Back in the day, there were two automakers responsible for the famed Silver Arrows of pre-war Germany. One was Mercedes-Benz, the other Auto Union. The former has been known to revive the honorific from time to time, but with Horch, DKW and Wanderer all long gone, the only one of the four Auto Union brands that's still around is Audi.
The Ingolstadt-based automaker has, as much as it Stuttgart-based rival, become a favorite among modifiers who chrome-dip every panel of their cars. Even the automaker itself showed off a chromed R8 5.2 at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009, and has now created a special chrome R8 Spyder for no less glitzy a celebrity than Elton John.
In fact, Audi made two of these R8s, both donated for auction to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation at its annual White Tie & Tiara benefit at Sir Elton's home. The first was sold for £250,000 (about $400,000). The second was sold for a similar amount, then donated back to the foundation and re-sold again, the two cars raising a total of £620,000 between them – that's nearly a cool million in American greenbacks.
Check out the bling in the high-res image gallery and the pair of press releases after the jump.
UNIQUE AUDI R8 SPYDER REFLECTS WELL ON SIR ELTON'S PARTY
Annual White Tie and Tiara Ball to auction unique 'chrome' version of celebrated 194mph open-top sports car
Guests at this year's White Tie and Tiara Ball, which as always takes place at the home of Sir Elton John and his partner David Furnish, will need to empty their jewellery boxes to avoid being outshone by the very special R8 sports car donated by Audi for the star-studded event. A dazzling and unique mirror-like chromed finish has been applied to the 194mph open-top sports car especially for the occasion - which takes place on Thursday June 23rd - to attract the highest possible bids in the auction that raises hundreds of thousands of pounds for the Elton John Aids Foundation (EJAF) annually.
"Sir Elton John's fundraising ball really is a golden ticket event that is as glamorous as it is hugely effective in fundraising terms," commented Jeremy Hicks, Director of Audi UK. "We are delighted, and enormously proud, to support it for a ninth year with the donation of what is arguably our most fittingly glamorous model," he added.
The R8 Spyder features a fully-automatic lightweight fabric hood that adds wind-in-hair intensity to the already extreme driving experience delivered by the lightweight aluminium quattro-equipped super car. The donated model, combining the exceptional ten-cylinder, 525PS petrol engine with manual transmission and normally priced at £117,710 OTR, can top 194mph and blast to 62mph from rest in just 4.1 seconds.
The Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) was established in 1993, and is amongst the 10 largest AIDS grant-making organisations in the world, currently managing over £14 million in programmes across 15 countries supporting thousands of men, women and children with life-saving medication, as well as information, nutrition, education, shelter and support. The White Tie & Tiara Ball, now in its 13th year, is the EJAF's foremost fundraising event, and has been supported by Audi with special auction lots for the past eight years.
AUDI R8 SPYDER TAKES TWO FOR ELTON JOHN AIDS FOUNDATION
The Audi R8 Spyder proved such an enticement to bidders last night at the White Tie & Tiara auction in aid of the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) that Audi UK submitted a second car to go under the hammer, helping to contribute £620,000 to the charitable organisation.
A striking 'chrome-finish' version of the 194mph soft-top sports car was initially donated, and was sold for £250,000, but interest was so strong that a second example was provided by Audi UK. This too attracted a high value bid, and was then generously submitted a second time for auction, taking the final total raised by the two cars to £620,000.
The auction takes places during the annual White Tie & Tiara Ball, which is always held at the home of Sir Elton John and David Furnish. Each year it raises millions of pounds for EJAF, which currently manages over £14 million in programmes across 15 countries supporting thousands of men, women and children with life-saving medication, as well as information, nutrition, education, shelter and support.
"We are absolutely delighted to have been instrumental in raising such a magnificent sum for Sir Elton's charity," commented Jeremy Hicks, Director of Audi UK. "We couldn't, of course, have done so without the incredible generosity of Sir Elton's guests, to whom we owe an enormous vote of thanks" he added.