The inaugural edition of Grand Basel was a masterclass in mechanical muses

The inaugural edition of Grand Basel was a masterclass in mechanical muses

While the world’s eyes were fixed on the Frankfurt Auto Show and its new clutch of concepts, design studies and shiny new cars, a far more modest event had just taken place down in Basel, Switzerland. Grand Basel is the first of a new salon format of auto shows, set up by Swiss marketeers the MCH Group as a means of showcasing a select group of supercars, old and new, as well as innovations that might get buried in the scale of a major auto show.

Just four cars graced the stage, ranging from a piece of pure sixties extravagance in the form of Giorgetto Giugiaro’s 1963 Chevrolet Corvair Testudo, right up to a new iteration of one of the most avant-garde automotive statements of recent years, Rem Koolhaas’ Lo Res car.

Lo Res by Rem Koolhaas

Also on show was a pristine example of the 1935 Avions Voisin C25 Aérodyne, the supercar of its day and now perhaps best known for being one of Le Corbusier’s many mechanical muses. Finally, there was the world debut of the Zagato IsoRivolta Vision Gran Turismo concept, a nomenclative thicket that denotes a multitude of tie-ins and collaborations around one of Italy’s most evocative marques.

Koolhaas has showed the Lo Res before, although that original car is now in a private collection. Based on the abstracted model of a 70s-era Lamborghini Countach, the latest iteration of the Lo Res is being produced in a limited-edition run as a piece of functional sculpture. The setting was shaped by the Berlin-based design agency BlueScope, evoking gallery displays, not motor show stands, a strong indication that MCH hopes to hold similar salons in Miami and Hong Kong in the future, creating a curating platform for some of the world’s most intriguing machines.