One of the special exhibitions at the first Grand Basel in Basel are several curated frames that display cars and other items of historical significance, showcasing the advisory board members’ personal interpretation of automotive culture.
Grand Basel presents not just cars, but everything that is associated with and inspired by cars. With input from the unique advisory board, it showcases the epitome of automotive culture. Key elements of the first Grand Basel show in Basel have been curated on the views of a completely independent advisory board, encompassing leading figures from beyond the automotive world.
Prof. Paolo Tumminelli – 1980 Fiat Panda
The founding chairman of the advisory board, Prof. Tumminelli is a frequent commentator on automobile design, and a firm believer in the value of the automobile as a cultural asset. In his curated frame, Prof. Tumminelli presents a derelict 38-year-old Fiat Panda – a car that was found in Sardinia in 2008 and driven to the Neue Sammlung design museum in Munich. It is an honest representation of the automobile in its most pure form as a user-friendly tool. The iconic design by Giorgetto Giugiaro was unapologetically simple, in the tradition of practical compact cars such as the Citroen 2CV and Renault 4.
“The Panda is the very last car made for people, the last surviving witness of a time when the car was still serving humans, and not the other way around,” explained Prof. Tumminelli. “It is tireless, unpretentious, immediate, uncomplicated; a T-shirt on wheels, pure mobility. While not beautiful in the classical sense, and easy to overlook as a masterpiece of rational architecture, the Panda irrevocably completes the development of the popular automobile, which began in 1908 with the Ford T.”
Sylvie Fleury – 1963 Lincoln Continental
Artist Sylvie Fleury explores consumer culture in her work, and its relation towards gender and politics. American cars are also a passion for her and are often an important topic in her video works and installations. Fleury is the founder and president of the American car club “She Devils on Wheels.”
“I was thrilled by the chance to present Pablo Picasso’s last personal car in my frame at Grand Basel,” said Sylvie Fleury. “His white Lincoln Continental, a huge, powerful machine, shows an interface between art and design. Picasso was a true car connoisseur, and this 1963 car is still owned by his family. I parked the car in my frame like it was a sculpture, and the masculine design is played off against my two-metre-tall chromed shark tooth artwork, which harks back to a time when it was fashionable for women to wear a real shark tooth as a necklace pendant.
Stephen Bayley – 1962 Ford Consul Capri
Stephen Bayley is a highly regarded author, critic, columnist, broadcaster, consultant, debater and curator. The founding director of the London Design Museum, Bayley writes for several newspapers and magazines.
“The idea of what became the Ford Capri entered the mind of Ford of Britain’s designers in 1956, but as a slightly different car. This was an anguished year – the calamity of Suez marked the final end of the fading British Imperium. ‘Project Sunbird’ was established to give the designers something to dream about. And they dreamt about America. American prosperity offered an almost pornographic vista of possibilities.
“The result was one of the strangest mass-produced cars ever. Designer Colin Neale took styling cues from the Ford Galaxie, the Fairlane Skyliner and the Mercury Monterey. The huge rear deck is reminiscent of the ’61 Lincoln. Neale said the Capri was ‘sculpture in sheet metal’. And its formal complexity made it ruinously expensive to manufacture.
“It was the first popular car to wear a ‘GT’ badge; the 18th century ‘Grand Tour’ having been the historical origins of Anglo-Continental voyeurism. And while there was nothing very much technically distinguished about the Capri, it was the first popular British car to use a Weber carburettor, establishing a vicarious connection to Ferrari and Maserati. Despite so much semantic promise, it was a sales calamity – a mere 19,421 were made. It is not only one of the strangest, but one of the rarest Fords. Dreams, you see, are soon dispersed.”
Lapo Elkann – 2018 Fiat 500 Spiaggina by Garage Italia
When it comes to motion, design, creativity and style, Lapo Elkann has been acclaimed for his unconventional yet uncompromising and disruptive taste. A successful entrepreneur, Mr. Elkann founded lifestyle brand Italia Independent, communications agency Independent Ideas, and Garage Italia in Milan, a melting pot of Italian style, design, culture and cuisine.
“Cars, design and art are among my greatest passions,” said Lapo Elkann. “Innovation and contamination between different worlds – past, present and future – excite my heart and my brain, and the new 500 Spiaggina is a great example of this and the perfect fit for Grand Basel. It evokes beauty, positive energy, colours and good vibrations. It embodies ‘La Dolce Vita’ in its 4.0 version.”