Want to own the last-ever Lamborghini Aventador? What about driving it in the metaverse? Now is your chance. Beginning today, April 19-21, 2022, Automobili Lamborghini will auction the last Lamborghini Aventador Coupé ever produced, an NFT, and a digital replica designed for use in the metaverse on RM Sotheby’s, the largest collector car auction house in the world. The car and NFT were created in collaboration with new media digital artist Krista Kim and DJ, music producer Steve Aoki.
Lamborghini is not the first luxury automobile manufacturer to create an NFT, and it would be easy to write it off as another brand making a cash grab in the crypto world. But, this drop (also known as a product offering) is interesting for three reasons.
First is the car itself. As Lamborghini moves to electrify its complete line-up, its Aventador line of super sports cars is approaching its end of production. The Aventador LP 780-4 Ultimae Coupé is the most powerful Aventador ever made. With the highest-performing standard-production naturally aspirated V12 engine in Lamborghini history, it incorporates advanced technological solutions and unparalleled design. The last-ever Aventador LP 780-4 Ultimae Coupé will be manufactured after the auction and delivered to the buyer in September 2022.
The second thing that makes this NFT interesting is Lamborghini’s collaboration with Kim and Aoki. Heritage luxury brands can be rigid in their thinking — convinced that only they understand their brands, their customers, and what the futures of their respective sectors should look like. The result of this mindset has been a number of lackluster luxury NFTs.
Here, Lamborghini’s strength is the fact that it is not really a heritage brand. Founded in the ‘60s, the Italian automaker has always focused on pushing the limits of form and performance with artistry and engineering. For its NFTs, it has tended to lean on the experience and expertise of others.
“Lamborghini and the NFT community fit together very well, as we share many values.” said Stephan Winkelmann, Chairman and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini. “We are both young-spirited innovators, looking out for unexpected projects and technological solutions. This project is very special for us … to collaborate with such outstanding creative minds makes it all the more special.”
Lamborghini previously partnered with artist Fabian Oefner to create a digital artwork accessed via a QR code imprinted on five small squares of carbon fiber that each spent a significant amount of time aboard the international space station. Cool, but not groundbreaking.
Both Aoki and Kim are early movers in the web3 space. While most know Aoki for his contributions to electronic music, he recently launched his own metaverse — a web3 version of the Kiss Army that gives his fans “unrivaled access to both on-chain and physical experiences,” and gives Aoki unrivaled access to his fans. He is also an unabashed fan with his own limited edition Aventador.
Kim is a visual artist and the founder of Techism, “a movement that reconciles technological innovation with the creation of art.” She has collaborated with everyone from heritage fashion brands to rock guitarists, and her Mars House NFT was groundbreaking at its release.
Inside, the car will feature trim based on Kim’s signature gradients, which she created to mirror the vibrant sunset in her Mars House, and a custom soundtrack produced by Aoki. Outside, it will feature a one-of-a-kind blue-black gradient paint job and custom lighting accents — details dictated by the two artists.
It isn not clear whether there is any real overlap between these artists’ fans and Lamborghini’s customer base. The whole thing feels like an awkward attempt to reach a new, younger audience similar to the Rolls Royce’s Wraith Kryptos, which, apart from its name and aesthetic details, had no real value in the metaverse or alignment with digital technology for that matter.
But, the third and most interesting thing about this NFT is how it will be delivered. The winner of the auction will receive the NFT of a 1:1 video produced by Kim and Aoki along with the digital twin of the physical car delivered as a GLB file, a type of 3D file format used in virtual reality, augmented reality, and games. Meaning that as more applications embrace and incorporate Web3, the digital supercar could be inserted into the metaverse, yes, but also into things like racing games or massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) like Grand Theft Auto or games like REVV Racing, an arcade simulation car racing game that incorporates blockchain technology, developed by Animoca Brands.
For those not familiar with the “defi gaming” world, people would call this interoperability, meaning you can own an asset outside of one application and move to it another (or sell it outright to someone else). This has yet to be proven as a viable solution for game publishers since removes their ability to keep their in-game economies closed (and within their control).
To many, the role of luxury within technology is bringing these types of applications to life. By handing over the GLB file, Lamborghini has succeeded in creating a high-end luxury digital asset (HELDA) that hopes to serve a purpose beyond art. Time will tell where the Aventador Coupé NFT could be used meaningfully in the metaverse.
Still, the tension between new and old thinking is apparent in the billing of “VIP benefits” to which the NFT holder is entitled, like one-time access to the Lamborghini VIP experience, a one-time private tour of the Lamborghini Museum, and a one-time 15-minute virtual meet & greet with Krista Kim and Steve Aoki. The “one-time” nature of these offerings means that, like a new car, the NFT will lose a huge chunk of its value the moment it gets delivered.
Given these restrictions, it is hard to say whether the final product will be worth more than the $5M Lamborghini expects it to fetch at auction. But, since the NFT even without the GLD file acts as a proof of ownership to the physical vehicle of significant value to automobile enthusiasts and collectors alike, it is certainly worth a look. Those interested can bid on the physical and digital car here: