante is a track-focused version of the brand's "entry-level" supercar and features more power, less weight, and clever active aerodynamics. The aerodynamics helped the prototype of the Performante set a lap time of 6:52.01 on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, making it one of the world's fastest production cars around the track. The Performante has various exterior differences when compared to the standard model, such as the carbon fiber front and rear bumpers, an adjustable carbon-fiber rear wing, and different position of the exhaust. The interior also received changes, with new seats and a digital speedometer.
10 Tesla Model 3
Within a week of unveiling the Model 3 in 2016, Tesla revealed they had taken 325,000 reservations for the car. By August 2017, the number had grown to 455,000 reservations.
Sure, there were a few thousand people who canceled their reservations, but those are still some impressive numbers! The initial orders meant the Model 3 was completely sold out until mid-2018. The Model 3 is Tesla's answer to the BMW 3-Series, Audi's A4, and the Mercedes C-Class. And being a Tesla, it is of course fully electric. The base Model 3 has a 50-kWh battery with a range of about 220 miles and the optional 75-kWh battery has a range of about 310 miles.
9 LaFerrari FXX K
The remarkable thing about the insane FXX K selling out in such a short time is, of course, that it can't be registered for road use, nor is it eligible to compete in any established racing series. In essence, those who bought it paid $2.7 million for a track toy that they can barely use. Still, it does come with a few nice perks, such as a 1,032-horsepower version of the "standard" LaFerrari's hybrid powertrain and a sophisticated aerodynamics package. And then there's the Ferrari Corse Cliente program, which will maintain the cars, as well as ship them to racetracks at the owner's request.
8 Apollo Intensa Emozione
The $2.71 illion Apollo IE sold out in no time. Perhaps that's because only ten cars were initially planned?! Apollo isn't even the most well-known car company! In fact, it's a reborn company, taking over where Gumpert ended. The Intensa Emozione has been over-engineered in every conceivable way. The front splitter, for example, was built to sustain nearly 3,000 pounds of downforce. The engine is pure sorcery, with Apollo claiming the V12 is capable of producing more than 1,000 horsepower and could rev to more than 11,000 RPM. In standard form, the naturally-aspirated, 6.3-liter V12 delivers 780 horsepower, so it would require customers to cough up some more cash for the more extreme version.
7 McLaren 720S
More than 1,500 pre-orders were taken for the McLaren 720S. The car was such a phenomenal success that some customers even ordered two. Why did they order two? Because they want the first one as soon as possible, and then they wanted to have MSO, McLaren's bespoke division, customize the second one to their personal taste. The 720S has a 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 engine, essentially a rework of McLaren's previous 3.8-liter engine. With 710 wild horses, the McLaren 720S can accelerate from 0–60 mph in 2.8 seconds and 0–125 mph in less than 8 seconds, before moving on to its top speed of 212 mph. Those figures make it faster than most hypercars.
6 Koenigsegg Agera RS
Even those who just happened to have a few million dollars lying around couldn't just go out and get themselves an Agera RS. The waiting list for the 1,160-horsepower Koenigsegg hypercar was absurdly long, and customers had to wait four to five years before actually getting behind the wheel. Now it's too late to order one, though; production ended in July 2018. The Agera RS was filled with futuristic technology, implementing some of the new technology and features of the Koenigsegg One:1 and combining the features of the Agera R and the Agera S. Due to its low weight and track-optimized tech, Koenigsegg billed it as "the ultimate track tool".
5 Pagani Huayra Roadster
The new Huayra Roadster lets the owner feel the wind in their hair, which is appropriate seeing as it's named after the God of Wind. With a price tag of $2.8 million, it was more than twice as expensive as the coupe version, but that didn't hinder sales. Au contraire; all 100 Huayra Roadsters were sold before the car even made its public debut at the Geneva motor show. By using new manufacturing techniques with carbotitanium, the Roadster is almost 200 pounds lighter than the coupe, and its structure is 52% stiffer. It has a twin-turbo, 6.0-liter V12 developing 755 horsepower, does 0-60 in 3 seconds, and has a top speed of more than 220 mph.
4 BMW i8
The BMW i8 seems to be one of those cars that people either love or hate but apparently, there were enough people who loved it for it to be sold out. Buyers lined up from throughout Europe, the United States, and the Far East in order to get their hands on one of the plug-in hybrid sportscars. The i8 had a starting price of around $135,000, but at least buyers could save some money on fuel with a claimed consumption of 134.5 mpg due to the hybrid drivetrain. As for performance, it can accelerate from a dead-stop to 62 mph in 4.4 seconds and has an electronically-limited top speed of 155 mph.
3 Aston Martin Vantage
The second-generation Aston Martin Vantage was poached by enthusiasts in no time after it was first shown to the public. After a couple of days, the entire 2018 production run was sold, despite a price tag around $150,000. The Vantage name has a long history, going all the way back to 1951 when it was a high-performance variant of the DB2. Later, the Vantage became a standalone model that is now the most successful car in the brand’s history. The new Vantage has a four-liter, AMG-built, twin-turbo V8 with 503 horsepower. It debuts with an eight-speed, close-ratio ZF paddle-shifting auto, but there'll be a manual available down the line.
2 Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione
The Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione saw production between 2007 and 2010. The name refers to the eight-cylinder engine and Alfa Romeo's racing pedigree. More than 1,400 people pre-ordered the 8C when Alfa officially announced it would enter production, but only 500 ended up with the 8C Competizione, and another 500 got the 8C Spider. The 8C has a carbon-fiber body fitted to a steel chassis, a unique platform that shares several components with the Maserati GranTurismo. The engine is a Ferrari and Maserati-derived 4.7-liter V8 with 440 horsepower. The official top speed is claimed to be 181 mph, but it might be higher, as Road & Track estimated it to be around 190 mph.
1 BMW M4 GTS
Barely two months was all it took after BMW introduced the hardcore M4 GTS for all 700 planned cars to get snatched up. The GTS is much more than an M4 in a fancy dress. It's the successor to the M3 GTS and has a 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged, straight-six engine that features water injection technology to develop just under 500 horsepower. With a seven-speed M DCT transmission, the car does 0-60 in 3.8 seconds and reaches a top speed of 190 mph. The GTS is also 136 pounds lighter than a standard M4 due to removing the rear seat and fitting lighter interior parts. The suspension is a three-way, manually-adjustable coilover setup, the anti-roll bars are different, and the steering also has been adjusted.
Sources: Carbuzz, Top Gear, Top Speed, and Forbes