Mom does the Car Show
What it would feel like to cruise through rush hour, that endless ribbon of silver and muted metal cocoons, in a cotton-candy colored sports car? Would I want the attention? Would others feel envy or enjoy the vision? Imagine the lifestyle it could represent. I day-dreamed about future driving while standing before the shiny blue Aston Martin on the LA Car Show floor.
It’s a pretty foreign vision for this working mom, but not so for my newly minted sixteen year old son. I sent him a cell phone shot. For a few moments, Mom basked in a cool, James Bond glow. For the first time, I felt the tinge of desire to drive and be that woman in the obscenely fast, glamorous sports car. Move over, Emma Peel.
I was at the show to write up the experience and leaped into the media crowds with fleet enthusiasm. First encounter was a crowd milling about the Nintendo platform (?!). I was right on time for the unveiling. Mario was there, beautiful babes were swaying, suits were talking and with a flick they pulled back the tarp to reveal what? A bumble bee shaped race car. The reference went over my head but I was assured this was the first, fully-functional video game race car. The photographers went wild. It wasn’t my first encounter with child like desire that afternoon.
Off I swept to the main floor, all low lit, rotating icons and restrained glory. The displays ranged from extravagant to other worldly. I was most interested in the latest green technologies and they were everywhere. At Honda I met an SUV I could love. The 2012 CRV featured a “new design” – compact, aerodynamic and fuel efficient. Among the host of feel-good touches was a hatch that nearly lifted itself and easy folding seats – what they call ‘auto fold’. The new luxury appears to be robotic cars.
The CRV was set to communicate how economically you’re driving. The dash glows green when you do well and there’s a big ECON button beckoning, so you have a choice to be a gas glutton or go green. The Honda Odyssey mini-van featured a cooling box for drinks that’s easy for the driver to access. Great idea.
At the Ford concourse I encountered my first rotating display. The new Escape, designed in Europe, sat in gleaming glory. It’s a plug-in hybrid with an overall driving range of over 500 miles. There were sweet little candy colored coupes and other electric models but the larger hybrids gathered the most attention.
I drew in close to a small group to listen to a dissertation. One of the adjacent uniformed beauties asked me what I was looking for. “Mommy cars” was not the answer she’d been trained to service and she neatly pivoted back to the impeccably dressed gentleman discoursing in a vaguely Italian accent. I too pivoted, but it was towards a comfort ride from my early driving days – the new Mustangs amongst other sporty models.
Soon I was off to visit the luxury car concourse but couldn’t resist the Yokohama Tire display and race car. Where’s my helmet?
The Rolls Royce, Lotus and Morgan displays were almost austere by contrast, very tidy and low key. The rarefied atmosphere was however pierced by an odd little coupe that drew excited attention. What was this?
The Croatian company, Doking, was there to present it’s new concept car and to court investors. It’s going to be interesting to see if the their ‘luxury city car, built for the race track’ surfaces from the European market and makes it to American roads in the next few years.
I was running out of time and still had the South Hall to maneuver through. There I found Chevy offering their hybrid wheels. One display was so over the top and odd. It featured a bright green Camaro on a sweep of orange ‘road’. Peter Pan would’ve loved this model with it’s Hot Wheels logo perched near the front wheel well.
Finally I found Toyota. I’ve long been a fan and have owned several over the years. This electric Corrolla would suit me well.
My last display was over the top. The sublime concept cars at BMW fired vehicle lust to new levels. Standing next to the sleek, alien beauties was glimpse into a science fiction fantasy. I could’ve been standing in the movie, Tron.
A line formed to visit the gleaming white floor, to actually be able to stroke the sensuous curves of glass and carbonite. I watched from the gate not wanting to fracture the fantasy. Here was a car that fueled longing, not just on the road but into a future world that we may never see given current world economic realities. Pity that we have to wait till 2013 to see whether the concept cars survive.
One fine day I’d like to put on my best business attire and take a test drive. Will this middle-aged Mom find the gumption to take on future driving? Don’t hold your breath, James Bond.