Category Archives: Cars

2014 Chicago Auto Show — Part 2: The people

My second post from the 2014 Chicago Auto Show is similar to the first in that I wanted to lead with people. People truly do make the photo. This year I went on a very uncrowded day — a Monday night after work. It was a perfect night because I didn’t have to claw my way to some of the more popular cars. Also because I had space to observe the people.

Here are some of the folks I admired through the show.

Woman in red

A woman sits alone at the Honda Booth, surrounded by red. She is pensive. Perhaps waiting for her family. Perhaps she is tired.

Playing the Civic Si sim

A boy is immersed in a giant video game featuring the Honda Civic Si coupé.

Admiring the Kia GT4 Stinger

A man admires the Kia GT4 Stinger. He actually walked around this car a bunch of times with his mouth hung open. And he doesn’t really seem like the demographic who would like this kind of car.

Father & Son with Godzilla

I love that the nickname for the Nissan GT-R is Godzilla. Here a father and son admire the gorgeous beauty together.

Utter fascination

At the Acura booth, this guy was utterly fascinated by the pseudo-holographic video playing on this tabletop device. He stared at it as long as I watched him.

Under the IS

The Lexus IS was suspended about 8′ in the air for the entire world to see. These two guys spent a long time analyzing every nook.

2014 Chicago Auto Show — Part 1: The workers

Every year I go “at least once” to the Chicago Auto Show and have been for as long as I could drive myself. This year I wanted to approach my photography differently. When I was bit by the street photography bug a few years ago (inspired by Vivian Meier to boot) I realized there are many stories to tell beyond the cars.

For this and the following post I am concerned mostly with the people. In the last couple years, I noticed an invisible crowd of same-clothed men and women who are the unsung heroes of the  Show. They make sure the cars are gleaming, keep us informed and sometimes even entertain us with themed music. Without them we would be looking at grubby cars.

Thanks to all of you who make the show possible.

Dart proposal

Dodge model

DJ on a Kia Soul

Man about to clean S-Class

Cleaning the Viper

Oldsmobile Museum 2013

I remembered the Olds museum at the very last minute, so I was more than thrilled that it was open and only cost $6 to get it. The afternoon was full of memories and I learned a bunch of new stuff, too.
1980s Oldsmobiles1960s Oldsmobiles1963 Oldsmobile Starfire Coupe grille1963 Oldsmobile Starfire Coupe headlights1964 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88, 2-door Hard Top Coupe emblem1981 Oldsmobile Toronado XSC hood ornament
1963 Oldsmobile Starfire Coupe fender logo1942 Oldsmobile logo1942 Oldsmobile hood ornamentHydra-Matic emblem1957 Air conditioner?1957 Oldsmobile hood ornament
1957 Oldsmobile logo1954 Oldsmobile hood ornament1954 Oldsmobile logo1972 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser 442Oldsmobile stamping on head covers1963 Oldsmobile Starfire Coupe along right
2009 Cadillac CTS front1969 Hurst/Olds front grille1969 Hurst/Olds rear emblemAurora V8 EngineLast part at Lansing Fabrication: 2007 Cadillac CTS front fenderSide view of Saturn EV-1

Oldsmobile Museum 2013, a set on Flickr.

Cars: 2011 Nissan Altima Hybrid

Huge. That best describes this car. I cannot believe this isn’t technically a full-size. It’s as big as an Accord and nearly the same equipment. Nissan’s always confused me about trim. Anyway. It’s a hybrid getting about 25mpg in traffic, which is rather low compared to the Prius. But it sure is sportier. It had a lot of pickup. But it’s really twitchy. It feels heavy and the steering overassisted. Around corners and ovee bumps it feels unsure. But on the expressway very capable. Even the usually-annoying CVT is palatable in this car.

Ford Thunderbird: The incomparable retro car

Ford Thunderbird: The incomparable retro car

I have always been love or hate with Fords but lately it’s love. This retro-nod to the 50s-era T-Bird is the right mix of old and new. Designed by the skunkworks at Ford under J Mays in the early 2000s, this specimen no doubt is rare — butter yellow. And in Chicago even more rare. The interior was intitially borrowed from the LS and the power from a 3.9L Jag (lots of sharing back then) but it’s definitely a looker. Unlike the Mustang, Camaro and Challenger, this one nodded to granddad and carved its own way to fruition. I wish Ford would have another limited run in them and stick to a similar formula.

GM will never learn

After the auto show I was convinced GM hadn’t learned much from the Carpocalypse that was bankruptcy. Today I am reading Road and Track’s Buyer’s Guide 2011 and I see what you see above: of all the competition, how can you compete in 2 of 5 slots with yourself? It just doesn’t make sense to me at all. Ford does do that slightly with the Ford/Lincoln marques but at least they whacked Mercury, certainly not the easiest decision. But given the times, necessary. Wake up to yourself, GM! Give your divisions Caddy-like separation.

Race to X number of fans

There seems to be a huge race among many companies to get a certain number of fans and followers. This press release from Porsche must be the most admirable expression of  love: the names of 27,000 Facebook fans on a one-of-a-kind Porsche hybrid. Check out the story for yourself. My goodness.

Image: Porsche

2011 Chicago Auto Show

2011 Chicago Auto Show

It’s that time again! It’s been a yearly tradition to go with my big bro and this was no exception. If I remember correctly, last year GM still had an enormous booth, Hyundai was second largest. This year, things are a little different and everyone has been rearranged. The things I noticed right off the bat:

  • Fiat finally incorporated into Chrysler Group but very separated. This was welcoming for the 500 who had its very own space, but there was nothing amazing about the booth. In my opinion, the Fiat brand is going to be very important for Chrysler Group.
  • German much smaller presence. Literally all the major German brands’ booths were cut in half, to the point that the Mercedes-Benz booth was downright cramped.
  • You could tell we’re in a recession (with some exceptions)
  • I didn’t notice a lot of concept cars and I was especailly hoping to see Mazda’s new KODO design concept
  • And finally, no top shelf brands. No Alfa. No Fisker. No Aston Martin. No Lambo or Lotus, all there last year.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are more specifics and photos after the jump. Continue reading 2011 Chicago Auto Show

In my dreams

I bought this car for $50. I thought it had the 500 cu in engine, though they discontinued that just before this generation. Whew!

You know the snow’s bad when…

From: Jalopnik