This year's Geneva show was one of contrition for your vertically challenged, vaguely brown UK correspondent. I had cause to come face-to-face with two people I felt wouldn't be too happy to see me. The first was the boss of Porsche's Weissach nerve-centre, Wolfgang Hatz, and the other was Christian Von Koenigsegg.

Were you the kind of masochist who deliberately chose to tangle with people you knew to be capable of squishing your head with one hand-clasp, Mr Hatz would make an excellent choice of adversary. He's a very large man. But then again everyone looks big from where I'm standing.


He isn't scary looking though โ€“ in fact he has one of those cheerily avuncular faces whose eyes almost close when he succumbs to one of his frequent bouts of deep laughter. He's a smoker, too, and I happened to be outside enjoying a coffin-nail as he emerged from the hall. He smiled; I immediately embarked on my mea-culpa.

"Mr Hatz", I began, arms to my side โ€“ the way they always were at school on my frequent visits to the Headmaster's study, "I owe you an apology."

He looked at me like he'd just been door-stepped by someone he'd vaguely recognized and then received an apology he didn't understand. Which he had.


"Twice in interviews over the past few years I not only doubted your ability to sell nine hundred and eighteen Porsche 918s, I goaded you into some heated exchanges on the subject. You said you would prove me wrong and you have."

At this point, for full theatrical effect I hung my head low and assumed the pose of a guilty Japanese citizen, as depicted in a medium-budget '80s Hollywood film. I made myself reek of dishonor.


I looked up again at his now quizzical expression: "As a public display my of my guilt at having not believed you, I have had a T-Shirt printed which reads 'Mr.Hatz. I was wrong about the 918."

I stopped talking and awaited his response. It was swift and unexpected, but then I suppose for a six-foot-something Swabian I do stand at something approximating bear-hug height. The clinch was short, powerful and surprising. He then released me, stepped backwards and, beamed: "I know! It's just the most amazing car! So many people said we would never sell all these cars and now we have people calling us for one, but there are none left!"

I replied by saying I thought it was the most surprising of the three hypercars, and that I couldn't believe the improvements wrought during the development process. I didn't actually use the word 'wrought' because it makes you sound a bit mad, but that's what I meant.


He was ticking now: "I did maybe 100,000 kilometers in the car during development, and it was so good."

Five minutes earlier he'd been standing next to the Porsche stage as the GT4 and GT3 RS were unveiled. I ask him: "Can you imagine what it must be like to be one of your competitors?"

"Ah, this is just the beginning, we have so much more, just wait", now his eyes are virtually shut with the force of his upturned, smiling cheeks, and he saunters back into the hall.


The Porsche employee a few yards away mutters to his colleague in German: "He hugged him, weird."

A few hours later I'm persuaded to wander onto the Koenigsegg stand, a place I have studiously avoided since incurring the wrath of boss-man Christian many years ago. He didn't like something I'd written about his Agera R. Like Herr Hatz (and the rest of the male species), he's considerably bigger than me. But we seem to have a mutual friend and that for me is an acceptable safety-net. Plus I reckon I can out-run him if he swings for me and seek sanctuary on the McLaren stand nearby.

I have no intention of apologizing, because in this case I have nothing to apologize for, but I have been guilty of still viewing K'egg as the same company that was knocking-out unconvincing soopacar pastiches a decade ago. That hasn't been the case for some time and the staggering 1800hp Regera is final confirmation.


We let Christian rap about his new direct-drive spaceship for the camera โ€“ he's one of the very best people at explaining their new technologies you'll ever hear โ€“ and then I ask him if I can shake his hand. There are many people who thought that might not happen, me included. But he does, and with a sporting smile, too. This gives me a warm glow in my tummy.

Suffused with a rare sense of well being and bonhomie to my fellow Mensch I tootle off towards the Lamborghini stand to investigate if communications emanating from the Bologna area about me not being allowed to drive its cars, on account of words published here, are true or not.


But on arrival we find boss-man Stefan Winkelmann mincing around the Aventador SV in a fog of hair-product and mascara and I think: "That there: that's what's wrong with Lamborghini", and I head off to dribble on the new Ford GT.

Illustration by Sam Woolley