The new Smithsonian Channel four-part series, Supercar Superbuild, premiering Sunday, February 14 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, goes behind the inherent beauty, amazing mechanical prowess, and basic building process of Maserati, Lamborghini, Bentley and Aston Martin, four of the world’s leading luxury automakers, as they attempt to produce what they hope is the next iconic car.
They’re rare. They’re beautiful. They’re expensive. They not only push the performance envelope, they rip it wide open. Yet every supercar shares one thing in common: they all have a unique story to tell. There is often high-stakes pressure, impossible deadlines, secret meetings, remarkable engineering challenges, and, of course, dynamic styling.
These are the machines that stand at the zenith of childhood imagination and adult obsession. They are the vehicles that light fantasies, capture hearts, and make some wish they were wealthy enough to afford them. But to create them is an art all its own. In each of these stories lies a dedicated team of passionate automotive artisans that overcome tremendous obstacles as they dream big and think outside of the box in order to create the ultimate cars for enthusiasts around the world. Each hour-long episode of Supercar Superbuild takes an in-depth look at the origin, design, challenges, and performance of the vehicles.
Among the experts heard from in the new series are Car and Driver editor Tony Quiroga and Road & Track’s Jason Cammisa, who provide industry context to what each of the manufacturers is looking to accomplish with the new models they’re designing.
The series premiere of Supercar Superbuild: Maserati takes a look at the Italian car company and its attempt to broaden its appeal with a new mid-size sedan, the Ghibli. For years they’ve had success with their signature car, the Quattroporte. For the past decade Maserati has sold 6,000 cars a year, but the bottom line is they need to sell more. They believe the Ghibli, which is being designed for everyday usage and is basically a smaller version of the Quattroporte, will help grow its business nearly ten-fold.
Other episodes of Supercar Superbuild include:
SUPERCAR SUPERBUILD: LAMBORGHINI
Premieres Sunday, February 21st at 9 p.m. ET/PT
In November 2013, the last Lamborghini Gallardo rolled off the assembly line. After more than 14,000 Gallardos, Lamborghini’s most popular model, it is the end of an era. Perhaps more importantly, it is the end of the single most successful supercar model ever produced in Italy. Now Lamborghini has designed a new machine called the Huracàn. Can it live up to the legacy of the Gallardo?
SUPERCAR SUPERBUILD: BENTLEY CONTINENTAL
Premieres Sunday, February 28th at 9 p.m. ET/PT
When it was introduced in 2003, the Bentley Continental GT was the world’s fastest 2+2 coupé with a top speed of 198 mph. Singlehandedly it resuscitated the grand touring genre. But now the platform has aged and competitors are nipping at the Bentley’s heels. Their answer is the Continental GT V8 S, a faster, lighter, more fuel-efficient machine with four fewer cylinders in its engine.
SUPERCAR SUPERBUILD: ASTON MARTIN
Premieres Sunday, March 6th at 9 p.m. ET/PT
Aston Martin can’t afford to make any mistakes. They are one of the last true independent automotive manufacturers. To stay relevant and to fend off competitors who are part of multi-national global conglomerates with nearly unlimited resources, the brand needs a new machine. Something brave and bold that stands out. Aston’s solution is the V12 Vantage S, a supercar that owes its entire existence to a handful of engineers sitting at a pub and an old American Hot-Rodder’s trick.