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Drive Life : June 4th 2010
1HERSA1 0009 The Sydney Morning Herald June 4, 2010 Drive Life 9 BUFORI GENEVA ''The Bufori Geneva combines cutting- edge technology with a beautifully proportioned body that exudes presence and style. Featuring classic design elements such as the long running boards, the new luxury saloon also boasts noticeably modern styling cues such as elegantly integrated bi-xenon headlamps and LED rear lights.'' That's the official pitch but has this ambitious melding of old and new succeeded? The results are shown here for us all to judge. Harshly. Bufori started off in Australia, building a version of the US-designed Madison kit- car. This morphed into something uniquely, er, Bufori. The company is now based in Malaysia, where the Geneva was developed, perhaps with help from people in the costume jewellery industry. Production starts this month. MITSUOKA OROCHI As any student of weird fringe-dwelling Japanese car companies will know, Mitsuoka specialises in reskinning modern cars to make them look silly, sorry, nostalgic. Fancy a Nissan Cedric done up to look like a 1960s Bentley, or a Nissan March pretending to be a Mark II Jaguar? No? Didn't think so. Mitsuoka didn't copy anything for the Toyota-powered Orochi, on sale since 2006. Except perhaps a kid's cartoon rendition of some sort of plankton- sucking deep sea creature. Is that baleen in its mouth? The convertible version is known as the Nude Top. PONTIAC AZTEK From some angles the Aztek doesn't really look all that bad, particularly the ''around the corner and 400 metres down the road'' angle. The exterior design brings to mind a collision of space junk; to get more styling points wrong, a designer would need a second body shell. Presumably the myriad scoops and hectares of cladding were supposed to make it look tough and anything other than the soft-roader it was. It didn't. Worse, there was a huge amount of hype preceding the Aztek's unveiling at the 2000 Detroit auto show. This SUV was going to stop the Japanese. It did: they were too busy holding their sides to move. SSANGYONG STAVIC What can you say about the styling of the Stavic? I'll rephrase that: what can you say that is publishable in a family newspaper? This legendary ugger --- particularly in its original 2004 incarnation --- is so cack- handed in every aesthetic department it makes the average people-mover owner feel like they are getting about in an ultra- stylish Italian sports machine. Englishman Ken Greenley wielded the pencil. The design brief was apparently to ''capture the elegance of a luxury yacht'', though one senses that when this brief went from Korean to English via Google Translate, something went terribly wrong. ''OK, if that's what you really, really want,'' Mr Greenley may well have said, ''I'll draw you a collapsing bus shelter on wheels and make it look like an unlicensed builder has knocked up an illegal extension at the back.'' LIGHTBURN ZETA If forced to choose between the sedan and sports versions of the Lightburn Zeta, which way would you leap? It's a bit like being asked whether you'd rather have your thumbs cut off or attend a John Farnham concert . . . there's no painless option. Whereas the famously misshapen sedan had an out-of-the-box hideousness that was almost supernatural, the Sports looked merely effete and fragile --- until modified to comply with the NSW road rules. As the headlights were too low and the suspension couldn't be pumped high enough to rectify this, a second set of raised headlights was bolted onto the guards above the normal ones. The result looked like a car-sized rendition of something caught through a macro lens by an entomologist. SBARRO AUTOBAU Ever seen a plastic Star Trek model built by a 10-year-old who didn't read the instructions? It may have been the inspiration for the Sbarro Autobau. Or perhaps that nose is modelled on a kitchen implement of the future; either way, it looks ready to strain the lumpy bits out of any errant pedestrians. If anything misses the main mincer, there are extra scoops above and below the windscreen. Sbarro is a low-volume Swiss company and this effort, shown at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, should ensure it stays that way. There are two seats. Entry and exit (and it's not hard to guess which of the two most people would prefer) is effected through a lift-up lid that brings to mind the Purvis Eureka. With all the associated pain. CITROEN AMI (SEDAN) Flaminio Bertoni was genius. The sculptor- turned-automotive designer was the man responsible for a string of amazing Citroens, including the incredible DS. So how did the Ami, which he also shaped, end up looking like it was designed during a reality television show by teams of feuding ex-partners? From every angle it was a visual confrontation. Why the weird reverse-rake windscreen, hey Bertoni? Or the creases on the bootlid, the over-sized square headlights and the microscopic tail-lights? ''Because I am French,'' might have been the response. Except he was born in Italy.
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