Geneva: The wild, the wacky and the wonderful

Bizarre concepts and potent hypercars all vie for space in the Geneva show halls.

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Over the past couple of days, we at The Car Expert have brought you the important new car launches at the 2019 Geneva motor show. But if you were to strip away all of the major manufacturers from Europe’s most important auto event, you would still be left with plenty to see.

Geneva is renowned as the showcase of the specialist, from ultra-powerful hypercars to bizarre styling treatments applied to very expensive subject matter, and one-off concepts never to be seen again – some of them putting the ‘O’ into odd…

On this page, we highlight just some of the cars that caught our attention – for all sorts of reasons – in the Geneva halls…

Pininfarina Battista

Pininfarina Barista The Car Expert

This is (currently) the world’s most powerful road-legal car. The Pininfarina Battista is an all-electric ‘Hyper GT’ powered by four electric motors – one for each wheel. Total output is an insane 1,873hp and 2,300Nm of torque – and being electric, all the potency is available from a standstill.

The Battista ‘only’ does 217mph but is said to have a 0-62mph sprint time of less than two seconds – and a 0-186mph sprint of less than 12 seconds. Just 150 will be built and they will go on sale in 2020 at prices somewhere between £1.5 and £2 million…

Bugatti La Voiture Noire

   

Bugatti La Voiture Noir The Car Expert

And this is the world’s most expensive car. Unveiled in black paintwork so glossy to make it almost impossible to photograph, the Bugatti La Voiture Noire is a one-off bespoke coupe evolved from the Chiron, inspired by the French marque’s Type 57 SC Atlantic from 1938, and built to mark Bugatti’s 110th birthday.

The car has already found a buyer, who will pay more than £11.3 million for it…

Pagani Huayra Roadster

Pagani Huayra The Car Expert
Photo: Andrew Charman

There are things of beauty in the Geneva halls and this was road-test editor Andrew C’s favourite, a special US-spec version of the Huayra Roadster from Pagani. First seen at the 2017 Geneva show, it’s powered by a 6.0-litre V12 engine pumping out 760hp. Around 100 are being made at a price of around £2.4 million.

This particular example has a matt exterior finish that really makes it stand out, plus a blue and white leather interior.

Engler F.F. Superquad

Engler F.F. Superquad The Car Expert
Photo: Andrew Charman

This is a quad-bike – a quad-bike that’s about as big as a Ford Focus… It comes from Slovakia, and it is powered by a 5.2-litre supercharged V10 engine with 850hp! As a result, this creation will hit 62mph from rest in 2.5 seconds and go on to 217mph, all without a windscreen.

And even more remarkably, creator Victor Engler intends to put it into production, at a price to be announced…

Engler F.F. Superquad The Car Expert

Rinspeed MicroSnap

Rinspeed MicroSnap The Car Expert
Photo: Andrew Charman

A favourite subject of discussion en route to the Geneva show is always: “Wonder what madness Rinspeed will produce this year?”

Well, in 2019 the Swiss ‘automotive think tank’ offers us the MicroSnap. The concept is that in future cars will be split, the self-driving bottom half, known as a skateboard, transporting passengers at the start and end of the day and then swapping their pod for a cargo body to deliver parcels and the like during working hours. Clever eh?

Golden Sahara

Golden Share II The Car Expert

Before you react to this car, it is not what it may seem. This is not a retro concept but a real concept, dating all the way back to 1953 and restored to its former glory. The Golden Sahara was created as one of the first-ever testbeds for electronic systems, by Jim Street and legendary custom car designer George Barris. Technology included aircraft-style driving controls and even a form of autonomous emergency braking.

Having disappeared for many years, the car was recently sold at auction and has been painstakingly restored, right down to the internally lit glowing tyres specially developed for it by Goodyear.

Sin Cars L-City

Sin Cars City L The Car Expert

Our road-test editor had to take his son to see The Lego Movie II last week and feels sure this particular automobile was in it.

Sin Cars is a specialist supercar manufacturer with offices in both Germany and the UK – the L-City is apparently a variable platform for a wide range of electric vehicles. It could be used as a pick-up, van or car, ranging from three to four metres in length.

Sbarro El-Riccho

Sbarro Elriccho, The Car Expert

Who played the game ‘Hungry Hippos’ as a kid? This is a concept from Sbarro, a small Swiss high-performance replica and sports car company that always shows something odd at Geneva. It reminds us of a tuk-tuk rickshaw…

Of course, if you want something a little more normal, there is the Sbarro Miles (below). The concept two-seater roadster has been designed and manufactured by students at the French firm. It’s inspired by 1960s Indy 500 racers but powered by a very modern supercharged in-line six-cylinder engine.

Sbarro Miles The Car Expert
Photo: Andrew Charman

Mansory

Mansory The Car Expert
Photo: Andrew Charman

Talking of odd brings us inevitably to Mansory, definitely one of the more controversial aftermarket specialists at Geneva no matter which year you attend. A German firm, Mansory seems to specialise in buying the most expensive upmarket cars and applying its own take to them.

Above is a Rolls-Royce Cullinan, below a Lamborghini Aventador – yes that is a marble effect, a Mansory speciality. As for the interiors, we could show you but we do need to maintain standards of decency…
Mansory Lamborghini Urus The Car Expert

Should you want to see for yourself just what the interior of the Mansory looks like, and all the other weird and wonderful automobilia at the Geneva show, it is very easy to do so if you act quickly.

The show runs until 17th March at the PalExpo, which is right next to Geneva international airport – a genuine ten-minute walk from terminal to show. Adult admission tickets are 16 Swiss francs, which works out at just over £12 (a total bargain).

Many budget airlines offer cheap flights to Geneva and you don’t even need accommodation – the show is compact enough to get around having flown in first thing in the morning and flown home again in the evening.

If you are into your cars, Geneva is definitely the show to go to – more details are on the show website here.

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is the News and Road Test Editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.

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