Autocar's Agony Uncle Colin Goodwin answers your questions from the Geneva motor show
3 March 2010

Autocar's Agony Uncle Colin Goodwin has landed in Geneva and is busy answering any questions you have about the motor show.

Goodwin's answers:

Can you get a picture of Autocar's Hilton Holloway smiling? He looks so glum in his website photo...

My pleasure - he smiles a lot, actually. See Hilton Holloway smiling

Can you get any more news on Cosworth tuned Toyota engines in road and race Lotuses? Racing Puma

Been over to Lotus. At the moment Cosworth is just supplying the engines for the Evora GT4 cars - a 4.0-litre version of the Toyota V6 with new pistons cams etc. However, an overal collaboration deal with Cossie could result in future road and race engines. Cosworth specialises in supplying hardware and has its own casting plant. Lotus develops and specs the engines, Cosworth can supply the hardware. Back to the 1960s in other words. It seems inevitable that we will see some road-going Lotuses with Cosworth bits in.

Colin, have you ever been asked to leave a manufacturer's stand at a motor show, or escorted off the premises entirely? T Deeson

Not asked, but Jem Marsh of Marcos once hit me.

Hello Colin. My question, ... is it possible to look at the Mansory tuned and styled Rolls-Royce Ghost in the flesh and not vomit? Leslie Brook

Yes, but only because I have a strong constitution. The old Rolls-Royce company would have sued Mansory for producing it or sent a suave assasin to knock off whoever was responsible.

See Colin's Mansory Rolls-Royce photo

I can’t get an idea of the scale of the Nissan Juke. Can we have a picture of you stood by it? E Edna

Easy. Looks quite nice I reckon. I’m 5’10” so this should give you an idea. Couldn’t lie next to it to give you an idea of length because a Japanese film crew was in the way.

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See Colin taking a sneaky nap next to the Nissan Juke.

Which show car is best designed for a back seat fumble in? T Jones

The Bentley estate by Touring is the obvious choice. It’s classy, enough space and elegant. I’m quite choosy, the less fussy might go for the Mansory Ghost.

Have you seen daylight yet? E Richards

No. And I won’t until about 6.00pm. The only downside of this place is that it’s incredibly hot.

Get blagging, and let us know the best freebie you can find (and can you run a competition for one of us to win it?) B James

You don’t really get blags at the motor show. What you really want is a Ferrari brochure. Wirh modern communications you can have it on Ebay within minutes. I shall try for one later.

That three-seat Honda concept? How do you get in, and will it appeal to bikers, drivers or neither? Harry Hocks

Certainly not bikers. The wackiest thing is that little Segway-like personal mobility device. A stand girl was riding it earlier but my firewall wouldn’t allow me to send the picture. You'll have to make do with this one instead.

Have you found any American muscle cars hiding in a corner of the show? L Kingsly

Dodge Challenger. God, I want one so badly. Not in black, but in Plum Crazy purple. I will own one of these one day.

Is it possible to make Hilton Holloway smile? If so, picture please. A Fields

Not easy. Working on it – give me time.

Is the Honda CRZ really a sporty hybrid? If so, how sporty is sporty? James Jakes

It looks quite sporty, we need to drive it to really answer that.

Which beer did you sample for lunch? Gordon Hills

Heineken. Horrible, but you can’t get a pint of London Pride here. Or any bitter. I think I will change to wine. The Alpina stand is the home of fine wines at Geneva.

See Colin drinking his Heineken, all in the name of story research.

Which is your favourite new car at the show? Mine is probably the new Alfa Giulietta- a great looking car. I can't wait for the autocar first drive to see if their claims are true! Holy cat

Giulietta looks good, especially inside. I like the Boxster Spyder very much. Not an imaginative choice but the day is not over.

Can you check out the mad stuff from the local exhibitors such as Sbarro and Rinspeed? There is often a lack of pictures of their stuff in the mags. Racing Puma

Sbarro’s designers have been at The Priory and seem to be off the halucinogenic drugs. There are three replicas on the stand: GT40, Ferrari P4 and Lola T70 all fantastic. Then I spotted this monstrosity. All is not lost.

Is the next Koenigsegg as bite the back of your hand gorgeous as the pictures look? Peter Cavallini

Yes it’s pretty stunning. Not my cup of cha, but if you’re into massive supercars it’s a bit special. And I love seeing Mr Koenigsegg's shiny head.See Mr Koenigsegg's shiny head.

Which premium/niche manufacturer’s stand has the snootiest staff and which has the friendliest? I was there two years ago and Rolls Royce was the worst and Morgan the best. Has it changed? NAK

You meet sales people whereas we meet PR people, who are a different breed. Also, we know the British PR people pretty well. However, Ferrari is pretty snooty even on press day. Lotus is great and Ford even better.

Monkey here mate. Presuming you'll be free for our usual lash-up Monday night at Cafe de Paris? There's a few cheeky sofas at the back of the Merc stand where we can sleep it off Tuesday am. Monkey Harris

You won’t believe this, but I’m staying on the wagon (more or less) because Tuesday I am working for the reader and must have some of my faculties intact. Meet you on the Porsche stand for elevenses and to be rude about the Panamera.

What happens the night before the show? Is Geneva a huge morass of car industry types on the lash? Colin Brown

Yes, but not as much as it used to be. Fiat used to hire a boat on the lake, open to everyone - including rival car makers – with a free bar. That used to be very messy.

Do the show girls have to stand there every day for the full two weeks? JJ O'Neill

I think so. It’s tough on them, especially after the dashing Colin Goodwin has gone home.

See Colin's favourite show girl here.

I hear Justin Timberlake is launching the Audi A1. Who is he? Simon H

Not entirely sure. Have a feeling he did F3 in the 1980s.

Cadillac. Will it ever succeed in Europe? E Lena

No. I have a greater chance of winning the 100m gold at London in 2012.

How big does breakfast have to be to get you through the show? Jake H

Full English done fit for a builder. Not some revolting continental fruit and crispbread nonsense

What’s for lunch? P Brown

Citroen is always good. I shall have a pint or two to set me up for the afternoon.

If you could afford an Aston, would you have a Cygnet? Isla Goss

Now what do you think? If I could afford an Aston I wouldn’t have an Aston.

Renault Wind – the silliest car name ever? J Ham

No, Alfa Arna is worse and I haven’t even delved into my memory for worse.

The Tata Aria is meant to be the most luxurious car ever built by the marque. Should Merc, BMW et al be worried? Tom Hill

They should be terrified.

Will you be wearing a suit or is it the usual journo scruffy jeans and T-shirt? Garry v12

I’m wearing a loud shirt with flowers on it, an expensive blazer and cheap beige trousers. Underpants fresh on this morning. No tie, but I might have to wear one at a Renault dinner tonight.

See Colin's show attire here.

My wife is hassling me for a fourth child. Should we? John McToon

Why not? Total freedom goes with the first one. A large family is not an excuse to drive a boring car. Do a deal: fourth child = project car for dad.

What’s the best Swiss joke you’ve ever heard? T Brown

I have never heard a Swiss joke

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1 March 2010

I thought this was a semi serious thing COL!, so here goes, is the next Koenigsigg as bite the back of your hand gorgeous as the pictures look?,and Colin my old fruit, if Sutters is there too, can we go on the pub crawl too!?, pleeeasee!!!

Peter Cavellini.

2 March 2010

Motor Shows. Why? Most of what you get there will be in the local dealers soon enough. In Exeter on one Trading Estate we have virtually every manufacturer, with cars you can actually drive. OK, you are 8 miles from a Lotus dealer, The Bentley dealer went bust, there are no Bugattis, or Rollers, but pretty much everything else. Are cars about driving? Oh, yes I did enjoy going when I was still at school!

2 March 2010

Dullest question of the day. Can you find out what's going on with the mild facelift on the M-B C-class? Round front fogs replaced by LCD daytime lights is the easiest way to spot it. Swiss M-B website and others show all of the facelifted pics. Don't want to order a car and then find it refreshed a month later!

2 March 2010

Hi Colin,

Can you get any more news on Cosworth tuned Toyota engines in road and race Lotuses. Also any info on Cosworth involvement in Lotus Indycar plans.

Info very sketchy in UK and most seems to be based on conversations in Geneva.


2 March 2010

Apart form the Tesla Model S, are there any 100% electric family cars showcasing at the Geneva Motor Show?

2 March 2010


can you give a moon for the camera ?

2 March 2010

Hello Colin, just wondered if you could find out why Audi decided to paint an A1 like a UR Quattro rally car? Is this a hint that they want to take up rallying again or something to tease group B fans such as myself with? Cheers!

2 March 2010


Can you NOT give a moon for the camera?

2 March 2010

Hi Colin, Wife wants a new motor to replace her 7 year old Jazz. Must be auto this time and the Honda Jazz iShift is cr@p, IMHO. Have driven a Yeti with the new 1.2TSI - manual- which should perform well in a smaller car with 7 speed DSG. This is now available in the face-lifted Fabia, Seat ST and Polo. The Polo is very expensive considering UK models are built in South Africa, which of the 3 would you suggest? She will keep the car for 6-7 years.

2 March 2010

Are you wearing May's special flowery shirt?


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