Another January, and another trip to Detroit for the 2013 NAIAS at Cobo Hall. This year’s trip included additional stops at a Porsche aircooled parts business and Groosh’s literal Garage in Ann Arbor. Paul is undertaking two early 911 restorations and is also an expert plating specialist and powder coater for early Porsche parts. Next up, I visited Karl and his Mercedes collection. A true MB enthusiast from the old days and has quite a nice collection of 50’s-60’s. He is downsizing his garage and cars are for sale. He even has a spare 6.3L V8 for your next project. He had done a 280 SEL 6.3 in the 70’s and many others that adorn his shop. On to the show, Tuesday a week ago Detroit had clear skies and was around the 30 degree mark, pretty tropical for Detroit in January. I met up with Paul Grusche and Tyler Burns (formerly of Lars Anderson Auto) and toured the show. Cappucino’s every 100 feet, 20’s models on every stand, and the latest examples of the world’s best autos to pick over. It’ll have to do.
Starting with the DeltaWing in the main hall entrance, this could be the future of racing if the powers let it be. Running half the weight, power, and fuel, yet runs with the big dogs, a true innovation. Entering the show, Mercedes has some prime real estate to the right, with Audi on the left, followed around by Bentley, BMW, Mini, VW, Porsche, and Volvo. This is the area to spend some time. VW Group is on a roll with Audi in particular and a new plant in Mexico will be finished in 2014.
Tesla had a strong display of its new sedan which will hit 60mph quicker than an M5, and it’s all electric. And if you like speed, the new Corvette was on hand. Smaller and more sculpted than ever, borrowing heavily from Ferrari front ends as of late and with a base 450hp engine, it will remain a performance bargain and GM hopes will appeal to a younger crowd. Nissan was there with its gold Bolt GT-R, getting long in tooth and ready for a freshening and Acura returned with its NSX, this year with a production ready design and full interior.
Ah, the Americans. Ford is pushing its safety and fuel efficiency and the V6 full size F-series pickup is a real winner. Lincoln had a new crossover to show, but one has to wonder if the brand’s days are numbered. The “Lincoln Loves” marketing program lacks excitement. Hyundai and Cadillac had the best concepts at the show (pics below) and overall, the Detroit car companies seems in a much better place than 3-4 years ago. Wish Detroit could say the same for itself as it teeters on bankruptcy and struggles for new identity.
Bonus – Upon returning from the show, I rejoined part time work for AudiSport and their R8 LMS program running four cars at this year’s Rolex 24HR at Daytona (Race starts this Saturday on SPEED TV). Audi had 30+ race engineers in town to review and re-review each race car for the big race. Hugely impressive and professional effort. Looking towards 2014 and the merging of ALMS and Grand Am, Audi will have a very competitive race car in the R8 LMS. Place your orders early.
Signing off on a 10 degree morning in the farmland. As always, send me your questions, feedback, and searches. Time to get the race slicks into the warm basement.
Ford after hour party with special tour of show awarded to Amex card members. Tour given by Aaron Robinson of Car & Driver, AutoWeek’s Mark Vaughn and Paul Grusche of Motor Car Market
Tyler Burns with Danny “The Count” from Counting Cars.