Wild and Weird Cars (or Whatevers) at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show
Scoping the most insane steeds this side of the Matterhorn.
The Geneva Motor Show's kaleidoscope of vehicular curiosities never fails to amuse. But with stalwarts like Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, and Volvo sitting this year out, there was even more floor space for automotive outliers to make their appeals to the showgoers here, who are among some of the planet's wealthiest clientele. Here's a look at some of the edgiest and wackiest rides to grace Geneva's 89th annual automotive party, and even more can be found in the gallery.
Did you know this massive Russian sedan became that nation's official presidential vehicle in 2018? You'd be forgiven if you didn't, especially since the honking conveyance looks like the illegitimate love child of a Rolls-Royce Phantom and a Chrysler 300C. Available in standard, extended-wheelbase, and armored versions, this blocky behemoth is powered by a hybridized twin-turbo V-8 producing 598 horsepower and has enough road presence to scare the groveling peasants well out of the way.
GFG STYLE KANGAROO
All things considered, it's relatively easy to unveil a nonoperational mockup of a hypothetical vehicle, but it's another thing altogether to build an actual, driving concept car—something GFG Style did with its electric-powered Kangaroo. The car made its dynamic debut in St. Moritz weeks before Geneva, which allowed the opportunity for video playback of the bouncy, big-wheeled crossover sliding across snow. The self-described "Hyper SUV" looks more hyper than SUV, but being the brainchild of design legend Giorgetto Giugiaro and son Fabrizio makes this 483-hp off-roader all right in our books.
PAL-V FLYING CAR
Sometimes the wildest cars at Geneva aren't even cars. Take the Pal-V, for instance, a Netherlands-built roadcar/gyrocopter combo that uses dual engines to reach a claimed top speed of 99 mph on the ground or in the air. Simply unfold the twin rotors and tail boom, fire up the Rotax 912 iS engine, and fly your bad self over that pesky traffic. Right? Riiiight.
Four-digit horsepower is nothing new in the supercar world and neither are active aerodynamics, but the 1,177-hp Zenvo TSR-S takes the latter to comical heights with its rear wing. Zenvo's "Moar Wing" philosophy has manifested in various ways over the years, but this next-level setup features a positively ginormous hydraulic "four-way active centripetal rear wing for improved speed and stability." We can't vouch for the actual track performance of the allegedly enhanced dynamics, but the Danish carmaker's in-house-developed twin-supercharged 5.8-liter V-8 sure sounds like an ambitious stab at the supercar establishment.
HISPANO SUIZA CARMEN
Perhaps wilder in theory than in execution, this Hispano Suiza redux is an embodiment of the original company founder's granddaughter's wish to resuscitate the brand's fabled name in this series of 19 cars. (The firm was originally started in 1907.) While the modernized grille is a bit of a head-scratcher, the tapered tail is a clever re-interpretation of the astounding 1938 Dubonnet "Xenia" model that currently resides in Peter Mullin's collection. The fact that the new car directs 1,000 electric horsepower to the rear wheels leaves us even more bemused at its old/new dichotomy.
LAMBORGHINI CENTENARIO TRACTOR
What's a high-end car show without a supercar-inspired tractor? Authorized by the heirs of Ferruccio Lamborghini himself, this steampunk implement is powered by a 2.2-liter three-cylinder producing a stout 37 horsepower. Builder Klima Lounge says it will build a total of five of these hot rods at €250,000 each, which is a rather big ask for a 25-mph ride. Plus, we suspect the handling might be a bit, uh, lacking. But as the press materials point out, "Important history. Without tractors no Lamborghini supercars [sic]." Point taken, boys.
CHELSEA TRUCK COMPANY HOMAGE 2
Though nowhere as wild as the six-wheeler Defender unveiled in Geneva last year, this backdated Defender 90 certainly piques the curiosity of diehard Land Rover fans. Built to mimic ancient Series IIA models (1948-1967), this one-off features custom-built aluminum "wings" and signature inboard IIA-style headlamps—and it's a fascinating clash of the modern and the vintage.