CHICAGO AUTO SHOW 2016 - OPENING DAY Posted on 13 Feb 12:13
Yesterday I posted my first day coverage of the Chicago Auto Show, just to point out some of my favorite cars/sights at the show. As the show opens this morning, and folks brave the frigid cold, here are a few more things from the show that I would recommend making a point to see.
They say the best cars have a story behind them, and this holds true whether new production car, second hand cars, or vintage models. One car I found at the show, has a somewhat interesting story behind it, and you will find it in the Super Car Gallery. Mancuso Motorsports located in the heart of Chicago, brought a pair of Loti, including the Evora 400. The Lotus Evora 400 is the fastest car Lotus has produced ever, and it is a clear moonshot for the small company trying to make an impact and stay relevant among giants. This Lotus Evora 400 is already YouTube famous, having been driven on one of Matt Farah’s one take videos, and he liked it quite a bit. This is that very same car, it’s the only one in the entire U.S. at the moment. How often do you get the chance to see “the only one” of anything?
It is a wonderful looking car, still distinctly Lotus looking, but with some of the more over the top styling trimmed a bit. It is a more subtle look than the old Elise’s of the past, but one I think works well. The inside is nice too, well trimmed with upscale feeling alcantara and brushed metals, not as spartan as you might assume from a manufacturer that famously sacrifices all in the name of lightweight. The folks at Lotus are already world renknowned for the ability to dial-in a race car, with a fanatical focus on “adding lightness” and creating a balanced chassis. With the Evora 400 though, Lotus have proven themselves wizards mastered in the darkest of hearts. To create such an exotic car, that looks, performs and sounds this fantastic, with the V6 engine from a Toyota Camry? Pure witchcraft, truly an amazing feat. This is one car I am rooting for, and looking forward to seeing the resurgence of the Lotus brand.
There is the Toyota FV2 concept, which is something you might consider more a mobility device than an actual car. Looking like a cross between a Tron light bike and a Daft Punk robot’s head, it certainly looks like the future. It has a chromelike finish and most of it’s exterior, making it look a bit like a rolling Cloudgate (or “the Bean” as you might know it).
One recommendation I have, is to stick around and look at it for a while, not just to take in the cool details, but also because it holds another bit of a surprise. It has the ability to create images on it’s exterior shell and wheel centers, all of the chrome bits on it. It will cycle through a few different animations that give the FV2 and even deeper space age mystique. (My personal favorite is shown below, that green laser light show effect.) While I am not ready to trade an actual car in for this, it is an interesting little concept nonetheless.
The other concept I thought was worth a look, is Subaru’s BRZ STI concept. Shown in what looks similar to Subaru’s iconic ‘World Rally Blue’ paint but with a matte finish, it is a good looking car. It wears some more aggressive aero, including a large wing in the back that may polarize some. Large Brembo brakes at all corners, and plenty of carbon fiber highlights throughout. This particular BRZ also houses a GT racing spec 300hp turbocharged variant of Subaru’s boxer engine under the hood. Unfortunately, Subaru was not revealing that juiced up heart and have no plans to actually put the powerplant in a production BRZ, STI or not. Shame really, this “concept” seems completely production feasible. I suspect some internal politics, or concerns with sales and marketing strategies, are preventing this BRZ from becoming a reality. I hope that changes because it seems like a missed opportunity, but stop by to check it out and see for yourself.
Finally, I urge you to check out the back corner of the North Hall, tucked away behind VW and Mitsubishi. There you will find cars belonging to local clubs; the Corvette Club, the Mustang Club and Chicago Garage. It is always a welcome treat to see every generation of Corvette, lined up in one place. The Mustang club has a similar showing, with outstanding examples of late model Mustangs. Within this group, there is a handful of oddballs including a rotary powered FD RX-7, an R32 GT-R Skyline, and a super sleepery Lincoln Town Car. Do not miss this little corner!
So as you head out this weekend, braving the elements, the traffic, and the astronomical parking fees, just know it is always worthwhile, for that glimpse of artificial indoor spring. You haven’t seen a clean, non salt crusted car in months, and everything is a varying shade of white or gray. Inside the Chicago Auto Show, it is bright, warm, the cars are clean and sparkling. You can even partake in some sub-par nachos or churros, set up a makeshift picnic behind the Cadillac display, as you imagine spring is almost here. Hope you enjoy the show, and if you see something you like, be sure to hashtag #ChicagoCarLife! Remember to follow @ChicagoCarLife on Instagram, for even more photos and extra coverage of events!