Last Labor Day weekend, when snow was a hazy memory and the warm days seemed as if they’d last forever, I spent some time in a small cottage about three hours northwest of Montreal.
The nearest village, accessible by twisty backroads with an asphalt surface strangely superior to most Montreal highways, contained exactly what you’d expect for a tiny hamlet in a remote, low-rent section of the Laurentian Mountains. General store. Liquor store. Bank. Post office. Poutine store. Okay, that last one’s not true, as this place ascribed to the BYOC rule (Bring Your Own Curds).
Walking back to my car after picking up supplies, which in this case consisted of beer, more beer, and an extra-large bottle white wine for the fairer sex, I saw it. “What the hell are you doing here?” I muttered under my breath.
The driver of the Bentley Bentayga was clearly lost, possibly after having taken a wrong turn while searching for curds. We’ve all done it. Regardless, his $266,000-plus (CAD) SUV stood out from the ATVs the residents of this dusty, pinprick-on-a-map village used as their daily drivers.
I know, I know. The Bentayga is a factory vehicle now in production. It’s not an example of something an obscure automaker made 12 units of in 1937, nor is it a coachbuilt one-off of an already rare classic. But at the time, in early September of last year, Bentley had sold approximately 30 Bentaygas in all of Canada. 18 in August, the first month of deliveries. 10 in September. And yet here was an Alpine Green version, just driving through the bush.
At the time, that counts as pretty rare. The second Bentayga I saw in the wild? Detroit, last month. Outside a Bentley press event. So there you go.
With the memory banks now humming, I can rustle up another, perhaps more appropriate example of spotting a unicorn in the wild: the guy I saw driving a Trabant in downtown Montreal last year. A wild, unshaven fellow, no doubt on his way to deliver a manifesto to a state-run media outlet. Keep tabs on him, coppers.
But now it’s time to turn the mic over to you, Best and Brightest. What’s the rarest vehicle you’ve seen plying the avenues and alleyways of America — or any other country — in your extensive travels?
Tell us a campfire story.