These car tuners will make your dream car a reality
There are only a few things in the world that men (and some women) incessantly pamper: children, pets and cars – and not necessarily in that order; nicknamed, cared for, dressed in new coats and gifted with new toys, the latter are often their ultimate pride and joy.
Craving the newest, shiniest model is commonplace, but it is no longer enough to shell out for a cutting-edge Porsche or Lamborghini. Autophiles want wheels that project their personality and deepest aspirations, thus they will invest in custom-built kits that transform their prized possession into a one-of-a-kind design, even if it costs millions. After all, who wants a ride that everyone else has?
From modifying the outlook – paint job, wheels and aerodynamics – to customising interiors and tuning hardware, ardent car buffs will build, and rebuild, so their baby not only looks her best, but also reflects their own creative drive. Although Hong Kong has stringent regulations on road-vehicle modifications, this has not deterred collectors here from pursuing the car of their dreams with truly unique and functional edits.
“In Hong Kong, it’s not special to own a Ferrari or supercar anymore. There are so many!” says Gregor Hans Schoner, Founder and CEO of German luxury automobile designer and modification company DMC. “One of our clients told us that they bought a certain colour of Lamborghini, only to find out that their friend had the exact same one. That’s where we come in. We offer bespoke designs and exclusive materials that will deliver a wow-factor and truly make a vehicle stand out from the rest, including exotic leather choices such as stingray and crocodile.”
It’s a growing trend. “In recent years, locals have shown more and more openness to car customisation,” says the team at custom car modifier Car Lab in Hong Kong. “They want to be more involved in the design process and apply unique motifs that reflect their personality. Innovative customisation requests in the past have included colour wrapping for hearses and adding vibrant Chinese couplet livery to a McLaren MP4.”
Internal hardware such as audio and entertainment systems, as well as engine, exhaust and air suspension systems are flipped to suit the comfort and lifestyle of owners, whether it is installing Bang and Olufsen surround sound, gaming consoles or a private theatre on wheels – the possibilities of modifications are seemingly endless nowadays.
Fast & Fabulous
Car-proud locals favour optical enhancements and aerodynamics, according to Schoner. “Although engine enhancements are not always the focus of Hong Kong clients, they still want the [aesthetic of a fast car],” he says.
Automobile beautifications can cost as much as the car itself. At DMC, which counts Justin Bieber, Cristiano Ronaldo and Korean star Jang Keun-suk among an international clientele, the cheapest package starts at HK$200,000 and can rise to HK$1 million to $2 million. “The most expensive car we built was a Rolls-Royce Ghost for nearly HK$5 million,” shares Schoner.
“The owner, who was gifted a pair of handmade shoes by Donatella Versace, tasked us to match the interior of the car to the colour and material of the footwear. So, we ripped out every inch of the inside and replaced each part with fine Italian leather. We also altered the wheels.”
But new technologies are widening the scope of modifications, which can result in savings for owners. Better, lighter and more durable materials are available; Forged Carbon Fibre, for instance, once exclusive to Lamborghini, is about five times lighter than steel and is in demand for its rich, marble-like finish. And PPFs (Paint Protection Film), which provide stain resistance and protection from stone chips, are thicker, stronger and more lightweight than before. Previously, they were manufactured as transparent or matte, but now they can emulate the high gloss of vehicle paint.
However wild your dream-car imagination, it can become as good as real by engaging the services of an expert car modifier. ReinART Design, the Hong Kong arm of RAUH-Welt Begriff (RWB), a well-known Porsche 911 tuner in Japan, builds on more than just Porsches, rolling out an impressive repertoire of exceptional work to create exclusive and exotic vehicles tailored to owners’ requests.
Among these was a Ferrari 458 Italia installed with an Innotech Performance F1 Valvetronic exhaust that gives this beast a little more kick, and its owner more control over the volume with a simple press of a button. It was finished with burnt blue titanium triple exhaust tips, and a set of Novitec/KW lowering springs that brought it down about 30mm to hide the “unsightly original OEM fender gap”. This allowed the team to retain the authenticity and timeless beauty of the factory model while giving it a standout makeover.
The team also fitted Brixton Forged wheels on a Lamborghini Huracan LP610-4 and BMW M235i. Custom built-to-order in Los Angeles, these premium wheel sets are stronger, more durable and more resistant to corrosion and oxidation than cast wheels, and can cost up to HK$80,000 each.
Built to Impress
Like many things in Hong Kong, car parts that are custom-built and designed to owners’ specifications are manufactured outside of the city, imported and installed by trained professionals. You may have to wait for a month for parts to arrive and then the actual alterations can take anywhere from one week to six or 12 months or even longer to complete, depending on the complexities of each project and model.
The stakes are always high when you’re taking apart and rebuilding a top-tier automobile. There is no room for error, which is why the city’s expert car modifiers ensure that every step in the process, from consultation and planning to material sourcing, installation and finish, not only meet the highest standards and expectations but exceed them, so customers can drive around with pride. The owner of DMC has been known to fly out to a client’s home to oversee installation personally. It takes experience, passion and care to perform such skilled technical work and make those modifications magical.
(Text: Roberliza Eugenio)
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