BBC Autos

The Roundabout Blog

Automaker-licenced gear for the truly driven

  • The brand extenders

    Whether a Chevrolet Corvette wall clock or a desk chair fashioned from a car seat, automotive-branded consumer goods provide a way to engage with a car brand without shelling out for the real thing.

    Commonly found in man-caves, many of these curios are quite high-end – logical extensions of a new-car purchase that may already break the bank.

    But caveat emptor: Just because the pen says Mercedes-Benz does not mean it will make you a better writer, or that the Ferrari-branded bikini will enable you to tame the Nurburgring.

    What follows is a survey of some notable automaker-branded merchandise to satisfy enthusiasts at all price points.

  • Lalique for Bentley Crystal Edition

    The latest automaker-perfumery tie-up, announced only this week, addresses those who aspire to Bentley ownership but lack the requisite six figures to live the dream. For just four figures, at least they can now smell like the dream. The marque’s signature scent promises an “elixir of fine woody notes and exquisite leather”. The automaker joins the ranks of Jaguar, Chevrolet and Hummer, to name just a few, who have peddled an eponymous essence. A scant 999 bottles will be produced.

    Pub fact: The “Flying B” emblem is an integral part of the bottle’s design.

    Price: £3,000 (approximately $4,600) (Bentley Motors)

  • Montante for Maserati 8CTF

    A collaboration between high-end Italian manufacturers has resulted in a “fixie” for the elite: the Montante for Maserati 8CTF bicycle. Limited to 200 units, the 8CTF is painted in the livery of its Maserati namesake from the 1930s. Liberal use of saddle leather, chrome and exposed steel are reminders of the brand’s lineage, as is the quadriceps-burning price.

    Pub fact: Passersby may see the name “Rolls” prominently displayed on the back of the saddle and mistake the 8CTF for what cyclists would call a “collabo”.

    Price: €3,990 (Maserati)

  • Maclaren BMW Buggy

    More than a decade after entering the family arena with the X5 sport-utility vehicle, BMW is expanding its brand-exposure strategy to targets not old enough to walk.

    Thanks to a partnership with stroller manufacturer Maclaren – not McLaren, mind, which utilised a BMW-sourced engine for its F1 hypercar – there is the BMW Buggy, a folding stroller. As with the purchase of any BMW, the accessories list is longer than that of the standard features: removable cupholders, messenger bags, umbrellas and storage bags are all optional (but truly necessary). No word on an M version.

    Pub fact: Each of the outboard wheels, as well as the baby seatbelt, displays the BMW roundel in the centre.

    Price: $385 (Maclaren)

  • Porsche Design P’9981 Smartphone for Blackberry

    Like the Bentley cologne, the Porsche Design P’9981 Smartphone for Blackberry provides a lower point of entry to a historic automaker’s aura. The P’9981 features the blocky Porsche Design typeface on the keys, as well as on the user interface. The smartphone carries a starting price of four figures, and is available exclusively online and at Porsche Design stores.

    Pub fact: There is an even more expensive version dressed up in matte black trim.

    Price: Approximately $2,000 (Blackberry Limited)

  • Acer Ferrari One Netbook

    In a trickle-down attempt to bring lightning-fast performance from the automotive world to the geekosphere, Taiwan-based computer manufacturer Acer partnered with Ferrari to market a line of computers and mobile phones. The Ferrari One Netbook is a rosso-red laptop that, according to the manufacturer, was “created with the same technology and passion that characterises Scuderia Ferrari”. Like a Ferrari, the laptop is emblazoned with the prancing horse emblem, and has design details linked to the brand’s relationship with Formula 1. Unlike a Ferrari, your neighbours are not likely to clamour for the keys on the weekend.

    Pub fact: Pressing F10 brings you to the Ferrari website.

    Price: £528 (approximately $800) (Ferrari North America)

  • Jaeger-LeCoultre AMVOX DBS Transponder

    For the Aston Martin owner who seemingly has everything, this timepiece serves to round out that impression. Crafted of pink gold and set on a black leather band, the DBS Transponder is part of a collection of Aston Martin-themed watches produced by the Swiss manufacturer, each inspired by the design of a car produced at the automaker’s factory in Gaydon, England. This particular ticker costs nearly as much as a compact Cadillac, and doubles as a transponder (hence the name) for DBS owners’ cars.

    Pub fact: The AM insignia is inset behind the watch’s hands.

    Price: $43,700 (Jaeger-LeCoultre)

  • Lego Volkswagen T1 camper van

    This period-correct 1962 Volkswagen camper van replica is the German automaker’s effort to bring younger enthusiasts into the fold of peace, love and diesel fumes. The 1,332-piece Lego set features a fully detailed interior, replete with the camper’s requisite table and chairs, fold-out bed, pop-up top and curtains, as well as a surprisingly intricate replica of the rear-mounted, air-cooled engine. In a word, groovy.

    Pub fact: Like most VW vans of its vintage, it does not operate under its own power.

    Price: $119.99 (Lego Group)