A Skeptical Engineer
Sights from the 2015 Detroit Auto Show

Sights from the 2015 Detroit Auto Show

There were even more automotive journalists, VIPs, and industry observers wandering Cobo Hall at this year’s car show. But there seemed to be fewer electric/hybrid  cars, SUVs, and minivans at the car companies’ displays. There were, however some high-power sedans, notably the 700+hp Dodge Charger and the 400+hp Kia, that’s right, a Kia.

Here are some of the other sights I saw at Detroit this year.

Some Motown in Motown

A trio of singers, maybe mimers, put on a good show in the lobby of Cobo Hall. It was a good reminder that the North American International Auto Show, NAIAS to those in the know, is actually in Detroit. I imagine the tradeshow started out as the Detroit Auto Show.

Alfa Romeos, then and now

The new 4C Spider  is powered by a 235+ hp all-aluminum 1.75-l direct-injection, dual intercooled, turbocharged engine with dual variable-valve. It cost a bit more than $60,000, putting it out of reach of most grad students but not Dustin Hoffman.

Alfa Romeo also showed off a pair of vintage cars from its line-up that included the 1932 Gran Premio Tipo B (P3). The P3, the first real single-seat racer car, was powered by a supercharged eight-cylinder engine. The car weighed in at just  1,500 lb despite using a cast- iron engine block. It won 46 major races between 1935-35.

Here’s another Alfa Romeo (below), a mystery car. Be the first to identify it and win a fabulous prize.  Frank Samples was the first withthe rifht answer: It's a Type 159 ALfa Romeo. Congratulations, Frank.

Everybody loves a Corvette: So here are a few shots of the 2015 Corvette. For a good look at the engine the ZR version carries, the LT 4, check out this article.

And here’s the view most of us will get of the Corvette on the road.

GT40: Next year, Ford will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original GT40’s win over Ferrari in 1966 by releasing a new version of that fabled sports car. It will carry a 3.5 liter, double-turbo V6 with over 600 hp, That’s 50 hp more than the 2005 model, The car got its name, at least the 40 part of it, by being jus about 40 inches tall.

There was also an original 1966 GT40 in display. It was designed and manufactured in England and the U.S., but it always carried an American-built engine. It won the Le Mans, a 24-hr race, four times in a row from 1966-69.

Best-looking concept car: The Maserati Alfieri. Rumor has it the car will go into production in 2016 with a convertible coming out the following year. Currently, the all-wheel-drive coupe is carrying a 410-hp, turbocharged 3-liter V6,. But if you have the coin and a need for speed, a 450-hp engine should also be available.

Strangest-looking concept car (and longest name): The Mercedes Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion. (Though the Maserati Ghibli Ermenegildo Zegna Edition concept car gave it a run for the name with the most syllables.) The electric plug-in hybrid can drive itself, according to the literature. And the power train consists of a hydrogen fuel cell that generates power when the batteries run dry and  a pair of electric motors turning the rear wheels.

And the “Cute As A VW Bug” Award goes to: the Fiat 500, 1957 Edition, which costs $21,350 and gets 40 mpg. What more could you want, other than a nice sun suit to match?

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