Ah the Detroit Auto Show. Now here’s an auto show! I grew up around this annual homage to the great automobile and have yet to be (completely) disappointed. I was there as a kid during the bad years of the seventies and eighties when lust for carts was so low that outside vendors where there to show off the latest blender. (True fact!) I remember crawling all over the contractor/farm trucks in 79, being floored at the outrageously high sticker price of the 84 Corvette ($14,000), misspelling my own name when getting an autograph from Susan Napoli at the Yugo stand. (Hey. I was 15 and she was a Penthouse Pet.), and loving the fact that Detroit Piston star Isaiah Thomas was getting publicly crucified for promoting Toyota cars at the show. (Bad form, old mate, bad form.)
I would’ve loved to have gone to this year’s show, but life just decided to throw other things my way. Luckily, I can get all the good dirt and visual scenes right here on my computer by going to the NAIAS website. No, II don’t get to jump in all the various production models, pop the hoods and crawl all around them; but I also don’t have to worry about crowds of people pushing to see the new Stingray or Silverado either.
And as for food, well I can half boil a hotdog here and eat it if I really want that experience again.
I was going to break down my favorites by type and style, but since not everything has been released or posted, I’ll just hit the highlights.
Let’s start big. No, not the Corvette Stingray. Everybody and their grandmother has already talked about that. I’m talking about the family truckster. The rig that your tribe piles into and beats the crap out of both inside and out. The one vehicle that get no respect. The Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible.
Here is a full sized, two door convertible that will comfortably seat five with all their luggage. Besides the comfy leather seats and pliant ride, this car will also make sure the kids aren’t late for soccer practice with its 202 miles per hour top speed.
I don’t know about the 0 to 60 times or the quarter mile specs, but there’s gotta be something wonderfully delicious about blowing past a Ferrari on the freeway with your kid sticking his tongue out at them. (Plus you finally get to find out at what speed that toy pinwheel finally spins off its stick.)
Next are the Ford Transit Connect, Transit Van, and Atlas concept truck. I found the Transit Connect interesting since I wrote about the earlier edition as a good platform for a new camper van. The new one should work every bit as well.
The Atlas concept did give a good blend of what the future light duty and heavy duty trucks will look like, but the main thing I found interesting was redesign of the tailgate step. In its new design, it can act as a rear rack to allow work related items such as ladders to fit in a channel on the roof, a great idea; but what I see is a way to carry that long canoe or kayak so it isn’t sticking out the bed of your truck. This item needs to be standard on all new trucks.
Finally the Stingray. (You knew I wasn’t going to let this one go, right?)
This car screams excitement. It’s destined to be the new obligatory poster on every teenager’s bedroom wall and in every college dorm. It’s lithe. It’s lean. It’s powerful. It’s a beautiful design in every way… but one. The taillights suck! Call me a fuddy-duddy purist but Corvettes are supposed to have round taillights not square. Every Corvette that had square taillights was designed wrong and these escapees from the Camaro definitely do not belong on a car of this caliber. Everything else works though.
This year’s North American International Auto Show is making out to be a good one. I wish I was there, but at least I can visit virtually.