Quirky cars in Geneva

Published: 11 March 2008

Geneva is renowned for throwing up weird and wonderful concepts and prototypes from manufacturers you’ve never heard of, and will probably never see again. While the big manufacturers churn out the same old saloons, hatchbacks and SUVs, the quirky side of Geneva shows us what lateral thinking is all about. Some cars are simply brilliant, some are monstrosities, and this is our guide to both.

K.O 7

My favourite car of the whole show. Ken Okuyama is a Japanese stylist who’s worked for Porsche, Pininfarina and Ferrari (he oversaw the Enzo). Now he’s built his own lightweight sportscar, the K.O 7, described as ‘automotive sushi’ – minimalist ingredients, maximum flavour. Inspired by the curve of a samurai sword, the design is perfectly proportioned and beautifully executed.

Powered by an anonymous ‘Japanese 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine’ (we suspect a Honda VTEC) and constructed out of aluminium and carbon fibre, it weighs just 750kg with 250bhp on tap. Okuyama plans to put it into a ‘limited production’ of 99 examples at the end of the year, and because it’s already right-hand drive, it may come to the UK. Write to your MP – we need this car.

Chance of survival to 2009: 4/5

Sbarro Assystem

Surely one of the ugliest cars ever shown, this city car – with its wheels in a diamond formation – is powered by an electric motor at the front, and a Honda scooter engine at the back. The bare chassis was pure Heath Robinson.

Chances of survival to 2009: 2/5

Sbarro Pendolauto

Two wheeled motorcycles are dangerous right? Four wheels are safer? So how about this four-wheeled leaning motorbike, from lunatic customizer Frank Sbarro? Looks perfectly safe to me.

Chances of survival: 1/5

Click 'Next' below to read more about the weird and wonderful concepts on display at Geneva

Lumeneo Smera

Designed to squeeze through the middle of congestion like a bike, this narrow French single-seater is powered by an electric motor and it tilts when you go round corners (remember the Carver?). The nice man on the stand said it’ll be in production by September. Of course.

Chances of survival to 2009: 2/5

Rinspeed sQuba

A white Lotus that turns into a submarine. Wonder where they got that idea? But Rinspeed made it real, using a filleted Elise with electric motors, propellers, water jets and an onboard air system for the occupants. Not for sale and not for production – just a brilliant dream-come-true.

Chances of survival to 2009: 0/5


Fitted with a BMW 1200 twin motorbike engine, the Monotracer is a classic piece of Geneva eccentricity. Looking like a jetfighter shorn of wings, this Swiss contraption is part-bike, part-car, with little stabilizer wheels that drop down when you stop at a junction, to prevent you from falling over. Only they don’t do that automatically, you have to remember to press a little switch… What could possibly go wrong? It’s been tested in the VW windtunnel, and they claim 150mph top speed. Yours for 40,000 euros.

Chances of survival to 2009: 4/5

By Mark Walton

Contributing editor, humorist, incurable enthusiast