As motor shows go Top Marques Monaco doesn’t quite fit the norm. For starters it is a cosy affair set up in a modern building called the Grimaldi Forum which is perched right on the edge Monaco’s short stretch of coastline and looks like it is about to be washed away with the Mediterranean tide. Of course it is beautiful and therefore a fitting place for very expensive cars to strut their stuff.

The organisers modestly refer to it as ‘The Most Exclusive Supercar Show in The World’.

It is also a place where you will find be-jewelled watches on display on one level of the complex and then some pretty fancy looking motor cruisers rubbing shoulders on the concourse of the Forum.

However, what makes this show particularly different from others is that you can actually drive (or be driven in) some of the most exotic cars to be found anywhere.

A covered parking area bordering the sreet that runs adjacent to the Grimaldi Forum serves as a kind of makeshift pit-stop where you could see a selection of cars from lamborghini, Noble, GTA, Mercedes and several others all parked patiently for the amateur paparazzi.

Every so often a loud bark could be heard from a Lambo exhaust as the car was driven on to the ‘catwalk’ otherwise known as the Avenue Princesse Grace. A poser’s paradise indeed.

And the show itself? Well very few manufacturers respresent themselves since it is left up to either the local franchise dealership from Monaco or further afield to get on with the business of exhibiting at the event. Some brands, however, are instantly recognisable and several others maybe not so. The role call for 2012 was as follows:-

Bentley, Aston Martin, Delavilla, Gemballa, Fisker, GTA Motor, Hamann, JE Design, PACE, InsiderCars, Jaguar, Koenigsegg, Lamborghini, Lexus, Lotus, McLaren, Mercedes Benz, MTM, MS Design, Mansory, Merdad, Noble, Roding, Pagani, Rolls Royce, Tushek and Dartz.

Some of the cars were just as you would find them in any car showroom but many others had been given some kind of ‘tuning’ treatment to offer somebody who wanted a Panamera, for instance, to end up with a Panamera that wouldn’t look out of place on the front cover of Max Power magazine. It is all a question of personal taste of course but the prices being quoted for these conversions were bordering on insanity. Think of the price of a nicely specified Cayenne and then triple it – and that’s for the ‘cheap’ bespoke options. More than half of the exhibitors at the show were offering their own take on ‘individualism’ for anything from an Evoque to a 450 Spider. Recession? What recession?

Highlights of the show? Well Pagani had their awesome Huayra on display and that is a car which needs no adornment or embellishment to either improve or destroy its looks. It is like a work of art. The design details make you keep looking over and over at the car and every time you look you find something else to make you go ‘wow’. Is there any other car which could draw so much attention right now – probably not.

It was pleasing to see a strong representation of British cars at Top Marques and Noble’s M600 had one of the nicest paint finishes at the show. It’s carbon fibre body was finished in a sort of cobalt blue and the yellow/cream interior contrasted perfectly.

Another odd-ball on show, but one which raised a few smiles, was the Dartz ‘gold-plated’ armoured car that is featured in the forthcoming Sasha Baron Cohen film ‘The Dictator’. This is a proper B7 category armour-plated vehicle and was the most intimidating car on display at the show by a million miles. Tapping on one of the side panels of the car was like tapping the side of building we were standing in. If you were worried about being blown-up on the way to the office then you would buy this car – it looks and feels like it could survive a nuclear blast!

Two days is plenty of time to take in everything the show has to offer and the question is whether to go back again next year. For the show content the jury is still out but if you are bored with the traditional show formats then you should try Top Marques – if you don’t like the show you could do far worse than end up in a place like Monaco!

In the meantime enjoy the slideshow of pics that were taken at the show…………

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