Eight years in a row now, Geneva has never failed to surprise us! Probably the smallest show on the calendar, arguably one of the most important. Of course there were the Stars of the show as well as the inevitable ‘Dogs’. In the eyes of this reporter the Stars were the Opel GT and Mazda RX-Vision Concepts.

Opel GT

Mazda RX Vision

The so called German Premium brands seem to be in a battle of selling as much ‘Design’ per square millimeter as they can; The new Audi Q2 being one of the victims (I counted no less than seven(!) individual lines around the wheelarches). The brands still striving for Premium-ship joining in the game enthusiastically, as DS shows with their E-Tense Show car. Is this the way Premium should go?

The efforts of most Japanese manufacturers starts to worry me: Will either Honda, Subaru (2 very sympathetic brands in my opinion) and Mitsubishi ever be able to present a decent car in the near future….I’m starting to doubt it. For several years now, they have been producing concepts and production cars that are angular, blocky and very unrefined. The Koreans, in the meantime, must be laughing all the way to the bank. Even Nissans concepts looked like they were briefly out of sight for Paris, and they went at it alone.


Pininfarina showed of their first Concept under Mahindra. Next to their Sigma F1 concept from 1969 they showed a hydrogen driven La Mans racer. Safety is a topic of the past, today’s topic is Eco. Liked the ’69 car a lot better, but we hope for better things to come: Pininfarina still has a lot of credit with this writer.

Ford celebrated its return to Le Mans, 50 years after their walkover on Ferrari, they’re at it again!

Ford GT40

A specific colour that struck me was a greyish-greenish-blue that I saw at several brands. Skoda taking great efforts to enhance the effects in the paint with very sculptured flanks on their Vision S Concept. Others to join in were Subaru, Honda, Volvo, Citroën. Audi showed a very nice shade of blue that appeared flat from some distance, but showed an effect from nearby.


Graphics are always around to attract some extra attention. Lot’s of Fluo colours this year! Black velvet on a FIAT (Kung Fu) Panda, humorous graphics on Morgan’s EV3, extremely nice gradient on Citroën’s HYPHEN Concept (inside ‘n’ out) and the next gen electronic graphics on VW’s E-Buddy Concept that was shown earlier on CES in Vegas.


Of course this writer cannot finish without mentioning the novelties from Alfa Romeo. They showed the humbler versions of the new Giulia. Since Frankfurt I’ve had the time to let the car grow on me and it has. It may not have the same character as some Alfa’s of the past, but with some larger wheels fitted I can see some presence (the cars on show featured 18” wheels, missed opportunity Renault managed to show all Scenics on their stand with 20”!). Touring Superleggera showed their Disco Volante for the third time in a row, this time as a Spider. Side and front three-quarter view look good, the rear leaves a lot to be desired.


As always the Heritage-card was played by a few manufacturers. Always a lovely sight and sometimes it’s almost believable. Like in case of the Porsche 718 and Alfa Romeo Disco Volante. Less so with the FIAT 124 Spider (to sell a rebadged Mazda) and Honda F1 car.


Latest addition to my garage

As a late manifestation of my midlife crisis, I’m taking lessons in motorcycle riding. This all came about by my son and his lovely ’76 Zündapp C50 Sport; never thought riding on 2 wheels could be that much fun. I’m now a complete believer in the philosophy of: “Four wheels move the body, Two wheels move the soul”.

Especially the custom scene off late, has managed to keep me attached to my computer screen night after night looking for the bike of my dreams. Of course it had to be Italian! Of the Italian brands the architecture of the Moto Guzzi longitudinal V2′s has seduced me into looking especially for these bikes. Hamburg builder Axel Budde ( being my hero at this moment.

141101_Moto Guzzi V7 Stone Desktop

I’ve long thought I was gonna end up with a brand new V7 Stone, for which I had a custom building plan already thought out (green sketch), untill in my internet searches I found a ’82 Street Tracker converted V35c. Went to have a look, drove it, loved it, bought it!

Her it is: The ‘scuderia 61′-graphic is to be handpainted on the tank later on. I also would like to reposition the battery (now inside the ‘triangle’) so it won’t be as visible anymore.

150322_V35c Graphics


And why I love the Guzzi architecture so much:

150322_V35c Graphics Lines


All I need to do now is to get that driver’s license :-/

Paris 2014

Time for France again and have a look at the good the bad and the ugly. Let’s start with the latter: First car we encountered was the latest Citroen DS (or should we just say DS) concept: Must have been a contest of putting as much design per square inch as possible, oh horror! Unfortunately 4-door Smart suffered from the same proportional disease as Twingo, 2-door is a strange dog nosed contraption. Mercedes AMG GT looks great at first sight but after a while it just doesn’t look special enough: Still a lot better than their bread and butter cars though. Last but not least Volvo’s XC 90. They promised us dynamic looks, gave us a brick (although nice brick), quite sure it’ll sell.

Onto the good: Audi gave us the TT Sportback, what a taut looking car! Better than its 2-door sister. With that incredible interior I would have one!

141002_Paris 2014_Audi TT Sportback


We were a little bit less impressed with the new Lamborghini Asterion Concept. Hard to fit it in their state of the art, modernistic, technocratic product range. Does it try to be a Muira? Why go retro?

141002_Paris 2014_Lambo Asterion


Interesting design battle between Renault and Peugeot. One could say their going out of their way to be as different from each other as they can. Both have gone ever so slightly overboard though. Renault loosing itself in soapy, organic weakness. Peugeot got the ruler out and forgot to put radii on the edges! Both offer lots of interesting detail though, trying to be different might not be so bad.

141002_Paris 2014_Renault Eolab


141002_Paris 2014_Peugeot Quartz & Exalt


And then to my favorite! I thought he ‘normal’ XL 1 was already a terrific showpiece from a design, as well as technical point of view. The XL 1 Sport is bonkers: Such madness! That it has an Italian heart also helps as far as I’m concerned. Sportscar of the future!

141002_Paris 2014_VW XL 1 Sport

Geneva 2014

March 2014, time for our favorite event of the year: Carfreax are heading for the Geneva Motorshow. Nice ‘n’ Compact, the ideal occasion for meeting our Automotive friends. Let’s start with the cars we’re not highlighting.

VAG let us down with the ‘Skoda Vision C’ and ‘VW T-ROC’ concepts, the first simply not very well resolved, the second downright over-designed. The triplets of Toyota, Peugeot and Citroen failed to impress, allthough the Toyota was the most imaginitive. The all new ‘Renault Twingo’ features strange proportions and an overall ‘Tupperwary’ feeling, thus offering the aforementioned triplets a real opportunity in the marketplace allthough they’re just facelifts.

Mitsubishi showed 3 concepts proving that they’ve totally lost their way now. And finally the new Italo-based Jeep Renegade was nice enough, some interesting detailling but maybe too cutesy for our liking.

140304_Geneva 2014_Citroen C4 Cactus


Of course the all new Citroen C4 Cactus was one of the highlights of the show. Playing tricks with weight, specs and pricing, this is a lot of mobility for the money. Wonder how those soft panels will stand the test of time.

140304_Geneva 2014_Hyundai Intrado


Hyundai delivered a convincing concept, detail solutions we’ve seen before, but nicely combined in an attractive design and interesting technical concept.

140304_Geneva 2014_Edag-Rücker Genesis


EDAG and RÜCKER showcased a very interesting piece of sculpture, imagining what 3D-printing could potentially offer the car industry. The concept reminded us of a concept of Audi’s Design Team for the LA Design Contest of a few years ago. Add some wheels and it would make a nice racer.

140304_Geneva 2014_Maserati Alfieri

Some Carfreax have an Italian heart, so the small Maserati (that’s supposed to be a 911 killer) was a welcome sight. Nice car, wouldn’t mind one.

140304_Geneva 2014_Other Highlights

Some other highlights: Pininfarina’s BMW Gran Lusso Concept, very well executed as we are used from them. New interpretations of the ‘shark nose’ and ‘Hofmeister feature’. Porsche’s 919 Le Mans contender looked brutal, beautiful in its efficient ugliness. BMW Motorrad showed off their naked, café racer inspired, NineT. The design team asked for the help of famous custom bike builders such as Roland Sands and El Solitario. We think it payed off.

- Tjerk


Curbed, Carfreax, New York

Dumbo*, New York, Brooklyn, where old meets new. Industrial sites become lofts. Cobble Stones and single speeds. A revived neighborhood overlooked by monumental bridges. A curbed Audi R8 with a funky color around the corner is a surprise. Let’s call it a wrap.

*: Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass

- Matt.