If you have ever driven a car before, you have probably turned a key to start one. With a seemingly endless array of push-button starts and key fob options, there is something so satisfying about the turn of a key to get your engine going. After all, a car key unlocks all the potential of your car’s engine.
Because everyone has had this experience, car manufacturers–ever the competitive bunch–have been trying to outdo each other for years, attempting to create a truly unique experience from the first moment the driver starts his or her engine. Naturally, this has resulted in some pretty cool car keys over the years.
As lovers of all things key related, we scoured the internet to find our the 15 coolest car keys ever to turn an ignition switch. Check ‘em out, and hit us up on Twitter if there are any we missed!
15. The Tesla Model S Key Fob
While we tried to steer clear of most traditional key fobs, we just couldn’t resist the Tesla Model S remote. It just reminds us too much of our matchbox cars from when we were kids. Plus, pressing on the part of the car you want to activate is a nice touch. Like most things Tesla makes, its a little more creative than the average.
14. VW Beatle/Microbus Key
Volkswagen is a brand that evokes the unmistakable style of the 1960s. After all, the adoption of the Beatle and the Microbus by the Hippie movement made the German automaker a household name. This simple silver key could equally become a piece of minimalist jewelry for a hippie halloween costume as it immediately evokes this time in our nation’s history. A total classic.
13. Aston Martin “Emotional Control Unit”
Aston Martin Car Key FobAfter being relentlessly criticized on previous models for having the same key as a Volvo, Aston Martin felt the need to overcompensate a little. Their answer was a key fob they called the “Emotional Control Unit.” Made of sapphire so it can’t be scratched, the key fob is fit with a see-thru glass top that shows the logo underneath and doubles as a start button once entered into the ignition port. A key this beautiful has us struggling to control our emotions after all.
Keyport car key organizer Keyport is not a car key, per se. It is more like a key organizer. This startup company lets you send them all your keys in a jumbled mess. They copy them and send them back to you in this convenient slider that slips into any pocket. If you are one of those people who walks around with a key ring that a janitor wouldn’t touch, check them out!
11. Pagani Huayra Flash Drive
For just an eyelash over a million dollars, you can own the Pagani Huayra–a 750hp Italian supercar that offers about 10 vehicles to the US market each year. While their miniture flash drive key may not quite stand out from the crowd like the car it starts (how ubiquitous are flash drives at this point?), it is one-of-a-kind as far as we can tell. Plus, you can play music from it!
10. BMW 7-Series LCD Key
While the new BMW 7-series key is a little bulky and just a bit much overall, we can’t deny the usefulness of a key that tells the driver how much gas is in the tank at all times. Pretty cool, if you are about that fob life.
9. Nissan 300 ZX Automobile Key
Apple’s massively influential head of design Jonathan Ive once said “Simplicity is not simple. Simplicity is not the absence of clutter, that’s a consequence of simplicity. Simplicity is somehow essentially describing the purpose and place of an object and product.” The Nissan 300ZX car key accomplishes this goal. It is different from, yet the same as every other car key you have ever used. Through its brushed chrome accents and slight bevel, it tells the user where to put his or her thumb, and entices them to start the engine and go. Just a beautiful key.
8. Koenigsegg Shield
If you are a Swedish car company producing under 20 cars per year, averaging around a million each, subtlety is not a word that should be in your vocabulary. That’s why Koenigsegg‘s chrome shield with a small rubber button to set the car’s alarm is the perfect key for this supercar brand with models like the Agera, that routinely hit over 1000hp. In short, these cars make a statement. And so do their keys!
7. Chrysler Neon Glow-In-The-Dark Key
Chrysler’s seemingly endless ability to design boring economy cars hit its peak in the 90s with the release of the Neon. Without quality design, any power under the hood to speak of or technology of its own, the Neon was big on gimmicks. For example, it came in a truly dazzling array of colors. It also offered the first (and possibly only) glow-in-the-dark key. While this may sound like a simple trinket. if you have ever dropped your keys between the seats in the dark or lost them under the bed or the nightstand, this glow key was a godsend. And how could you forget your Neon with a neon key in your pocket? A brilliant piece of branding for an otherwise ho-hum product.
6. Ferrari 355 Key
Ferrari 355 Coolest Car KeyBefore Ferrari started releasing bulky, bright red-and-yellow keys that scream to the world that you have a Ferrari, they had this simple, elegant design. A chrome horse, a blade that looks like a Game Of Thrones-era dagger and the understated elegance of black matte and chrome. A true beauty, just like the car it starts.
5. 2014 Jaeger-LeCoultre Aston Martin Watch Key
This one only drops to number 5 because it is not actually a key. But this is the kind of James Bond spy stuff that we robotics nerds dream of. With the Jaeger-LeCoultre luxury watch, a push on the face can lock and unlock your Aston Martin. A project that started in 2006, the Swiss watch company became enamoured with the idea of a luxury watch that could “pair” with your luxury car. This current model now works with all Aston Martin models, giving a decidedly niche (and pricey) gadget a modern lift. It was just too cool to omit. It should be noted that, on many 2016 models, brands like Ford and others are integrating with smartwatches like the Apple Watch to offer many features beyond the door locks. But it all started with Jaeger-LeCoultre a decade ago.
4. 2004 Subaru STi JDM Key
Currently a sought-after item for STi lovers everywhere, the JDM key wins on style alone. Just look at it…it looks less like a car key and more like a nuclear launch kill switch. Only available on the ’04 STi, Subaru forums still buzz with ways to bring the JDM to current models by replacing a chip inside. We won’t wade into the possibilities there. All we know is a beautiful key when we see one.
3. Pagani Zonda Key
When you buy a rare, million-dollar Italian supercar, you are entering into an exclusive club. So when the valet takes your key, there is likely a certain thrill to knowing he is wondering what he is looking at. And while the Pagani Zonda key is simple and spare, it also takes the shape of it’s very distinctive gas pedal. This does several things for the driver: it offers exclusivity of information and subtly suggests that this key equals all the power of the gas pedal, instantly bringing back the feel of driving the Zonda with each jingle of the key ring.
2. Lexus LFA Carbon Fiber Key
In 2000, Lexus began developing a supercar that would later become the Lexus LFA. While only in production for 3 years, the LFA helped the company introduce a number of materials and processes into their normal production line. Perhaps the most important was the introduction of in-house designed and manufactured carbon fiber-reinforced polymer. The material–which, Lexus boasted in 2008, had placed the company in the same class as “spaceplanes and prototype aircrafts”–made up the LFA’s chassis, anchored its interior accents and even enveloped its beautiful, one-of-a-kind key. This carbon fiber material has made its way into many things, from interior design accents to luxury retractable roofs to spoiler packages in several models since. But it all started with the LFA and one special key.
1. The Bugatti Speed Key
It has been a little over a year since Bugatti sold the last Veyron supercar–the $3 million, 1200hp behemouth against which all future supercars will be judged. The reason Bugatti can claim such an illustrious spot at the top of the supercar world–joined only perhaps by Mclaren’s street-legal models–is because of the many mysterious, one-of-a-kind features that brought the car to an eventual top speed of over 248 mph. One such feature is the Top Speed Key, a second key that can be inserted behind the drivers seat to initiate actions mostly reserved for airplanes and vehicles looking to break land-speed records in deserts–opening flaps, moving the spoiler, lowering the chasis to mere centimeters above the pavement. This feature exists nowhere else and is just a small part of what puts the Bugatti Veyron in a class all its own. But perhaps what makes this key even more special is even if you happen to have the GPD of a small nation lying around in your car fund, even you can’t hold this key. You will have to strong-arm a collector or wait for a rapper or ball-player to go bankrupt. Best of luck. You’re gonna need it.
It is common knowledge at this point that dealerships charge an arm and a leg to copy car keys. Lose your key fob and you could be forking over hundreds of dollars to some used car salesman without even getting some new floormats out of the deal. Try KeyMe instead. Our kiosks sit inside retailers you are probably going to anyway. The key duplication machine can read your key’s RFID chip, we’ll copy it in our office and send you the result in 2 business days. Try it out by visiting www.key.me/kiosk to find your local kiosk.