Photography: Robert Dysiewicz, Dan Modestino, and Steve Pikula
The Detroit auto show is one of the greatest spectacles in the automotive world. For a journalist, this show presents a cornucopia of activities. Under the giant roof of the Cobo Conference/Exhibition Center, we have access to cars, trucks, concepts and much-needed sustenance. And when the show floor closes for the day – the parties begin. And then it’s more cars, food, alcohol, beautiful women and world-class entertainment.
This year the show highlights will be presented by Dan Modestino, giving me the opportunity to sit back and savor my key memories of the 2005 North American Auto Show.
Cars & Trucks
Every year all the manufacturers pull out all the stops in an attempt to wow the crowd. This year was no exception. We witnessed the re-birth of Ford – more specifically, their return to making cars that tug oh so hard on the emotional strings. The exotics were well represented by the new Ferrari F430. But the showstopper for me was the Chevrolet Corvette Z06. GM hit a home run by introducing the fastest and most powerful GM vehicle ever! How about 500 horsepower, 475 pound-feet torque – all this good for 0-60 mph in the neighborhood of 3.8 seconds and the ¼ mile arrives in a scant 11.7 seconds @ 127 mph (manufacturer estimates only). Performance like this places the Corvette in some very honored company indeed – matching almost exactly the performance of the red hot Ferrari F430. Extraordinary performance… extraordinary value. Welcome back GM!
It takes hard work to cover the hundreds of miles of show floor and get to every manufacturer. Luckily, the manufacturers realize the effort required and every year place mini pit stops to fuel and hydrate the journalists along the path of discovery. My vote for the best place to stop for lunch or snack is Audi. Always fresh, always tasty and the service is simply superb. Runner-up goes to Range Rover for creating a comfortable oasis where a cold beer tastes that much better sitting on comfy leather couches.
Offsite Launch Parties
More cars, more food, more booze and world-class entertainment. This year we attended the launch of Infinity M45. Nissan’s answer to sport and performance done in style. We were particularly impressed with the superior DVD based sound system that takes automotive audio to another level – perhaps even rivaling home entertainment systems. To help highlight this potent feature, the evening was further enhanced by the performance of the legendary Herbie Hancock. Aside from the automotive focus, the offsite launch parties are a place to meet some very interesting people. This year, Dan and I had the pleasure of sharing a couple of Tequila drinks with the president and special correspondent for Car Styling (www.carstyling.co.jp). Although communication at first proved challenging, after a couple of drinks and a refresher in hand-based communication, we made an hour disappear in a flash. Talking about what else – our favorite subject – automobiles. Thank you for the company Mr. Akira Fujimoto and Mr. Shigeru Nagata.
So the show is over, and we have an exciting year ahead. In the upcoming months, we have an ambitious schedule of testing and sampling some of the best vehicles of 2005. Thank you, Detroit for putting on a hell of a show. Till next year!