Even before you enter the halls of Messe Basel, the design of the building from the outside gives you a perspective of minimal, inspired-by-nature architecture. As you walk towards the escalators, the corridor holds a piece of motoring that is the quintessential defining moment of mid-century automobile design. It is Gio Ponti’s Linea Diamante a car the Italian designer conceived back in 1953, a design that was a stark contrast from the bulbous, and heavy cars of its time. Ponti’s Diamond Car back then, was at least two decades ahead of its time. This was the first time Ponti’s creation was brought to life, after 65-years of its conception.
This is how I got introduced to the first edition of Grand Basel. It was clear that this show would be extraordinary, and as I was taken to the first floor by the escalator, the floor of the event unveiled itself in the most spectacular fashion…
Grand Basel is not only about cars. While cars are the centrefold of the event, Grand Basel is about design, art and architecture. All these elements brought together through the medium of cars. The architecture of the show floor has been designed in such a way that the design stays minimal, and it envelops around the car, making the machine the centre of attraction with minimalism. Each car showcased receives its very own space, not as a mere machine parked for audience attention, but as an art form that could be admired over and over again.
Grand Basel is a collective effort that took its inspiration from Art Basel’s success; one of the world’s most successful art exhibition. But instead of the glitter and shine that’s generally associated with motoring events like these, Grand Basel keeps things minimal… There is no flashy exhibitor branding and there are no plaques that shout about details about the cars and their corporate owners. The show floor is minimal, elegant and above all giving a sense that when you arrive, all of your focus will be directed towards the lines and curves of these automobiles that span from over a century.
Upon reaching the show floor, you are greeted by a sea of cars, all rare, and some truly one-offs. These included concept cars such as the 1978 Lancia Sibilo Bertone and the one-off Aston Martin Virage shooting brake created by Zagato to celebrate 100 years of the British carmaker.
But the machine that took centre stage at Grand Basel and was the talk of town was Automobili Amos’s revival of the Lancia Delta Integrale. Called the Lancia Delta Integrale Futurista, it is the re-imagined version of the original Delta Integrale by Euginio Amos. The Futurista uses the original Integrale as the base, but almost all the body panels are reworked in hand-beaten aluminium, while the front end, bonnet and rear panels are made from carbon fibre. This brings the weight down of the re-imagined Delta Integrale Futurista to 1250kg, 90kg lighter than the original car.
Lancia Delta Integrale Futurista by Automobili Amos
The Futurista has been given an overhauled engine with a new water cooling system, new air intakes and a new exhaust. The transmission is now reinforced and it has a new, stronger differential. These changes have resulted in a total power output of 330hp. Alongside the exterior and drivetrain changes, the interior of the Lancia Delta Integrale Futurista has been given a complete overhaul. While the look and feel is retained from the original, the new Ricaro seats and switchgear alongside the new steering wheel bring an retro-modern touch to the cockpit. Only 20 examples of the Lancia Delta Integrale Futurista will be made, each priced in the range of Euro 300,000.