Touring in London this month, Bill Burr noticed something unusual: The capital's streets were awash in a preternatural amount of supercars.
At one stoplight a Ferrari driver who couldn't restrain himself kept goosing the throttle—RA RA RA, RA RA RA—leading a female passersby to stop, glare and deliver the quintessential British expression of disgust: "Oh, stop it."
Comedian Burr, who recounted the story on his podcast, inquired among the locals: Why all these exotics?
As it turns out, each summer wealthy oil barons, a good chunk of them billionaires in their 20s, vacation in London to escape the scorching heat of their native Middle East. With money no obstacle, these men have their supercars packed onto airplanes and flown to London like expensive luggage.
But that's not all. Among men of such wealth, it's not enough to drive a $2 million Bugatti Veyron that can do 253 miles per hour, when 20 of your friends can all afford to buy the same car. In order to stand out from the crowd, the owners are driven to customize their cars with some rather garish aesthetic modifications.
The drivers then cruise the streets of London's Knightsbridge neighborhood, visiting one luxury store after another.
Apparently they occasionally race each other at night, and local residents are not pleased. "I am not angry. I am just exhausted," a local told The Daily Mail. "They are again racing down Sloane Street from late afternoons until 3 or 4 in the morning…it seems as though local residents are in for another sleepless August."
Local car design lovers, however, descend upon the region with glee, eager to shoot photos and videos of the informal parades. For years now, some of these "Carparazzis" even post YouTube videos of the proceedings, with titles like "The Great London-Arabic Supercar Motorshow" or "The Great Arab Supercar Invasion of London:"
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Lots of money does not equal lots of taste