An annual event to which I look forward every year is the Bangkok International Motor Show. This is Thailand’s official motor show, accredited by the OICA, the world body that overseas motor shows.
This year, the theme involved the fashion industry as well as the auto industry, and fashions of all strange types were in abundance, with each stand’s “Pretties” (how I hate that word!) attempting to outdo each other with outlandish outfits. The winner has to be the “angel”, complete with feathers! Being someone who goes to motor shows to see motor cars, I find the “Pretties” (I even hate typing the word!) an annoyance. If I wanted to ogle, I can do that better in Pattaya’s Walking Street, and even have the chance of touching as well as looking.
Prince Bira’s ERA.
For me, the Press Day began with an automotive treat. There on display was Hanuman, one of Prince Bira’s ERAs, all resplendent in the blue and yellow of Siam, as this country was called in those days. A Red Bull F1 was also displayed, but it was Prince Bira’s ERA that was the star. After all, it was Bira who was the first Siamese (Thai) to reach the top in any international championships, winning the BRDC Gold Star 1936, 1937 and 1938, this award being as close as you can get to the F1 World Championship of today. There is obviously a big push towards Thailand having an F1 Grand Prix, so despite my initial misgivings, it might just happen. The logistics and lack of infrastructure are still there, but give the Thais their due, if the upper echelon decide it is going to happen, then it will happen, no matter how logical or otherwise.
Great Wall Haval.
I’ll go straight to what I considered to be the car of the show. One that has not been seen here before, and it came from China. Yes, the Chinese are definitely coming, and this new one is Great Wall. Their SUV range is under the Haval nameplate, and I was impressed with the style and finish of these cars. The ones on display were LHD, but the Great Wall representative told me they are looking to build a plant here in Thailand. So, with SAIC going to build the MG’s here and now Great Wall, and the ongoing boom in vehicle production from the manufacturers already here, Thailand will certainly be in the top 10 countries for automotive output for some time. The really big problem will be the shortage of skilled workers.
Proving that looks aren’t everything was the Brabus SLK B25 5. Brabus is another after-market tuner of Mercedes-Benz (like AMG), and the SLK looked fabulous, with wide wheels and bulging guards, really looking the piece.
The replacement of the iconic three pointed star with a “B” in the middle of the grille was a bit ‘off’, but I suppose they were trying to ensure the passers-by knew it was no ordinary SLK.
But here is where it all fell down. The specifications included torque figures of 370 Nm, and horsepower figures of 240 bhp. These translated into a zero to 100 kph times of 6.4 seconds, hardly enough to blow your toupee off. Those wide wheels are not really necessary!
I’m an angel.
There was another tuner Carlsson which was exhibiting a few M-B’s as well, replacing the three pointed star with a horse (or perhaps a donkey?) Not on, chaps. Not on!
The show this year has more of the exotic marques, with Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini, Porsche, Lotus, Ferrari and Jaguar, so if you want to be photographed next to some of the world’s most expensive cars, this is your chance. I must admit I have never been a great enthusiast of Lamborghini, but the new Audi-engineered Lamborghini’s look fantastic and items such as panel fit and trim are excellent and nothing like the sloppy way they used to be thrown together in the days of the Diablo.
“Pretties” and the push-up bra.
One of the Lotus cars has been used in competition events and has a towing strap on the front. Not a good plan to show a car like that, especially when popular history had L-O-T-U-S standing for Lots Of Trouble, Usually Serious!
The 911 series Porsches were delectable, and even the new Cayman sleek and smooth; however, the Panamera still looks like an ugly fat pig.
Next week I will give more details, but if you are quick, the show is still open until this Sunday April 7, so you can see for yourselves. It is in the Challenger Hall at the Impact Arena, tickets are B. 100 each, and you can even get in a lucky draw for something. (A push-up bra, perhaps?)