L.A. Auto Show: A guide for the vehicularly challenged
I'm not a car guy. I check the air pressure on my tires sometimes and change the oil whenever the folks at Jiffy Lube tell me I'm due. I drive a Toyota Corolla because it's a simple, dependable car that gets good gas mileage. I don't need or care for much more.
But this week, the Los Angeles Auto Show came to town and I'm helping to cover it. The show opened to the media Tuesday and opened to the public Friday.
So what's a non-car guy supposed to do at the biggest automotive event in Southern California – the car capital of Earth? Here's what caught my eye, which might provide a guide for the vehicularly challenged.
Even non-car people know a muscle car when they see one. I may not know what torque means (and I admit that I looked it up while I was at the show) but I know that muscle cars are a big deal to auto enthusiasts. And I know that Mustangs and Challengers are a big deal.
Ford has an exhibit to celebrate nearly 50 years of the Mustang. Nine versions of the pony car are on display, including a 1966 Mustang Shelby GT 350.
The exhibit includes the Mustang from the coming movie "Need for Speed," with which fans can take a photo.
Dodge doesn't fall behind. It has a muscle car display of its own, which includes a bright orange 1970 Dodge Challenger, a vintage "shaker."
It also includes several modern versions of the Charger and models dressed in 1970s-like attire to complete the throwback feel of the exhibit.
Even if you aren't a muscle car fanatic, you'll enjoy seeing the evolution of these classic cars.
Walking around the L.A. Auto Show, you'll see all sorts of cars, including a couple that will make you look twice ... or maybe three or four times.
The Youabian Puma is a strange kind of convertible. It's more than 20 feet long and has monster-size tires. It looks like a sports car, but then its length just throws you off. And so does its $1.1-million price tag.
Directly across from the Puma is another eye-catching exhibit courtesy of Campagna, a Quebec company that makes three-wheeled vehicles that are a cross between a motorcycle and Formula One cars.
The company has been around since 1995 and has sold just 1,700 vehicles. It makes 150 to 250 cars a year, said Michel Paquette, vice president of sales and marketing. Campagna's two models, the T-Rex (a name inspired by the first "Jurassic Park" film) and V13, start at $57,999 and $53,999 respectively.
FISH AND WINGS
Muscle cars and obscure-looking cars are easy to find, but I also found some cars with interesting modifications.
A car with wings, for example. Smart is displaying the Jeremy Scott-designed edition of the company's popular energy-efficient car. The Smart Forjeremy is powered by electricity and gets just over 60 miles on one charge. The limited-edition design will be available in fall 2014 and starts at $25,000.
Toyota has some interesting designs of its own. The automaker's 2014 Toyota Highlander display has a SpongeBob SquarePants theme and includes a fish tank inside the car.
The fish tank stretches the length of the car behind the two front seats and holds more than 20 species, including a starfish to represent a popular SpongeBob character, Patrick Star. The theme attempts to cater to the family aspect of the vehicle.
The tank was designed by Wayde King and Brett Raymer, co-hosts of the popular Animal Planet show "Tanked," in which they build custom fish tanks. The show that will feature the building of the tank for this car will air in March.
RACE CAR SIMULATORS
Ford has a race car simulator, complete with three screens and seats that react to the action on the screen. When you go off the track or bump into your opponent's race car, your car shakes as well.
For those of us who will never drive a race car, the simulator is a fun way to get a small taste of the experience. It even comes with a countdown at the start of the race, with red lights flashing above you until they turn green and the race begins.
Nissan also has a race simulator to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the video game "Gran Turismo," but the advantage goes to Ford's ST simulators because of the reactive seats.
So I'm not a car guy. But a day walking around the L.A. Auto Show made me think that maybe I just hadn't given cars a chance. Most of the time I just admired the design of the cars and how they gleamed. You may not be into cars either, but no doubt you've heard of Lamborghini, Porsche or Maserati, and at this show you can stand closer than you ever will to some of these exquisite machines. That's reason enough to go.
(c)2013 Los Angeles Times
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