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Monday, April 24, 2006 

Vol. 2 No. 18

The 2006 New York International Auto Show – Celebrities, Beautiful Women, and Dream Cars…What Could be Bad?

The regular readers of this blog know that I like car shows, and I’m fortunate that one of the best in the country happens every spring in New York City, just a short distance from my hometown of Philadelphia. Of course, when I got the invitation to attend the Morgan Stanley Automotive Conference in the Big Apple, March 10-12th, I would have been there just for that event, but when I found out that attending it could give me access to the “Press & VIP” opening days of the NY Auto Show, March 12-13th, I jumped at the opportunity. Now, being the consummate party crasher that I am, I’ve managed to wedge my way into opening press/VIP days at car shows before (some kids grew up sneaking into movie theaters, I focused on car shows). During these preview days, you hear press-related announcements (naturally), see a few extra visiting manufacturer dignitaries, a few fashion models, and you get a first look at all the cars and attractions that are open to the public a day or two later. For car nut like me, an advance look is an attraction not to be missed under any circumstances.

As you might expect, the NY Auto Show is one of the glitziest car shows on the planet. It’s celebrity-packed right through the last day -- no need to just go the first few days to see the VIPs. The very first time I went, in the late ‘80s, on a regular day open to the public, I was amazed to find myself walking right behind Anthony Quinn (who was accompanied by an infamous international arms dealer whose name I can’t remember). Now, in all honesty, I was probably drooling over the sports cars too much of the time to even notice many of the special attractions this year. For instance, I somehow missed meeting Billy F. Gibbons, the ZZ Top Frontman, who was signing copies of his book at the XM Satellite radio booth (now there’s a guy who has one cool beard – how long do you think it would take for mine to grow like that?). I also missed Charlie Hughes’ special book launch and signing of Branding Iron. Very sad to say I also missed the keynote that kicked off the first press day, presented by Carlos Ghosn, the internationally famous President and CEO of Nissan (the guy credited with executing the most dramatic turnaround for a car company since Lee Iacocca).
Okay, so what did I see you might ask? Well, I stopped in (but didn’t drive) the gigantic “Camp Jeep New York” pavilion that Daimler Chrysler set up, that was a complete, drivable test track proving ground for the product.

I also noted a cool charity silent auction that Bentley put on, and was actually front and center for the press conference/introduction of the new Audi TT, which was directly preceded by a full production runway model fashion show by the famous designer Doo. Ri Chung (not sure what that had to do with the car though). Keeping with the theme, the TT was introduced on stage by another German beauty, supermodel Tatjana Patitz (recognized as the “face of Calvin Klein” and noted for her appearance in George Michael’s legendary video for his hit, “Freedom 50”)…yes I do like car shows, a lot.
In truth, I spent most all of my time ogling sports cars and exotics, and believe me, there seemed to be more to ogle at this venue than at any car show I’ve attended for a long time. I started off by checking out, in detail the new Jaguar XK8 (have to get me one of those, mine’s over a year old now…):


I then went over to the

collection of Austin Martins:

“Austin Martin”

Took in the new Maserati two door:


Stopped over to see the new Bentley GT Convertible right in the middle of a press interview filming (okay so the Bentley probably doesn’t count as sports car, but it was so good looking it fit into my “ogling” category):

“Bentley GT Convertible”

Caught up with a few specialty cars along the way:

“Specialty Cars” & “Specialty Cars II”

Fully took in an attractive Saleen creation

(I do like taking in these fresh new models):


And finally settled on my personal favorite from the show, the $452,500 Mercedes SLR McLaren Coupe. I noted this was the “base price” but tell me, what options do you think it doesn’t include for a price like that? Air conditioning? A radio perhaps?

"Mercedes SLR McLaren"

There were many others, but I spent so much time comparing and contrasting all of the details that these were the only cars I had time to capture on film. However, as there are more pictures in this blog entry than all of the others combined, you probably get the idea of how much I like fast cars. And since words can never do justice to the cars themselves, I’ll stop here with the text. Suffice it to say the NY Auto show is pure fun; too bad it only happens once a year.

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Interesting. I learn something all the time. Thanks and visit us at Car Tips

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