I used virtual reality to customize a $2 million sports car

It’s not every day you get to create your own multi-million sports car.

I was given the rare opportunity to customize a Pagani Huayra Roadster using the HTC Vive. The car would cost a gut-wrenching  €2.3 million (that's around $2.6m, £2m or AU$3.5 – and that's before taxes) of real-life money, but because I was doing it in VR I was able to spray it bright green on a whim.

Technology from VR firm ZeroLight allows people looking to buy a very expensive and top-of-the-range sports car to design it to their own configuration and see it in front of their very eyes.

There’s nothing worse than ordering your bright orange body, red leather interior and gold wheel trim car to then realize when it arrives you don’t want to be seen driving it (right, guys?) so VR lets you see it and decide whether it’s the look for you.

Once in a lifetime

Using a HTC Vive setup, the software places the car on a stunning cliff edge on a bright and beautiful sunny day, meaning you get to see the car in its full glory – even if it’s raining outside in the real world.

If you want the full personal experience, you can always commission ZeroLight's designers to create your own home driveway within the game – a spokesperson for ZeroLight told me it would cost around £10,000 / $13,000 / AU$17,000 for the privilege. [Update: ZeroLight has since confirmed the representative is incorrect and the driveway customization isn't a service the company currently offers.]

Although I got to make the car look like my own, the customization options were limited.

There are only four options for the tyre styles, eight colors for the body work and four options for the color of the interior. You can then travel around the car to see it from all angles using the Vive controllers to teleport or walking around in the VR space.

You’re even able to walk into the car itself. It means you can get in close to areas of the car you usually wouldn’t be able to see in real life. Sadly I wasn’t able to actually sit in the real-life vehicle.

Sitting where most never will

The experience also allows you to open up parts of the car you may not expect to see. It means you can open up the bonnet of the car and see under the hood or head around the back to open it up from the rear. You can even pull the wheels apart to see the individual pieces. 

Services like Zerolight's are set to change the way we buy our cars – and you won't necessarily have to be a multi-millionaire to take advantage of them. Audi is already using the same VR system, and similar tech is certain to find its way into more showrooms.

So if a showroom doesn’t have the exact color you want you could head into VR to see what it looks like, or add extra features to see if they suit your needs.

Meanwhile, although I may never be in the position to buy a $2 million supercar, being able to create my own dream machine in VR made me feel like it was my own, at least for a couple of hours.