The “What’s-the-pointers” will have a field day with that sliver of carbon-fibre and rubber on our cover this month. What is the point, I hear them say, of building a road car that is capable of 0-200 km/h in less than six seconds and a top speed in excess of 350 km/h? Why give it aerodynamic wizardry that’s effective only at those rarefied speeds? How can you possibly enjoy its clearly remarkable talents without breaking 11 kinds of traffic regulations and endangering at least the same number of lives?
Besides, it’s likely to be so hard-edged and stiffly sprung that it is going to be uncomfortable to drive over anything other than the billiard table-smooth asphalt of a racetrack. Plus, it will have to undergo a “mechanical revision” (aka, an engine rebuild) at 50 000km, and that’s certainly going to cost you a tad more than a regular service. They’re right, of course. There is no point to the Mercedes-AMG Project One whatsoever. A road car capable of producing 740 kW is like taking a flamethrower to a snowball fight. Sure, you’re going to win, but no one will have any fun and it’s pretty much guaranteed you’ll never get invited back. But the doubters are also entirely wrong. It’s not about any point.
That is precisely the kind of thinking that trips up the “What’s-the-pointers” all the time. It’s why – thank goodness – the “What-ifs” always win. Without some people thinking: what if we built the most advanced and fastest road car we could think of?, cars such as the Bugatti Atlantic, Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing, Lamborghini Miura, Porsche 930 Turbo, Ferrari F40, McLaren F1, Bugatti Veyron and now this Project One would not have seen the light of day. And what a great pity that would have been.
It’s the “What-ifs” who push humanity forward. What if I jumped on the back of that wild horse? What if I harnessed two horses to a small chariot? What if I made a machine powered by
steam? What if I built something that could fly? What if I built a rocket that could take me to the moon…?