Weird and Wonderful Cars of the 2019 Geneva Motor Show

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Was the design brief: Build us a tiny version of Cinderella’s pumpkin stagecoach? That’s what this micro-Citroën reminded us of. The Ami One, whose name harkens back to the uber-quirky Ami 6, really channels the zeitgeist of the original 2CV and boasts similarly low power output from its electric motor. Top speed is just 28 mph and range is 62 miles. Naturally, it’s conceived as a future urban-mobility pod that can be hired for five minutes or leased for years. It’s not likely to show up on our shores (if it ever gets built at all), but it was a highlight of the show in terms of its quirk-factor.

Golden Sahara II

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Goodyear restored this spectacular custom car from the mid-’50s, and it bristles with forward-looking technology as a means of drawing attention to the various future-tech concepts on its Geneva stand (chief among which was a large-diameter airless tire and hubless wheel that supports the vehicle weight using plastic vanes that can double as turbine blades, allowing the car to take flight!). The king of custom cars, George Barris, bought a new 1953 Lincoln Capri and drove it to one of the early Petersen Autorama shows, and totaled it on the way home. So he decided to make a custom car with the carcass. After having some fun with it, he sold it to a genius tinkerer on the scale of MT’s own Kim Reynolds, named Jim Street. He further customized the appearance and set about outfitting the car with radar units in front for automatic collision braking, with by-wire control of steering, braking, and acceleration that allowed for joystick control of the car. He was also tinkering with an early voice-command system that involved some elaborate look-up system on the reel-to-reel tape deck centered on the front seat. It’s believed that never worked, but that he simulated its functionality using an early Zenith Space Command TV remote control. That four-button control struck rods to generate tones that the TV would use for volume or channel up or down, and the little gizmo at the front of the decklid received those four tones. So old Jim could stand by the back of the car shouting his four voice control commands while surreptitiously clicking the remote in his pocket. Can you beat it? The translucent Goodyear tires were illuminated by lights inside fed by wiring that connected to a slip-ring on each hubcap. The rears were easy: run the wire from the fender skirt. In front the spindles were rifle-drilled to route the wire out. No wonder MotorTrend featured the car on our May 1955 cover (in a slightly earlier design phase).

Mansory Vehicles

Bentley Continental GT

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By the time Bentley retired the previous-generation Continental GT, the car’s age really started to show. Because of that, the beautiful design of the new Continental GT really stands out. But as for this Mansory-modified version—if you care that much about making sure people look at you, why not buy a Lamborghini?

Lamborghini Urus

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Even if you like the Urus, you have to admit it already looks like it’s wearing an aftermarket body. But although the stock Urus isn’t really a looker, the Mansory version is just as over-the-top as you’d expect.

Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen

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Something about this camouflage paint job feels especially bad. Haven’t we already learned our lesson about fashion camo? This isn’t a trend we have to accept is coming back. Also, it’s called the Star Trooper.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Convertible

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Taking an attractive but understated two-door, painting it an odd color, giving it a wide-body kit with garish carbon aero bits, and redoing the interior isn’t really our cup of tea.

Land Rover Range Rover

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This Range Rover doesn’t look too out there, and Land Rover also offers multiple two-tone paint options, including the $23,460 Maribel White Duo Tone. But widebody kit aside, we can’t help but think it looks like a knock-off Overfinch London Edition. Only, in this case, the color scheme carries over to the interior.

Rolls-Royce Cullinan

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The body kit and paint on this Cullinan aren’t too outrageous by Mansory standards, but the name is. It’s called the Billionaire because it was done as a collaboration with the Billionaire fashion brand. The clothes are tacky, the name is obnoxious, and as Silicon Valley‘s Russ Hanneman put it, those aren’t billionaire doors. They’re millionaire doors.

Smart ForTwo

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Adding new wheels, a wide-body kit, a custom paint job, and a more luxurious interior to a Smart car assures that this car will appeal to an extremely narrow demographic. In theory, this could work for a wealthy person who lives in a crowded city and doesn’t have off-street parking, but would you sink this much money into a car with a starting price of less than a Toyota Yaris hatchback does in Germany?

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