The Spotted Week That Was | Hellcat, Elise, 575M

American muscle, a British featherweight and Italian exotica have all caught our attention this week

By PH Staff / Sunday, December 13, 2020

Dodge Challenger Hellcat, 2016, 2k, £52,500 

If you’re stuck for an automotive gift this Christmas, try David Newhardt’s Art of the Muscle Car. Not only will it look great on a coffee table, it features glorious pics of all the old favourites. As an enthusiast of the genre I can’t recommend it highly enough.  

It’s also why I can’t ignore this Challenger. I’ve never driven one, but Hellcats have always held a special place in my heart – a muscle car that looks this good, has this much power and sold for so relatively little ensured that. But then the Hellcat impact was neutered somewhat with the few that made it to the UK; importing is expensive, and it’s a lot harder to justify a two-tonne two-door when the steering wheel is on the wrong side and it’s approaching six figures.  

Which is where this car comes in. A Tor-Red Challenger Hellcat UK registered in 2016, it’s only covered 1,638 miles in that time. Very, very lightly used then, but on offer at £52,500. Which, if still a substantial amount of money, is a lot less than it would have been 1,500 miles ago. Bear in mind that a new Hellcat Redeye at the same dealer costs literally twice as much and the Hellcat looks even more enticing. Perhaps a Challenger over here would prove a pain in the neck eventually – more American Psycho than American dream – but I’m still more than a little intrigued. Who wouldn’t be?

Lotus Elise, 2001, 43k, £15,990

Expect plenty of buzz around Lotus next year, as 2021 marks a quarter of a century since the very first Elise hit the road. The importance of that car hardly needs stressing, but spare a thought for the Series 2 which ensured the model would continue into the 21st century. The first production cars will turn 20 next year.

This is one of them. It’s odd to see a car so contemporary on a reg as old as a Y-plate, but then that’s always been the genius of the Elise. If the original was the icon, this was the Lotus sports car that established its pint-sized supercar look for the next two decades. As an early S2 it still has a K Series in it; 122hp looks puny nowadays, but outright power in an Elise is like a scotch egg with your pint – strict necessary, but not the main event.

That, of course, is deft, lucid, mesmerising handling which will be as joyful now as ever it was. This one is £15k with just 40,000 miles, in a fetching shade of Aqua metallic with a recent C service; if 2021 is the year to live life to its fullest after a frustrating 12 months, there can’t be many better places to start.

Ferrari 575M HGTC, 7k, £149,995

In contrast to the Aston Martin DB9 from the same decade, the Ferrari 575M is a front-V12, rear-wheel drive grand tourer that’s appreciating. Especially in rare HGTC spec, where the 550 successor received Maranello’s handling pack to enhance performance. These included a set of gorgeous 19-inch HGTC split rims, a stiffer chassis and carbon ceramic brakes, as well as a freer-flowing exhaust system. You also got more carbon fibre bits to add some F1 allure to the 575. Don’t forget, this was a time when Ferrari was a dominant force in motorsport.

That can’t be said of today’s racing Scuderia, but it’s done no harm to the appeal, as evidenced by the prices of Ferrari’s new (see the F8 we drove last week) and used cars. Even the most common 575 variants are nudging £80k, but the HGTC cars – which the internet suggests number no more than 98 – are well into six figures. Two are in the classifieds at the moment, but this £150k one has covered only 7,000 miles. It’s realistically about as ‘new’ as 16-year-old cars this side of a static collection can come. The paintwork on the brake calipers and the immaculate tools and spares case highlight its box freshness.

And remember, the 575M HGTC was (and still is) one of the finest handling and most alluring V12 grand tourers ever made, and while this car doesn’t nail the spec with a manual gearbox, Ferrari’s old paddle shift auto was more than up to the job. The 575M design has aged remarkably well, too. HGTC cars don’t crop up for sale very often, especially not with so few miles on the clock. This car really does feel like a time warp back to a golden period for Ferrari, both on and off the track.

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