A Skeptical Engineer
Checking out the 2013 Detroit Auto Show

Checking out the 2013 Detroit Auto Show

This year’s automotive showdown at Cobo Hall featured some great new cars, trucks, and SUVs, as well as a horde of reporters and automotive journalists from around the world. Fortunately, we’re a well behaved crowd, though sometimes a few of us seem a bit preoccupied. For example, whenever a new car was rolled out and then hyped by a company executive, that executive would eventually invite reporters and photographers (which is everyone with a cell phone) to come up for a closer look. As if on cue, the press would mob the shiny new vehicle, totally obscuring it and making any pictures they took include more of the crowd than the car. Check it out:

Here's yet another mob scene

Honda was celebrating its Indy 500 win last year, with the winning car and the Warner Borg Trophy on display, something I’ve never seen. According to my trivia guru, the trophy is insured for $1 million. Usually it is housed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum where the public can see it. Race winners, like last year’s Dario Franchitti, receive a 14-inch replica, called a Baby Borg. It is said to cost about $30,000.

There was also a handful of supercars, cars with way too much horsepower and price tags that would make all but the most well-heeled buyers wince. I’m not sure I could even comfortably make the insurance payments on these beauties.

The Mercedes' SLS AMG Black Series tops the (price) list with a sticker price estimated to be more than $300k, but you get 631 hp (48 more than the a standard SLS AMG). Top speed is around 200 mph.

Another hot looking car was Jaguar’s new F Series. The top of the line rear-wheel drive F-Type, the V8 s, cranks out 495 hp through an 8-speed QuickShift transmission for a top speed of 186 mph. And compared to Mercedes, it’s a bargain at $92,000.

If you want to customize your F-Type, there are three different engines options, 13 exterior colors, 19 interior colors and trims, four roof colors, two seat options, three seatbelt colors, five wheel styles and there are still more choices to make. According to the company, you can choose one of out of 42 million unique combinations.

And finally, one of this year’s auto show’s major debuts: the 2014 Corvette, the seventh generation of the 62-year old car. The 6.2-liter V8 gets 450 hp burning 26 mpg. Rumor has it shares only two parts with the previous model of Corvette. Price has not been released but it should certainly be above $60K. Is should go on sale the third quarter of this year.

This year's Deja Vu Award goes to Chevy. Apparently they got so much buzz about their Hot Wheels display last year, they brought it back. But this year, it's a dark blue Camaro sitting on the bright orange, over-sized track.

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