With less than threeweeks to go until the doors open at the inaugural Grand Basel fair in Basel, the show organisers have revealed a preview of the automotive masterpieces that will be exhibited.
Among 100 cars that will be showcased in Basel are racing legends, movie icons, radical one-offs, culturally-significant classics, and the world premiere of a contemporary coachbuilt special. The following summary represents just a ‘snapshot’ of the exemplary automobiles that will be on display.
2018 Automobili Amos Integrale Speciale
A boutique engineering company founded by racing driver Eugenio Amos, Automobili Amos has set out to restore and reimagine the iconic Lancia Delta Integrale. The ‘Integrale Speciale’ carries over the familiar design of the Italian-built rally legend but features more than 1,000 new components, including a wider body constructed from hand-beaten aluminium panels, and a bespoke carbon-fibre front fascia.
Modern technology has been used judiciously to enhance the powertrain, chassis and suspension while aligning closely with the character and flair of the original. Amos says each car will take approximately four months to build. The Integrale Speciale’s appearance at Grand Basel is the world premiere of this remarkable new car.
1994 Benetton-Ford B194
Renowned racing driver Michael Schumacher has consistently ranked among the greatest Formula 1 talents ever. He still holds the records for the highest number of World Championship titles (7), the highest number of Grand Prix wins (91) and the fastest laps (77). The car that secured his first World Championship was the 3.5-litre V8 Benetton-Ford B194, in which he won eight of the 16 races in the 1994 season.
It is said that only Schumacher was able to ‘tame’ the Benetton, as his teammates in the 1994 season found the car much more of a handful to drive, with an unpredictable nature on the limit. Schumacher’s son, Mick, drove a Benetton-Ford B194 in demonstration laps at the Belgian Grand Prix in 2017 – a fitting tribute to his father’s success.
1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta
Revealed at the Paris Motor Show in October 1959, the short-wheelbase – or ‘passo corto’ – 250 GT Berlinetta was Ferrari’s vision of the archetype road-legal racing car. The bodywork was designed by Pininfarina and would be built by Scaglietti in Modena, clothed either in aluminium or steel. The 250 GT SWB Berlinetta was the first production road car from Ferrari to be fitted with disc brakes as standard, and the 3.0-litre V12 Colombo engine could be ordered in varying states of tune, depending on whether it was intended mainly for road use or would be raced competitively on track.
This particular 250 GT SWB – chassis 2111GT – is a very special example, as it was used by Enzo Ferrari himself between February and September 1961. The car was a prototype for the new 1961 body shape, and numerous photos show Enzo behind the wheel of the car during that year.
1968 Lamborghini Miura
Lamborghini heralded a new area of sports cars on 10 March 1966 by unveiling the Miura. In addition to the groundbreaking and timeless Italian design, the Miura continues to epitomise 'la dolce vita' of the Swinging Sixties.
The iconic opening sequence of ‘The Italian Job’ was filmed using this Lamborghini Miura for the driving scene, and a matching painted ‘body double’ shell as a stand-in so it could appear to have been wrecked. This car used for driving was borrowed by the film crew during June 1968 and when the film was released in 1969, it changed the image of Lamborghini forever. Arguably one of the most famous cars ever built thanks to its starring role on screen, this very Miura is a legendary icon of film and cultural history.
1954 Pegaso Z-102 Series II Saoutchik Cabriolet
Originally known as a manufacturer of trucks and buses, Spain’s Pegaso brand took its first foray into sports cars in 1951 with two prototypes of a new model – the Z-102.
The car was powered by a bespoke V8 engine designed by former Alfa Romeo chief engineer Wilfredo Ricart and it could be ordered with bodyworks from the ENESA in-house team, from Milan based Carrozzeria Touring or from the French coachbuilding company Saoutchik. In 1953, it was the fastest production car in the world, and it is still referred to as ‘Spain’s supercar’ to this day. The Pegaso Z-102 with its no-expense-spared approach to bespoke features proved extremely expensive to build, and hence fewer than 90 cars were completed.
This 1954 Pegaso Z-102 Series II Cabriolet is a one-off example clothed by French company Saoutchik, which was famous for its high quality and extravagant design. It was presented by Pierre Saoutchik at the 1954 San Remo Concours d’Elegance and in the same year at the Paris Motor Show. This unique design represents an exceptional rarity of European automotive history.
2018 Ferrari SP38
The first car attributed to Ferrari’s ‘Special Projects’ division – the F430-based SP1 – was revealed in 2008. Under a new banner of the ‘One-Off’ programme, and 10 years after the first such bespoke car was shown, Ferrari revealed the incredible SP38 at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italy.
The SP38 uses the underpinnings of a 488 GTB model, but has dramatically different bodywork, with certain features – such as the louvred engine cover and wrap-over rear wing – inspired by Ferrari’s iconic F40 supercar. Sleeker side panels, slim headlights and tightly-enclosed rear lights are all exclusive to the SP38, as are the set of bespoke alloy wheels and the wide, prominent rear diffuser. It is a truly unique contemporary car in the tradition of classic coachbuilding.
1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato
Aston Martin's DB4 GT Zagato was ultimately a product of the intense rivalry it had with Ferrari in the early 1960s. Racing against one another in the World Sports Car Championship, they consistently fought for every race win – and this had a direct impact on the brands’ success in their showrooms. When Ferrari unveiled the first iterations of the 250 GT SWB Berlinetta, Aston Martin knew it had to take its DB4 GT model to another level of performance.
A partnership with Zagato would provide not only a beautifully-bodied car, but one that was also more competitive. The result was revealed at the 1960 London Motor Show, showcasing a harmonious blend of Italian and British styling. In addition to the completely revised exterior, the brands also collaborated to shed unnecessary weight from the vehicle, and so the Zagato model is nearly 50 kilograms lighter than a standard DB4 GT.
1947 Cisitalia 202 SC
Founded by industrialist and amateur racing driver, Piero Dusio, the Cisitalia automobile brand derived its name his conglomerate – Consorzio Industriale Sportivo Italia. Having proved his ideas on agile, lightweight automobiles with Italy’s first post-war race car, Dusio unveiled the model 202 road car – clothed with a bespoke aluminium body by Pinin Farina – at Villa d’Este in 1947 and the Paris Motor Show a month later.
It was an aesthetic and technical masterpiece – a design achievement which would go on to transform the shapes and styles of post-war automobiles, influencing myriad single-form contoured bodies. Articles written in the present day have referred to it as the ‘genesis of modern car design’, which is no exaggeration.
One example is exhibited at the MoMa (Museum of Modern Art) in New York, where it is shown as a “moving sculpture” and one of the 10 best automotive designs of all time. The car shown at Grand Basel was restored from ‘barn find’ condition to Concours level, and subsequently graced the cover of the 2014 edition of The Classic Cars Book published by teNeues.
1956 Porsche 550 1500 RS Spyder
Introduced at the Paris Motor Show in 1953, the Porsche 550 model was a beautiful road racer with clean, elegant lines and the very effective 1500cc four-cam flat-four engine, designed by the Austrian Dr Ernst Fuhrmann. The mid-engined roadster was highly successful in competition, often beating significantly more powerful or established rivals. The car weighs only 550 kg and is so low that at the 1954 Mille Miglia, Hans Herman managed to drive underneath a level crossing barrier just seconds before an express train sped past. However, more famous than any of the 550’s racing successes is the association it has with film star James Dean, who was involved in a fatal crash in his ‘Little Bastard’ on the way to a road race in California.
This particular Porsche 550 1500 RS Spyder is considered a significant piece of automobile history. It was the winner of its class at the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring in 1956.
A unique format of curation and exhibition
Grand Basel, which commences a global tour starting this September, will present exceptional cars in the contexts of art, design, architecture and lifestyle. The show’s unique and independent advisory board of experts – comprises leading cultural and design authorities, architects and artists – will curate the exhibits, in order to ensure its peerless quality and originality.
Exceptional automobiles will be presented in an exceptional setting at Grand Basel, thanks to a bold exhibition concept. Its homogeneous design, inspired by contemporary architecture, forgoes the often-nostalgic ambience of established car shows, instead of allowing the motor cars to be admired in a surrounding reminiscent of modern museums.
The inaugural Grand Basel show, which will take place from 6 to 9 September 2018 in Basel, Switzerland, leads the way for upcoming shows in Miami Beach, from 22 to 24 February 2019, and Hong Kong in May 2019.[