A wise man once said that life is full of surprises. Here at the Nocturnal Bandit, we’ve had our fair share of the pleasant variety. This story belongs firmly in that category.
Late one night, after exchanging a few direct messages with a gentleman on Instagram, he asked me whether I’d like to take photographs of a Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren 722, a 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II, a 1967 Shelby GT500 and a 1000hp Nissan GT-R. I had answered the question before he had finished typing his follow up sentence!
A few days later, after a leisurely cruise, I’m standing in front of the beautiful Fairmont Bab Al Bahr hotel in Abu Dhabi. The afore-mentioned cars are in front of me and I just can’t keep the smile of my face. After getting acquainted with the gentleman, I took a few minutes to look over the ‘Motley Crew.’
The SLR is a design and engineering masterpiece. A collaboration between McLaren and Mercedes-Benz resulted in this beauty, a hypercar to beat all hypercars. Make 150 of these already-special cars with a bump in power and numerous performance parts as a tribute to Stirling Moss and his victory at the Mille Miglia in 1955 and there you have it. The Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren 722.
They say some cars look fast standing still. Well, if that‘s the case, the SLR 722 looks like an ICBM standing still, with a pointed tip. General Aladeen would be proud.
Jokes aside, this thing is a serious performance machine. A 0-100 time of 3.6 seconds back in 2007? Check. Carbon fibre everywhere? Check. The kind of road presence that only a hypercar can possess? Check.
Subsequently, I moved on to the 190E. Everything about this car, from the low splitter up front, to the huge wing out back screams ‘Nineties’. A regular sedan with massive power (for its time) under the hood and an aero package that’s borderline ‘tuner’? That description belongs to a few cars from the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (German Touring Car Championships). The BMW E30 M3 Evo and the 190E 2.5-16 Evo dominated the DTM circuits at the time. Essentially, this thing is a 1990s racecar that’s been made street-legal. To say that I was impressed would be an understatement.
For once the weather cooperated and I began snapping away, trying to capture the best angle on each car. Whether it was the 190E’s fender flares or the SLR’s razor sharp body panels, I was spoilt for choice.
Next up, I found the GT500 in my viewfinder. Resplendent in a dark blue with white stripes (where have I see that before?), the Shelby was a solid four-wheeled time machine made out of American iron. Made in 1967, this thing dripped with character.
The exhaust note was the kind that can only be found on a large displacement American sports car from the 1960s. Classic Mustang gauges, a large wooden steering wheel and Shelby GT500 graphics left nobody in doubt about this car’s pedigree. I’m afraid that if I look at this car any more; I might have to grab a cowboy hat and mount a horse.
Eventually, I came to the GT-R. A slick, black, shape-shifting monster that simply looks the part, this GT-R has been tuned by BulletProof Automotive to produce 1000 hp. A carbon fibre wing, carbon fibre splitters front and rear, carbon fibre door handles and other assorted aero bits make the car look more sinister than it should. A vented hood is a small giveaway as to what rests under it. Moving to the back of the car, I see the exhaust pipes. Much wider than stock, these have chrome tips, which have changed colour due to the heat which is expelled from them. Shod with black HREs on all four corners, this thing looks ready to win any street battle it gets into.
As the sun sank below the horizon and I packed away my camera gear, I could not help but think about how different each car was in it’s own different way. A hypercar tribute to a racing legend, a barely street-legal racecar, an American icon and a Japanese street samurai on steroids. If this isn’t a Motley Crew, then I don’t know what is.
As the cars were moved to the garage for the night, I caught sight of the SLR’s scissor doors opening. If I didn’t already like the Tumbler so much, I’d be rooting for the SLR as the Batmobile. Speed, razor sharp looks, presence and a menacing exhaust note, it’s got it all. Time to pen a letter to DC Comics!
Special thanks to the Shed Collection for their incredible hospitality and for letting me shoot their beautiful cars outdoors. You can follow their activities on Instagram at instagram.com/theshed.pvtcollection.