April 12-15, 2006:
New York International Auto
On a nice evening in Times Square this sure beats a cab
do ZAP!, ZZ Top and the
New York International Auto Show
have in common? As reported in recent editions of
ZAP! invited me to drive one of their SMART cars from California to New York,
which culminated with my car being put on display on the floor of the New York
International Auto Show. Billy F. Gibbons of ZZ Top fame was there too, and I
got to meet him.
Of course no trip to New
York City would be complete without seeing some sights, so I did as much of that
as I could.
Me leaving ZAP! in Northern California and in the Javits Convention Center, New
Perhaps ZAP should have
left my car in its as-driven cross-country condition. The road grime from a
week’s hard use was sort of a badge of courage, visual evidence of the
difficulty of the task it so ably helped me to accomplish. Especially from the
front, my little SMART car was quite a sight. I hardly recognized it on the show
floor. It looked like new. Still, the never-ending stream of visitors at the
show probably appreciated how clean it was to sit in and examine. I somehow felt
compelled to join them, answer a few last questions and pose for a photo or two.
ZZ Top poster & Mazda Kabura concept
And what of ZZ Top? While
at the show I attended a book signing by Billy F. Gibbons of ZZ Top. That event
was sponsored by XM Satellite Radio. I’ll be the first to admit that other than
in a TV commercial a few years ago, I really didn’t know much about Billy, ZZ
Top or their music. But thanks to the autograph session and my receiving an
autographed copy of Billy’s book “Rock+Roll Gearhead,” I now have an interest in
seeking out the group's music and watching them perform. What fascinated me most
about Billy’s book was page after page of photos of incredible custom guitars.
Each one is different and incredibly creative. The fact that I can barely play a
guitar is irrelevant. These are works of art and can be appreciated for that
fact alone. I strongly recommend his book. Oh yes, and there are cars in it too.
Can you believe it? I’m a consummate car nut and yet I was more interested in
the guitars than the cars. Imagine that.
Horsepower and entertainment, New York City style
The way I prefer to
cover the glitz and strong visual excitement of an automobile show is mostly
through my photos. While I can show many more online than in the newspapers,
there are still limits beyond which the pages take too long to open -- even with
a high speed Internet connection. I'll try to select the best ones for you,
along with shots from New York City. Without further delay, here we go. Enjoy.
New York City and show banners at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
2006 Kia Sorento & Land Rover E-Terrain Technology concept
VW GTI and a "Fast"
Good ways to get around NYC
One of the most creative presentations to the
Press at this year's show was put together by the folks at Jeep. We were
gathered outside and issued waterproof ponchos. In front of us was a huge pile
of dirt. I assumed that a Jeep would try to climb up and over the dirt, and the
ponchos were to protect us from flying clods of the brown stuff. Boy, was I
wrong. I'll let this sequence of photos tell the story.
Was that clever or what?
If that wasn't already dramatic enough to get
some Press ink, they also presented "Camp Jeep NY," where people could get
challenging off-road rides in Jeeps.
Ultra-luxurious new Lexus LS 600hL
Colorful ZAP! Obvio 828 Trybrid (gas, electric or alcohol) prototype with
license plate from Brazil
Chevy Camaro & Dodge Challenger concept cars
Mercedes-Benz E320 Bluetec
Clean and green: Ford Escape Hybrid New York taxi
Lamborghinis & sumptuous Spyker interior
Shelby GT-H Hertz edition rental Mustang & Parnelli Jones edition Saleen 302
CNN was at the show to report on the SMART cars
John Cooper and a very special works Mini
Nissan Urge concept with see-through hood
Scion Fuse concept
This year's edition of the New York
International Auto Show has now ended, but the fun is not quite over. The last I
heard, ZAP! is planning to send drivers back to California in the SMART cars
too. Be sure to cheer on the new batch of drivers and read all about their trip
So long from Times Square, NYC
As always, please share
your stories and send your comments to
AutoMatters@gmail.com. Enjoy the
archives and more at
www.AutoMatters.net. Drive safely and do join me again next time.
Copyright © 2006 Jan R. Wagner – #189