Undeterred by this season’s heaviest snowfall, Speed:Sport:Life trudged over to McCormick Place from our downtown Chicago offices – AKA my apartment – to check out the assorted new metal spread across what is actually this country’s largest new car show. The layout of the place is impressive indeed, with one million square feet and no fewer than three indoor ride and drive experiences hosted by manufacturers. Amid the wide diversity of vehicles on display, a few stood out – below are the ones that left a mark, as well as the show award we feel they’re most likely to win.
Category - International Auto Shows
Under sunny skies, Saturday’s 22nd annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance went off without a hitch despite a schedule curtailed by one day, owing to Sunday’s expected rain showers. That still left hours of unfettered machinery-ogling on the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island’s pristine golf course, which is more than enough time to be left with the impression that this event remains one of the true automotive bucket list items. And even though my interests generally skew toward events that allow me to slide behind the wheel rather than merely observe, Amelia is the exception to that rule.
In a rare bit of music to our ears, Jaguar just announced at the 2014 LA Auto Show that their gorgeous F-Type will come one step closer to claiming our hearts by adding a 6-speed manual transmission option to the 2016 spec sheets. Hallelujah! But wait just a minute….there’s a trade off to be made.
Photos by Zerin Dube
Article Photos by John Kucek, Gallery Photos by Zerin Dube
As usual, 2014’s Detroit show was full of both winners and losers, good press conferences and bad, but the overwhelming theme was one of moderation – perhaps not in the sense of design, but in purpose and presentation. The show’s most important vehicle by far, the 2015 F-Series, was introduced with a whimper rather than a bang, eclipsed by the Atlas concept truck’s flashy debut in 2013. Likewise the Corvette Z06, which perhaps suffered most from feeling rather familiar after the C7 Stingray’s blockbuster intro last year. Thus, neither made my top five list of introductions at this year’s NAIAS. Nor, sadly, did anything from VW or Audi – despite strong showings from new production models (the new GTI and Golf R are both really sharp looking, and who in their right mind would badmouth a new S8?), their concepts fell flat. The
TT in drag Allroad Shooting Brake concept wasn’t bad, but perhaps presages a new TT that is a little more derivative than we were all hoping for. And the Beetle Dune was exactly what it sounded like – a jacked up Beetle – thus failing to stir my soul.
As a not-frequent-enough contributing author, I’m always pleasantly surprised when the team extends along an invitation to one of the illustrious industry events they attend. While five days in January in Detroit doesn’t scream “dream vacation” to most rational people, between me and you, it’s as good as a beach in Tahiti. That’s because the Detroit auto show, more formally known as the North American International Auto Show, prompts automakers to lavish undue amounts of attention on auto-journos in order to promote their wares. Shameless? Sure, sign me up….and hand me another cushy press kit, please!