||Budapest Times: Craig
Looks Like He's Had 10
Rounds With Mike Tyson!
|The Budapest Times
May 29, 2006
Only a few get to ride a sexy Hungarian model
These are dark days for Aston Martin owners. In recent months it has come to my
attention that these splendid machines are now standard issue for those pampered
chavs, Britain's premier league footballers. Worse still, the new James Bond has
abandoned his Aston for a Ford Mondeo. (This could be a good thing, however:
Daniel Craig looks like a man who's been ten rounds with Mike Tyson, is reportedly
unable to drive a manual gearshift car and is terrified of firearms.) Anyway, it
seemed the time was right to change my wheels, and having settled in Hungary for
the time being, it seemed diplomatic to buy a Hungarian car. But the options are not
so appealing. First we have the Suzuki Swift, the rich man's Trabant, a car with all
the panache of a Tesco trolley and a centre of gravity located above the roof. If you
want to end up upside down in a ditch, this is the car for you.
Then we have the Audi TT - strictly for hairdressers and estate agents. Ikarus and
Nabi make some OK coaches, but they're not suitable for bachelors.
What to do? Well, one of my informants told me that in the suburbs of Budapest in
an anonymous-looking garage is a car quite unlike anything seen before in
Hungary - the Brokernet Silver Sting. I have to say I was a little suspicious at first:
who ever heard of a sports car named like a Wall Street scam? It's like calling a car
“NASDAQ wire fraud” or “Enron golden shower.”
But after a Moldovan deep-tissue massage with the lovely Oksana was cancelled at
short notice (immigration misunderstanding), I found myself with twelve hours to
kill. And thus I met Mr. Kálmán Bodis, racing driver and father of the Silver Sting. As
you will notice from the snap, it's a very shapely beast. This tiny scrap of aluminium,
carbon fibre and titanium is propelled by a 437 BHP, 3.6 litre engine supplied by
Porsche, which gets it to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds. But the rest of the car is
completely Hungarian, the fruit of nine years' development and about EUR 1 million.
Here was an authentic Magyar bling-gép that would get one to St. Moritz in record
time and once parked outside Badrutt's Palace not fade into the proletarian mass of
Ferraris and Lamborghinis. I was sold. Coffee prices, you may have noticed, have
inexplicably risen on the same tide as oil, steel, copper and gold. The net result is
vast liquidity chez Kwambe, so it was with a light heart that I opened my
chequebook and asked Mr. Bodis his price.
Oddly enough Mr. Bodis said “No thanks.” Pleased to find such a jolly jester, I
played along for a while until it became clear that he really has no intention of
selling it as a sports car. “We aren't thinking of a street car, we want to make a
racing car rather than compete with Ferrari and Lamborghini.” It turns out the Silver
Sting is aimed at a very precise niche in motor racing, the NGT class, which is a sort
of amateur Le Mans affair.
The Silver Sting will cost about EUR 200,000, undercutting most rivals. For example,
the BMW GTR costs about EUR 700,000, which seems a bit steep for a pimped-up 3-
Series, but there you go. Porsche's NGT car is EUR 400,000, but has a more
powerful 510 BHP engine.
Does this not give the Porsche 73 more horses than the Silver Sting? “Yes”, says
Mr. Bodis, “but ours is more fuel efficient which means one less pit stop.” Hmm, not
exactly Dick Dastardly stuff, but it makes sense more or less.
Their plan is to sell six-to-ten cars per year purely for track use.
This is all very well, but leaves me in the same position as Gandhi without a donkey,
i.e. rideless. Fortunately my assistant tracked down a very serviceable alternative,
the appalingly aggressive and Teutonic Gumpert Apollo, which its makers claim,
“has so much downforce you can drive it on the roof of a tunnel.” Who knows when
that might come in handy? And at the same price as the Silver Sting but road legal,
who could ask for more?