The things you may have missed
These are the 2017 Frankfurt motor show sights you may have missed.
So you’ve seen all the amazing new production and concept cars at what’s shaped up to be an exciting event. But what you may not have seen is the other side of the show – the less glamorous, but no less interesting, sights, things and yes even cars that we’ve unearthed. In short, these are the underdog stars of the show; we hope you agree.
TransportPanzer FuchsOriginally developed by Daimler in 1979, the TPz is now built by Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles and 1,236 are in service with the German Army. It weighs 17 tons (37,500 lbs) and is powered by a 320bhp Mercedes V8 diesel. Top speed is 65mph (105 km/h). It is designed for reconnaissance in Nuclear-Biological-Chemical warfare situations.
So, broadly speaking, we hope this is the only time you ever see one.
Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman LimousineDictators rejoice. This glorious beast can be yours to buy at the show. However, you will need to loot even more money from your long-suffering subjects, as it will cost you €1.49 million (US$1.78m, £1.34m). Not a dictator, but simply an eccentric millionaire? Then this is a very good way to emphasise to your friends your embryonic mid-life crisis, with a side order of narcissistic personality disorder.
Microlino‘Change urban mobility’ is the slogan. The devil in us secretly hopes that it is a subversive up-yours to all the glamorous, grandiose cars on display, and is simply suggesting that the solution to getting around while reducing traffic levels is simply to drive tiny cars like this contraption. We’re sure it’ll catch on.
Seriously though, the car features a 8kWh electric engine, good for a range of 120km (75 miles), or 215km (134 miles) with a larger 14.4kWh engine. Top speed is 90 km/h (56mph).
PAL-V LibertyA flying car from Dutch firm PAL-V. It claims that its Liberty machine will be the first production-model flying car. It also claims that it will blend into normal traffic when needed, and then fly over it when that becomes too tiresome.
PAL-V LibertyIt is scheduled to cost €500,000 (£451,000 & US$598,000), excluding taxes, and comes with a ‘familiarization course at delivery by PAL-V Lead Flight Instructor’, an offer we strongly suggest you take up.
BB 911 RainbowGerman designer Rainer Buchmann founded the BB company in 1974, and has been turning out customised Porsches and Mercedes ever since. Part of the Frankfurt show celebrated his work.
BB 911 RainbowHis Rainbow targa is an early effort from 1976, based on a Porsche 911 Turbo, featuring a 2993cc boxer-six (of course!), good for 168mph. These today sell for around €800,000 (£720,000 & US$960,000), and is notable since the original 911 Turbo was never officially available with a targa top.
BB 911 TurboBuchmann created this Turbo coupe version in 1980.
BB Mercedes 500 SEC Magic-Top32 years before the modern S-Class Cabriolet, Herr Buchmann produced this hard-top convertible SEC.
BB Mercedes 500 SEC Magic-TopThe roof mechanism may look more than a little convoluted to modern eyes, but this is as good as things got in 1984 with a hard-top.
Avrora Robotics Mars A-800This is a futuristic robot tank from Russian firm Avrora. As the name might suggest, we dare say you could use it on Mars as well as Earth.
Thunder Power SUVThis is a new electric SUV from Hong-Kong based Thunder Power. It disturbingly reminds us of the monstrous Mercedes GL-based Aston Martin SUV concept that put in an appearance at the 2009 Geneva motor show and has never been seen since. We wish this car (not much) better fortune.
Mercedes-Benz 280SEHow beautiful is this car? The W111 convertible first emerged at the 1961 Frankfurt motor show. In 1969 a final series model was introduced, where the 280SE could be fitted with a 200bhp 3.5-litre engine, good for 130mph. These cars are very valuable now, but the €595,000 (£537,000 & US$713,000) for this (admittedly mint) show model seems a bit rich even by the increasingly unhinged pricing standards of the classic car market.
Mercedes-Benz Brabus G900This is the car for you if you think the standard Mercedes G65 AMG just isn’t good enough. Unveiled at the show, the Brabus takes the V12 621bhp, 738lb ft of the G65 and boosts it up to 1,106lb ft. This gets this beast to 60mph from rest in 3.9 seconds, off to a top speed of 168mph. Only 10 will be made, and you’ll have to find US$800,000 (£600,000) if you want one.
Mercedes 280SL (W113)This is one gorgeous car, and looks to be in superb condition. However, the €298,000 (£268,000, US$357,000) show sticker-price for this car seems somewhat ambitious. Perhaps our eccentric millionaire will come along for more punishment. These cars regularly sell in good condition for over £150,000 (US$200,000) in the UK.
Brabus AdventureAfter the G900, this G550-based off-road special seems almost tame. Brabus has tuned up the twin-turbo 4-litre V8 engine to 550bhp and 590lb ft of torque, taking the car to 60mph in 6.7 seconds and a limited top of 130mph.
Yanfeng XiM18You may not have heard of Yanfeng, but the Chinese firm is a world leader in the production of car interiors. The XiM18 concept car transforms itself into various modes depending on what the operator desires: Drive, Family, Meeting and Lounge.
Yanfeng XiM18Whether or not such a vehicle ever comes to pass, it’s certainly a good example of how the packaging gains of electrification can be put to good use.
Ford Fiesta Mk1 (1976)Your writer drove his first car in one of these, aged about seven on the lap of his grandma, on a private road. So I will forever love the first Fiesta, and I would suggest it still looks great. For generations of Europeans, it’s been their first car and some of us like me still have one. 16 million Fiestas have sold in total, 4.5 million of them in Britain, but the 1976 original formula of a simple, well-packaged, easy-driving car set the template.
Ford Capri Mk1 (1968)Conceived at its launch in 1968 as a European Ford Mustang, and designed by an American, it never quite worked out that way. But no matter – the Capri was for a long time the real-world car that youngsters aspired to, and often acquired when they got the chance. Ford sold 1.9 million of them through to 1986 over three generations, and did wonders for Ford’s image across Europe.
Ford Torino (1968)This macho coupe was also first produced in 1968 and was an offshoot of the existing Ford Fairlane. It featured a 3.3-litre six-cylinder engine as standard, with GT versions getting a 4.9-litre small-block V8. In 1975, towards the end of the car’s production it found everlasting fame, with the white swoosh, as the star car of the popular TV series Starsky & Hutch.
Mazda Cosmo 110S (1967)The Cosmo was first launched in 1967 and the following year this racing version was produced. The Cosmo was one of the first production cars to be equipped with a rotary engine and Mazda wanted to show how reliable the engine could be. It planned an ordeal-by-fire, with an entry into the gruelling 84-hour Marathon de la Route at the Nürburgring, and one of its cars finished in a very respectable fourth place. The car continued until 1996, spanning four generations, and kept with the rotary throughout.
Mercedes-Benz C111 (1970)Featuring a four-rotor Wankel 2.4-litre, the C111 produced 350bhp and could reach 186mph. Enhancements later saw the car crack 200mph at Italy’s Nardo circuit.
Mercedes-Benz C111 (1970)It was later fitted with a conventional 4.8-litre turbo V8, and set an average lap speed of 251mph in 1979. For some people, the C111 is the ultimate concept car.
Porsche 914/6 (1969)The 914 of 1969 was conceived to replace both the Porsche 912 and the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, and the project was run by one Ferdinand Piëch. Back then, the relationship between Porsche and VW was complex to say the least, and the two companies fell out. The resulting six-cylinder 914/6 – as shown here – ended up being almost as expensive as the 911 and sold poorly, though the four-cylinder 914/4 was much cheaper and sold well.
Porsche 914/6 (1969)The model limped on until 1972, when its would-be 916 successor was dumped. Just 3,351 of the 914/6 were sold against 118,000 914/4s. The resulting rarity has yielded great benefits for long-term owners; 914/6s now sell for over £100,000 (US$130,000). We think it still looks great from the front, with its flat-nose 911-look, but the back… not so good.
The debacle didn’t seem to harm Dr Piëch’s career too much, and these days Porsche is fully part of Volkswagen, despite an infamous effort for VW to be part of Porsche, undertaken in 2008.
Volkswagen Rieger-SciroccoThe Volkswagen Scirocco achieved something of a cult status, and this lairy wide-arched Rieger tuned version formed a cult-within-a-cult. These cars sell today for around €35,000 (£32,000 & US$42,000).
Mercedes-Benz SGS 500SECHow about this for a slice of Eighties excess? This 1984 500SEC featured a lazy 5-litre V8 good for 231bhp, customised by Hamburg’s Styling Garage.
Mercedes-Benz SGS 500SECYou can buy this car for €60,000 (£54,000 & US$72,000).
Volkswagen Golf GTi Mk1 (1976)After the original Golf (then called Rabbit in the US) was launched in 1974, Volkswagen two years later fitted a 1.6-litre fuel-injected engine and produced the world’s first hot-hatchback. Good for 110mph, it would spawn a host of imitators to this day.
Volkswagen Golf GTi Mk1 (1976)The original and best? Well, not quite. We recently drove all the Golf GTIs and concluded that, on balance, the Mk5 of 2005 was the essence of the badge.
Audi’s robot bandIt’s a robot rock band. On the Audi stand. Which is kind of fun, we think.
Gullwing & 356-X-Ray ArtX-Ray versions of the Mercedes 300SL Gullwing and Porsche 356. The image is designed to promote a book called ‘X-Ray: see through the world around you’, by Nick Veasey. A photographer, Veasey uses specialised imaging equipment to create images that see within.
Mercedes-AMG GT 3D Printed CarA Mercedes model, printed on a machine. All they need now is a bigger printer, and they could make a real one. They will then need a name for the full-sized-car-printing-machine… thing. How about ‘production line’? We can see this catching on.
RTB DodgemRTB specialises in parking systems, and it claims that this is the first electric car, from 1963. Not quite; that actually came out in 1888. RTB has converted this dodgem to run on battery power with a 25-minute range, so it doesn’t need an overhead supply.
Shame – we think the poles, sparks, and funfair roadie riding on the back are integral parts of any dodgem ride.
IMSA Mercedes-Benz AMG GTGermany’s IMSA has been going since 1999 but nobody has heard of them as they’ve been so low profile. Their plan at this show is to raise their profile. They specialise in tuning Mercedes – GT, G-Wagen, S-Class, and C-Class.
IMSA Mercedes-Benz AMG GTAs brutalist tuner cars go, this AMG GT isn’t a bad effort.
AeromobilForget electrification and autonomy, where we’re going doesn’t need roads. Aeromobil plans this flying car to be in production by 2020 with a price tag of around €1.5m (£1.4m & £1.79m).
AeromobilThe company hails from Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, and the car/plane’s order-book should open shortly.
City E-TaxiThis car claims to be the length of a Smart ForFour with the interior space of an S-Class – but it’s just a three-seater McLaren style; one up front and two in the back with their feet alongside the driver. It is an electric city car but you don’t need to recharge it – you just swap the flat batteries for a full set.
Mahle MeetThis is purely a concept for an electric city car, with no plans to put it into production. British firm Mahle is trying to guess at what things will be like in 10 years’ time and is creating concepts to suit.
Volocopter VC200Forget planes, drones and copters are the future for urban mobility. Well, that may be the view of Daimler. The parent company of Mercedes has recently invested US$30 million into this venture, which should see a pilot programme shuttling people around Dubai by the end of 2017.
Volocopter VC200We don’t not like it.
Rotwild R.S2 Limited EditionYet another urban transport solution. This device, known as a ‘bicycle’, is a joint-venture between Rotwild and Mercedes-AMG. It weighs just 7.38kg (15.8lb), comes in five frame sizes, and is limited to 50 units. Not quite sure of the price, but an earlier AMG bike currently costs €10,000 (£9,000 & US$12,000).
Suitcase-scooterAny motoring journalist will tell you that attending the Frankfurt motor show is a sport in itself. It’s not just fighting through the crowds of scribblers and snappers, but the sheer distances; the show is in 12 different halls, covering 367,000 square-meters, and it involves a lot of walking around: meine herr and meine herren, this is the solution.
Cars CarA car from Cars, made of model cars.
AC CobraThere is always space in an Autocar gallery for the AC Cobra.
Electric Citroen 2CV pick-upOne of the finest new electric cars at the show, we think.
GreenpeaceBelieve it not, with their sentiment that ‘the oil age is ending’, Greenpeace is in broad agreement with most of the car company executives at the event.
Matreshka busForget driverless cars, this is a Russian driverless bus. With a range of 80 miles and a top speed of 20mph, production is due to begin this year.
Police Ford MustangThis is marvellous; it would be an honour to be pulled over by this car.
ThyssenKrupp SunriserThis solar-powered car was produced by a team at Bochum University of Applied Sciences, and came third in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in 2015. It has a top speed of 120km/h (75mph).
Renault Twizy, with CaravanThis is rather adorable…
Volkswagen Type 2We have seen endless modern reincarnated concepts of the microbus, but the original is best.
And finally...We don’t know who you are, Mr Snapper, but you have by far the finest moustache at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show. Yes, even better than Dieter Zetsche’s. And that’s saying something, and is important. Hang on…, you're wearing a Mercedes lanyard too. What’s going on?