The Skyscraper Visible Behind the Grazing Herd

The Geneva Motor Show is happening soon and for the 16th year in a row I will not be going. This car, by GFG Style, will be on display.

2018 GFG Style Sybilla concept car: Automotive News

I didn’t go to the Geneva show at any time before sixteen years ago either but it wasn’t on my radar before then.

Going to Geneva is one of a trio of things I haven’t yet done and seriously definitely really mean to within the next year. The others are to attend Fasnacht in Switzerland and to drink white wine on the banks of the Mosel in the autumn. Here is the front three-quarter view:

2018 GFG Style Sybilla concept car: Automotive News

It’s worth keeping in your mental mind the fact this is an image from a CAD programme and not a photo of the real car. I suspect that the source of the image does the shape something of a disservice. It’s a rather inert set of photos, isn’t it? Or maybe the design is also inert.

And here is the rear three-quarter view. Some Alfa Romeo GTV (da Silva’s) and some Maserati GT hockey sticks.

2018 GFG Style Sybilla concept car: Automotive News

Before going on to give the car a bit of a critique/analysis, chew on this quote from Automotive News Europe (if it was a magazine I´d buy it): “The Sibylla, which Giugiaro developed with Chinese energy management company Envision, will debut at the Geneva auto show on March 6.”

Envision specialise in renewable energy. You may not have heard of them. By sponsoring GFG Style, Envision have won themselves some publicity. GFG is Giorgetto Giugiaro’s design consultancy. It is my hypothesis that the nature of the business deal was that in return for some money, GFG Style designed a pretty object that would draw people’s attention to Envision’s services. In the old days design consultancies spent their own money on drawing car companies’ attention to the services they could provide.

“GFG Style’s first public project was the 1,287-hp Ren electric supercar for the Chinese startup Techrules,” added ANE at the end of the article.

If we turn to the side view, one notices the optically dark canopy and the residual C-pillar with the zag cutting in from the boot. Almost interestingly, the base of the DLO is almost horizontal, parallel to the almost-horizontal graphic “cut-out” above the sill. The ends of the car look untidy: there’s a kind of lump poking out at the rear and, at the front, GFG seem to be as unable to design a pleasant front mask as anyone else today.

Now that I try to dissect the car I realise there isn’t a whole lot to say about it that is positive. I’m tempted more to reflect sadly on how one’s creative powers wane with the advancing years. Giugiaro is 80 (happy birthday and bloody well done, sir) and he should be nurturing new talent rather than trying to out-design his 30-year old self.

Offspring Fabrizio never showed a lot of flair – I suspect he knows a lot about car design but has never demonstrated an intuitive ability to push an inspired, original idea to technical completeness (that makes two of us).  Between them, Messrs Giugiaro seem not to be able to astound us and the fact that a non-automotive firm has sponsored this design object (it isn’t art) reveals a lot about how much need the car manufacturers have for GFG Style.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

12 thoughts on “The Skyscraper Visible Behind the Grazing Herd”

  1. One gets the feeling that Mr GG´s effort is not something that can provoke any debate. There is one thing worse than being talked about and that is not being talked about.

  2. It’s difficult to make any worthwhile statement on the basis of these renders. I therefore reserve judgement until I see it in the metal/fibre.

    What I can already say though is that I prefer the moderate form language and overall pleasing proportions of this to any of the concept cars shown by the Germans at Frankfurt. That may be damning Sybilla with faint praise, but it’s the best I can muster.

  3. I first saw this on ANE too (I agree it’s an excellent site). I agree with Kris’s own thoughts and would add that, reassuringly, it carries all the hallmarks of Giugiaro’s design – almost like an attempt at a comeback album if you follow my drift; it’s very familiar, if a bit unoriginal and slightly baggy in places.

    1. This design is indeed composed of familiar bits and alas they don´t really gel at all. I wish that the apertures and joints had been better resolved as here much of the craft resides. I agree it´s inoffensive. Is this the alternative to the schools of Waku Doki and Sensual Purity? Some parts don´t make sense – those bumps under the rear bumper don´t help.

    1. Adrian: to be serious, yes, it seems we are. If I prepare a list of five good concepts (it’ll be an article) you can respond in turn. Have a think about your nominees and I’ll think of mine.

    2. I do enjoy reading your analyses however, and am gradually realising how there is logic behind some of my likes and dislikes as a result, but perhaps not with all of them.

      I also freely admit to being slow at spotting a design that will stand the test of time – this is mirrored in my choice of music listening, where some of my all time favourites took a long time to grow on me. So I am always fascinated to read some considered views from others. It gives me food for thought!

    3. That´s pleasing to hear. I got it really wrong about Chris Bangle – that was true. There are some designs I liked a bit to begin with but went cool on with the passage of time. Mostly I underestimate or misinterpret. Some cars only get better with time. I always liked the pre-GM Saab 900 and I only admire it more and more. It´s such a solid bit of work and quite possibly founded on an intuitive approach to form that we don´t have today.

    4. Hatch or saloon in particular? I always had a bit of a soft spot for the two door saloon I must confess; and a neighbour had a 90 which was a funny old mix wasn’t it? I could never quite decide which I preferred.

    5. All of the 900s had good characteristics. The 3-door seemed to suggest an unorthodox coupe. The five door served as a crypto-estate and the four door had an engaging gawkiness. Funnily, although I know the 2-door saloon existed it is the one I had to Google to check. And I have seen loads. I like it too – wasn´t an alternative to a BMW 316? Or what exactly? It is a hard car to place. It isn´t a raffish coupe – it´s precisely a Saab 900 with two doors and a boot. It isn´t making a statement that I can detect. What a fine crop of cars. All the needed was an actual estate and they did think about it because there is one at the Saab museum.

  4. I don’t think it looks bad, it just looks uninteresting, and slightly old. I swear I’ve seen these proportions and surfacing on a Kia concept from 2004.

  5. I still love the rearlights of the Maserati 3200 GT, but I don´t want to see them on a concept car for the Future – unless they are more functional or at least more beautiful. But i am afraid these ones are not.

    The Geneva Motor Show has some interesting cars this year – i would like to see the new very low Peugeot 508 and – concerning concept cars – there is an exhibition of old and nice examples – “le Retour du Futur” there.
    http://radical-mag.com/2018/03/03/le-retour-du-futur/

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