Geneva International Motor Show 2019

It has kicked off in spectacular fashion once again.
Compared to previous years it seems busier. I could be wrong; perhaps the people just queue longer before the press conferences of their choice. It is probably not surprising to see people gathering at Aston Martin Lagonda’s stand 45 minutes before their allotted time, seeing AML has made the headlines quite a few times in the past 12 months. But at Mazda, by comparison, all available seats were taken 30 minutes before the conference started. The press sure seems eager this year.

Do they have a reason to be?
Let’s have a look at some impressions of the first day.


The focus is very clearly on electric. Not only did they unveil two electric cars, the stand has only electric vehicles.
The new cars were introduced by their designer who used superlatives almost exclusively. At least it’s clear the man is proud of his work. And so he should be; the sportier of the two is quite nice. And considerably lower than the A7, apparently.

One of the new Audi models presented.
© All Rights Reserved

They mentioned ‘electric as a system’. Unfortunately they did not expand on that, so at this time it’s not clear what that exactly entails.
It is interesting to note that almost every car manufacturer present at the show seems to have some ‘system’ that is unique to them and, of course, better than the others. Let’s keep in mind these are all electric vehicles, though.
However, we should also keep in mind that the vast majority of current cars have an internal combustion engine running on petrol and those are not exactly the same either. The basics may be the same, there are differences, especially since technology has advanced since this type of engine was first created. I think we should start keeping a closer eye on how different manufacturers implement electric systems.


Bentley is 100 years on 10 July this year. And they have already started the celebrations.
They have made two special edition cars. The first is a Bentayga commemorating the company’s founder, W.O. Bentley.
Ironically, they brought the No. 9 Continental to Geneva, which is made to celebrate the Bentley Blower. The reason I call this ironic is because apparently W.O. Bentley rather disliked that car (read that as a typical English understatement).

The No. 9 Continental, limited to 100 cars.
© All Rights Reserved

Bold claims were made that Bentley has defined grand tourers for the past 100 years and will continue to do so for the coming 100 years. Now, call me biased (because I am), but I question this. How can you ‘define’ anything if in recent history your newest (and I mean all new) model – the Bentayga – is 4 years old?
Don’t get me wrong, I like Bentley. During the factory tour I got to appreciate the company’s history with many racing victories and beautiful cars, but also the craftsmanship that goes into creating a Bentley. But I disagree with the ‘defining’ claim. To me it seems Bentley are quite comfortably staying right where they are.

Aston Martin Lagonda

With the relaunch of the Lagonda brand I cannot possibly call the company ‘Aston Martin’ anymore – especially since they brought a new Lagonda to their stand.
Just after the presentation I heard someone say that AML had ‘the shock of the show’. That might well be correct, because I don’t think any other manufacturer brought four cars to unveil.
Granted, one we basically already knew: the Valkyrie. Previously we had only seen models and prototypes, this was a verification model. If I’m not mistaken, that means this one is fully functional.

The other three cars are probably more exciting then. Project 003 (now named AM RB-03) is the third mid engine hyper car AML are building, after Valkyrie and Valkyrie AMR. I have already seen comments on social media that it’s just another Valkyrie, but that’s incorrect. It is a new car. Apart from the V6 (built by AML) we will have to see how else it is different from Valkyrie.

Project 003 or AM RB-03
© All Rights Reserved

The Vanquish Vision Concept is possibly the biggest surprise. It has only recently been replaced as the flagship model by DBS Superleggera, and even though AML do reintroduce names, they tend to wait a little longer.
It is also not your usual production model anymore. Now it’s a mid engine beast. It will be interesting to see what that eventually turns in to.

Last, but not least is that Lagonda I mentioned. It’s not exactly a SUV, it’s a crossover. You could argue about the differences, I’m just stating what I’ve heard. It does look a bit like the Vision Concept unveiled last year. The front has links to that car, albeit a bit less, shall we say, wide?
It looks spacious and different on the inside, it’s big, it’s different. Apparently it will go into production in 2022.
The new Lagonda is trying to get into the super luxury segment of the market. Let’s wait and see how it gets on.


Mazda is celebrating the 30th year of the MX-5, which is also known as the Miata.
A limited edition MX-5 can be seen on the stand, but otherwise there wasn’t much said about it. All focus went to the CX-30. This new crossover (so not a SUV, then!) is to sit between CX-3 and CX-5.
It’s the second car to get a ‘Kodo design’, after the Mazda 3. The other models will get or already have gotten a looks upgrade.

We can also expect a new engine: the updated version of SkyActiv, called SkyActive-X. The explanation of that engine baffled me a little, since it was explained that it combines petrol and diesel techniques. In other words: it uses spark and compression. Now, the last time I checked, petrol engines already used compression. The thing with diesel is, of course, that if compressed enough it will self combust. Something petrol does not do, hence the need for a spark.
In short: Mazda has given me homework.

Mazda CX-30
© All Rights Reserved

The plan for the coming years is to bring down emission dramatically and also introduce hybrid and electric options at some point. But – as promised last year – no mention of autonomous driving.
You can’t get that ‘Zoom Zoom Zoom’ feeling if you don’t control the car!

General observations

Initially I intended to see the unveiling of Ginetta’s new car, but decided against it as it was uncovered all day, only to be covered up just before the presentation. It has also been shared on social media etc. before the show. So I guess that who wants to know already knows.

Toyota and Lexus stood out because of their lack of any presentation at all. Their press conference was available online and on demand. I wonder how many people bothered.
I did not check it out, but I did go to their stand. Interesting to see they have yet again revamped the Corolla. The car that is deemed so reliable has been given a new lease of life and Toyota brought many of them. Their virtually unbreakable car, the Hilux Invincible, is unfortunately nowhere to be seen. Pity, because I like that car a lot.

Volkswagen brought some electric vehicles, as was to be expected, but also a new Passat. This could be my ignorance, but I thought the Passat CC and later the CC replaced the Passat, only to be followed up by the Arteon (also present here). Anyway, I think the Passat was always a decent station, so it makes sense to not let it die a silent death.

In general there is a very heavy emphasis on electric vehicles at the show. This is not surprising, with the threat of legislation making zero emission compulsory in a few decades looming over Europe.
Compared to last year there are hardly any autonomous cars to be seen. Some are autonomous driving ready, but the clear focus I noticed in 2018 is not there now.
I guess they’re all too busy fighting for their spot in the electric vehicle market. Some don’t have any on the road as yet, so this will be an interesting development to keep an eye on.


Mini Minis everywhere!!!!

When asked about my favourite cars, I always say that I have 3: The McLaren F1, The Aston Martin Vanquish S and The Classic Mini.

© All Rights Reserved

I don’t know when I fell in love with the Classic Mini. I can’t remember the first time I saw one, nor how I reacted to it. To my mind, they have always just been there. Maybe the fact that my parents had a Mini when I was a baby left a subliminal imprint in my head. As soon as I spot one, I squeal with happiness, day totally made. I love the way they look, I love the way they sound, I love the history. So when my best friend told me about the Oulton Park Mini Festival, it was a must to attend.

The first Oulton Park Mini Festival was in 2014 and I remember it well. We had seats on the Old Hall grandstand, perfectly placed to watch the cars storming down from Druids to Old Hall Corner, before screaming up towards the start/finish line. So many classic Minis racing that day. Mini Miglia, the Sevens, it was amazing.

Seeing Brian Johnson (yes, he of AC/DC fame, and a total petrolhead) race his Mini around Oulton Park was great. Watching Darren Turner (Aston Martin Racing) throwing a Mini around the track at least 20 seconds faster than anybody else was a joy to behold.

© All Rights Reserved
Darren Turner racing the #76 Swiftune Mini

So I was sold, I loved that first Mini Festival. We decided this festival was going to part of our racing calendar.

This year was the 5th time we went and, as usual I was really looking forward to it. Just being at a racetrack makes me happy and watching Minis zip round makes me even happier.

We went to park the car and there were already some pretty cool Minis parked, so we had a little browse before going into the restaurant for some breakfast.

© All Rights Reserved

That is when we found out that there would be no Classic Mini racing. At all. It broke my heart a little. As stated before, I love watching those brave little cars racing round and you would think that at a Mini Festival, there would be some. To be fair, we always book our tickets well in advance, and at the time it is not always known what will be happening on track on the day, but if I had known that there would be no classic Minis racing, I would not have gone to this festival. This has nothing to do with Oulton Park and the organizers of course, they can only work with what is offered.

But being at Oulton Park is always a good day out, so I decided I would visit the Trader’s Market to check out the Mini merchandise. The market comprised of 6 stalls, 2 of which were selling car parts; the other 4 did sell some things with Minis on them but no stands especially for Minis or having a large array of Mini merchandise. My disappointment grew.

Of course we watched some racing on track. Oulton Park is an amazing track with great views and wherever you sit, you can always see a large part of the track. We watched the qualifying for the 7 Race Series (Caterhams) and the Heritage Formula Ford Series. We also watched the qualifying for the MINI CHALLENGE – Cooper S, Cooper Pro/Am and JCW. The latter series are for the new MINI. These cars can produce some awesome racing, but they are so not Minis. They are too big to be a Mini, and I really cannot love them. So watching them race is pretty cool, but it was not why I was there.

The weather wasn’t really helping either, so we decided to call it a day quite early on in the afternoon. Before we left, we looked at all the Minis which were parked out in the display area. Many of them so so loved and well maintained.

© All Rights Reserved

This will definitely not be my last Mini Festival, I will certainly go to another one next year, get my ‘Mini fix’. I know that Snetterton and Brands Hatch also host a festival, so maybe next year I will do some homework before booking tickets and ensure that I will be seeing some Original Minis on track.

The 88th International Motor Show,Geneva

This year’s edition of the International Motor Show in Geneva is already in full swing, a few days before the public arrive.
Yesterday was Press Day 1 and it was busy.
Last year I was lucky enough to have a press pass, but could only go for the larger part of Press Day 1. This year I’m better prepared and will attend both Press Days and part of the first public day on Thursday.

If I had to summarise the first press day I’d say that the focus seems to be quite heavily on electric vehicles and (eventually) autonomous driving. But not all companies are interested. Mazda certainly stood out with their statement that they will not be focusing on electric, autonomous driving, because surveys have shown that 2/3 of drivers want to drive themselves, even if autonomous driving is available and that they still firmly believe in the petrol engine. So, Mazda concludes, they will keep on improving the petrol engine and supply products for this demand.
Enter SkyActiv-X, a new version of Mazda’s SkyActiv engine, but now with fuel compression. They claim that will bring even better fuel efficiency. I am quite interested in that. I currently drive my second Mazda and from the previous generation to the current one fuel economy has improved considerably.

The new Lexus UX.
© All Rights Reserved

Lexus is of course known for their hybrid vehicles, but will be venturing into the world of autonomous and fully electric vehicles. Their presentation had a large emphasis on their Limitless range, of which the newly presented Lexus UX (see above) is one of the models. The term ‘Limitless’ refers to the fact that you can choose any power unit Lexus provides and they will build it into your Lexus of choice. That gives quite some flexibility and I can see why they hope to reach 100,000 cars sold in Europe within a few years time.

Ford has presented their new cars, including a new Mustang which is a celebration of a very famous car (Bullit, anyone?). I did go see it and, to be honest, I’m not impressed. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t think the old American muscle cars were more interesting than their more modern successors. Unfortunately that is the case here. From the front the car looks rather bland, without character. From the rear it’s yet another Mustang. No innovation there at all. And it doesn’t hold a candle to the original, no matter how many family members of Steve McQueen they throw at it. Sorry, Ford, try again.

Volkswagen is slowly becoming one of my favourites. I was never a fan before, but since the CC and now the Arteon they have my attention.
The new I.D. Vizzion concept stood out. This concept is an electric car with autonomous driving abilities, however, VW claim it has artificial intelligence. As an example: it should be able to calculate (‘see’) where the road markings are (or should be, if they are vague, damaged or missing) and keep the car on the road in the correct lane. As they explained it in the brochure: other autonomous cars have loads of programming code to account for all possibilities you may encounter on the road. If the programmers miss any eventuality, you have a problem. Volkswagen have therefore tried to make their car more intelligent and self-learning (this is getting scary, right?) to ensure it can truly handle every situation. I would love to see that in action!

The Volkswagen I.D. Vizzion concept.
© All Rights Reserved

Let’s look at Toyota. They too are looking to go further and further into hybrid and electric vehicle creation. Autonomous cars are also on the map. They brought several concepts (called ‘i-Drive’). The thing is that most companies, like Toyota, bring concepts, but you can’t actually try the cars yet. So the experience may still be far away. Toyota found a way around that, after a fashion.
They brought a virtual experience which allows you to be in the self-driving car (first in the front seat, then in the back) and see what it would be like. The surroundings presented to you are not very realistic, but you do get a feel of what it would be like. The Fine-Comfort Ride concept allows everyone to turn their seats so they would be able to have a meeting in the car while it takes them to their destination. The windows can be used for presentations etc. Cutting edge, it would seem, but I wonder how far away this is?

I know there are companies that already provide glass/windows with technology that allows you to manipulate the display etc., but to build that into a car?
Interesting stuff, nonetheless.

Last, but never least: I had a look at the new and bigger Aston Martin stand. They promised surprises and they brought them.
I have to be honest, the Vantage race car was revealed alongside the road going version some weeks ago, so not much of a surprise there. And we were already told about the Valkyrie track version (AMR Pro, what else?). But I think no one had yet seen the track Valkyrie. The bright colour and additional wing and fin look great on her, but I am mostly curious about the specs. The road going Valkyrie is insane, to say the least, so how much more can this version do? It has not yet been revealed, unfortunately.

The new Lagonda concept car.
© All Rights Reserved

I guess the main surprise was the Lagonda concept car. The aim is to revive Lagonda as a fully electric luxury brand and the cars will be autonomous.
I managed to have a closer look at the car and I have to admit I’m not that impressed. Yes, it’s big (a bonus in my books), but it is not very good looking. Of course everyone has their opinion. The car was greeted with several whoops from the attending press, so quite a few people like it. Let’s keep in mind this is a concept, so at this point it’s hard to tell what it will look like when it’s about to go into production.
Apparently this car was created from the inside out. Again, I am not sure what to think. It seems very minimalistic inside, I’d even say rather empty. I don’t find it very inviting at all. But of course this is due to my taste. I like big cars to have bulky interiors. I find that those look comfortable (and usually are). The large open space in the new Lagonda is strange to me. At this point I can’t say if I simply have to get used to it or if I will never like it. Time will tell.

So far the Geneva International Motor Show has given me plenty of things to think about, but mainly about electric and autonomous cars. I am a petrolhead. I prefer the smell of petrol, the roar of the engine and I love driving. I fully expect to have an electric car at some point, if the government gets their way at the times they currently envision to make electric cars compulsory. At this time I’m not looking forward to it, even though I am fascinated by the progress being made. I also wonder what brands like Mazda are going to do if electric becomes compulsory. Will they come to the party too late or do they have a trick or two up their sleeves? Or, perhaps, they will pull out of the European market? I doubt that, but the future is fairly uncertain and very interesting!

AMOC Spring Concours 2017

In 2016 Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd. told the world that they would open a new site which would become the factory for the DBX. The location was an old MOD site at St Athan, Wales.
In early 2017 the site is still mostly empty so the Aston Martin Owners Club took the opportunity to host their Spring Concours there. Let’s see: AMOC (very good at hosting ‘parties’), AML (very good at being at the right place at the right time) and AMHT (very good at displaying the best of Aston’s history) together at one location. Yes, that’s a must see.
So off to Wales we went.

AMOC hosts a Concours twice a year, once in spring and once in autumn. If, like me, you don’t know what that is: the club’s members bring their cars and these cars are judged. In short: there’s prizes up for grabs in several categories. One thing is for certain, you can expect the best examples to be there.
In this case reportedly around 700 Aston Martins were present. Considering several halls were in use, each of them huge, I believe that number to be accurate.

One of the halls was only beginning to fill up when this photo was taken. The entire hall is twice this big.
© All Rights Reserved

The Aston Martin Heritage Trust was also there with, among others, a DBS display to celebrate this model has now been around for 50 years.
As if that wasn’t enough, there were several very special cars to be seen. There was the unveiling of the Red Arrows Edition Aston Martin Vanquish S, while previous special editions were on display nearby.

Red Arrows Edition Aston Martin Vanquish S
© All Rights Reserved

I was very happy to see the Valkyrie. Even though I had already seen her in Geneva, I thought it was very good that people who may not have had the opportunity (or the wish!) to go to Geneva now had a chance to see her to. She got a lot of attention, which is not surprising. This car is something else.

My personal highlight was definitely the CC100. This car was created for the company’s centenary celebrations. Only two were made, so chances are very slim indeed to ever see this one anywhere other than in a magazine. But there it was.
An added bonus is that one of the designers involved in that project was at the Concours. It is a very welcome extra being able to talk to him for a while and get his perspective on the project and the car.

Aston Martin CC100
© All Rights Reserved

And the list doesn’t end there: DBR1, Lola Aston Martin, One-77 and the Vulcan. All present and set up in such a way that everyone had a chance to have a good look. There were several Lagondas and I even spotted two Cygnets.
There was so much to see that after 4.5 hours I had to give up. Not only did I have quite a drive back home, but the sheer number of cars was a bit overwhelming. However, that drive (several hours) was very much worth it.

Just think: that very same evening they probably had to clear everything out, because the next day construction on the factory started. The Concours will very likely never be held here again.
It was an epic and unique event.

87th International Motor Show, Geneva

After a long break I went back to the Geneva International Motor Show last year. Aston Martin presented the DB11 and I thought I couldn’t be more excited. I was wrong.

Initially I was not planning to go to Geneva, but then Aston Martin broke the news they were bringing three premieres to the show. I got the chance to go on Tuesday (press day), which meant I could not possibly resist.
I did mention last year that the show elements I had grown accustomed to have mostly disappeared. This is not the case for the first press day. Everything starts on Monday afternoon, as in the evening the Car of the Year is revealed. On Tuesday the day is filled with press conferences and these are shows! The manufacturers bring often more than one of their VIPs, promotional videos are shown and most don’t shy away from a light show.

The quiet before the storm, or – in this case – the Aston Martin stand before the press conference.
© All Rights Reserved

It is impossible to see all conferences, because they follow each other in quick succession and you’d have to run from one hall to another at times. I managed to catch the conferences of Audi, Lamborghini, Porsche and Aston Martin.
Especially Lamborghini stood out for me. The actual presentation itself wasn’t that long (as in: not a lot of talking). They alternated between live presentation and a few videos and it was one of the videos that got my attention.

Video courtesy of Lamborghini

After leaving WEC at the end of last year’s season Audi Sport have now presented their DTM challenger: the new RS5. They presented the car simultaneously with its road going sibling. In addition they confirmed their manufacturer team entry for Formula E’s 2017/2018 season. There’s a lot going on at Audi.

Bentley presented the EXP 12 which is an electric car. Style wise it fits in perfectly with the Continental and the Mulsanne. It looks amazing and I hope we get to see and hear more about it soon. Between the BMW i8 and Bentley EXP 12 I think we can safely say electric cars are stepping away from looking boring.

I didn’t make it to the Volvo conference, but was right next door (at Aston) when their conference happened. I had already seen all the Volvos were wrapped up in cocoons (different, to say the least). The presentation seemed to focus mainly on how natural the car is, how great it feels, etc. Considering they were presenting the XC60 I think they totally missed the mark.
Having owned a Volvo 440 and test driven the S90 I am amazed at how horrible the XC60 is. However, I should take into account it’s an SUV and I’m not a fan of SUVs in general. There’s only a few I like, for example the Mazda CX-3 and CX-5. They at least prove that an SUV can still have nice lines and it doesn’t have to be massive.

Volkswagen Arteon
© All Rights Reserved

Volkswagen and I are not really friends, but there are a few models I like. On trips to the Nürburgring I have driven an EOS and a convertible Golf. I fully believe they should have left the Scirocco alone. I also think the CC is one of the sexiest things on four wheels ever built. Safe to say I haven’t quite made my mind up about VW.
When strolling over their stand I was pleasantly surprised by the Arteon (pictured above). It has all the things I like about the CC while still being recognisably Volkswagen. Very nice indeed.

It was great to see so many race cars at the show. Ford brought their WEC racer, Rebellion brought their LMP1 car. Abt was there with their Formula E car. Toyota had their LMP1 car at the stand including a part-car display where you could have a better look at the cockpit.

A look inside the Toyota LMP1 car.
© All Rights Reserved

Last year Aston Martin shook up the car world by presenting what was then called AM-RB 001. It’s low, it looks mean (yet smooth), its aerodynamic characteristics are created by Adrian Newey, it’s very fast and will be road legal (yes, really).
The day before Geneva they revealed the lady’s name: Valkyrie.

Not surprising then that it was very busy at the Aston Martin stand when the time for their conference came. Even though the car has been shown already and further details have been released in the past year, it still draws the crowd. Who wouldn’t want to see this with their own eyes?
Now I have seen the car for myself I can confirm she’s a sight to behold. I find it unbelievable that you can sit behind the car and look underneath it from rear to front. Especially the rear is quite high, despite the car being very low overall. It will be very interesting to see (and hear!) this car when a working prototype is completed.

Aston Martin Valkyrie
© All Rights Reserved

Aston Martin also had a surprise for us: AMR.
They took the opportunity to launch a new brand which will be bringing racing technology directly to road cars. The Rapide AMR looks surprisingly sporty for such a big car and wears its makeover quite well. I understand the Vantage AMR Pro will be track only whereas the Rapide AMR will be a road car.
As if this wasn’t enough they also brought a special Q edition of the DB11 and a Vanquish S Volante. I am still drooling now…

Going to the Geneva International Motor Show on press day has been a privilege. It gave me the chance to have a much better look at the new cars and to hear the details from some pretty important people.
I can’t make any promises, but I will certainly try to get press passes to this show and other shows/events. It will allow me to get that just that little bit more to write about.

Autosport International 2017

Another Autosport International show at NEC, Birmingham. I could complain about the same things I complained about before, but I did go. Begs the question why I would go anyway. Here’s why.

I’m still not happy with the fact the information on which I base my decision to go or not to go on is released far too late. So again I got my tickets very shortly before the show. But to be fair to them, the rest is all good.
Last year it seemed very busy, so busy I wasn’t quite comfortable to walk around and enjoy the cars. This year it must have been as busy, but it didn’t feel that way. The atmosphere, as always, was relaxed and people in general gave others the time to have a good look at cars or take photos. Perhaps it helped that we arrived earlier than last year. We were there just before it opened at 09:00. But then again, we had to – Dario Franchitti’s first signing session was at 09:55!

Lotus Type 49
© All Rights Reserved

This year there was quite a list of things that attracted me. The fact they had all seven surviving Lotus 49s there (see photo above) was certainly a bonus. Now I’ve been to Classic Team Lotus’ home I am even more interested than I was before and this is a sight to behold.
There was a reasonably large number of Aston Martins, always a good thing in my books, and looking out for the hordes of classic Minis (racing or otherwise) is good fun.

Because I was so early I finally got a chance to get in a Ginetta. After the Caterham experience in 2014 the hall which also holds the karting track has been host to the Ginetta Experience. It’s basically the same as the Caterham experience – donuts! – but then in a Ginetta. And who doesn’t love Ginettas? I have a huge soft spot for these fearless cars with faces.
I can now tell you they are as much fun to be driven around in as they are to watch while they’re racing. I guess it’s time I book myself a chance to drive one, right?

© All Rights Reserved

This year I didn’t see the show at the Live Action Arena. We had booked it for very late in the afternoon, because we already knew there would be a chance we wouldn’t go to see it. But with paddock passes you can still see what’s happening backstage at the show. And as before a lot was on repeat. I don’t think it matters much, because there will always be people who visit for the first time. The racing series which are represented in the show seem like fun and who would want to deny them a chance at a bigger audience?
I did spot an Aston Martin DB11, which was a bonus.
I didn’t find the electric GT car, which I am curious about. Thankfully the Formula E car was easier to spot, as that was positined near the F1 grid. The car of choice was a Jaguar. And Jaguar is this year’s newcomer in the series.
It was parked right behind James Hunt’s Hesketh, so the show’s combination of old and new was very evident.

Coys had a lot of nice classics on display which were going under the hammer that weekend (as in: auctioned off, not destroyed). One of them caught me off guard. It looked like an Aston Martin Ulster, but turned out to be a gorgeous replica. Still an absolute joy to see!

A 1987 Fergus Ulster – a replica of the Aston Martin Ulster
© All Rights Reserved

A large part of the show is filled with stands of companies specialising in stuff we petrolheads without a project car wouldn’t be interested in. If you’re such a petrolhead, like me, do look around. Some of these stands have amazing cars on display. You might be missing out if you don’t go and have a look.

Overall this year was a better experience than last year, not only due to the less busy feeling, but also due to the diversity. For me personally there were many cars that have my attention and which became the reason for my visit.
I spent five hours at Autosport International and can report I was a happy petrolhead when I left.

86th International Motor Show, Geneva

It was back in 2005 that I visited the ‘Salon International de l’Auto’. It’s a well-known and very large car show which is often chosen by car manufacturers to present their latest model(s). This year Aston Martin decided this was the place to unveil their new car and, of course, I couldn’t miss that. So, instead of heading to Barcelona for Formula One testing, I flew to Geneva.

Something I had noticed through the years is that all three car shows I visited it somewhat regularly – Geneva, Frankfurt and Amsterdam – the way cars were presented/unveiled and promoted was getting less extravagant. Of course this was most noticeable near the credit crunch.
Now it seems things are picking up again. I’ve not seen any repeated shows to present a new car model, but I have seen dancing girls, more brochures being handed out (as opposed to the emails you can get, and only for one model, mind you!) and the stands looking generally better fitted out.
It was also extremely busy, however I don’t think that that ever changed much, especially on a Saturday.

My main focus and reason for visiting was the new Aston Martin, but I’ll get to that later.
When visiting any car show I have a tendency to visit any brand I’m interested in first and spend time just browsing if I have any time (or energy) left. I also like to have a look at the prototypes and I was surprised to see how few there are nowadays. The Peugeot Fractal stood out, though.

© All Rights Reserved

© All Rights Reserved

I am not sure I’d ever want to buy one, but the styling is definitely different. I certainly hope Peugeot are on to something here, because I find their cars consistently boring when it comes to styling. About a decade ago I loved visiting their stand, because the cars were an absolute joy to look at. It would be nice to see them returning to the same styling standard.
I can’t say anything about the driving experience, because I have never owned or driven a Peugeot.

The Audi stand was so busy you could barely see the cars. Of course this is a good sign for Audi, but it’s not good from a photographer’s perspective. Unfortunately for me there was also no A7. I would have loved to sit in one, just to see what that’s like. I absolutely love the styling of it and I’ve had a soft spot for Audi for a very long time (thank you, original Quattro!). I guess I will just have to plan my next track day and make sure I get to drive an R8. To be continued…

Another car I have a huge soft spot for (and trust me, it needs to be a huge spot!) is the Toyota Hilux.

© All Rights Reserved

No, it’s not a very pretty car and yes, it is very big indeed. I think that’s probably it. I do like large(r) cars and this one takes the biscuit. I know there are bigger – and usually American – cars out there, but I like the styling of the Hilux. It’s a good looking beast, it IS a beast and, depending on what type you pick, it can be very practical. I sat in the one on the photo above and the view is also not bad at all. It’s certainly a vantage point over all cars around you.
Now if only they’d sell these at a price that falls within my budget.

One of the other stands I visited was McLaren. My friend had not yet seen the 650 ‘in the flesh’. It gave me a chance to have a good look at the 675LT. That is not an ugly car at all.

© All Rights Reserved

There were quite a few stands I visited, but my main focus was on Aston Martin. It’s where my day started and I spent about 20% of my total visiting time there.
On the Tuesday (1 March) I had watched the unveiling of the DB11 live. It made me very happy I had decided to skip F1 testing and go to Geneva instead. What a car!
For a long time my favourite Aston Martin was the DB4. It’s the original, the one the other DBs took their looks from. Yesterday that title was stolen and it is now held by the DB11. To be honest, I have no words to describe this car. I love it. It’s as simple as that.

© All Rights Reserved

This is the way Aston Martin is heading. I cannot wait to see what they come up with next.

But let’s for just a moment go back to the main topic: the car show itself.
Yes, it was busy and yes, it was warm. That is to be expected at a big, international car show. The quality of the stands is definitely improving again. The public seemed to enjoy themselves. There were a lot of interactive elements at many of the stands. So there is not just a lot to see, there is also more to do. The brochures and bags are making a comeback. Let’s see if the balloons, stickers and caps will follow.
The atmosphere was good. It’s time to start visiting more car shows again.