Automotive

Gallery: Concept cars of Geneva 2019 shine LEDs and glowing tires at the future (and past)

Gallery: Concept cars of Genev...
Volkswagen ID Buggy
Volkswagen ID Buggy
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The Lagonda All-Terrain Concept may be the second concept under the Lagonda brand, following last year's Vision Concept, but it will lead way to the first production model from Aston Martin's all-electric luxury brand
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The Lagonda All-Terrain Concept may be the second concept under the Lagonda brand, following last year's Vision Concept, but it will lead way to the first production model from Aston Martin's all-electric luxury brand
Lagonda All-Terrain Concept
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Lagonda plans to begin production in 2022
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Lagonda plans to begin production in 2022
Like the 2018 Vision Concept before it, the Lagonda All-Terrain includes suicide doors and swing-up roof panels that provide roomier ingress/egress
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Like the 2018 Vision Concept before it, the Lagonda All-Terrain includes suicide doors and swing-up roof panels that provide roomier ingress/egress
Aston Martin barraged the Geneva show with concepts, including the Vanquish Vision Concept pictured here
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Aston Martin barraged the Geneva show with concepts, including the Vanquish Vision Concept pictured here
Like the Lagonda Vision Concept, the Lagonda All-Terrain has a very distinctive luxury interior
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Like the Lagonda Vision Concept, the Lagonda All-Terrain has a very distinctive luxury interior
Inside the Lagonda All-Terrain Concept
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Inside the Lagonda All-Terrain Concept
It's not quite as pretty as the Vizivs that came before it, but the new Subaru Viziv Adrenaline Concept brings some all-terrain Subaru ruggedness to the concept family
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It's not quite as pretty as the Vizivs that came before it, but the new Subaru Viziv Adrenaline Concept brings some all-terrain Subaru ruggedness to the concept family
Subaru explains that the Viziv Adrenaline is the first concept car under its new "Bolder" design philosophy
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Subaru explains that the Viziv Adrenaline is the first concept car under its new "Bolder" design philosophy
Subaru keeps it sporty with the Viziv Adrenaline Concept
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Subaru keeps it sporty with the Viziv Adrenaline Concept
Subaru Viziv Adrenaline
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Subaru Viziv Adrenaline
Subaru's press release doesn't relay much information about the Viziv Adrenaline, leaving it to stand as a styling exercise
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Subaru's press release doesn't relay much information about the Viziv Adrenaline, leaving it to stand as a styling exercise
The Sbarro Espera school always has some of the oddest concept cars at Geneva; this one is the El Richo
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The Sbarro Espera school always has some of the oddest concept cars at Geneva; this one is the El Richo
A look in the Sbarro El-Richo
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A look in the Sbarro El-Richo
Sbarro GTC
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Sbarro GTC
A year after its debut at the 2018 Geneva show, Seat performance brand Cupra shows the Formentor concept, a sporty hybrid SUV
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A year after its debut at the 2018 Geneva show, Seat performance brand Cupra shows the Formentor concept, a sporty hybrid SUV
Seat shows the Minimo concept in Geneva a few days after its debut at Mobile World Congress
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Seat shows the Minimo concept in Geneva a few days after its debut at Mobile World Congress
The SEAT Minimo is a tiny electric car with 5G connectivity and battery swapping capability
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The SEAT Minimo is a tiny electric car with 5G connectivity and battery swapping capability
Seat Minimo, a tiny, maneuverable EV for tight city spaces
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Seat Minimo, a tiny, maneuverable EV for tight city spaces
Cupra's Formentor has a 242-hp hybrid powertrain
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Cupra's Formentor has a 242-hp hybrid powertrain
Cupra Formentor
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Cupra Formentor
Volkswagen has a little fun with a different style of electric concept, the ID Buggy
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Volkswagen has a little fun with a different style of electric concept, the ID Buggy
Volkswagen ID Buggy
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Volkswagen ID Buggy
Here's a description you don't see every day: "fully electric four-door crossover coupe," the Skoda Vision iV concept
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Here's a description you don't see every day: "fully electric four-door crossover coupe," the Skoda Vision iV concept
Nissan debuts the IMQ, a concept that "signals the direction of the next generation of crossovers"
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Nissan debuts the IMQ, a concept that "signals the direction of the next generation of crossovers"
The IMQ is powered by a 335-hp e-power all-electric motor drive
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The IMQ is powered by a 335-hp e-power all-electric motor drive
Inside the Nissan IMQ concept
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Inside the Nissan IMQ concept
The IMQ features a unique "gliding wing" instrument panel with embedded digital display
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The IMQ features a unique "gliding wing" instrument panel with embedded digital display
The IMQ's center console stretches from front to back and includes this controller
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The IMQ's center console stretches from front to back and includes this controller
Italdesign opens the gullwing doors of its dramatic DaVinci Concept
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Italdesign opens the gullwing doors of its dramatic DaVinci Concept
The Italdesign DaVinci is an all-electric GT but has a modular design that also fits a 4.0-liter V8
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The Italdesign DaVinci is an all-electric GT but has a modular design that also fits a 4.0-liter V8
Italdesign DaVinci
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Italdesign DaVinci
Touring Superleggera follows up last year's Sciadipersia with the cabriolet version 
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Touring Superleggera follows up last year's Sciadipersia with the cabriolet version 
Not quite a concept car, the Touring Superleggera Sciadipersia Cabriolet is actually a coachbuilt special edition atop a Maserati GranCabrio. Touring plans to build 15 Sciadipersia examples
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Not quite a concept car, the Touring Superleggera Sciadipersia Cabriolet is actually a coachbuilt special edition atop a Maserati GranCabrio. Touring plans to build 15 Sciadipersia examples
World premiere of the Touring Superleggera Sciadipersia Cabriolet
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World premiere of the Touring Superleggera Sciadipersia Cabriolet
Goodyear shows the restored Golden Sahara II autonomous concept car of 1950s and 60s fame
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Goodyear shows the restored Golden Sahara II autonomous concept car of 1950s and 60s fame
Along with its GT supercars, China's Arcfox presents the ECF concept car in Geneva
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Along with its GT supercars, China's Arcfox presents the ECF concept car in Geneva
Arcfox calls the ECF concept its first premium intelligent SUV
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Arcfox calls the ECF concept its first premium intelligent SUV
Alfa Romeo dips its toes into electrification with the Tonale Concept, a plug-in hybrid crossover
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Alfa Romeo dips its toes into electrification with the Tonale Concept, a plug-in hybrid crossover
Kia expands its electric program with the Imagine concept
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Kia expands its electric program with the Imagine concept
Unlike the Kia e-Niro, the Imagine is built from the ground up as an electric vehicle, riding on a platform with low-mounted, induction-charged battery pack
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Unlike the Kia e-Niro, the Imagine is built from the ground up as an electric vehicle, riding on a platform with low-mounted, induction-charged battery pack
Kia blends elements of large SUVs, smaller crossovers and family sedans in the Imagine by Kia
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Kia blends elements of large SUVs, smaller crossovers and family sedans in the Imagine by Kia
The Smart Forease+ concept is all about the roof, a rigid fabric hardshell with soft fabric covering
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The Smart Forease+ concept is all about the roof, a rigid fabric hardshell with soft fabric covering
The Smart Forease+ includes a duck tail spoiler design
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The Smart Forease+ includes a duck tail spoiler design
The Forease+ highlights Smart attributes: "individual, scaled back and sustainable"
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The Forease+ highlights Smart attributes: "individual, scaled back and sustainable"
The Forease+ headlamps feature three active LED elements
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The Forease+ headlamps feature three active LED elements
Peugeot debuted the stylish retro-electric E-Legend concept at last year's Paris Motor Show and shows it again in Geneva
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Peugeot debuted the stylish retro-electric E-Legend concept at last year's Paris Motor Show and shows it again in Geneva
The E-Legend combines styling heavily inspired by the classic Peugeot 504 Coupe with a high-tech design featuring a 456-hp electric powertrain and 16-display interior
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The E-Legend combines styling heavily inspired by the classic Peugeot 504 Coupe with a high-tech design featuring a 456-hp electric powertrain and 16-display interior
The Peugeot E-Legend looking good in Geneva
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The Peugeot E-Legend looking good in Geneva
Inside the Peugeot E-Legend concept
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Inside the Peugeot E-Legend concept
New for Geneva, Peugeot debuts the Concept 508 Peugeot Sport Engineered, a sporty hybrid sedan
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New for Geneva, Peugeot debuts the Concept 508 Peugeot Sport Engineered, a sporty hybrid sedan
Mitsubishi further explores plug-in hybrid SUV design with the Engelberg Tourer concept
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Mitsubishi further explores plug-in hybrid SUV design with the Engelberg Tourer concept
The Mitsubishi Engelberg Tourer includes a Twin Motor 4WD plug-in hybrid powertrain and auto-open roof box
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The Mitsubishi Engelberg Tourer includes a Twin Motor 4WD plug-in hybrid powertrain and auto-open roof box
The Renner, a "street-legal racing car" concept designed by the students of the Espera Sbarro school
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The Renner, a "street-legal racing car" concept designed by the students of the Espera Sbarro school
Sbarro Renner
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Sbarro Renner
The Audi e-tron GT debuted at the 2018 LA Auto Show and appears here in Geneva
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The Audi e-tron GT debuted at the 2018 LA Auto Show and appears here in Geneva
The e-tron GT features a 582-hp AWD electric powertrain
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The e-tron GT features a 582-hp AWD electric powertrain
The e-tron GT will lead to a production model to launch in late 2020/early 2021
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The e-tron GT will lead to a production model to launch in late 2020/early 2021
The Skoda Vision iV design study will lead to a production car in 2020
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The Skoda Vision iV design study will lead to a production car in 2020
The Skoda Vision iV concept has a 302-hp dual-motor electric AWD powertrain
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The Skoda Vision iV concept has a 302-hp dual-motor electric AWD powertrain
Skoda says the iV has a maximum range of 311 miles (500 km) on the WLTP cycle, offering 30-minute charging to 80 percent
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Skoda says the iV has a maximum range of 311 miles (500 km) on the WLTP cycle, offering 30-minute charging to 80 percent
Renault's Paris-debuted EZ-Ultimo concept makes an appearance in Geneva
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Renault's Paris-debuted EZ-Ultimo concept makes an appearance in Geneva
The Renault EZ-Ultimo explores luxury commuting in an autonomous age
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The Renault EZ-Ultimo explores luxury commuting in an autonomous age
The Renault EZ-Ultimo features a living room-like interior with a chair that slides to greet the passenger at the door
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The Renault EZ-Ultimo features a living room-like interior with a chair that slides to greet the passenger at the door
Lexus debuted the LC Convertible Concept in Detroit and shows it again weeks later in Geneva
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Lexus debuted the LC Convertible Concept in Detroit and shows it again weeks later in Geneva
Lexus LC Convertible
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Lexus LC Convertible
A look inside the Fiat Concept Centoventi
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A look inside the Fiat Concept Centoventi
Fiat celebrates 120 years with the Concept Centoventi
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Fiat celebrates 120 years with the Concept Centoventi
The Fiat Centoventi is a highly customizable concept, allowing owners to choose from several modular battery options for between 62 and 311 miles (100 and 500 km) of range
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The Fiat Centoventi is a highly customizable concept, allowing owners to choose from several modular battery options for between 62 and 311 miles (100 and 500 km) of range
Honda and IED Turin team on the Tomo concept, a cute, little urban pickup car
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Honda and IED Turin team on the Tomo concept, a cute, little urban pickup car
The Tomo concept was created by 13 IED Master in Transportation Design students
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The Tomo concept was created by 13 IED Master in Transportation Design students
The Tomo was designed to meet the needs of a hypothetical urban farmer, a compact, eco-friendly electric city car with a small bed for transporting vegetables and other goods
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The Tomo was designed to meet the needs of a hypothetical urban farmer, a compact, eco-friendly electric city car with a small bed for transporting vegetables and other goods
IED presents the Honda Tomo
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IED presents the Honda Tomo
Rinspeed shows its modular microSNAP concept
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Rinspeed shows its modular microSNAP concept
Originally prepared for CES 2019, the Rinspeed microSNAP combines an all-electric skateboard chassis with plug-and-play cargo and transportation modules
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Originally prepared for CES 2019, the Rinspeed microSNAP combines an all-electric skateboard chassis with plug-and-play cargo and transportation modules
Tata's H2X Concept builds upon the company's Impact 2.0 design strategy
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Tata's H2X Concept builds upon the company's Impact 2.0 design strategy
Tata H2X Concept
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Tata H2X Concept
Tata Motors shows the H2X Concept, a sub-compact utility vehicle designed around the active customer
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Tata Motors shows the H2X Concept, a sub-compact utility vehicle designed around the active customer
Citroën celebrates 100 years with the world premiere of the Ami One Concept
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Citroën celebrates 100 years with the world premiere of the Ami One Concept
Seat el-Born concept
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The Peugeot Concept 508 Sport Engineered
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The Peugeot Concept 508 Sport Engineered
Goodyear built new tires for the Sahara II concept, and Klairmont Kollections and Speakeasy Customs and Classics worked to restore the car to its original glory
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Goodyear built new tires for the Sahara II concept, and Klairmont Kollections and Speakeasy Customs and Classics worked to restore the car to its original glory
One of the first concepts to explore autonomous driving, the Sahara II featured an automatic sensor-based braking system, along with an aircraft-style lever for acceleration, steering and braking
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One of the first concepts to explore autonomous driving, the Sahara II featured an automatic sensor-based braking system, along with an aircraft-style lever for acceleration, steering and braking
Goodyear developed the balloon-like tires for the original Sahara II concept out of Neothane, a translucent synthetic rubber, and featured internal lighting to give them an orange glow
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Goodyear developed the balloon-like tires for the original Sahara II concept out of Neothane, a translucent synthetic rubber, and featured internal lighting to give them an orange glow
Alfa Romeo Tonale concept
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Alfa Romeo Tonale concept
The Tonale is Alfa Romeo's first plug-in hybrid
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The Tonale is Alfa Romeo's first plug-in hybrid
Alfa combines modern and heritage styling cues with a dual-motor performance-optimized plug-in hybrid powertrain
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Alfa combines modern and heritage styling cues with a dual-motor performance-optimized plug-in hybrid powertrain

Each March, it's a toss-up as to whether the most impressive part of the Geneva Motor Show is the barrage of crazy, record-smashing hypercars or the deluge of equally crazy, thought-provoking concept cars. This year, we give the edge to the hypercars, but the concept cars aren't far behind. The Geneva 2019 concept car army includes plenty of plug-in electric drive power, some versatile off-road hardware and a restoration of one of the coolest retrofuturistic cars of all time.

We've already looked more closely at a number of the big concept debuts, from the gorgeous Italdesign DaVinci to the quirky VW ID Buggy. A few other highlights we haven't looked at in depth:

Golden Sahara II brings the future of the past back to the present

The most impressive new concept car in Geneva isn't really new at all, and it's not even a traditional concept car as such. But the Golden Sahara II on display at Goodyear's booth is newly rediscovered and packs enough wild tech and styling to make it feel plenty comfortable among the many contemporary concept cars of the show, even 65 years after its initial debut.

Goodyear shows the restored Golden Sahara II autonomous concept car of 1950s and 60s fame
Goodyear shows the restored Golden Sahara II autonomous concept car of 1950s and 60s fame

Based on a 1953 Lincoln Capri Hardtop, the Golden Sahara is an ultra-flashy, high-tech custom car born from a happy accident. After the base car was involved in a roof-scalping crash, the heavily customized Golden Sahara debuted in 1954 at the Petersen Motorama. The shimmering two-tone car immediately captured the public's imagination and spent the next few years touring US auto shows and dealerships as a promo vehicle, grabbing attention with its bubble canopy, dashboard-integrated TV, refrigerated cocktail lounge, and pearlescent paint with actual fish scales blended in.

Later in the 50s, the Golden Sahara made a leap from cool, flashy custom car to full-blown sci-fi wonder. The v2.0 update included the addition of some time-leaping electronic tech, including push-button steering, an aircraft-inspired steering, acceleration and braking lever complete with remote control operation, voice control features, and an automated braking system with bumper-integrated antenna sensors. It was also fitted with a set of backlit orange glow-in-the-dark Neothane tires developed by Goodyear. The legend of the Golden Sahara II grew as large as its bulging US$75,000 (over $650,000 today) development cost, and it even became a movie star, appearing in the film Cinderfella with Jerry Lewis.

One of the first concepts to explore autonomous driving, the Sahara II featured an automatic sensor-based braking system, along with an aircraft-style lever for acceleration, steering and braking
One of the first concepts to explore autonomous driving, the Sahara II featured an automatic sensor-based braking system, along with an aircraft-style lever for acceleration, steering and braking

As quickly as it had risen to fame, the Golden Sahara II disappeared from the public eye, customizer and owner Jim Street suddenly and completely withdrawing it from public appearances sometime in the late 60s, hiding it away in a garage for a full half-century. The famous car didn't resurface until Street passed away in late 2017, and it made its way to auction. Chicago auto museum Klairmont Kollections purchased it last May from Mecum Auctions and collaborated on its restoration with Goodyear and Speakeasy Customs and Classics before the big Geneva reveal.

Even 65 years later, with much of its headlining tech now realized or surpassed in production and development, the Golden Sahara II absolutely commands attention, drawing in crowds like a glowing four-wheeled Elvis suit. In fact, we had to come back several times before we were effectively able to cut through the masses and snap a few photos. It remains a must-see vehicle.

Alfa Romeo explores electric power with the Tonale concept

It's not an easy task to follow up a one-of-a-kind restoration like the Golden Sahara II, but if there's one vehicle that might be up to it, it's the Alfa Romeo Tonale. Alfa already has one of the sexiest SUVs out there in the Stelvio, and now it blends effortless, organic Italian style with its first plug-in hybrid powertrain in the Tonale. Alfa remains rather tightlipped on specifics, saying merely that the small utility vehicle utilizes its dual-motor electric-ICE powertrain toward sportier driving as well as increased efficiency. The driver can manage those two goals through a series of drive modes that includes full-output "dual motor" mode, hybridized "natural" mode, and full-electric "advance e" mode.

The Tonale is Alfa Romeo's first plug-in hybrid
The Tonale is Alfa Romeo's first plug-in hybrid

While it has a fully modern appearance complete with super-taut front and rear lighting signatures, the Tonale is loaded with heritage cues, starting at ground-level with the 21-in rotary dial wheels inspired by the 33 Stradale. Other historically-rooted design elements include a forward-pouncing stance derived from the GT Junior, flank volumes inspired by the Duetto and Disco Volante Spider, and a modern reinterpretation of the "3 plus 3" headlights of the SZ and Brera. The Tonale definitely has us looking forward to the era of electrification at Alfa Romeo.

IED outfits the urban farmer with the Honda Tomo

One of the most fun aspects of the Geneva show is the influx of concept cars from design teams outside major auto brands, from established design houses to up-and-coming student designers. Often some of the most memorable vehicle forms come from the students, and this year one of those is the cute, little Honda Tomo from the Istituto Europeo di Design (IED).

Specifically, 13 Masters in Transportation Design students worked with Honda Design to bring the Tomo to life, in a follow-up to last year's very different but equally compelling Hyundai Kite buggy/jet ski. The Tomo even comes complete with a manga backstory about Coner, an IED student from the year 2025 who splits his time among living in the city, unleashing his creativity at his design studio, and working a fruit and vegetable garden in the country.

The Tomo concept was created by 13 IED Master in Transportation Design students
The Tomo concept was created by 13 IED Master in Transportation Design students

Tomo means "friend" in Japanese, and the concept car is designed to be exactly that to Coner. The 13-foot (4-m) electric car is optimized for maneuvering deftly through tight European city centers but also includes a small pickup bed hidden in its mini-car hatchback profile, giving Coner the ability to haul crates of fruits and vegetables from country to city. It's not hard to imagine a quirky, compact electric mini-pickup racking up some seriously useful miles, whether hauling fruit from country to city center or carrying adventure gear from freeway to forest. We kind of want one.

Jump straight to the gallery for a fuller look at the many clever, innovative and visionary concept cars of Geneva 2019.

2 comments
DavidB
Despite the schizophrenic arrangement of photos in the gallery, I am delighted to see so many fully electric vehicles likely heading to the marketplace. Options FTW! I hope I live to see the day the last ICE vehicle is dragged off the roadways.
Gregg Eshelman
IED? That's not going to be a popular initialism with military veterans who've had to deal with Improvised Explosive Devices.