Auto Show: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Duesenberg Fortis

UNITED STATES—Rather than battle bargain hunters on Black Friday, this season, I decided to check out the auto show. If you’ve never been to an auto show, well, it can be summed up like this:

If you just want to see a lot of new cars (and a few that aren’t so new) without being hassled by salesmen, an auto show may be right for you. On the other hand, if you are looking for a specific car, you might be better off putting up with a say-anything-to-close-a-deal salesman at a car lot because at an auto show you stand a good chance of encountering the following:

1. A lady who’d be considered a “two-ticket” airline passenger trying to squeeze herself into a small two door coupe only to discover she’s just written herself onto the standard features list. You won’t be getting behind the wheel of that car any time soon.

2. Kids. Lots of’m. Some of them will stage their post Black Friday temper tantrums in that brand new model you’ve been waiting to see. If the previous night’s camping trip to Best Buy didn’t culminate with lil Frederick walking away with a new iPhone (or whatever kids want these days), good luck enjoying that expansive legroom while Freddie is treating the back of your seat the way a “roid” addict treats the leg press at 24-Hour Fitness.

While it did feature some of the aforementioned scenarios, this year’s show did offer up some cool exhibits as well. Aston Martin showcased all its models made famous by James Bond (or, more honestly, Q Branch) lined up in chronological order. The classic car section showed off more great moments in history. There were the usual classics from the “Big Three” but there were also vehicles from cutting-edge companies that refused to sell out and, consequently, didn’t survive the Great Depression: Tucker, Duesenberg, Pierce-Arrow, Packard, Studebaker, etc.

This homage to a bygone era got me thinking about this new Amazon Prime show I’m currently watching:The Man in the High Castle. The show depicts an alternate universe in which the Axis powers had won WWII. It can be a bit eerie at times, to say the least. But I think it would be cool to do a show about what it would have been like if Deusenberg and company had survived. We’ve all heard the expression, “It’s a real Duesy.” Well, what would a modern Duesenberg look like? Maybe someone in Hollywood will create an answer to that question some day.

Lastly, this year’s show tried something that probably seemed like a good idea at the time. The “Ride & Drive” offered by some of the manufacturers could have been called “Sit & Crawl”. If you were driving a car that was all about the on-board infotainment and not about the drive itself, the “Ride & Drive” would have been a decent experience.

Why, then, were sparsely optioned track-tuned sports cars among the few cars available? While searching for parking, we sat along side some poor chap in the brand new Mazda MX-5 Miata sports car as he stared regretfully at the endless ocean of crawling cars in front of him. Again, you’d be better off just putting up with an abrasive salesman at a small town dealership if you’re looking to test drive something sporty.

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