My girlfriend easily agreed to fly to Miami Beach for spring break, looking forward to escaping Pittsburgh’s grey skies and relaxing on the beach. Little did she know, but I’d end up spending half of the vacation watching traffic, eyes peeled for interesting rides. I saw a handful of Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and McLarens, dozens of German sports sedans and SUVs, and herds of Bentley Continentals—it was tricky to stand out on the beachfront boulevards. Below are the five most unique, and therefore coolest, cars I spotted while basking in the Miami sun.
Last year, I luckily stumbled upon one of 210 Aston Martin Rapide AMRs in London. Somehow, on my first day in Miami Beach I managed to spot another Rapide AMR. While the London car flew under the radar with an Onyx Black and China Grey color combo, this one sported the “Signature” scheme, with Stirling Green highlighted by glaring Lime accents. The paint job may be excessive, but the V12-powered supersedan is undoubtedly cool. To learn more about the AMR’s specifications, check out Part 1 of my London carspotting adventure here.
While the Ferrari 488 GTB isn’t an especially rare supercar, this grey example with red racing stripes made an impression with its Novitec kit. The German tuning outfit added carbon fiber galore, from aero appendages—a front splitter, side skirts, and a rear wing—to aesthetic alterations like taillight covers and a rear fog lamp cover. Even the iconic Ferrari fender badge was decked out in the lightweight weave. The kit usually comes with an array of Novitec-designed wheels but this version sported sharp HRE rims. Novitec offers a variety of performance upgrades, from exhaust systems to ECU improvements, but its unclear if any were applied here. Regardless, the standard 488 is no slouch: the 3.9-liter twin-turbo V8 pumps out 661 hp and 560 lb-ft of torque en route to 205 mph. I’ve seen plenty of 488s but this Novitec kit ups the ante, giving the mid-engined Ferrari an athletic look to match the performance.
Many modern Rolls-Royces roam the streets of Miami Beach, but tucked away in a hotel garage I came across this dusty Silver Spur II. The Mark I was introduced in 1980 as a long-wheelbase variant of the Silver Spirit, and the Mark II, an evolution, arrived nine years later. While the Mark I and Mark II are virtually indistinguishable from the outside, a host of changes occurred under the skin, from automatically adjustable dampers to the introduction of ABS and fuel injection. This colossal sedan featured an appropriately large 6.75-liter V8, but with a curb weight of over 5,000 lbs, the Spur was no speed demon, needing more than 10 seconds to reach 60 mph. But brutal acceleration would be missing the point of a Rolls—to be coddled in luxurious comfort and silence. While there are no guarantees that this seemingly forgotten example has retained those qualities over the past three decades, its dignified design made me yearn to see it restored to its former glory.
While not as iconic as the top-of-the-line Bel Air, this two-tone 1956 Chevy 210 still looks stunning next to the relatively plain vehicles of 2020. The 210, which acted as Chevy’s midrange model during the 1950s, ditched the Bel Air’s secondary-colored spear that stretched from the front fender to the tail fin for a simpler chrome blade. But the 210 still had plenty of extravagant ’50s design cues, from the dreamy turquoise paint job to the airplane-inspired hood ornament. In 1956, the 210 came with either a 3.9-liter 140 hp inline-six or a series of 4.3-liter V8s making 170 to 225 horses. While not packing the most powerful engines, the 210 certainly is a looker, even if it will forever live in the Bel Air’s shadow.
The Fisker Karma has had a tumultuous life. Penned by Henrik Fisker, the same man responsible for masterpieces like the BMW Z8 and Aston Martin DB9, the Karma’s exterior design was appropriately sumptuous. The Karma packed two electric motors good for 403 hp and 959 lb-ft of torque and also featured a range-extender, a GM-sourced inline-four, which powered a generator, supplying juice once the battery was depleted. In November 2012, just over a year after deliveries began, Fisker’s battery supplier, A123 Systems, filed for bankruptcy, with Fisker following suit soon after. Approximately 2,500 Karmas were built, and this was my first time seeing one in nearly eight years—unfortunately just snapping a blurry phone shot as it blasted past. After Fisker’s insolvency, Chinese company Wanxiang secured the rights, rebranding the car as the Karma Revero. The 2017 model retained the original Karma powertrain, but the 2020 Revero GT received a new battery, a 133 hp boost, and a new range extender: the same 1.5-liter three-pot found in the BMW i8. The Karma has also morphed into the Corvette-engined VLF Destino, but that’s a story for another time.