Event coverage

Wekfest Chicago 2018 (Part 1) Posted on 23 May 05:00 , 0 comments

Wekfest Chicago 2018 brings an incredible number of amazing cars, and the biggest gallery of photos featured on this blog yet!


North Suburbs Cars and Coffee Season Opener 2018 Posted on 25 Apr 05:30 , 0 comments

Cars and coffee season opener, and it appears the start of an actual spring season in Chicagoland!


Tuner Galleria 2018 Posted on 14 Mar 06:00 , 0 comments

Tuner Galleria, the early taste of car show season.


The Chicago Auto Show 2018 Posted on 10 Feb 09:10 , 0 comments

Chicago Auto Show 2018, an annual tradition.


Tuner Galleria 2017 Posted on 11 Mar 13:56 , 0 comments

One of the earliest beacons of hope for the end of winter in Chicagoland, and a huge display of some incredible custom cars!

Chicago Auto Show 2017 Posted on 14 Feb 12:57 , 0 comments

     Once again the annual beacon of hope for warmer days and cleaner cars has arrived in Chicago, in the form of the Chicago Auto Show.  As an enthusiast and fan of cars that generally fall into less practical and more fun status, it may seem a large industry show is a bit lacking.  However, even though the Chicago Auto Show is a giant dealer show room, intent on selling a multitude of SUV's, CUV's, and whatever-else-UV's, there are still some fun things to see.  Even with our unseasonably warm winter, the dreary and cold months make it incredibly refreshing just seeing cars with fresh, clean paint again.  The Chicago Auto Show never gets the same kind of press, or wow factor of many other shows.  It is, like Chicago, a meat and potatoes kind of show, intended more for actual selling of cars, rather than entertaining wide eyed fan boys and girls.  Having been born and raised in Chicago, it is a yearly tradition, and there are many like me who can recall early childhood memories walking the plush carpeted aisles filled with all manner of shiny new wares.  Whether driven by nostalgia, the need to buy a new car, or just a love of new cars, the massive Chicago Auto Show is sure to have something for you.

      For me, this show has become my yearly opportunity to gawk and drool over the latest Alfa Romeo's.  This year was no different.  Although it lacked the heavy appeal to Alfa's heritage with no vintage models or paraphernalia on display, it's because they now have more current cars to show!  The newest being the Stelvio crossover, which might be the sexiest SUV anyone has made yet.  Picture the Giulia Qaudrifoglio in a slightly raised hatchback form, and that's the Stelvio.  Also new, is an expanded line up of Giulia models, the Ti and the Lusso.  These offer the same incredible styling and feel, even if they do not have the same Nurburgring bragging rights.  With a 2.0 liter turbo four cylinder delivering 280hp, the Ti and Lusso models are still quite capable of brisk acceleration.  In these trims, the Giulia can also be equipped with AWD giving an edge in winter conditions.  Did I mention they look just as drop dead gorgeous? It is no small undertaking for Alfa Romeo to re-enter the U.S. market after decades of absence, but with the new "Giorgio" platform underpinning the expanding line up, it is about as good a start as anyone could imagine.

     KIA has been an incredible rags to riches story within the automotive industry.  The company has enjoyed some incredible sales growth since it's inception.  Whatever your opinion on the cars, there is no question they have built something quite impressive.  This year, the headline grabber is the new KIA Stinger, a sport sedan born of the Stinger GT4 concept KIA unveiled a couple years ago.  KIA is taking aim at the high performance segment, with the Stinger packing some impressive muscle.  Styling is subjective, but to me it is a bit lacking.  The overall package seems a bit disharmonious, I see nice elements of several different cars within it, but it seems to lack it's own real identity.  I imagine designers listing favorites; favorite fender and doors; M4, favorite tail lights; Maserati Quattroporte, favorite wheels; Alfa Romeo, and so on.  I am not saying they are just copying style, but the various elements do not seem to meld together as one, prompting this kind of mental check list when you look at the car.  It is a good start though for a first foray into what is an extremely competitive segment, it will be fun to watch evolve over the next few years.

      The new Acura NSX is still quite a draw, even if reception is still a little mixed.  I think people are still trying to figure out what this car is about, lots of questions about price, performance and complexity.  People want to naturally compare it to the original NSX which bloodied the nose of exotics like Ferrari.  The original NSX was a blind spot sucker punch of a car that, exotic car peformance from a car maker that specialized in utilitarian vehicles for the masses.  This new NSX does not have the same element of surprise the original did, to the contrary it was met with fairly lofty expectations.  Thing is, on paper at least, it seems Acura have repeated history, competing with the likes of a Ferrari 488 for around $50,000 less cost.  What makes the new NSX even more impressive, is if you consider you are getting a hypercar style powertrain for less than 200 grand!  I don't think it is emphasized enough, but the only other super cars that implement electric power the way the new NSX does, will cost you well over 1 million dollars!  The only unanswered question, is the reliability, will it be able to deliver that Swiss watch level of craftsmanship people have come to expect from Acura/Honda.

     Porsche is rolling out their new Panamera for 2018, which retains familiar styling cues with minor adjustments, refinements and evolutions in the way that Porsche does.  To Porsche's credit, styling changes seem to move at a glacial pace, but yet the company manages to deliver a product that never seems to look old.  The new interior of the Panamera presents a step up in quality, becoming even more posh than the previous generations.  Also on display, the 718 in both Boxster and Cayman guise.  Everything on display wore muted, formal paint, silvers and grays, like suited up Formula 1 drivers enjoying a banquet.  The only shouty thing on display, still in it's race jump suit, was the 911 RSR GT car.  This is the much talked about mid engine 911, that indeed draws the eye upon arrival.  This loud, brash hooligan has a striking contrast to it's more serious peers in the exhibit.  "Didn't you tell RSR to wear the tux?" "Seems he's been drinking too much of the high octane again, what a scene he's making, how dreadful!"  How delightful!

     Dodge has been on a campaign to reshape the brand and regain the glory days when it was part of "the Big Three" and U.S. car makers were dominant.  Over the last few years, it has undoubtedly been one of the most fun corners of the Chicago Auto Show.  The Scat Packs, Hellcats and everything in between, are some of the best looking cars today with plenty of rubber-smoking fun on tap.  This year was no different, and the addition of a special edition Viper ACR 1:28 was a welcome treat.  What is the 1:28 designation?  It is the Laguna Seca lap time set by the car, one minute and twenty eight seconds.  The Viper is a bittersweet goodbye to the now discontinued Viper, with this ACR 1:28 edition being a limited run of only 100 examples.  The one at the show is number 001, and for such a rare car, it is perhaps a 001 in a lifetime chance to see one.

     It is hard to say that BMW's display this year was a let down, but...well...yeah, I was let down.  They did have an i8 in Protonic Red which I suppose is a cool car, everyone does seem to love it, it just doesn't really do it for me.  BMW explained that they wanted to focus on promoting their electric and hybrid models.  This means there were no "M" cars on display, not one.  Poor effort BMW, everyone at the show was more than capable of displaying both eco/green options and performance vehicles just fine.  I get that electric is the future, but when it seems there are more M division models than ever, it still felt odd to see none of them represented.  From an enthusiasts view, this is a brutal let down, how can you have a booth dedicated to the "ultimate driving machine", without the ultimate driving machines?     While Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Rolls Royce and Lotus do not have their own manufacturer based displays, they do always find a place in the Super Car Gallery at the Chicago Auto Show.  Never a disappointment, this collection is full of some of the best examples of high performance, opulent machines that push the boundaries of speed, decadence and comfort.  They are the upper echelon of the automotive world.  Looking over the spec sheet makes it clear to the mind, but sitting in them and feeling the supple leather, the controls like jewelry, the deep gloss carbon fiber, the way everything is made to be pleasing to the eye and to the touch, is quite another.  It really drives the point home, these cars are special.  Local custom and auto body shop Auto Art set up their own exhibit as well, showcasing the incredible work they do to make such special machines even more unique.  Auto Art ups the ante with custom wheels, wide body kits and jaw dropping paint jobs, you simply must see in person.  If you've been following previous blog posts, you've probably caught on that I am quite the fan of Mazda's.  While they aren't the fastest, most luxurious, or exclusive cars you can get, the little car company keeps chugging along with reasonably priced offerings that are reliable and still a joy to drive.  This year Mazda has continued their quest for more refinement, as each new model seems to be adapting the same kind of interior quality Mazda showcased last year in the newly redesigned CX-9.  The new MX-5 RF is so good, it seems silly they had not thought of it with previous generations.  The styling is not harmed by the addition of a retractable hard top, and I would even say it looks better.  They also brought along some MX-5 concept cars, that have been making the rounds for a while, but were still nice to see.  The Speedster concept is the minimalist, no windshield attention getter, and is always worth a look.  However, the Spyder concept I found especially intriguing.  The "Mercury Silver" paint and the sensual bikini slung top, create a striking visual.  The interior is fantastic as well, with two-tone tan leather designed in a way that Mazda say is meant to invoke a vintage feel.  I would say the design worked, it really does have the feel of a 1960's roadster.  The blending of modern touches like carbon fiber accents, beautiful Advan wheels and the vintage sytling of the interior and canvas top, is done to perfection.  Mazda say they strive to create vehicles imparted with spirit or soul, something the Spyder and Speedster concepts display with success.     All this is just a small sample of what is at the show this year, so make a point to head over to McCormick Place this week to see it all for yourself.  Even if you aren't in the market for a new car, or not really that into cars; the Chicago Auto Show is a nice escape from cold grey landscape.  So take the opportunity to walk around a pleasant space filled with lots of color, eat overpriced churros, and settle in next to a nice warm camp fire.  

photos by: Hector Hernandez and Robert Sixto

writing: Robert Sixto

 

 


Rise and Drive July Meet Posted on 05 Jul 12:34 , 0 comments

     The week leading to this Sunday's meet, Rise and Drive hinted that it would be bit more Ferrari flavored, in light of the upcoming Ferraris on Oak street event.  Sadly, I will not be able to make it to Ferraris on Oak, so I was hoping to get a little taste at Collectors Car Garage this weekend.  While there weren't nearly as many on display as there will be next weekend on Oak Street, there were some quality examples and, as always, the indoor concourse area was quite impressive.  We'll start with the main display in CCG's gorgeous facility, two vintage 60's Ferrari's flank a 575 in full race trim.  It is amazing to see the contrast between old black 330 and  blue 250 compared to the 575, which was produced about 35 years after.

 

      Perhaps it's age that has mellowed the cars, but the 60's Ferrari's look so approachable, with flowing graceful lines, they are kind and gentle faces.  The 575, like many of the post 80's Ferrari's, have a much more aggressive and menacing look to them. Here we have the most extreme example of that, nothing is more aggressive and menacing than a car that has been fully race prepped, making the contrast even greater.  It's like looking at a family portrait with proud elderly grandparents gently smiling as they flank their much younger grandson who spends much of his time at the gym, guzzling supplements and doling out overly aggressive high fives.

 

      Other treats awaited inside the garage, a Ford GT in full Gulf livery.  For anyone not in the know, the classic Gulf livery is the essence of cat nip for petrol geeks, sending them into a frenzy of fuzzy glee.  The GT's stable mate for the day was a Lexus LF-A, another car that seems to be made purely to become an instant classic.  The third leg of the stable, the noble first generation Acura NSX, a car that has grown into it's classic status and is enjoying an appreciation in value.  I found the trio quite fitting, as different as these cars may be on the surface, each one was the answer to the question; what's the best damn car we can make?  They all answered the call in their own way, and they are all splendid for it.

 

     On the opposite side of the garage, there sat a little Porsche, respectfully out of the main limelight.  This Porsche Speedster is one of those cars that you see and recognize as a masterpiece.  It sits like a shimmering wet droplet of black paint, not just in it's color but even it's overall shape.  It is a study in "less is more", and the beauty of stripped down simplicity.  Just looking at it, you know it would be impossible to drive without a satisfied grin on your face.  What a marvelous little car.

 

     Also in this corner of the garage, was parked a Berlinetta Boxer 512.  It was one of two on display at the meet, the other one parked outside.  It is telling when a car was never sold here, but finds it's way here anyway; you know it's special.  With a mid mounted flat 12 cylinder engine, and styling that would define the next generation of Ferrari's, it is undeniably a special car.  It's a good day in my book, when you see two immaculate examples in one place.

 

     The parking lot portion of the meet had plenty of interesting finds as well.  A full trio of first generation RX-7's made an appearance, and all still powered by rotary engines.  The red one pictured below even had a 13b-rew swap, the bigger turbocharged variant of rotary that came in the third and final generation of RX-7.  This swap is not as straightforward as you might think, and seeing it done this cleanly is fairly impressive.  With such a light chassis, and at least 270hp on tap, I imagine the performance is quite impressive as well.

      Another sight in the lot that made an impression on me, was this rat rod parked next to a newer Ferrari 458.  I just love the combination of these two extremely different types of car side by side.  Some might bemoan the informal and somewhat scattered nature of the modern car meet, but I just love it for occasions like this that bring together completely different worlds.

     Also outside was a red Lamborghini Huracan LP610-4.  The new Lamborghini is a great looking car, and strikes such a naturally intimidation stance, an angry bull ready to charge as befitting the makers crest.  It has the credentials to back it's intimidating looks as well, with just over 600 horsepower funneled into any and all four wheels.  It's engine is perhaps one of the last of a dying breed, big naturally aspirated power, as most manufacturers, even in the super car realm have opted to lop off a few cylinders in favor of adding a turbo or two.

     It seems everyone loves the BMW E30, this 3 series born in the early 80's has become the darling of automotive enthusiasts as of late.  Whether it be the accessible nature of the car, the tossable chassis, or just the heritage behind it, it really is the "it" car of the last couple of years.  On Sunday, not only was there an E30 present, but one in full racing livery.  Immaculate and incredibly well done, it was a sight to see.

 

    The often spotted Dream Squad made an appearance this weekend as well, with a collection of cars lining the garage entrance.  Each car in Dream Squad is adorned with unique vinyl patterns meant to emulate famous comic superheroes.  Cars like these turn heads and get attention, but as they represent rolling mortgages to many people, the attention is not always positive.  However, with the core goal of giving back and bringing cheer to sick children, the Dream Squad defies hasty judgement.  Success and wealth should not automatically bring about scorn, as Dream Squad reinforces, most people who do well, want to help others do well.  

     It was another satisfying Rise and Drive weekend at the Collector's Car Garage, on a beautiful holiday weekend in Chicago, it doesn't get much better than that.  There were quite a few cars that I saw at the June event, but I intended to focus on more of what was new this month.  With so much to see, it is hard to include everything, but below are a few more shots from the meet.  If you missed these past two, you are in luck, there is another meet next month, Sunday August 7th to be precise.  Come out, you won't be disappointed!

-photos and writing: Robert Sixto 


WORLD OF WHEELS AND TUNER GALLERIA Posted on 14 Mar 13:42 , 0 comments

     The annual World of Wheels car show has been a precursor to spring in Chicago for decades now.  Featuring a wide array of custom, modified show cars, it has been a longstanding tradition in the Chicago area.  It started off taking place at McCormick Place near downtown Chicago, but has since moved to the Stephens Convention Center.  While I love to see more shows happen within Chicago city limits, it must be said that the change of venue has not hurt the show at all.  In fact, there is more space, more cars, easier access, and overall less expensive when factoring parking costs.  The show really has blossomed since moving to this new venue, and it has come a long way from the shows I remember.  

The World of Wheels show is definitely the bastion of older domestic cars, featuring all manner of muscle cars, rat rods, low riders, and anything in between.  The level of show car on display these days, is quite impressive.  Even if you are more into imports or more modern offerings, it is still worth a visit to see the level of detail and quality work put into these cars.  You don't have to be a fan of low riders to appreciate the level of detail put into the custom painted murals, and multi colored patterns on display.  You need not be a fan of old Ford pickups from the 30's, to appreciate a sparkling red finish so deep and vibrant that it looks as if it were carved from a slab of ruby and polished to a high gloss.  One can be a fan of shiny new cars, but still appreciate a rusted rat-rod that transforms utilitarian transportation into a form of high concept art.  There really are some incredible cars on display, on par with some of the best show cars I have seen anywhere.  World of Wheels has really become a must see for any automotive enthusiast in the area, especially if you are a fan of old American Iron.

 

 

 American Iron is definitely the majority at the show, but it is not exclusively a domestic affair.  In fact there has been a small sub-sect of import show cars making appearances at World of Wheels for many years.  What started as a modest stand of maybe one lone car crew, has now grown into it's own section within the show on the second floor.  This second show, dubbed the Tuner Galleria, has been part of World of Wheels for seven years running.  

      Touge Factory again proudly displayed the unorthodox, SR22 swapped 350Z, that is not only a serious track oriented weapon, but a beautiful display of the talent and ability that has made Touge Factory one of the premier import custom shops in the region.

     Vintage Japanese cars have continued their rise in popularity, with another strong showing at this year's Tuner Galleria, including the Honda swapped Datsun 510.

     Speaking of vintage, there was this gorgeous VW pickup on display as well.  I do not recall seeing it last year, but it was a welcome addition this year. 

  Another vintage offering from Bavaria, this BMW 2002 was absolutely fantastic.  With examples like these at Tuner Galleria, I like where to future of vintage imports is headed.

     Of course not everything is vintage, there were plenty of modern offerings like these two.  I could not help but think, "whats old is new again" as these weren't the only modern imports at the show sporting 90's era street glow effect lighting.

     There is no doubt the love for Honda's is still incredibly strong in Chicago.  This teal EG hatch had me reminiscing about my old EG. 

     Of course the gorgeous MKIV Supra must be mentioned, this is one of two white ones at the show this year.  The ultimate Japanese muscle car, seems to be ever the fan favorite, and I suspect headed for serious appreciation as a collector car in the future.

     So there you have it, this is just the tiniest of samplings of what the show has to offer, if you missed it this year, be sure to pencil it in for next year.  It is well worth the price of admission, as I can not think of any other show that offers the overall quality, size and scope of what World of Wheels/Tuner Galleria brings.

- photos and writing by: Robert Sixto


CHICAGO AUTO SHOW 2016 - OPENING DAY Posted on 13 Feb 12:13 , 0 comments

    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!

    

CHICAGO AUTO SHOW 2016 Posted on 12 Feb 12:00 , 0 comments

    Chicago is sometimes known as, “The Second City”, which has a certain sting to it. It lends a certain ‘chip on the shoulder’ attitude that Chicago can have, always trying to prove it is second to none.  The auto show season certainly doesn’t help matters.  It starts with the Los Angeles auto show, the pre-emptive strike of auto shows.  The L.A. show happens at the end of the year, in November, when Chicago is beginning to hunker down for winter.  L.A.’s show gets loads of debuts, models that are coming for the next year, all while flaunting gorgeous weather in our faces, just as ours takes a turn for the worse.  Then you have Detroit, with the North American Auto show.  Detroit being the heart of this country’s auto industry, always saves a few juicy automotive morsels for itself, revealing a new Ford GT or something equally spectacular.  By the time the Chicago Auto Show rolls around in February, all the automotive “thunder”, has already been stolen.  Usually debuts here tend to be of the more utilitarian variety, a new SUV, crossover or truck of some kind.  Thing is, none of that matters to me, and obviously it doesn’t matter to the million plus show-goers every year, it is the biggest show in the country.  By this stretch of winter, everyone just wants to get out, and being at the auto show is almost like being outdoors without the bite of subzero wind chills on your face.  So here are a few things I was excited to see at the show this year.

    Alfa Romeo Giulia, I was drawn to this car almost immediately.  Finally seeing the Giulia in person, I simply melted.  Honestly, I could not care less about the performance numbers, what gives you more for your money, how poorly it might protect you in a crash, who cares?  Just look at it!  There are reported delays to the Giulia’s release in the U.S., but seeing one in nearly every color at the show, I took as a sign these delays will be minor.  These things are simply beautiful, the styling, the shimmering pearl paint, the heritage/character of that clover badge, it’s just all too good not to have.  Crash safety tests be damned, I could die happy in one of these!  This car has started quite the Alfa Romeo fixation for me, the 4c, and even the old Giulia from the late 60’s is drawing my eye lately.  I think I may need help!



    I mention I went almost immediately to Alfa Romeo, so what slowed me?  Well, it was Ford actually.  Yes the Ford exhibit is right at the entry, but it is telling that it stopped my stampede toward Alfa.  I have to admit, I was never a Ford fan in general but as an overall lineup of models, it is hard for me to think of another make that has such a broad range of good, exciting cars to offer.  



    The obvious draw here is the Ford GT, aside from drawing from it’s heritage as a thumb in the eye to Ferrari, it looks fantastic.  It looks as close to bringing a LeMans prototype race car to road car spec as one could reasonably get away with.  Then of course the new Mustang Shelby GT350 is special (the GT350r even more special still).  Even the compact cars in Ford’s stable get the sporty treatment, with the Fiesta ST and Focus ST, both established as world class hot hatches.  When can you remember reading world class hot hatch in reference to any U.S. auto maker?  Then there is the new Focus RS, and boy does this make you rub your chin and stare.  You are rubbing your chin, because you are thinking: “I could get one of these.  They aren’t that expensive.  It’s a hatchback, its practical.  It’s got all wheel drive for bad weather.  Look at those brakes, it’s got to be safe.”  The thoughts go on, you can imagine the rest.  I never seriously considered owning a Ford, but looking at the Focus RS was like experiencing that scene in Step Brothers; “Did we just become best friends? Yep!”.




  Right around the corner is Acura, and for me the only real draw was obvious, the new NSX.  Remember when Jay Leno and Jerry Sienfeld were fighting over the first one?  That was 2012, can you believe that?!  Four long years later, and many ups and downs in the NSX’s ongoing development and it has finally arrived.  Since the first one sold at the Barrett-Jackson auction recently for $1.2M, Leno and Seinfeld will be left to fight for #2.  

The other intriguing object on display at Acura was their Precision concept car.  It brings an obvious forward thinking style, and signals a new design theme for the brand.  It is an attractive concept with it’s angular lines, and seemingly jewel studded headlights.  The future for Acura is looking promising, and it must be said the new NSX seems to have already been made in the image of this overall theme.  It is a welcome sight really, I felt Acura had several disappointing models in terms of styling over the past several years.  Between the Precision concept and the new NSX, it would appear Acura is back on track.  Now if we could just get a new Integra Type R...





    That about wraps up day one for me, obviously this is by no means a comprehensive review of everything at the show, just a few of my favorite stops of the day.  Day two coverage to come!

-Robert Sixto