What I saw at the 2017 Cleveland Auto Show

I went to the Cleveland Auto Show on March 4, and here’s some of what I saw.

See the show

“Come inside, the show’s about to start, guaranteed to blow your head apart….”

Auto shows used to be the place where the manufacturers displayed concept cars to gauge public reaction to the stylists’ and engineers’ wildest wild ideas.

The last time I saw a true “show car” at the auto show was 2009, when Ford rolled out a baby Lincoln hot hatch with suicide doors and an interior straight out of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The closest we got to a show car this year was this display of student projects from the Cleveland Art Institute.

Art

Art for art’s sake.

The display included this hyperaggressive “El Camino for the 21st Century”…

Star Wars El Camino

If there had been a Chevy in “Rogue One,” it would have looked like this.

….and this, um, er, ah…thing.  Whatever it is.

Unexplainable

There are no words….

Toyota displayed a third-party tunerized “Xtreme Corolla” that I thought was pretty cool.

To be fair, the cars in the Department of Things You Can’t Afford might as well be show cars, seeing as you’ll probably never encounter one in the wild.

New car caviar four star daydream

“New car, caviar, four-star daydream…”

A few of the manufacturers brought along pre-production samples of coming attractions such as this 2018 Mustang.

'18 Mustang

“I’m eighteen and I like it!”

The base engine for the ’18 ‘Stang is a turbocharged 2.3L four-banger cranking out an impressive 320 HP and 310 pounds of torque. With that kind of power on tap, who needs a V-8?

Speaking of prototypes, someone needs to sit the Toyota stylists down and give them a refresher course in aesthetics and design, because the front end of the “bold new Camry” is Cthulhu-grade hideous.

Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh

“There was a darkness outside reality, they say — a darkness full of things. Hungry, nasty things with no shape or form, ….” –Kurt Busiek, “Storms of the Heart”

Toyota also showed off a few racing cars, including this one.  They said it was impossible, it couldn’t be done, it was madness to try, but Toyota went ahead and actually did it.  They actually turned a Prius into a badass racing car.

Badass

Crazy enough to work.

Fiat Chrysler had two demonstration drive courses, one for Jeeps and one for Ram trucks.

Meanwhile, General Motors countered with this:

Trading cards

Yeah, I get it, it’s a cool idea, but anyone with a decent laptop and Photoshop could do the same thing, and it’s hard to see how it actually sells Chevys.

Over in the Mercedes-Benz area, they had this G550 in Screaming Baby Duckling Yellow–while every other vehicle they were showing was white with a black interior.

Mercedes Duck

Quack!

Ford must get their yellow paint from the same supplier as Mercedes.

Ford Duck

Quack!

Jeep went with super-bright Baby Blue on this demo vehicle.  I like this color.

Baby Blue

This special-edition Jeep Renegade Desert Hawk even managed to make beige Mojave Sand look cool.

Renegade

“Renegades, renegades, livin’ like we’re renegades…”

The Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum displayed a selection of musclecars and sports cars.

In the old-school gallery, you had the usual GTOs and Shoebox Chevrolets and “Colonnade” coupes and Mustangs–and a few surprises: a “Rolling Egg,”…

das rollende Ei

BMW Isetta

…a museum-grade ’58 Edsel Pacer convertible,…

Edsel

…resplendent in its hideousness.

…a 1992 Acura NSX,…

NSX

WANT!

…and a Javelin with the fire-breathing 401 V-8.

Javelin

I liked how these two were displayed, complete with period-appropriate artifacts.

The coolest of all was this little critter: a last-year-of-production (1980) Ford Pinto pickup truck.

Pinto 1

The gentleman took a Pinto wagon, clipped off the roof aft of the front seats, and fabricated the rest of the bed and the tailgate–making the car four inches longer in the process.

Pinto 2

The result is nothing short of exquisite, one of the best customs I’ve ever seen.

–Cookie the Dog’s Owner

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3 thoughts on “What I saw at the 2017 Cleveland Auto Show

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