The Philadelphia Auto Show, by and large, is a contact sport. It gives consumers the chance to climb into hundreds of cars from dozens of manufacturers. Attendees are encouraged to open doors, press noses against windows, even sit behind the steering wheel.
But it was hands off Sunday, the show’s second day, for at least one car that nonetheless consistently drew a crowd. A guardrail stood between gawkers and the 2020 red Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 with white stripes.
That didn’t stop admirers from snapping photos on cell phones and generally gushing.
“Freaking awesome,” said one man.
“Helluva vehicle,” said another.
“That’s a ride,” said Dave Heine, 38, of Abington.
The auto show, which runs through next Sunday at the Convention Center, attracted auto aficionados such as Heine, who off the top of his head knew exactly how much horsepower (700) the Shelby had. Heine said he’s come to the show with his father and brother every year for more than a decade.
“Just come down, get away, a guys' day out,” he said. “Just walk around and drool a little bit.”
The event features 700 cars on 750,000 square feet of display space, and drew prospective buyers such as Ryan MacElroy, a 35-year-old commercial plumber from Middletown, Del., who was shopping for a new truck. He said the auto show allows him to compare vehicles without “getting hassled” by salespeople. He’s interested in buying a Ram, but the mammoth model year 2018 2500 Laramie Mega that he checked out was quite expensive: $73,485.
“I’d have to sell my house,” he joked.
MacElroy was one of dozens who wore Eagles gear this Super Bowl Sunday. Unfortunately for fans, the Birds didn’t make it to the big game this year. That seemed to benefit the auto show’s organizers, as several attendees said they wouldn’t be there if the Eagles were playing.
“Hell, no,” was how MacElroy put it.
“There’s no chance I would have been here,” said Darrin Markoski, 34, of Manahawkin, an Eagles season-ticket holder. He wore a Brian Dawkins jersey and was near a novelty car that resembled a flying saucer.
SUVs and trucks were popular on Sunday, reflecting a nationwide trend. Roughly 70 percent of vehicle sales were SUVs last year, according to Austin Bluhm, a Honda product specialist. He used a microphone to draw attention to the manufacturer’s newest SUV, the Passport, which debuted in December.
Doreen Holmstrom, 59, of Yardley, was among those who spent Sunday examining SUVs and trucks. “My husband needs it for all of his stuff,” she said after sizing up a Hyundai Tucson’s trunk.
And some were more interested in playing in cars than buying them. David Verbofsky, 34, brought his 2-year-old daughter, Sloane, who crawled in a Mercedes AMG E-Class Sedan. Verbofsky, of Wynnewood, said that he wasn’t in the market for a car, but that the show was a way to kill two hours in the morning.