Thursday, March 26, 2015

Atlanta's Car Fascination Revealed

That headline is totally a joke. If you've lived here even a couple of months, you know that we Atlantans can't even go to the corner market without getting in the car. 

Until recently, that's just been matter-of-fact living in the ATL. One of the side effects of such a lifestyle has led the Atlanta International Auto Show, this year its 33rd annual, to being the largest show of its kind in the Southeast! Our fascination for cars has never, ever been concealed.

Make your way to the Georgia World Congress Center this weekend, now through Sunday, to see the more than 400 cars and trucks—concept to classic—as well as entertainment and celebrity appearances!

Atlanta International Auto Show 2015 | Georgia World Congress Center
Atlanta International Auto Show 2015 | Georgia World Congress Center


I've owned a number of cars in my lifetime, but there's only one model of which I've owned two. That would be the BMW. So, when I arrived at the Auto Show, I bee-lined it to the BMW section and discovered the beauty pictured above. 

That's the 2014 BMW i8 and its marketing tagline is "Innovation disguised as a sports car", which is precisely what it is.

Not associated with the Auto Show, but perhaps of interest to fellow BMW enthusiasts, also underway this weekend is the BMW Ultimate Driving Experience Tour. It's here through Sunday, March 29 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia.

Atlanta International Auto Show 2015 | Georgia World Congress Center
Atlanta International Auto Show 2015 | Georgia World Congress Center

Everyone knows that concept cars are ALWAYS a big draw at auto shows! I'm right there with such enthusiasts and we're all in for a few delicious treats. There are quite a few pre-production and concept cars in this year's Show, including the above pictured Mercedes-Benz AMG GT S. My car-before-last was a Mercedes—I've never felt so safe in a car—but it wasn't quite as nice as this one.

I overheard a father who had brought his two sons to the show tell his younger one, "Study hard and get a great job. You'll want one of these. And you'll want to buy me one for bringing you here today." 

There were quite a few father-son outings at the Show. I admire those parents for spending quality time with their kids. I had extremely few opportunities to spend quality time with my father, so it's super cool to see kids today to have such an awesome experience...dad and cool cars!

Atlanta International Auto Show 2015 | Georgia World Congress Center
Atlanta International Auto Show 2015 | Georgia World Congress Center

I've had a love affair with the Corvette since 1978. Many generations are fans of the Star Wars franchise, but many of those of us who saw the first Star Wars in 1977 went on to see Corvette Summer, starring Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and Annie Potts, the next year. 

That metal-flake candy apple red Corvette Stingray was the most beautiful car I'd ever seen as a kid, but the 2015 Corvette Z06 pictured above, which is in part modeled after the 2014 Stingray, would be a sweet ride, too! Don't you think? 

Atlanta International Auto Show 2015 | Georgia World Congress Center
Atlanta International Auto Show 2015 | Georgia World Congress Center

Ford is offering rides in its ST Simulator! It's unlike any simulator I've ever been in and I've been in Boeing-737 and NASA Space Shuttle simulators! This one let's you experience world-class racing and it spins 360 degrees! When you're turning the "car", you're actually turning! I didn't personally ride it on this visit, but the folks I saw riding it were having a blast!

Atlanta International Auto Show 2015 | Georgia World Congress Center
Atlanta International Auto Show 2015 | Georgia World Congress Center

For the more than a few NASCAR enthusiasts I'm sure will attend the Auto Show, there are several race cars just waiting for photo-ops! There's even one that's a cut-away model, so you can see inside the engine, inside the cab, the frame...you can see everything! 

Speaking of seeing...there are several celebrity appearances throughout the Show. Visitors will have the opportunity to see Jeff Teague of the Atlanta Hawks; the Atlanta Hawks Cheerleaders; Scooby-Doo; Spider-Man; and Iron Man! The last time I saw Iron Man was at Medieval Times, but that's another story.

Atlanta International Auto Show 2015 | Georgia World Congress Center
Atlanta International Auto Show 2015 | Georgia World Congress Center

"Hank" is a life-size fully interactive robot, and a Ford representative/entertainer! I don't know how often Hank's performances are, but you're going to want to make time to see him. He has a brilliant sense of humor, some pretty smooth moves, he's at least bilingual, engaging, entertaining and puts on a great show! The show I saw included a trivia contest and prizes!

Atlanta International Auto Show 2015 | Georgia World Congress Center
Atlanta International Auto Show 2015 | Georgia World Congress Center

I love old cars, just as much as concept cars. The classic cars at the Atlanta International Auto Show is reminiscent of last year's Dream Cars exhibition at the High Museum of Art...they're truly magnificent! And there are quite a few of them. 

In addition to the above pictured 1957 300C Chrysler there are vintage police cars and a fully restored antique Atlanta Fire Truck! The classics are spread out throughout the Show, so have fun discovering them!

Atlanta International Auto Show 2015 | Georgia World Congress Center
Atlanta International Auto Show 2015 | Georgia World Congress Center

I told you how about my Corvette love affair when I was a kid, right? Well, my love affair with the Ford Mustang is a more contemporary love affair. Actually, I owned a black-on-black 1997 Mustang in the late 90s. I loved that car. A black car shines like no other when it's newly waxed. As much as I love the classics and my 1997, today's Mustangs are incredibly sexy! 

If I ever change models again, I'll very likely go back to a Mustang. Except for that unfortunate phase in the 80s when a Mustang looked nothing like a Mustang (personal opinion, sorry Ford), it's been a favorite since I've known anything about cars.

Atlanta International Auto Show 2015 | Georgia World Congress Center
Atlanta International Auto Show 2015 | Georgia World Congress Center

I love the Mini! And yes, I've spent more than a few hours on their website building my own Mini. Although I'm on the tall side, I've always had an affinity for small cars. They're racy, they're comfortable, they can go places other cars can't...and in a city like Atlanta, it makes parking a LOT easier than any SUV!

A few other things to look out for when you're at the Auto Show: full-size engines, samples of color and finish options, eco-friendly vehicles, and some of the most beautiful and handsome automobile representatives you'll ever see! The ones I spoke with were very kind, helpful and knowledgeable about their lines. Don't be shy! 

Atlanta International Auto Show 2015 | Georgia World Congress Center
Atlanta International Auto Show 2015 | Georgia World Congress Center

Okay...some of these vehicles I can't tell you what they are. Honestly, I was like a dog in a squirrel factory. Cars. Trucks. Cars...and more cars! And rides and shows...and more cars. What I can tell you is that they have something for everyone! Even the above pictured vehicle, which I believe is a Custom Combat Truck, would give any Hummer owner Big-Car-Envy!

I'd also like to say "Thank you!" to Atlanta Daybook for the tickets. I won them in a Facebook giveaway. I've followed Atlanta Daybook for years...they're a press distribution service and an excellent resource for Atlanta events, news and business announcements. 

For the record, I've enjoyed quite a few Atlanta experiences that I first learned about by following Atlanta Daybook, on Facebook and via my email subscription with them!

Atlanta International Auto Show 2015 | Georgia World Congress Center
Atlanta International Auto Show 2015 | Georgia World Congress Center

There are a number of test driving experiences to be had at the Show, but the one I found to be the coolest is the one that Jeep has set up one the plaza between Georgia World Congress Center and Georgia Dome. There are varying terrains, a variety of Jeeps to try, and you get to drive where you would never, ever be able to without getting arrested!

While I'm excited to have Atlanta Streetcar and the eventual rail on the Atlanta Beltline, until the time that Atlanta has a rail system that blankets the city, I'm a car hound! And I'm grateful for an awesome car show!

Head on down to the Atlanta International Auto Show this weekend—it started Wednesday! Remember to check the Show's website for directions and parking information. FYI, sometimes parking is less expensive closer to the Georgia World Congress Center...if you're looking for the best rate, make a little extra time to scope out your options.

Now, go have fun and tell Iron Man "Hello!" for me!

1 comment:

Fred said...

That Mercedes is so beautiful I'd almost give up my Chevy Colorado just to have one. The key word here being almost... I love my Colorado.