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The 83rd Salon International De l’Auto & Accessoires, to give the exhibition it’s full title, took place between the 07 - 17 March, occupying seven halls of the Palexpo exhibition centre adjacent to Geneva Airport. Each year the show is the focal point for new models for most of the major manufacturers, along with a wide variety of niche market specialists, who see it as the most important venue to have an impact on the international automobile scene. 2013 was no exception, with around 180 World, European or Swiss premieres within the confines of the show halls. From supercars to eco friendly electric or hybrid cars, there was something to cover virtually every aspect of the motoring genre.

Actually, Geneva in 2013 was the year of the supercar, with a great selection of new models on offer to those with suitably deep pockets. Most notable amongst them were Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren, all premiering new limited edition models. Unsurprisingly, it was the new offering from Ferrari that caused the greatest interest amongst the press and public alike, with journalist and photographers forming a human wall along the front of the Ferrari stand, long before the unveiling on the Tuesday morning of press day. The new model, “La Ferrari”, bristling with hybrid technology, was eventually unveiled after an introductory speech by company President Luca di Montezemolo, accompanied by key design staff for the project. With a limited production of 499 examples (all pre-sold), and a price around 1.2 million Euros, it certainly needed to make a bold statement and have electrifying performance. From its dramatic appearance, and the figures given, 0 - 300kph in 15.4secs, 70 - 120kph in half the time of an Enzo, and reportedly 5secs per lap quicker than an Enzo around the Fiorano test track, it is some mighty machine!

If the Ferrari was dramatic, then the Lamborghini Veneno, of which only three examples are slated for production, can only be described as wild! The best description that I can think of is an Audi sports prototype for the road, due to its presentation duo- tone grey colour scheme with red accents, and the central vertical fin running from the cockpit to the rear wing of the car, add in more slashes and slots than one could ever imagine, and you have one extraordinary machine. In terms of presence, the P1 from McLaren was presented in a lurid yellow colour scheme, featuring front light units that cleverly replicate the McLaren logo, and like its Ferrari and Lamborghini counterparts, featuring scissor doors, plus a flush rear wing that rises high on hydraulic struts when required. To remind people of where they had been with the supercar before, there was an example of the nineties F1 GT in bright orange XP1/LM form on the stand.

They weren’t the only company to go “retro”, as Jaguar had an XK120 to accompany the launch of the new F-Type, Aston Martin had a DBR1 sports racing car on their stand for the world premieres of the Rapide S and the Centenary Edition Vanquish, and Pininfarina had the original Dino Prototype, to compliment their latest Ferrari 458 Spider based tribute/concept car the Sergio. The show also witnessed the return of Spyker, with the C8 Aileron and the B6 Venator Concept, then there were the specialist supercar manufacturers like, Gumpert, Koenigsegg, Pagani, Spania GTA and Weismann, to name but a few. Staying with the wild and wonderful, there were also numerous companies who specialise in modifying cars, sometimes almost beyond recognition, like Mansory with their Ferrari F12 based Stallone, and Lamborghini Aventador based Carbonado, Gemballa with their McLaren MP4-12C based GT, ABT with Audi, Ruf and Techart with Porsche based models, BMW Alpina, plus Brabus a Carlsson with Mercedes-Benz, again to name but a few. Add in the styling houses like the already mentioned Pininfarina, Bertone, with their elegant one-off Aston Martin Rapide based shooting Break, accompanied by the earlier Vanquish based Jet 2, Italdesign-Giugiaro with their GT SUV concept, and Touring Superleggera with the first production version of their Touring Disco Volante Coupe, originally shown in concept form in 2012. Luxury cars didn’t go unnoticed, as Bentley debuted the new Flying Spur with permanent 4 wheel drive, and the Rolls Royce Phantom Coupe also made its world debut.

It wasn’t only the really high end of the market where there was an abundance of new models, Chevrolet showed the 7th generation of the Corvette, Jaguar had their new F-Type 2 seater, Alfa Romeo had the debut of their beautiful new 4C 2 seater, with a carbon fibre monocoque, and most of the mainstream manufacturers for the masses had something, either new or derived, to suit their part of the market. Once again, the Geneva Salon proved to be a wonderful and glamorous showcase for the motor industry and its constantly evolving technology.

Keith Bluemel