What is the most important item to take to the 32nd Bangkok International Motor Show? A good stout pair of walking shoes! The new venue in the Challenger Hall of the Impact Arena is huge, and the exhibitors’ booths correspondingly larger. Undoubtedly the best motor show ever staged in Thailand.
A new name to the Bangkok International Motor Show is Wiesmann, a bespoke manufacturer of incredibly fast sportscars, spoiled for me by the matt paintwork, but the pseudo retro look is very appealing. The Wiesmann brothers were enthusiasts of the British sports cars of the 50’s and 60’s, so when they started building their own cars, it was natural that they would use the period in their own design.
From the rear, the car is Austin Healey 3000, whilst from the front it is unashamedly Jaguar XK 120. However, that is where the retro finishes. The car is built on BMW underpinnings, using the V8 of the M3 or the V10 of the M5. In the lightweight body/chassis this results in stunning performance. The BMW donor does not include the unloved iDrive, so the Wiesmann remains a sheer performance sports car.
The interior is totally encased in leather, and while the red interior on display was rather fetching, the other car with the blue interior did not appeal too much. Local distribution is being handled by Bhiyute Chiemprasert, who also has Brabus and 9ff (Porsche derivative). If you have between 12.5 and 14.9 million baht drop him an email on [email protected]
For me, the show was not so much about new eco-cars such as the Honda Brio, no matter how important they are, but more about some of the off-the-wall items seen this year. Take the Brabus “tank” for example, or what I named the “Bra Bus”. Huge housebrick styled Mercedes GL with astonishing performance with zero too 100 km/h in 5.5 seconds. The best or perhaps the worst of both worlds!
But if you wanted the worst, go no further than the Mitsuoko stand. Take a sick bag with you – you will need it.
Ssanyong did shoot their sstylist and the new Korando looks as good as most others in the small soft-roaders, but the old Actyon is not saved by two go-faster stripes on the bonnet, I am afraid.
BMW displayed their Mini brand in semi-darkness, a ploy to disguise just how porcine and oversized the Mini has become. The four door version is so far removed from Sir Alec Issigonis’ concept that it does not deserve the name ‘Mini’ any more. Such a shame that this icon of the British motor industry should end up in this way. The main BMW stand was full of the range being offered by BeeEmm, including the fugly 1 Series and the over-inflated X6.
General Motors, for once in its life at the motor show, presented an interesting and informative display with some history from its beginnings in 1911 (yes, 100 years of GM) and examples of their pickups from a 1926, to 1956, to 1960 and now the latest Colorado, which looks a very handsome unit.
Arch rivals Ford presented the new Ford Ranger, designed in Australia and to be manufactured here. The vehicle on display was, however, a mock-up (and I believe is the same one shown in Australia last year). The Colorado will steal a march on the Ranger, being available long before the 2012 season, in which the Ford becomes readily available.
New Ssanyong Korando
The just released Honda Brio eco-car generated much interest, with a base price of 399,000 baht, but with a few options was soon 505,000 baht. The interior was remarkably roomy, and even with the driver’s seat in the rear position to cater for farang legs, there was still adequate knee room for the rear seat passengers.
More on the motor show next week, with some comments on the ridiculous “Pretties” and their even more ridiculous get-ups. Remember it is at the Challenger Hall at the Impact Arena and closes April 6.
No! No! No!
New Chevrolet Colorado
New Ford Ranger
New Honda Brio