2003 New York Auto Show: Bufori MKIII

Gerry Khouri likes to compare his new Bufori MKIII to the Packards, Pierce-Arrows, and Duesenbergs of yore. But, as the Australian enthusiast and Bufori founder is quick to point out, the new car — hand-crafted in Malaysia to a buyer’s exact specifications — is a lot more planted in the 21st century than its floating headlamps and sweep-fender style would suggest. The $110,000 MKIII’s enclosed body is carbon-fiber composite, like the revered McLaren F1, and forged BBS wheels with Z-rated performance tires suggest very modern road manners. Inside, there is traditional Anglo-finery, including Connolly leather (over excellent Recaro seats), glossy wood, and 24-carat gold-plated instrument bezels. The car’s biggest surprise, however, is that it is mid-engined, placing a 200-horsepower, 2.7-liter V-6 behind the passenger compartment (a 280-horsepower supercharged model, not yet priced, is available, as well). Clearly an acquired taste, the Bufori is sure to cause a stir at valet stands from the Hamptons to Palm Springs.