There’s a funny thing about this year’s Philadelphia Auto Show. For 2013, most of the cars on display can be purchased.
Well … many of them can’t be purchased by you or me, the common folk — there are plenty of exotic cars on display ranging from McLarens to Maseratis to Mercedes-Benz AMGs — but if we happened to stumble upon a canvas sack with a dollar sign on it, we would probably be able to exchange it for a car at the show.
While there were a few less-than-finished cars at the show — a beautiful Jaguar F-Type roadster which will be available later this year, and a less-than-beautiful Lexus LF-LC come to mind (see the photos) — the show seemed rather tame compared to prior years’ displays.
Philadelphia Auto Show Chairman Michael Chapman said he’s OK with having fewer unobtainable cars at the show. Why? According to Chapman, exit poll research indicates that 91 percent of those who come to the show are in the market to buy a new vehicle.
“The one downside with concept cars is that the public sees the concept car, they like it and they want it,” Chapman said. “But the sad reality is that it’s usually two years away. The nice thing is that we don’t have that. And a lot of the consumers who come to the show are in the market for a vehicle.”
The lack of concept cars at the show could be due to the fact that the North American International Auto Show, more commonly known as the Detroit show, is running concurrently with the Philly show — both shows end Jan. 27. Philly Auto Show Spokeswoman Andrea Simpson said the Automotive Dealers Association of Greater Philadelphia — the owner of the Philadelphia Auto Show — is at the mercy of the convention center’s scheduling, so sometimes auto shows overlap. Simpson added that the ADAGP is 112 years old and is the oldest association of its kind in the country.
The Ford display will likely garner a lot of attention from visitors this year. Highlighting the display is a red Fusion Energi, with a 2.0L Atkinson-Cycle inline-4 Energi Plug-in Hybrid Engine. Ford Regional Manager David Principato said that the car, in full electric mode, is capable of going 85 mph without using any gas. He said the car can also drive 21 miles on just its battery power. Also eye-catching at the Ford display was the Tangerine Scream-colored Focus ST. Its 2.0-liter 4-banger is more fun than the Fusion Energi’s, putting out 252 hp. And, it’s available with a genuine third pedal — a rarity.
One of the most photographed cars at the press event yesterday was the 2014 BMW M6 Gran Coupe. While its name is somewhat misleading — as it has four doors — the M car's sloping roofline and its "Frozen Gray" matte paint are striking. The car shares its 560-hp twin-turbocharged V-8 with the more practical M5 ... which it was parked next to.
The most fun display for visitors will probably be the new-for-this-year Philadelphia Auto Show “Face-Off.” A far cry from fuel sippers and 6-figure turbocharged German barges, this display pits the Ford Mustang against the Chevy Camaro — and visitors will get to vote for their favorite pony car at kiosks around the display.
Dozens of owners’ groups from both sides participated in the event. There are about a dozen of each, and each display — they’re across the hall from each other — showcases the pony cars’ evolution through the years. Don’t forget to check out the crazy, factory, color-shifting “Mystichrome” paint on the 2004 Mustang Terminator.
If you go
- The show is located at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch Street, Philadelphia.
- Hours: noon to 10 p.m. on weekdays; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays
- Price: Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children ages 7-12 and may be purchased at www.phillyautoshow.com or at the box office. Children 6 and under do not need a ticket. Senior citizens tickets (62 and over) receive a discounted price of $6 on weekdays.