What gives cars a soul? Actor Idris Elba ponders this from inside a desolate parking garage.
"Is it about acceleration? Speed? Is it the looks, like a piece of art?"
Luxury cars, old and new, will be the art pieces in a new annual show coming to Miami Beach in February 2019 from the owners of Art Basel. New details about the show, which was first announced in December, were revealed Wednesday.
In a promotional video, Elba drives several luxury vehicles in a tease of what's to come when Grand Basel parks in the Miami Beach Convention Center. The show is created by the Swiss company MCH Group, which owns the signature art fair Art Basel in Miami Beach, Hong Kong and its home of Basel, Switzerland.
Grand Basel and Miami Beach finalized the agreement Wednesday and set a date for the new car show: Feb. 22 to 24, 2019.
The show will include about 200 automobiles from the "past, present and future," with the majority of them available for purchase to collectors, restoration and conservation experts, dealers, manufacturers and connoisseurs. Grand Basel's exhibitors choose each vehicle through a juried selection process that focuses on the design, history and provenance of each individual automobile.
Grand Basel is being billed as the first to present cars in the "cultural context of art, design architecture and lifestyle." It will debut in Basel, Switzerland, from Sept. 6 to 9, 2018, before coming to Miami Beach. A Hong Kong event is planned for a later date. The Miami Beach event will be annual, said Mark Backé, global director of Grand Basel.
The combination of the success of Art Basel, the car collector market in Miami and the nearly finished Miami Beach Convention Center made Miami Beach a natural choice for Grand Basel, Backé said.
"We really want to focus on the car also in a way that we see the cultural aspect, the design aspect, the relationship to architecture," he said. Expert panels, on at least one special topic per day, will be a central part of the program.
It doesn't hurt that the classic car sector has also been booming.
The industry has grown more than 457 percent in the past decade, according to a 2016 Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index report, and the art community in Miami has grown exponentially, too, since Art Basel debuted here in 2002. The fair has an estimated economic impact of $500 million.
The price point for the new show is expected to be about the same as the cost of Art Basel, which is about $50 for a one-day ticket or $120 for a ticket valid for all days of the show. Backé said the show hopes to draw up to 10,000 people a day in Switzerland, and about the same attendance in Miami Beach.