Brake for disappointment

typed for your pleasure on 24 January 2009, at 1.21 am

Sdtrk: ‘Skullcrush’ by SALEM

Had things gone as planned, you would be reading an extremely detailed review of the 2009 North American International Auto Show (long known to Michiganders as the Detroit Auto Show, despite fervent efforts to the contrary on the part of the Auto Show organisers), from when Zip Gun, goshou and I attended this past Tuesday, but between then and now, I managed to lose the paper I’d written it out on during work hours. This is why I loathe paper — it’s always getting lost, or wet, or being set ablaze, or eaten. DAMNIT PAPER, WHAT AM I PAYING YOU FOR
In lieu of a legitimate post, however, here are the highlights that I recall scribblin’ down:

+ We got to Cobo Hall about 7.30pm; about twenty feet from the entrance, a derelict/scalper asked us if we were going to the Auto Show. ‘Nope!’ was Derek’s enthusiastic reponse, as we walked briskly past him to go to the Auto Show.

+ Jack Lessenberry, a writer for our local free alternative paper, the Metro Times, mentioned in one of his recent columns:

I also don’t understand why they hold the North American International Auto Show in January, a month when no sensible human being in Detroit wants to go outside if they can help it. To attend what mere mortals still call the “Detroit Auto Show,” one has to try to navigate the potholes, the ice, the potholes filled with ice, and then try to find an affordable parking lot downtown. After that, all you have to do is walk however far on salt-studded and pitted streets, before getting into Cobo Center.

People who live in this climate should hold auto shows in late May, or September or early October perhaps, and have much of it outdoors. But no, we would rather make our already gritty experience a little more so.

In the interest of full disclosure, we happened to locate a car park for us roughly two blocks away. Good eye, goshou!

+ Considering that Ford, General Motors and Chrysler had recently gone round to the government with begging bowl in hand, it was a rather subdued affair this year. In fact, maybe it was the fact that I’d not been to an Auto Show since probably about 2005, but it looked somehow smaller. There weren’t a lot of attendees, either, but then, we were there on a Tuesday eve, as opposed to a week-end, which worked out fine, as I despise crowds…

+ One of the Maybach models had curtains inside! It had curtains inside. It looked a bit like a hearse! It was AWESOME.

+ Honda had a few large-scale banners that had pictures of ASIMO on them, so of course, in my mania, I was thinking ‘hey, ASIMO’s gonna be here!’
Of course he wasn’t!

+ ZG and I sat in a smart car. I was impressed with it; he was less so impressed. More smart cars for me, then.
ZIP GUN: ‘Where would I put my kids?’
ME: ‘Glove compartment, durr hey!’

+ Tesla Motors, you are so fab of a concept and company that you will probably be crushed by the other automotive giants, much like previous auto innovators Edsel and Tucker. We miss you already!
Also, why no brochures? I understand the whole drive behind ‘thinking green’, but give us something to take home and drool over, eh?

+ We encountered a crowd in the Mercedes-Benz area, and saw that they were gathered round this sexy beast: the Mercedes McLaren SLR Stirling Moss. The fact that the car was 90 per cent hood reminded me of the Sixties-era Jaguar E-types. Lovely lovely.

+ I sat in a MINI, and didn’t want to leave.

+ We saw the Brilliance motors area, which was oddly bereft of people. Partly because, I dunno, who the hell is Brilliance motors? O, it’s these also-rans. They’re Chinese-made vehicles that are being promoted in Europe, and now they’re making a go for the States. I guess? There were no brochures, and we couldn’t get in their cars, as they were all locked, so we kept moving.

+ Before taking off, we saw the concept Chevy Beat, which was ace. Not only was it in the kind of lurid neon green that only I could love, but they eschewed wing mirrors altogether, and replaced them with cameras. That’s future thinking. But again, no brochures?? If you’re not giving out brochures, you’d better be giving out cars.

Yes, that’s the lot. Of course, there were other interesting spectacles like the all-white Audi display area, or the Volkswagen area, or how we filled out contest forms to win a Hyundai and will now probably get put onto all manner of mailing lists for rubbish, but that’s the highlights from our two-hour tour. The crowning point of the eve, though? Zip Gun and I getting our photo taken with Bibendum.

I had no idea where his shoulder was

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4 have spoken to “Brake for disappointment”

  1. jaems writes:

    Good coverage of the Detroit NOT-o show. Asimo was supposed to be there, but Honda pulled most of their Concept and R&D from the US show circuit this year due to obvious fiscal death of the auto industry.

    Tesla is ahead of their game, but I concur that they will most likely be washed up with the rest of the Alphabet Soup.

    My favorite was the Chevrolet, Beat. Is it just me or is this thing rather J-inspired? Those crazy Japanese don’t know what they’re doing lol (rolls eyes).

    Good show as always, mate!

  2. Davecat writes:

    Yeah, now that you mention it, the Chevy Beat is very Japanesey. It’s tiny, vibrant, and futuristic, much like a kind of Space Hello Kitty. I like it!

    And hopefully Tesla will actually survive at least a decade. The US — no, the world — really needs to start being serious about building and selling vehicles that aren’t necessarily combustion-engine-based. Alternative choice is always a good thing, no matter what it is…

  3. Laura writes:

    I bet Sidore was quite miffed that she didn’t get the rub elbows with Mr.Bibendum.

  4. Davecat writes:

    Two rubber-based celebrities of their respective fields in a single photograph? Now that would’ve been one hell of a picture!

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