Geneva was the scene and Green was the theme. Everybody was talking Lightweight and Hybrids. Everything presented in an explosion of Orange, Carbon and White and if you didn’t have an i-pad somewhere on your stand you just weren’t hip! Who would have imagined this several years ago? But it wasn’t all just tree hugging! Lamborghini, Ferrari, Zonda and Porsche were all there in force with new beasts.
This is what makes Geneva so special the variety of cars on show, from the crazy to the boring, small manufacturers fight with the big dog’s to get your attention. But the best part? Apart from the girls of course, is that it’s all so accessible, all in one large hall, yes your feet still hurt at the end of day, but it’s worth it.
High points for me this year; The VW Bulli, the hippies favourite re-invented, an MPV you’d actually want to buy? The Bertone B99, nicely proportioned and surfaced coupe, inspired by the Seventies XJ. The Lamborghini Aventador, sharp suited V12 with a full Carbon chassis, the things dreams are made of.
The Ferrari FF, über cool shooting break with four-wheel drive! The Range Rover Evoque, Bold, the TT of the SUV’s? (The rear window is the size of an A4 piece of paper, honestly!) The Porsche 918 RSR, first shown in Detroit, I’m still Lovin’ it! and finally Renault, who always manage to produce influential showcars.
Unexpected High point? Taking a break to get some fresh air outside behind the Lamborghini stand, I discover the highly polished corporate limos waiting to whisk away their VIP’s. Lines of shiny A8’s, Bentley’s, Panamera’s and the odd SLS contrast starkly against the industrial exhibition hall and a wall of blue containers, fantastic photo opportunities.
Low points? The Alfa 4C, a collection of lines knotted around the base of the ‘B’ post and covered with a Carbon Croissant! The Saab PhoeniX, a disproportioned disaster, what were they thinking about? A missed opportunity. All the new Chrysler based Lancia’s, I just wanted to cry!
My biggest low point was yet to come though!
We’re burbling down town to Designers Night in the RS5 with Johannes and Mattijs. Sport button engaged, Mattijs just can’t resist gunning the engine occasionally, and I don’t blame him the engine sounds fantastic.
I suddenly realized we’re driving down the street where last year we saw the wonderful F40 at a Ferrari dealership “It’s coming up soon” I shouted “It’s on the left, Yes! There it is” but my excitement was short lived, my jaw dropped at the sight I saw. Yes, the Ferrari sign still hung above the big showroom windows, but it’s now a shoe shop! A goddamn shoe shop! I just couldn’t believe it. There wasn’t even a red shoe in the window!
My biggest highlight of last year’s Geneva had now become my biggest disappointment this year.
We arrived early at ‘La Sip Club’ for Designer’s night and dumped the car in the first space we saw, parking behind an Italian registered BMW. Mattijs asks if it’s o.k. to park here? I reassure him it’s no problem "all the Italians park like that" I say. We had an interesting evening meeting people we know, who we don’t know and people we don’t even want to know. Car Design News presented Prizes voted by their readers, for the best production car (Range Rover Evoque) and best Concept car (Pininfarina Alfa Romeo 2uettottanta) The Audi quattro concept made it into the top 10, but no prize this time, next year maybe? I drink another beer. Later that evening an announcement is made “Would the owner of the Blue RS5 registration number IN-****** please move their car” Several faces turn towards me, thinking it’s my car, acting innocently I insist it’s not while frantically trying to phone Mattijs. No answer. Shit! I find Mattijs later in the evening speaking to people he doesn’t really want to speak to. He’s a little bit flustered after having to deal with a bunch of angry Italians! Sorry Mattijs.