Two weeks to Geneva.
Eagerly anticipating the upcoming kickoff to the European motorshow circus, here's some uncategorized snapshots from my carfreax attic – to help kill your countdown time.
Dusted off, they seem a valid addition to Matt's earlier Frankfurt pages. Because, as always, it's a sheer impossibility to catch a motorshow in a few compositions – hell – it's even undoable to catch any single car in a single unit. Still, there's a few more squares that I think deserve a bit of extra attention of you lot.
So here we go.
The KIA GT, an audacious big sports saloon in the German lion's den. It blew me away. Sure, it had been shown in teasers leading up to the show, but in the flesh… man, such presence! Fabulous stance. Great how the weight sat over those rear wheels (not very well photographed, sorry) – all power and speed. Loved it.
The golden James Bond interior and ditto outer trim, the tiny geometric details and almost graphical features – awesome. And beautiful detailing, from the generous use of A-surface carbon fibre (to underline the statement of performance, naturally) to that brilliant 'Cosmic Motors' inverted pitot tube. Maybe the rather traditionally soft and soapy front surfaces could've used a bit more of the overall, less traditional surface definition, but – hey – there's only one chance for a first impression.
And man – this was bull's eye!
I just can't help it, but somehow the new Renault family keeps reminding me of some of the heydays of American car styling – the mid to late eighties. I was sucking it up in those days, with clear goals of becoming a car designer myself – just a few years away from taking some serious training in that direction. The 1986 Corvette Indy, '88 Buick Wildcat, '89 Pontiac Stinger and California IROC Camaro – all examples of cars that represented clear styling benchmarks in those days. Soft, slippery-creamy curves and generous, full volumes. Perceived aerodynamics and long forgotten 'bio design'; if you ask me, these spirits are back with a vengeance in Guyancourt, from the voluptuous DeZir (which, admittedly, echoes shades of Ploué's 1990 Laguna showcar – which was clearly US-inspired however) via the beach buggy-like Captur to the IAA debuting, 'hollow cheeked' Frendzy.
Apart from the powerful new chrome-outlined DRG, the interior is probably the Frendzy's most interesting aspect. Unexpected color and trim combinations: beachcomber-found bleached wood, aluminium and checkerboard knittings are mixed with biomorphous LED-backed protrusions and a childishly joyful communication panel. Let's hope the spirits remain unfiltered in the next Kangoo.
My first car was a Ford Capri. There you have it.
So with anything new coming from the Ford studios, which can only be loosely interpreted as the next reincarnation of that European ponycar, you get my attention. The same went for the Evos, which was presented in Frankfurt. Indeed, with a fair few styling cues which would befit an Aston Martin well (…), you can't go very wrong. Seeing is believing, and seeing through the bizarre, over-the-top door mechanisms, I can see it happening with this baby.
Having said that, it's of course still great to view these crazy over-the-top door kinematics – as there's enough (boring) pre-production statements around on most motorshows. Radiant red metalflake paint with a hard yellow flop and four transformer doors. Dreamcar stuff. Me like!
The Volvo You. Gotta see it in the flesh. An impressive and bulky exterior hides a cool and consistently 'Swedish' interior. Whites, woods, (aluminium and leather, of course) – and the typical transparent 'nordic ice cube' touch; this time in the steering wheel spokes. Nice and consistent.
The exterior has the most presence from the front. As with the concept Universe, the overwhelming Ford Interceptor springs to mind. Somehow, I have the feeling there's still work to do here. Although I do like the bold approach, (being a clear break with today's Volvos; a similar approach was followed with the Horbury generation), the slim, almost 'Jaguarish' fastback stern does not convince as a counterbalance to the heavy bow. Which in turn is -really- a very literal interpretation of that iconic P444. Hmm…
And last but not least – the Land Rover DC100 twins. Opinions were mixed on these larger than life Tonka toys. Whatever the final verdict by the TATA board of directors – these babies are bold, boxy (like they ought to be) and definitely brave. Because – think about it – how on earth are you going to replace an icon like the original Defender?
Jeep still builds the Wrangler. Should Land Rover stick to their old, clunky gun as well?
These brothers are definitely butch. Stylish Swiss army knives. They're undoubtedly rugged and consistently styled, without going into the car-toonish. Simplified but not overly so. And – this is where the credit's due – not just a simple score by doing a retro version of the old hog. An achievement in itself – as there is a thin line between the icon and the caricature. Take away the brash bling and decor – and it's job done.