The heavily anticipated annual car show has returned once again to the Principality of Monaco for its 14th edition from the 20th to the 23rd of April, in the glorious setting of the Grimaldi Forum. Those who attended Top Marques Monaco this year were able to see the finest collection of everything, from the latest luxury cars, planes and yachts to the most inimitable jewellery, gadgets and so much more. The event is organised under the High Patronage of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, and is described as “the most exclusive, live supercar show in the world”. HelloMonaco will take you through this year’s best extravagant items in each category present at the expo.
Top Marques is so much more than a car show; it is a veritable display of luxury and quality that cannot be mirrored elsewhere. Monaco is the perfect location for such an event, as supercar and hundred-foot yacht sightings are relatively common here – it definitely is the natural setting. The extravagance however is also for a good cause as a quarter of the ticket sales are donated to Monaco Aide et Présence, a charity established by Prince Albert II that supports children and the people in need worldwide, which accounts for quite a bit as about 42,000 visitors attend so the event sales can reach 500 million euros.
Like every year, Top Marques displayed some of the latest innovative and outstanding technologies, the newest models and prototypes in the business including flying cars, diamond painted cars, the world’s fastest drones and the top supercars and boats.
In the category of accessories, there was an exceptional array of jewellery of all brands, made using the most precious stones and finest cuts. The gallery French Collection was present, whose offices are based in Hong Kong, displaying luxury vintage jewellery including Cartier, Bulgari and a glorious statement-piece necklace by Boucheron with emerald stones and coral detail – they offer a highly confidential and prestigious service. The prize for the most intricately finely produced gadgets had to be awarded to the watch makers on show; one of them being GreubelForsey, Art of Invention, that produces hand-made beautifully detailed watches that are truly unique. We met with the co-founder Stephen Forsey who talked us through the art behind the design and the work it takes to produce one watch, a year on average for each one, particularly the GMT watch that “incorporates a spherical globe that moves harmoniously with the Earth’s rotation in real time”. Forsey started in the business by restoring watches on Bond Street for 5 years before he met his future co-founder Greubel, who he teamed up with as both were motivated to create their own new style.
Some of the grandest and most glamorous super yachts from all corners of the globe were also present, including yacht models belonging to ‘the world’s leading super yacht authority’, Burgess. The model of the Jubilee, the largest yacht ever built in The Netherlands, was proudly on display measuring 110 metres and boasting a “striking exterior and grand interior by Sergiovanni Design” able to reach 18.5 knots of power.
Naturally, the luxury super-cars stole the show, each car catching the eye of every passer-by for their sleek elegant structure and flashy characteristics. The world premiere of the Bentley Azure created by the famous diamond dealer Jean Boulle took centre stage on the Grimaldi Forum esplanade. Its exterior entirely painted with 2 million diamonds sparkled brilliantly under the April sunshine, as the soundtrack of Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend by Marilyn Monroe appropriately played in the background. The C10 supercar by Calafiore was also premiered, the first ever car produced by the Italian car manufacturer that was available for test-drives during the forum – the car has unbelievable acceleration, going from 0km/h to 60 km/h in just 2 seconds, with a maximum speed of 360km/h! Along with the more modern cars, classic cars were also displayed such as the unique Shelby GT350 1969 muscle car that is still sought after today for its timeless design and quality engine. The new ‘big brother’ version of the Shelby was premiered for the first time in Europe at Top Marques this year, the Shelby F-150 Supercharged 750 HP, a monster truck costing around 160,000 euros – probably the biggest car on show that is definitely not adapted for Monaco’s tight streets!
One of the most exciting technologies, new to the annual exhibition, was the flying car. The well-awaited world premiere of Aeromobil’s newest model of a flying supercar was unveiled and inaugurated right here in the Grimaldi Forum. We spoke to Slovakia Aeromobil’s lead development engineer, Muhammad Imran, who delved into the models particularities. The flying car took a while to be developed, as it needed to comply with both vehicle and aircraft regulations as well as undergo a rigorous testing regime to ensure safety. It can reach heights of 3000 metres, and might be equipped with solar panels to improve on its flight autonomy; a private pilot license is required. As Imran rightfully stated “people have been driving on the road for 150 years, and now’s the time to take off!” The Aeromobil flying car is the more developed version of the other hybrid-flying car the PAL-VLiberty, the world’s first ever commercial flying car with a retractable rotor. The project started in 1990 and finally the team “has succeeded in creating an innovative flying car that complies with existing safety standards determined around the world” said Roger Dingemanse, CEO of PAL-V. It ranges from 300,000 euros and only takes 4 days to assemble, complete with 2 engines for added security. One of the co-founders explained that “it is more of a collectors item at the moment”, the biggest benefit being that “you get to chose your exact departure and destination”. The company also had a flying car simulator so visitors could better understand the concept; the technology was highly realistic – all you need is a gyroplane license to drive the futuristic machine.
Luxury gadgets included the new Sea Bob distributed by Monaco-based Luxury Water Toys, the high-end electric underwater scooter, “designed to explore the surface of the sea and what’s beneath it” with 2 hours of autonomous diving. It moves through the water with agility, simulating a dolphin-like movement – the ultimate water toy! An original piece on display was SébastienBarrau Manufacturers titanium desks and luxury cigar cases, precisely constructed using material from aerospace industries to create a beautiful and unique furniture piece. What makes the piece so original is the tables detailing; the titanium lines and shapes branch out to create a map of Paris including the main sites and streets! Each detail is faithfully represented, harmonious lines created mixing not only metal but also precious wood essences and mother-of-pearl – you need to see it to fully appreciate the intricate design.
VIP guests were able to test drive the many elegant vehicles that were on display at the show, and not just anywhere; the Grand Prix circuit is the testing grounds, allowing drivers to experience cruising on the world-famous circuit. Undoubtedly a one-of-a-kind experience for any car enthusiast! Photographers dotted the streets waiting excitedly to snap a picture of the prestigious cars rumbling by. This interactive element enables professionals and experts of the industry to meet with exhibitors and exchange ideas and experience in an elegant atmosphere that exudes fantasy and prestige.
It is easy to see why Top Marques Monaco continues to be the most exclusive supercar show in the whole world – make sure to check it out next time its in town for a sneak peek into the latest technologies and to experience the most luxurious cars out there first-hand.