Ah, the North American International Auto Show. The event that marks the beginning of my automotive year. All the lights, new cars, and being able to sit and run through the gears in just about any car you want is enough to make any auto enthusiast giddy. Let’s take a look and what was going on inside Detroit’s COBO Center.
If there’s ever a line for a car, Porsche takes the top spot year after year.
Porsche’s big debute was the new 991 Targa. If any company knows how to keep design going, it’s Porsche. But with a car like the 911, it’s not hard to see why the shape has became so famous. This new Targa looks to continue the legacy. Just the flow of the rear glass alone is drool worthy, a perfect throwback to the Targa of the ’60s.
Speaking of throwbacks, Ford brought out the Mustang 1 Concept of 1962. It’s interesting to think what the Mustang would look like today if this had turned into reality.
But this is the next generation Mustang we’ll be seeing. After its initial debut a couple months ago, everyone said it looked like a two door Fusion. Seeing it in person though it seems to flow a little better and actually ranks up near the top of recent Mustangs, for me at least.
While Ford’s newest muscle car was getting all the attention, Chevy’s muscle sedan was all alone. The SS may not look like much, but it’s a 415 horsepower RWD sedan. The first RWD sedan from GM in 17 years, basically a Holden with Chevrolet badges. While it’s no Corvette, it good to see another major American company coming back to this format.
Speaking of Corvette, the Z06 was debuted in Detroit too. With horsepower in the 600 range, as well as the torque, some are calling it GM’s newest super car. The base Stingray was named North American Car of the Year, rounding off what has been quite a dominant year for the Stingray.
Rolling out alongside the Z06 was the C7.R, the newest iteration of the Corvette racing family. The C7.R makes its racing debut later this month at the 24 Hours of Daytona.
Located in the basement was the Equus booth. Equus is a local car company trying to remake the the muscle cars from the ’60s. The Bass 770 is modern muscle that appeals to just about anyone interested in big V8 cars. Powered by an LS9 from the ZR1, and composed of aluminum and carbon fiber it seems like a perfect combination, right? Well all that coupled with the fact it’s a low volume, custom built car means it’ll run you about $250,000.
Cadillac is still bring out amazing looking concept cars to back up their V series. Over the past few years they’ve really brought themselves up from being a grandparent’s car to being a serious competitor in the sports car and modern muscle scenes. The Elmiraj is yet another RWD V8 powered sedan coming from GM. Although there’s been no talk of a production model, it could maybe become something in the future.
And possibly the most American thing is this. Bob Lutz, from GM, Ford, Chrysler and BMW started a company called VL Automotive. VL took Fisker Karmas and replaced the electric motors with 6.2L V8s.
From a car built into a beast, we have a car beast from the factory. The NISMO GT-R really needs no introduction. With about 50 more horsepower than the base GTR, more downforce and the ability to lap Nürburgring at the low 7 minute mark, it’s a true factory Godzilla.
The GT-R wasn’t quite a race car, but here were a few race cars on hand. Ford was showing off their trick to testing out the 2015 F150. Basically, they took all the body off a 2015 F150 and put a 2014 F150 body on it, and ran it in the Baja 1000. Now if that’s not R&D, then I don’t know what is.
Also in the basement with Equus was the Belle Isle Grand Prix booth. Along with the Indy Car and Delta Wing Coupe was Robby Gordon’s stadium truck. They’ll be running on the street course along side the TUDOR and IndyCar series. I’ll be there for sure.
Scion also had a familiar face in their area. Along side the FR-S, TC and other various models, Ken Gushi’s FR-S wore a scraped up rear bumper in pride near the rear of the booth. I was hoping to see some Rocket Bunny flares on the showroom floor.
Let’s get to the real talking point of the NAIAS this year, the revival of the RWD coupes. Toyota lit a powder keg with the FR-S, BRZ and the 86. Nissan already had the IDx in Tokyo, but Kia and Toyota had to fire back in Detroit. Just recently Nissan confirmed that the IDx will be put into production by 2016. Whether it’s the FreeFlow version or the NIMSO is yet to be determined, but to sports car fans all over, this is great news.
A surprising entry in the RWD battle is the Kia GT4 Stinger. With a 2.0 four cylinder turbo good for 315 horsepower and a 6 speed transmission, this could easily get Kia way up in the sports car game. Kia says they have no plans to make the car, but it’s a glimpse at what Kia could do in the near future. Do it!
Although the FT-1 was probably the biggest debut at Detroit this year. Being billed as the next Supra by some people, and by others a look at what Toyota could really do. The 86 was already enough of a game changer, but what Toyota wants is something bigger, and that’s what this is.
While there’s no plans for the FT-1 just yet, everyone is hoping the Supra rumor mill is true. It seems the RWD sport coupe class could really be heating up again. Who knows what could be next, a new 240 maybe to go along with the 510? Maybe a RWD Celica? Either way it looks like RWD cars are back, and not a moment too soon.