19 images of the form and fancy of Geneva
A look at the most exotic and wildly different at the Geneva Motor Show
Published: March 7, 2018, 4:15 PM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 3:04 PM
Showing the most exotic and wildly different
Text and photos by Mark Richardson
The Geneva International Motor Show is one of the great auto shows of the season. It’s held every year in the Swiss city on Lake Geneva and displays hundreds of vehicles in two giant halls. Its reputation is for showing some of the most exotic and wildly different vehicles that money and designers can create, and this year is no exception – no exception at all.
All dressed up
The exhibitors agreed that this year, there would be no “booth babes”: skimpily-dressed young women paid to stand next to the cars and make them look good. Instead, there would be “product advisors.” The fact the product advisors are all beautiful and almost all women must be purely coincidental.
Still up in the air
One of the stars of the show is the PAL-V Liberty, a flying car built by a Dutch company that says it’s ready now for certification with road and aviation authorities. It’s officially a gyroplane-and-car combination that can fly about 500 kilometres on a tank of gas. The company plans a first run of 90 Libertys, each with a price tag of around €500,000 (about $803,500 Canadian).
Going to extremes
The world’s most exotic automobiles are found on the floor at Geneva, such as this Pagani Huayra Roadster. The model’s been in production for most of the last six years with a price tag in Europe of €850,000 ($1.37 million Canadian), but it still draws gasps from onlookers when its carbon fibre panels are lifted.
At the other extreme
And then there’s the Microlino, which its makers call “the iPad of the mobility world.” The little 3-wheeler is intended to combine the advantages of a car with those of a motorcycle – comfortable and dry, while getting through narrow streets, and parking easily. It’s completely electric with a range of up to 215 km, and it’s a modern homage to the original Isetta bubble car. Yours for €12,000 (about $19,000).
Just as small as the Microlino, but not really as smart and certainly less comfortable to drive, is the Belcar, a 230 cc 1-cylinder 3-wheeler made by Swiss company A. Grünhut & Co. in 1956. Behind it in this image is a not-much-bigger Soletta 750 – a Swiss 4-seat concept car also from 1956 built on a Renault 4CV chassis.
Bring on the sun
Just in time for global warming, the thyssenkrupp blue.cruiser placed second in the cruiser class of the 2017 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge across Australia. It gets hot in that car when the sun is shining, which is the only time it will travel any distance, so its drivers might prefer to be in the Belcar of the previous photo.
King of comfort
Actually, they’d probably rather be in this Mercedes-Benz V250 van, converted by the Klassen company of Germany with seating and upholstery taken from Maybach. “Let us inspire you and discover individually developed premium vehicles that leave nothing to be desired,” says Klassen.
Stretch out in a super-stretch
Or if you fancy a snooze while the chauffeur takes you home, DizaynVIP can offer you a luxury conversion of a Mercedes-Benz V-Class van. If you want to stay awake, it even includes an espresso machine.
Even larger, if you can believe it, is the Icona Nucleus, which is a fully self-driving concept with lounge space inside for up to six people. No, you can’t buy it yet, but it gives an idea of the direction transport is headed.
Peace through 700 hp
Getting back to what it’s all about, this Lamborghini Aventador was given even more styling treatment by the Liberty Walk company of Japan. Yes, it’s wonderful to imagine all the people, but they probably wouldn’t live life in peace if they step on the throttle of this car.
Back in time
And then, the Aventador of its day in 1911, a Super cyclecar from France’s H. Godefroy et Lévêque developed 9 hp from its V-twin 964 cc engine and could reach a top speed of 80 km/h. It has a wooden chassis and a belt drive, and of the 26 made, this immaculately restored example is almost certainly the only one left in existence.
Old and new
A similar size to H. Godefroy et Lévêque’s Super, and a similar concept, but the electric mini-cars now made by Morgan in the U.K. go a lot quicker. Their motors create 82 hp, but since they only weigh 525 kg, they’ll hit zero-to-100 km/h in six seconds flat. They cost more than $80,000, but don’t think about bringing one to Canada – they’re only road-legal in Europe.
The Kite isn’t even road-legal in Europe, but Jose Yanes, a student who helped design it at the European Institute of Design in Turin, doesn’t care. “It’s an exercise in electric powertrains,” he says, “but instead of doing them for autonomous cars, we’re asking, how can we use them for fun?” The Kite was developed with help from Hyundai, and it converts to a personal watercraft.
Build your own
Just as fun is the S1 from Sin Cars in the U.K., which is a fully modular vehicle. You don’t just choose colours and some options – you choose your type of engine, drivetrain, body style and even the interior.
A different style of 'Vette
The Zeclat, from British company Eadon Green, is a polarizing vehicle that you’ll either love or hate. Some of the most interesting conversations when you park, though, might come from Corvette enthusiasts – this is a C7 ’Vette under the skin, and the cabin is almost the same. And yes, it makes 460 hp and will hit 100 km/h from standstill in less than four seconds.
If you think the 1,287 hp of this all-electric Techrules Ren is not enough, and you don’t care to bring along two extra seats for a passenger on each side, the Beijing company also brought its new single-seater racecar to the show. It uses a turbine-driven generator to charge its batteries on the fly, increasing its range to almost 1,200 km. Techrules says it will sell a production version of the Ren within the next two years. It won’t be cheap.
Life is a blur
The IsoRovolta Vision Gran Turismo Zagato was developed specifically as a car for the Sony PlayStation game, which this boy is playing at the console in the background. It was also developed as a real vehicle by Zagato and, like the Zeclat, is based on a 2018 Corvette powertrain. The engine is supercharged and can make up to 850 hp. Production is currently set to just five units.
Too much to see
Phew! All these cars and we’ve barely even scratched the surface. This guy has the right idea. Time for a break before getting back to the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show. See you there!
20 images that show the whimsy of Geneva
(Deck about 70 characters) All the fanciful vehicles money and designers can create
(Teaser max 150 characters) The Geneva International Motor Show is one of the great auto shows of the season. It’s held every year in the Swiss city on Lake Geneva and displays hundreds of vehicles in two giant halls. Its reputation is for showing some of the most exotic and wildly different vehicles that money and designers can create, and this year is no exception – no exception at all.