L.A. Auto Show opens today and what to expect.

Ford World 2012 LA Auto Show
Ford World 2012 LA Auto Show, click to embiggen

So much to talk about so will try to bring it down to a Reader’s Digest condensed version.  I will also try to bring you up to date as well as what you missed during Press Days which were this Wednesday and Thursday.

First of all, if you are looking for exotics fuhgetaboutit, there are none.  The entire class is represented by Galpin’s stock of Aston Martins.  Very nice cars, but not the boat load of Ferraris, Lambos and Rolls of years past.  That’s what happens when the L.A. show grows so big with a focus on green cars it alienated that fun bunch of fantasy cars.

New to the L.A. Auto Show this year is the Advance Technology in the Concourse Hall.  There you get to see, test and explore what connectivity type tech is in our cars or will someday be there.  All of it very interesting and worth venturing into if there is free space.  (Even during press days it was pretty swamped so I never got the chance to dig into it much.  With luck Sunday when we are there with the fam there will be space available).

Smart 4Jeremy
Smart 4Jeremy, click to embiggen

Among the most interesting concepts out there that stopped me in my tracks was the Smart 4Jeremy.  The car was designed by designer Jeremy Scott and is even reportedly going to be a limited run next year.  First thought was WTF, flaming wings of Mercury on a Smart car.  Now I wonder what sort of person will actually by that car and drive it, I mean I do see a couple on the streets of L.A for those that like the shock and awe effect on others.

Press reveals are an interesting animal.  You never know what you are going to get until they start rolling along.  Some can be pretty boring simple hashing out of technical data or outrageous theatrics.  Fiat fell in the middle with their entertaining advertisements, most were the boring marketing stuff.  Probably the most outrageous and interesting Premiere was for Ford’s 2014 Focus.  Yes it had the marketing stuff to explain why they believe their Fiesta is best in class, stick around to the mid way mark and you get to see Ken Block in his Gymkhana Fiesta rip drifts around the new cars. (see the following video).


1961 Lincoln Continental
1961 Lincoln Continental, click to embiggen

Every manufacturer there of course wants you to believe their cars are the best ever and better than their competition.  The concepts they show as well as premieres set the tone for the L.A. Auto Show.  What was interesting during Press Days was what Ford did with their Lincoln Division.

Lincoln didn’t do a big show and premiere, though they did eventually reveal their new MKZ.  First day of the show the MKZ was in a room with big locked glass doors.  It was dimly lit as if to tease us.  The show room floor day 1 of Press Days was packed with classic Lincolns from the 1920’s to 1961.  It was all about stressing heritage and design of the brand.  Day 2 the historical cars were gone and the floor was filled entirely with the new MKZ in all flavors.  Whether that remains to be the case for the public show remains to be seen.  It was an impressive statement and unique to all of the shows and reveals I have been to in the past.  Subtle and tasteful.

Another facet of Press Days that regular Show Goers never get to experience is the “Green Ride and Drive” wherein media types get to drive the new green cars.

Toyota Fuel Cell
Toyota Fuel Cell, click to embiggen

Among the most interesting of the cars I drove was the Toyota hydrogen fuel cell named the FCHV-adv.  This car is a hybrid drive using hydrogen fuel cells to charge the batteries and provide extra juice when you need it.  IT was the absolutely most refined fuel cell I have driven.  ITs a torgue monster without a single fan or compress whine that I experienced in earlier versions of fuel cell vehicles.  It is the fuel cell car perfected and a great insight as to the future of the green automobile.  Production is targeted for 2015 providing additional hydrogen fuel stations open in the area.

I also got to speak with the folks at Solazyme who provided the algae based diesel fuel that is a renewable source of diesel for car.  The Solazyme diesel fuel is a direct replacement for oil based diesel.  It requires no modifications to a diesel to use this fuel.  The added bonus beyond it being a renewable sustainable source of fuel, it also burns cleaner with lower CO2 than regular diesel.  I can tell you that driving the VW Passat TDI that they had there for demo purposes there is no difference in how it drives compared to one fueled with regular diesel.  Its currently being tested as bio-fuel in the Bay Area and based on how people react to it we may see it down here.

So there’s my short version of the L.A Auto Show that I got to see during Press Days.

All pics and video here are by me.  More can be found in my flickr set.



Everything you could want to know about the L.A Auto Show can be found on their web site including buying tickets online to avoid the hassles of long lines in the rain.