Think pre-war super cars and the likes of Bentley, Bugatti and Auto Union come to mind. Since then the segment has been dominated by the Italians, spoiling us with visions of vehicular testosterone as embodied by Ferrari and Lamborghini, though in more recent years small specialised British makes such as McLaren and Noble have also made a name for themselves.
The era has also seen the return of Bugatti and the rise of uber-exclusive luxury super cars from Sweden (Koenigsegg) and the Netherlands (Spyker), but apart from its erstwhile Rolls Royce equivalent, Hispano Suiza, and a short dally by Pegaso in the 1950s, Spain never seems to have been able to get in on the super car act. Until now.
Fitting perhaps more in the micro-manufacturer category of Noble than the established Scuderia Ferrari, Advanced Design Tramontana is a young but very serious maker of ultra-fast, ultra-high tech and yes, very expensive racing cars. From a spotless small plant in Palau de Santa Eulalia in Girona, a little north of Barcelona, this highly specialised engineering firm started designing and manufacturing exquisite racing modern machines in 2007.
With made-to-order production limited to a few dozen a year, this is a labour of love that has produced a true racing beast. Offered as a single or double seater, the super-light Tramontana’s – made of aluminium and carbon fibre – uses a V-12 cylinder, 5.5-litre Mercedes engine with 710 horsepower to propel it to speeds of 325 km/h. Road holding is of the glued-to-the-road variety, the sound of the engine truly frightening/exhilarating and the acceleration is such that it is probably not recommended for people with toupees.
0-100 occurs in not much more than three seconds and the fact that the two seats are lined up vertically re-enhances the feeling of being a pilot rather than a driver, whilst the overall look is so sporty that the Tramontana could almost line up on the grid with F1 cars. Naturally a toy for very wealthy boys, it also highlights the fact that Spain’s finest can increasingly measure up with the best the world has to offer in terms of luxury, high-tech and bespoke products.