Noted Volvo tuner Heico Sportiv found an unlikely partner in upgrading a Volvo C70 when it tied up with Thonet, a German-based contemporary furniture designer to create – of all things – special wooden gearshift knobs to be installed on the C70.

By themselves, the gearshift knobs, which are made from either oak, beech, or walnut, look nothing like the standard knobs we’ve come to expect from almost all vehicles, but we guess that’s what makes it all the more alluring.

In fact, according to Thonet, the design of the knobs was done to reflect Volvo’s noted floating center console.

Unlikely as it sounds to have a furniture design company become involved in car tuning, Thonet’s gear shift knobs actually look pretty good when you piece the whole puzzle together. It’s not too loud that it stands out like a sore thumb yet it’s not too bland that nobody will even notice something was different. It was a curious choice for Heico Sportiv to bring Thonet on board but, at the end of the day, it seemed like it was worth it.

Press Release after the jump

Thonet does Automotive Design: The first gear shift lever by Thonet will have its worldwide presentation at the Geneva International Motor Show in cooperation with HEICO SPORTIV and VOLVO

At the Geneva International Motor Show (4-14 March 2010) the Thonet gear shift lever will, for the first time, be presented to a worldwide audience. The launch will take place in the exclusive ’Volvo S60 Lounge’ which has been completely fitted out by Thonet. Roland Ohnacker, CEO of the well-established Hesse-based company, is convinced that: "With intelligent cooperation projects companies will be better able to access new markets and target groups – especially in difficult economic times."

The new wooden Thonet gear shift lever

The gear shift lever to be presented in Geneva represents a combination of tradition and modernity in a product that has been developed jointly by Thonet and HEICO. The lever harks back to Thonet’s longstanding tradition of wood manufacturing: it has been developed, , for the new Volvo C70, whose interior fittings have been refined by HEICO SPORTIV.
The curved shape of the lever conveys lightness and reflects the design language of the floating centre console. It is crafted from the finest oak, beech or walnut wood and available as a limited edition that is hand made in an elaborate multi-stage process. Due to their longstanding experience in woodworking, Thonet was the perfect partner for implementing this ambitious project.

The Thonet Lounge at the Geneva Motor Show

The Thonet Lounge, especially designed for the Geneva Motor Show, will form the exclusive backdrop for the world premiere of the Volvo C70 by HEICO SPORTIV and the new Volvo S60. The lounge will be located at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Geneva where, in addition to the Motor Show, both cars will be presented to the eager public and to professional visitors. Thonet will exclusively fit out the lounge, which will underline the overall quality of the presentation. Fittings will include the successful sofas from the S 5000 product family (designed by James Irvine) and the S 123 barstools (also by James Irvine).

New cooperation projects provide access to new markets and target groups

Since last year, Thonet have intensified their cooperation with other enterprises and exhibition organizers, in order to gain access to new consumer groups and markets. Thonet has already created its own lounges at the Frankfurt IAA, the Berlin Bautec and the Frankfurt Ambiente. Thanks to their cooperation with Japanese retailer Muji, Thonet has penetrated the young consumer market for furniture classics: more-affordable versions of successful classics from the Thonet collection are now available in Muji stores. Thonet CEO Roland Ohnacker commented: "Our collaborative projects from the last 12 months alone have shown the potential of the brand, and have proven how many doors can be opened when you present excellent collaboration ideas for both trade fair exhibitions or product development. Based on our experience at the Frankfurt IAA, we expect our participation at the Geneva Motor Show to result in new contacts to exciting new consumer groups."

Source: Thonet

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert -
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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  (506) posted on 08.3.2010

Very nice design on it’s own, but looks a bit out of place in the car. Now if they also did a door/dash trim package to match it’d be awesome.

  (417) posted on 03.21.2010

Lovley shift knobs. But IMO MOMO wooden Shift knob is way better looking than this.

  (504) posted on 03.19.2010

Pretty neat. Well, whenever I see a car with wooden panels and stuffs on the interior, I always see them as the “luxurious” kind of car and the metallic colorful ones as the racy sporty types. I’d say that this design of the knob would go great for the C70 and it would be better if other panels and knobs on the car can be designed with the same concept and material. Although I know that by making so, the car will definitely be more expensive.

  (461) posted on 03.18.2010

Lovely, so simple and elegant. I wonder how much will it costs to have one?

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