The North American International Auto Show Charity Preview is, I am obliged to say, the single largest charity event in the metro area, and raises a small fortune for its various beneficiaries – $5.2 million this year. They do it by not spending much at all — the drinks are included with the $400 ticket price, and I was shocked this year that I was actually able to nab one. In previous years it seemed like they had one bar and a case of mediocre champagne. This year there were multiple bars, and mediocre red and white wine, plus beer. But that’s fine, because it’s for charity, and as they always say, the stars are the cars.
Eh, not so much this year. It was a pretty underwhelming show, which you can see as a just a fallow year or maybe a tipping point. The big talker this year was Ford’s embrace of “mobility,” the buzzword for the city of the future — light rail plus buses plus ride-sharing plus driverless cars plus bikes plus, oh yeah, your own two feet. This is how we’ll get around in denser environments, and for those of you who insist on living elsewhere? Here’s an SUV. So let’s get to the pictures, shall we?
The underwhelming stuff is in the lobby outside the show hall. The guy pimping this whatever-it-is roped me in with an air of desperation. It’s one seat wide, no back seat, and it gets 85 miles per gallon. He told me that three times. Whatever, dude. I can’t imagine how it handles, but it’s your car for getting to the light-rail station, maybe.
We entered at Kia, which unveiled a new fancy-schmancy thing, seen here. I think it’s called a Stinger:
If you’re thinking, yes, the world’s been waiting for a better Camry, then you must be living in my head. But hey, it’s a Kia. And it’s very red and shiny. This, elsewhere in the Kia space, was my fave:
Now those are some damn snow tires. About three or four days a year, I could use the hell out of those.
This matte paint is a trend, I gathered. That’s a vintage …Challenger body (I think) with a brand-new performance engine in it. For the boomer who has everything:
I’m including this picture of a Chrysler concept van for Brian Stouder, and I think he knows exactly why:
It’s actually kind of cool. Called the Portal. It’s a concept, so all the cool shit will be stripped off if it ever hits the road, but that’s why we love concepts.
The Volvo moose. I think it’s promoting their accident-avoidance system:
Here’s something I’m glad we are finally speaking plainly about. Quien es mas macho?
Finally, the new dress. Don’t like this picture; I don’t know what told me to stand with my feet like that, but it’s this year’s model, and probably next year’s, too:
It is always fun to dress up, but man — wearing heels for just a few hours is like getting shitfaced drunk — my feet have a 24-hour hangover at a minimum. (And yeah, I should really have an evening sandal; didn’t get to that chore this year.) Maybe next year I should go floor-length and wear some Chuck Taylors underneath.
And that’s all for 2017, folks. Be safe out there and watch out for the autonomous cars.