2017 Motor Trend International Auto Show: Annual treat for tire kickers - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

2017 Motor Trend International Auto Show: Annual treat for tire kickers

Baltimore women Kieran and Jeanna try out a 2017 Mustang at the Motor Trend International Auto Show in Baltimore (Anthony C. Hayes)

Baltimore area student Kieran and her mother Jeanna love the trendy Ford Mustang on display at the 2017 Motor Trend International Auto Show. (Anthony C. Hayes)

Is the new Cadillac CTS-V really faster than a Corvette? How does the Nissan Versa compare to the Kia Forte? Would a Ford Mustang be a practical choice for a commuting college student? And will Lincoln enthusiasts ever completely cotton to the brand new Continental? These are some of the probing questions on the minds of Baltimore-area shoppers attending at this year’s Motor Trend International Auto Show.

The 2017 Motor Trend International Auto Show is running this weekend at the Baltimore Convention Center. With over 500 new cars and trucks on display – including one-of-a-kind-supercars and custom creations – the show offers plenty of eye candy for dreamers plus concise comparisons for anyone who is in the market for a new car. Best of all, knowledgeable manufacturer representatives are on hand to answer questions about the latest models in a well-lit, pressure-free environment.

Baltimore area mom Jeanna and her daughter Kieran were all smiles, as they slipped into the seats of a stylish Grabber Blue colored Ford Mustang. Jeanna said that with, Kieran set to graduate from high school soon, the family is in the market for a serviceable second car. “Basically, we’re just looking for something for our daughter to use to commute, so the Mustang may be a little too much of an investment. But it’s really a beautiful car,” said Jeanna.

At the 2017 Motor Trend International Auto Show in Baltimore, car shoppers could virtually configure any Hyundai they liked. (Anthony C. Hayes)

Car shoppers can virtually configure any Hyundai they like. (Anthony C. Hayes)

“Fast, too!” Kieran quickly added.

Over at the Honda display, one determined man was struggling mightily to pop the hood of a Civic Hatch Sport.

After setting aside our camera and lending the gent a knowing hand, we stood back and quietly watched, as he peered into a gleaming maze of metal, turned to his wife and exclaimed, “Yep – that’s the engine.”

Several cars over, a woman took full advantage of Hyundai’s interactive product line display board. With a quick touch onscreen, she was able to see how the car of her choosing would appear in dozens of different configurations.

Seated nearby, behind the wheel of a Hyundai Azera, was Larsen – a high-schooler from the Easton, Maryland area. Larsen told the Baltimore Post-Examiner that he is still a year or so away from obtaining his drivers license. But that hasn’t stopped the insightful freshman from cultivating his interest in cars.

“My parents own a BMW and a Mercedes-Benz. But I like the Hyundai Azera because it offers a lot of value for the price point. It has sleek, clean lines and a very nice sound system. The controls appear to be well thought out and easy to operate.”

Easton Maryland area student Larsen behind the wheel of Hyundai Azera at the 2017 Motor Trend International Auto Show in Baltimore, Maryland. (Anthony C. Hayes)

Easton area student Larsen behind the wheel of a Hyundai Azera. (Anthony C. Hayes)

It was clear that, even at fourteen, Larsen has given the purchase of his first car a lot of thought. But for Baltimore resident Sam Vincent’s three-year-old son, a mirrored sun visor could provide hours of entertainment.

Sam and his son had just settled into a Soul Red Mazda MX-5 Miata when we happened along. Standing a few feet away, Sam’s wife gently rocked the couple’s infant daughter.

“I really like this car. If I didn’t have kids, I’d consider buying one. Maybe in another 15-20 years!” he laughingly explained. “I’m not currently in the market for a new car, but I just wanted to check out what the industry has to offer.”

Sam wasn’t the only married guy lusting over the striking little red sports car. Pausing briefly to give the Miata a wishful look, one man muttered, “If I told my wife I wanted that car, she would kill me.”

Is the Cadillac CTS-V Corvette fast?

For more than a century, the Cadillac brand has set the tone in luxurious driving. But one would have to listen to Chuck Berry to get an idea of how long it has been since a Coupe de Ville could outrun a V-8 Ford.

A Cadillac CTS-V at the 2017 Motor Trend International Auto Show in Baltimore, Maryland. (Anthony C. Hayes)

Faster than a Corvette? The Cadillac CTS-V. (Anthony C. Hayes)

Cadillac seems to have addressed this vexing issue (if it ever really was an issue) by putting out the extremely hopped-up CTS-V. Gathered around the CTS-V on display at the show, an aging group of gear-heads marveled at the improbable muscle car. Is it faster than a Corvette? “Yes”, said the factory representative, thanks to the 640 horsepower supercharged engine. But as shown, the Caddy clocked in at almost $103,000. That was enough for one man, who remarked, “For that price, it better come with Dale Earnhardt as the chauffeur!”

The Cadillac may be Corvette fast, but will it attract the same high-end shoppers who have been eagerly awaiting the new Lincoln Continental?

Larry, a retired automotive professional who now represents the Ford and Lincoln line at nationwide auto shows, was happy to talk with us about the brand new Continental.

“So far, the foot traffic to see this car has been terrific. The last generation of Continental went out of production in 2002, so this is the first of Lincoln’s seminal flagship to be produced in some fifteen years.”

The appointments of the reinvigorated Lincoln appear to be top notch, as witness the satisfied sighs of savvy shoppers who practically melted into the soft leather seats. But one question about the final design seems to come up whenever the public sees the car: “Where are the rear suicide doors?”

At the 2017 Motor Trend International Auto Show in Baltimore - The cockpit of the 2017 Lincoln Continental. (Anthony C. Hayes)

The cockpit of the 2017 Lincoln Continental. (Anthony C. Hayes)

“We do get questioned about the suicide doors,” admitted Larry. “People love this new design, but I think for many, the iconic images of the great Continentals of the 1960’s – such as President Kennedy’s car – still remain.”

It doesn’t help Lincoln that at least one of the published prototype designs envisioned the reverse-swinging rear entry doors, or that Rolls-Royce currently has the unique feature on its eye-catching coupe.

Also, fielding questions about the Continental was Maryland native, Robert Meekins. Robert is the owner of a 1978 Lincoln Continental Mark V Diamond Jubilee Edition.

“I am participating in this show as a member of the Chesapeake Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America. Here at the show, we have five cars on display. My Mark V, a 1928 Studebaker, a 1934 Packard, a 1965 Chevy Impala SS and a mid-80’s Buick Riviera.

“I’ve owned my Continental since 2011. I was able to trace the history of the car and found it was originally sold to a physician from Houston, Texas. He is now deceased, but in corresponding with his son, I was told the doctor got a new Lincoln every other year.

“I’ve had some minor mechanical work done and got the car repainted about two years ago, but the upholstery and interior are all original. With Ford’s 75th Anniversary editions, the Mark V and the Thunderbird were available in special colors. You could get the Continental in Diamond Blue or Jubilee Gold.”

With his classic car sitting at a modest distance from the brand new Continental, we asked Robert how he would compare his Mark V to the latest Lincoln?

“I was over talking to the Lincoln guys earlier today. They brought the Continental badge back for 2017. We were talking about the differences in the cars, but you know, it’s a generational thing. You can’t compare the technology of today’s cars with a car of this vintage, but the style of the cars from this era is unsurpassed. I mean, today’s new cars really resemble one another, so there is almost no distinction. Everyone who walks by this display says they remember this car well, and more than a few have told me they have some sort of a prom night story.”

At the 2017 Motor Trend International Auto Show in Baltimore: Robert Meekins with his Diamond Blue 1978 Lincoln Continental Mark V. (Anthony C. Hayes)

Robert Meekins with his Diamond Blue 1978 Lincoln Continental Mark V. (Anthony C. Hayes)

Want to see more?  Then please enjoy our photo roundup of Baltimore’s Motor Trend International Auto Show.

About the author

Anthony C. Hayes

Anthony C. Hayes is an actor, author, raconteur, rapscallion and bon vivant. A one-time newsboy for the Evening Sun and professional presence at the Washington Herald, Tony's poetry, photography, humor, and prose have also been featured in Smile, Hon, You're in Baltimore!, Destination Maryland, Magic Octopus Magazine, Los Angeles Post-Examiner, Voice of Baltimore, SmartCEO, Alvarez Fiction, and Tales of Blood and Roses. If you notice that his work has been purloined, please let him know. As the Good Book says, "Thou shalt not steal." Contact the author.

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