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Geneva Salon, 03 - 13 March 2011

The 81st Geneva International Motor Show opened its doors to the press on 01 March, for two preview days prior to the official public opening on the Thursday. After a couple of years where the stands have been more restrained, it was back to its glistening self, with all the major manufacturers having expansive and opulent settings to display their latest offerings, and concept cars. There were also numerous specialist high end new models from a number of manufacturers, both well established like Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Rolls Royce, and generally lesser known outside the mainstream, like Artega, Gumpert, Koenigsegg, and newcomer GTA Motor with their limited production Spano, of which a production run of only 99 examples is planned.

Equally, all the major Italian styling houses had a presence of one sort or another. Zagato made their appearance on the main Fiat stand, with their rendition of a Fiat 500 featuring their trademark double bubble roof, which enhanced the lines of the already cute car. Giugiaro offerings appeared on the Vredestein stand, with Bertone showing their B99 Jaguar interpretation in both road and race forms, Pininfarina displayed their latest design, the new Ferrari FF, and Touring Superleggera had the Gumpert Tornante alongside their Bentley Flying Spur station wagon. There were also numerous styling and engineering modification specialists displaying a wide range of modified cars, including Novatec Rosso with a trio of Ferraris, Mansory with a wild carbon finish Mercedes-Benz SLS coupé, and an equally wild 458 Italia based model named Siracusa. Naturally the Swiss design house of Sbarro also had a strong presence, with a display including their renowned Ferrari 330 P4 replica,  a Ferrari based retro roadster, and new offerings in the form of a central driving position model called the Evoluzione and the turbocharged V6 Alfa Romeo powered Speed’R concept.

The emphasis on ecologically friendly transport continues to be a major influence, with a variety of offerings from all the major manufacturers, and there was a dedicated Green Pavillion highlighting the latest advances in ecologically friendly transport technology. Here, apart from being able to view the latest offerings, visitors were able to test drive them as well on a specially laid out circuit. However, whatever humble transport we may use, it is the dream cars that are the major attraction at any motor show, and there was no shortage of them at Geneva. Ferrari gave their new top of the range FF model its world show premiere, with an innovative four wheel drive system that takes the drive to the front wheels directly off the front end of the crankshaft through a electro-hydraulic dual clutch system. This allows up to 30% of the engine power to be transmitted through the front wheels up to a speed of 130kph, when it automatically reverts to two wheel drive. Lamborghini also had a completely new offering in the form of the Murcielago replacement, the permanent four wheel drive Aventador LP700-4, the fastest and most powerful series production car that the company has produced. Another debut was that of the spectacular Pagani Huayra, replacing the Zonda, with two examples on display, whilst close by was the new Koenigsegg Agera R, boasting a claimed 1115bhp!

Aston Martin gave the V8 Vantage S its world debut, and their stand also featured a part of their history, with a beautiful pale metallic blue DB4 GT Zagato on display, fortunately well away from the debutante behind the Cygnet city car, otherwise it would have stolen its thunder! Bentley displayed their Supersports “Ice Speed Record” convertible, which was driven to a speed of 325kph (202mph) on ice by Juha Kakkunen, and in tandem announced a new limited edition model (100 examples), the Supersports ISR Convertible, to celebrate this achievement. On the same stand an updated version of the Continental GT also made its debut, alongside the Continental Flying Spur Series 51 and the Mulsanne models. Jaguar celebrated the 50th anniversary of the presentation of the “E” Type model at the 1961 Geneva Salon, by showing the same car that featured then, together with their new XKR-S model, finished in an attractive bright blue. Alfa Romeo presented their 4C concept car, finished in a rather strange metallic matt red finish, whilst fellow Fiat group member, Maserati had an extensive display of their range including their latest offering, the GranCabrio Sport, and the GranTurismo MC Trofeo.

With some 250 exhibitors from 30 countries, and more than 100 world or European premieres, the show offered a great selection of new models and concept cars for the visitors to enjoy, along with a vast selection of regular series production cars.

Ferrari Models on Display
Stand Model Colour Chassis #
California Blue Met’/Cream 179315
458 Italia Yellow Met’/Black 179316
599 GTB Fiorano Red/Tan 179363
FF Red Met’/Black 179305
FF Silver/Blue 179314
FF Grey Met’/Tan 177021
F10 F1 SSC* Red 145

FF White Met’/Blue 179529

F248 F1 SSC* Red 117

330P4 Replica Red/Black 08892**
Spider White/Black 51201***

458 Italia “Siracusa” Yellow-Carbon/Black 176511

Novatec Rosso
California White-Carbon/Black ?
458 Italia White-Carbon/Black ?
GTO Silver-Yellow St./Black ?

*Livery to replicate current F150th Italia F1 car
**308 GT4 chassis fitted with V12 engine
***Fitted with carburettor 400 engine

Keith Bluemel