I try to visit Monaco as often as I possibly can. If you're a car enthusiast, I'm sure you already know exactly why this is: because I enjoy sipping lukewarm table water and spending 19 Euro for a slice of pizza.
Ha ha! Just kidding! These little imperfections are all part of Monaco's charm, sort of like the principality's rocky beach, where you go to rest, and relax, and get away from it all by laying on a towel seven inches away from a 65-year-old Frenchman who thinks "bathing suit" is synonymous with "jockstrap." Really, you're constantly saying, as a tourist visiting the small country, how CHARMING!
No, the real reason you go to Monaco, as a car enthusiast, is obvious: because they have a lot of cool cars. Oh, sure, Monaco will be forever associated with exotic sports cars and Formula 1 racing. But that's not all they have. This is proven by my most recent trip, just last week, during which I saw a DeLorean, a 1970s-era Stutz Bearcat, a 1990s Lincoln Town Car, and an original Fiat 500 that was covered in flower decals and parked next to a Ferrari 599 GTO. In fact, just about the only automotive marvel you won't find in Monaco is the "StanceNation" craze, which probably explains why property values there are so high.
But this column is devoted to Monaco's main automotive attraction: exotic cars. Exotic cars are everywhere in Monaco. And I mean everywhere. You can't walk down a street without seeing a Ferrari 458 Spider. You can't turn the corner without hearing the roar of a Lamborghini Aventador. You can't even hand a Euro coin to a scruffy-looking homeless man without him angrily replying: "Do you think THAT will cover a new clutch for my 612 Scaglietti?!"
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Just kidding on that last part. Monaco has a forcefield around the perimeter that prevents the homeless from entering.
Exotic cars are so common in Monaco that I think people who haven't been there don't really believe me when I explain the situation. In fact, when I tell people my standard line – that exotics in Monaco are as common as Corollas and Civics in the US – I tend to get one of two decidedly negative responses.
The first response is simple disbelief. Yes, people nod their heads, excitedly, like they totally understand what I mean. But you can tell that, deep down in their minds, they think I'm exaggerating. That I'm inventing things just to make Monaco seem cool. You can tell that they think I'm like the kid who tells his mommy that there's a boogeyman in the closet, poised to strike whenever it gets dark, ready to rip out his teeth and use his innards as a jump rope, and they're the mommy, who knows the only thing in the closet is some old socks.
The second response I get when discussing Monaco exotics is this bizarre insistence some car enthusiasts have to compare it to their own city. "Ferraris in Monaco are more common than Civics in the US!" I'll say. And the other person will reply: "Oh yeah. That's just like [upper middle class suburb of some midsize US city, such as Saint Louis]. I see exotics all the time here. I've even seen some of the new Corvettes."
It's at that moment I understand that these people don't grasp the magnitude of Monaco's exotic car culture. So I push them a little further, just to try and help them understand. "No," I'll say. "There are fifteen Enzos registered in Monaco! Fifteen!" And they'll reply: "Oh yeah, there's at least that many in [suburb]. I mean, I've seen six. My grandma has two."
So I've decided to help people understand just how crazy Monaco is, using the only medium that I know well: a poorly-made YouTube video. To create it, I spent the day running around the principality, wearing tennis shoes and shorts, carrying my video camera, and generally looking like the kind of American tourist who just came off a cruise ship and wants to know how to get to "that big caseeeno."
It was embarrassing: people wouldn't even speak French when I approached, because they could sense the American tourist on me. "Stupid American," they'd say, in that tone of contempt the French have mastered after years of eating moldy cheese as an evening snack. "Where did you get those shorts? Some big-box retailer?! Now drink your lukewarm table water!" And then they'd run off, nose in the air, to do something the French enjoy, such as putting on a jockstrap and going for a swim.
But it paid off, because I saw many of today's top exotics in just one day: the LaFerrari. The Porsche 918 Spyder. The Bugatti Veyron. The Rolls-Royce Wraith. The Aston-Martin One-77. The Lamborghini Aventador Roadster. The Ferrari 360 Modena. Really, when you think about it, the pinnacle of everything today's finest automakers have to offer. And now, I'm sharing it with you, so you can see exactly why Monaco really is the world's greatest place for car enthusiasts.
@DougDeMuro is the author of Plays With Cars. He owned an E63 AMG wagon and once tried to evade police at the Tail of the Dragon using a pontoon boat. (It didn't work.) He worked as a manager for Porsche Cars North America before quitting to become a writer, largely because it meant he no longer had to wear pants. Also, he wrote this entire bio himself in the third person.