Mopars at The Park

If you want to know where "car community" is celebrated – go to a car show or meet somewhere.

Five Favorites from a Very Busy Period in This Work and Art

Once there were five…then I forgot.

It’s been a while since I did a Five Favorites piece. They usually involve a theme and five items related to that theme. Sometimes, it’s a personal experience that dictates these five items. Sometimes, it’s other factors that parse out the list. Either way, you get five stories from one idea – novel, isn't it?

A thought popped in my head: I've been asked a lot about the vehicles I've driven since the beginning of March. Two particular questions come up: "Which would I buy?"< ?i> and "Which one would you buy?"

Rebooting the Dart – in Texas

The first thing that comes to mind about the state capitol of the Lone Star Empire is its quirkiness. Austin does not represent the rest of state by the people and the openness of anyone who is different than the stereotypical Texan. Not everyone within the capitol’s environs share the ideology of its Governor. Austin folk would probably have more in common than one of its most celebrated residents – Matthew McConaughey.

Chicago 2012: Plenty of Catching Up To Do…

Consider how large the Chicago Auto Show's exhibition space is. That is 1.2 million square feet of space that has everything and anything you will need to navigate through the automotive world. Couple that with in-show experiences – ride-alongs, an area celebrating the United States Army, fun areas for the kids, vendors, and so forth – then you understand why one would come to McCormick Place in mid-February.

Between the two auto shows I attend annually, Chicago offers more bang for the buck. The First Look for Charity is considered one of the top events to do for the socially mobile in the Chicagoland Area. The show attracts an entire region to McCormick Place with new vehicles that are currently on sale or coming soon to a dealer near you.

As a member of the working automotive media corps, if I was unable not attend the shows in Los Angeles, Detroit, New York, Houston, Washington, or anyplace we are welcome, Chicago is a great place to catch up on what I missed throughout the calendar.

Let’s do some catching up, shall we?

Detroit 2012: The View from Afar

No, I was not there this year.

If you read my Twitter, you'd probably wondered if I were to show up at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Unfortunately, the stars did not align properly. Yet, I was asked by fellow journalists, media relations people and other industry support people whether I would make the trek to the Motor City for this very important exhibition of the automobile. Not this year. I will someday.

Because of the speed of information available online and the ability to see video and images from the show readily, I was able to ascertain the big debuts and the most curious appearances at Cobo Hall. This helped in my coverage last year from my home in the Twin Cities.

Of course, there's nothing like being there. You get to see and touch these new products ahead of consumer sale. You get to see whether you'd feel comfortable behind the wheel of one. That’s why we go to auto shows, right?

Without further ado, here are my picks from NAIAS…

It's a Dart!

Remember the Dodge-Alfa Romeo compact I "speculated" a month or so ago? Well…it's got a name…

Much to the glee of everyone even remotely not in the automotive industry, the Dart name is a throwback to a simpler time. The nomenclature's reappearance was received with such joy never seen of any automobile in a very long time. It received huge media coverage – one of the television outlets in the Twin Cities had a piece on the Dart's return.

Perhaps I should explain why everyone went absolutely ecstatic over Chrysler's announcement of their new compact's name.

Historiography: The Class of 1982

The list can go on forever, but I will concentrate on the most important thing overall: Graduating high school. As I realize today that I am indeed on the latter side of my forties, remembering every moment of that year seems a bit difficult these days.

Los Angeles 2011: The Auto Show that's 23 Miles from Victory & Reseda

It's true – I grew up 23 miles away from the site of this year's Los Angeles Auto Show.

So, how did I get 1,935 miles away from it? Why was I not there to cover it? Long story…but the show did yield some spectacular debuts. Some of these world premieres were well worth the wait.

It is a good thing that the Los Angeles Auto Show found resonance in its timeslot in November. The show itself puts the West Coast in the spotlight for our industry. November in Los Angeles is a great time to soak it all in – just before the Thanksgiving crush.

I'm talking about those of us in and around the automotive industry. But, for those of you who are planning to attend the show…what a way to spend turkey week!

Five Favorites from Auto Show Seasons Past

Next year will mark ten years since I covered my first auto show. No, seriously…

It is a momentous occasion since working press at an auto show has evolved from covering what's new on the scene as a place

Yet, sometime within the last month or so, someone on Twitter called press days at an auto show as sort of a "circle jerk." I get his frustration, as covering the industry certainly has changed over time. Traditional media has been threatened by the likes of myself…and we're being threatened by outlets that can distill the news even quicker.

Still, there is room at the table for all of us – and we're networking with each other all the time. In fact, the industry and the press are interconnected in ways unimaginable when it was strictly the traditional media covering the industry.

In retort to that Tweet that called auto show press days a "circle jerk," I still believe that we need a day to meet with our industry counterparts, enjoy the excitement of vehicle launches and provide varying perspectives on the industry back to you – the readership.

Since the first major USA show is coming up at the Los Angeles Convention Center; this actually calls for a Five Faves post! This posting revolves a single question: What five vehicles made my auto show press coverage experience worth the effort?

That would mean logging back top the 2002 Chicago Auto Show – the one I covered with Midwest Ursine/Tillery Publications along with current Windy City Banner publisher Tom Wray.

I did come up with five vehicles over the past ten years. Here they are…

My Favorite Captive Imports

At a time when the call was to tune down the horsepower and prepare for an oil crisis, a recession and a never ending war overseas, domestic automakers figured it was high time to build another round of compact cars. By going smaller, there were two routes to take: Build them domestically or import them from a global partner somewhere. Three out of the four North American automakers chose the latter.