Yes, first and foremost, auto shows are about cars.
At the 2017 Detroit auto show – officially known as the North American International Auto Show – I saw plenty of those. Concept cars. New cars. Old cars. Plus SUVs and pickups.
But that wasn’t all I saw.
Have a closer look – the Detroit auto show runs through Jan. 22 at Cobo Hall in downtown Motown:
The mighty Cobo Hall in downtown Detroit, the show’s home.
This is where you go for Motown’s finest shoe shine.
There’s a huge statue of legendary Detroit Joe Louis, the Heavyweight Champion of the World.
Shinola is Detroit’s now quite famous local watch company.
Everyone in town wears these timepieces and wears them proudly.
You can see Canada from the Detroit auto show. Also, lots of ice floating in the Detroit River. It was COLD!
Windsor, Ontario — it’s where the casinos are.
On the Detroit side, a riverboat.
Elio Motors brought its three-wheeled vehicle, which I checked out in New York last year.
Read all about it here.
You couldn’t swing an old catalytic converter in Cobo without hitting a coffee bar.
Here’s another one.
And another. Man, does the auto industry love its caffeine.
Coffee — and cookies!
This chap made me a lovely …
… cappuccino. Mmmm …
In truth, however, I mostly drank the delicious coffee provided for the media. The best at any auto show.
Speaking of bests, here’s the all-new Chevy Bolt EV …
… Motor Trend’s Car of the Year for 2017.
The show is full of silly stuff, such as this meditating elf on the dash of VW’s I.D. Concept bus.
Nothing silly about this — it’s a Ford transmission.
This Kia Niro set an MPG record.
Here’s a treat: the production version of Ford’s $400,000-plus GT supercar.
I finally got to sit inside after waiting for two years.
It’s MUCH more snug than almost any supercar I’ve ever been in, and that’s because …
… the GT is the road version of a race car. In fact, here’s the Number 68 GT that Ford won with at the 24 Hours of Le Mans back in June 2016, repeating history after an epic victory in 1966.
Ford left the winning GT completely covered in dirt and crud, but it wears its racing scars defiantly.
The 24 h Hours of Le Mans trophy!
A bit more modest than the Borg Warner trophy from the Indy 500, which was also in the house.
I saw surprisingly few cars waiting to have the silk sheets pulled off. This was a Volvo, by the way.
The VLF Force 1 V10 supercar returned from 2016. This is the designer Henrik Fisker’s bid to jump back into the supercar game with a gloriously over-the-top effort.
Another VLF car, the Destino.
Crash test dummy!
This guy’s no dummy. That’s me and Dr. Z — Dieter Zetsche, the amply mustached Chairman of Mercedes.
It’s Bibendum, the Michelin Man. He was everywhere.
In some cases, he was huge.
In others, he was small.
OMG! He’s actually here in the flesh!
But he wasn’t the only exotic creature.
Lexus brought this insane concept car.
Lincoln brought its ocean-liner-evoking booth.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles brought its Portal minivan concept. FCA is genuinely getting excited again about minivans, a type of vehicle that the company invented decades ago.
Here’s a tiny Chrysler Pacifica, proving that minivans aren’t just for the middle aged.
A pink, electric Smart car.
But it wasn’t the only pink car — here’s a pink VW Beetle.
Nissan brought its Vmotion 2.0 concept car.
I was sort of unimpressed by the new BMW 5-Series.
And I didn’t know what to make of Toyota’s FGV Plus fuel-cell concept. It looks like an iMac from early 2000s.
Clay models are the final exam for aspiring car designers who want to graduate to the auto industry’s big leagues.
Ford brought a rolling office, set up inside a Transit van.
Ferrari wasn’t in attendance, but the new GT4 Lusso was at the Brembo booth.
Tail fins on a classic Chevy Bel Air.
A vintage Mustang.
The guys from CNET’s Roadshow were broadcasting from the show floor.
That’s a Chevy pickup with a big ole snowplow. A snowstorm blew in on the second media day, so this rig could have come in handy.
I attended a Ford dinner at Joe Louis Arena, next door to Cobo. It’s the home of the Detroit Red Wings, but it’s slated to be torn down. This is the view from the stage — what Led Zeppelin would have seen if they hadn’t canceled their 1980 show.
I don’t think these drums were for a Zep cover band.
The Dodge Viper is hard rock expressed as an automobile.
This is what the skeleton of a Honda Ridgeline looks like.
And this is he drivetrain of a Volvo. Carmakers love to do these kinds of displays at auto shows.
There was even a veteran police car — this was still belongs to the Michigan State Police.
Alfa Romeo’s booth was pretty impressive, with lots of new vehicles headed for the USA as the brand strives to take on BMW and Mercedes. You can get ready by purchasing an Alfa Romeo Montblanc pen.
Night falls. That’s GM world HQ — the Renaissance Center, overlooking the Detroit River.
Well, another Detroit auto show in the books. See ya next year, Motown!
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