Nardi Silver Ray by Michelotti

Everyone seems to get excited when they hear about someone famous, like Eric Clapton, getting their very own one-off car designed exactly to their specifications. His Ferrari 458-based SP-12, for instance, creates news wherever it goes.

That said, the automotive world has seen remarkable consolidation over its history, and we're now living in an era where there are not only fewer luxury automakers and fewer regional variances, with the advent of digital communications we've managed to dramatically increase the content (words, photos, videos) created about each one. And then beam that content around the world in little time.

Back in 1960, you not only had your choice of, say, a Ferrari or Lamborghini, but the construction of those cars meant that the factory could supply you with just the engine and chassis. Once the mechanicals were delivered at the carrozzeria of your choice, the design team worked with you to create your dream car. Custom bodywork is often quite impressive, but I always wonder about the glass: How does one design and build a windshield?

You could even go with a smaller, up-and-coming engineering firm like Nardi for the engine, drivetrain, and chassis design. These companies often just mixed and matched mechanical and components; the car here is rumoured to be related to a long-lost Alfa Romeo.

But that doesn't matter, does it?

What we're looking at here is a man's wallet opened wide enough to have exactly what he wanted: a Plymouth Golden Commando V8 engine hopped-up to 350 horsepower, with a sort of Facel Vega-like body wrapped around it. Nardi delivered a modern, chiseled, sports car with a top speed of about 225 km/h (140 mph), a hood big enough for croquet, intimate cabin, and touring trunk. 

With disc brakes all 'round and suspension apparently related to that mysterious Alfa, it's an expensive hodgepodge but no doubt desirable even today. After all, these sorts of one-offs may not have the brand cachet of a car with a Cavallino Rampante on its nose but they capture a moment in time when it was possible to have exactly what you wanted.