This year I made my first trip to the Philadelphia Auto Show at the convention center in downtown Philadelphia. I consider myself somewhat of a car enthusiast but went with my cousin, Carl Patrick, who is without doubt a car genius. It was a fantastic experience.
I had never seen so many makes and models of automobiles in one place at a time in my life. Over 700,000 square feet of showroom floor. Concept cars, family cars, exotics, sports, SUV’s, pick-ups everything. There had to be a half $1 billion worth of inventory on the floor! I believe the Bentleys alone accounted for $1 million in inventory with 4 cars!! Nearly every current make and model of vehicle sold in the United States was there. There were a few brands of vehicles not currently sold in US. It had not occurred to me but listening to conversations, many of the patrons there were in the market for new car and used the show to shop for their planned purchase for 2016.
My favorites however were the older cars. Cars that I remember wanting to own as a kid. Road Runners, Super Bees, Chargers and my favorite, Mustangs. The cars were in fantastic shape put on display by private collectors and auto clubs. In a completely different section (Dubs) there were custom cars. Shops specializing in lowering your car, drifting, paint jobs and sound systems were there to provide ideas in making your streetcar totally unique to your personality.
The best part of the show for me however was Carl. His encyclopedic knowledge of engines, manufacturers and designers took me back four decades ago to a time in his basement with his “model car” city. This knowledge in part stems from his childhood hobby of painstakingly piecing together model cars which he collected. It would not be an exaggeration to say he had put together over 300 cars including painting and decaling. Walking through the show room with him was fantastic. We discussed new designs, the vision for manufacturing, market share and the dynamics of the automobile industry. Some manufacturers featured small higher output engines providing great fuel consumption. We saw 2 liter engines cranking out over 200 hp. We saw the Tesla and a Ferrari with a V12 engine packing over 700 hp. Sick!
I can’t wait to someday take my grandchildren to an auto show, especially the boys. One of my 5-year- old grandsons already can identify many makes and models by their shape and logo. My influence is clearly there…….. except he’s a Dodge dude!