These were the true hero cars of the 2018 Geneva Motor Show

If there’s one thing you can guarantee about the Geneva Motor Show, it’s that you’ll find far more new automotive exotica than you’d ever anticipated (and you’ll walk farther than you will all week). We hit this year’s press day to separate the wheat from the chaff — these were our favourites...

Lift the candle

It’s always risky reinterpreting a classic design with a modern twist, let alone exhibiting the result alongside the very car it owes its existence to. But we’re thrilled to say the New Stratos from Manifattura Automobili Torino (MAT) more than held its own beside a beautiful black Lancia Stratos. We’d wondered whether the new car’s longer wheelbase — that of the Ferrari 430 Scuderia, upon which the car is based — would stick out like a sore thumb, given the Lancia’s go-kart-like dimensions, but we needn’t have worried. There are so many cleverly reworked aesthetic features that remind you of the timelessness of the Gandini’s legendary design.

Run to the Surrey hills!

The Jaguar Classic skunkworks is never afraid to run wild with its imagination — take this Series III XJ6 restomod, for example, which was built for Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain. Dubbed the ‘Greatest Hits’, it’s the recipient of over 3,500 hours of work and its list of modifications is exhaustive: guitar amplifier-style knobs on the dash, deep purple paint and pimento red leather, E-type carburettors, a 1,100-watt stereo, and so on. 

Pure and simple

Will early adopters of the Alpine A110 ever take delivery of their new baby sports cars? Besides the further delays, the Dieppe marque announced there would be two new guises of the Porsche Cayman rival: ‘Pure’ and ‘Legende’. As you’d expect, the former is a pared-back, driver-focused version that weighs a scant 1,080kg — yes, please. But it’s the latter, the ‘Legende’, that really caught our eye. Biased towards refinement and long-distance driving, it’s got a plusher interior that makes the ‘Pure’ edition feel like it simply wasn’t finished, as well as a set of wonderfully retro alloys, evocative of the boisterous little blue Gordinis of the 1960s.

An autonomous phoenix from archaic ashes    

Perhaps the most audacious — and not to mention surprising — reveals at Geneva this year was Aston Martin’s resurrection of the Lagonda as an electric-only luxury brand. An embodiment of the future of automotive luxury, the Vision Concept presented at Geneva makes Aston Martin’s new design language — demonstrated in the new Vantage — look, frankly, safe. And the best thing about it? David Linley helped to design the vast modular interior, which is teeming with carbon fibre, ceramic tiling, silk, cashmere, and hand-woven woollen seats. As a design statement, it’s bold and will no doubt have Rolls-Royce quaking in its brogues.

Up to you...

“I’m glad people get to finally see the car in the metal, as there are so many subtle design features that make so much more sense in person,” says Louis de Fabribeckers, Touring Superleggera’s head of design, of the bespoke Sciàdipersia (which, incidentally, we revealed last week). And he’s so right — from the completely reworked interior door cards to the discrete aerodynamic scoops on the bottom of the front bumper, it’s an amalgamation of features that combine to make the Sciàdipersia such a cohesive design. Interestingly, Louis notes that, should a customer specify the brushed aluminium exterior trim in another colour or material — say, wood veneer or matte black — then the entire character of the car will fundamentally change. Let’s hope the lucky 10 customers run wild with their imaginations…

The Geneva queen

If Instagram is anything to go by, the Ruf SCR 2018 was the undoubted queen of Geneva in 2018. Filled with the usual blend of retro aesthetics and contemporary technology, the ‘Irish Green’ beauty boasts a carbon-fibre monocoque and body, which help it to tip the scales at just 1,325kg — some 150kg lighter than a Porsche GT3. And the details are just superb, from the fixed-back houndstooth seats to the subtle retractable spoiler at the rear and the new centre-lock wheels.

Look back to see forward

Concept cars are such an integral part of any major motor show, so it seemed only right to tip our proverbial hat to the significant design studies of old that were lurking around — largely ignored by the modern motoring press. Take the stunning 1963 Chevrolet Corvair Testudo, one of Giugiaro’s very first designs for Bertone, for example. Or the wild Maserati Birdcage 75th, with its fighter jet-like canopy and futuristic head-up display. A special note must also go to the Lamborghini Marzal — a concept that, with its vast interior and all-round visibility, feels particularly relevant given the reveal of such cars as the Lagonda Vision. 

Photos: Mathieu Bonnevie for Classic Driver © 2018 

You can find all our coverage from the Geneva Motor Show 2018 compiled here