What’s New at the 2015 NAIAS

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I’d been looking forward to the North American International Auto Show here in Detroit since this time last year. While it may not be the most glamorous or the biggest, Detroit can still go toe to toe with the best of them. And nothing comes close to the new Ford GT, he car no one expected to see or even knew anything about.

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It’s actually pretty amazing that Ford managed develop and build the GT without anyone knowing. No spy photos, no leaked photos, nothing. Just a debut from out of nowhere.

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Ford brought out all three versions of the GT and GT40 to commemorate the new GT. Even with the new GT not exactly following in the design flow of the original GT, it looks amazing. Ford has also said they plan on racing it, possibly this year, so when and where that happens I’ll hopefully be there.

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Ford decided to go all out this year with performance. Along with the GT, the Mustang Shelby GT350 is the next evolution in the Shelby line of amazing Mustangs.

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No rear seats, optional carbon wheels, and 627 horsepower.It looks like the muscle car war is coming back with a vengeance.

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The last of Ford’s performance line up came in the form of the new Raptor.

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The other big news was from Acura and the new new NSX. It seemed like every car show last year Acura was debuting some new version of the NSX. But this is the real deal.

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Not too much has changed. It has gone from a dream concept car to a production car right in front of our eyes. AWD hybrid may be a bit of stray from the NSX origins, but it should pick up right where the NSX left off with innovation.

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2015 seems like the year for motor heads. The new Miata looks to be just as promising and exciting as the previous generations. It doesn’t hurt either that it looks absolutely amazing too.

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Mazda must only have a few Miatas to display, or they’re trying to get RHD cars here in the states. I’m sure they’d actually do pretty good if a RHD version was available here, since Miata drivers always seem to be an interesting bunch. Here in Michigan it’s not uncommon to see Miatas driving around with the top down in mid January.

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Chevy’s biggest news came in the shape of a hybrid car and an electric car. The new Volt has been made a little more mainstream and not as extreme as the original, which might be a good thing or a bad thing.

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Then there’s the Bolt, their new electric car. It’s not really the most exciting of cars, but whether we like it or not, this is the future.

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But then there’s Cadillac. The once, rather, old man car company, their “V” series have continued to get crazier and crazier.  The supercharged V8 out of the Z06 gives the CTS V a top speed of 200mph. It seems that there is a dual front on the muscle car war now. The Hellcat Challenger, Z/28 and GT350 are in one theater and the CTS V and the Hellcat Charger are starting a 4 door war. And that doesn’t even include the rest of the world.

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Local Motors has been making news with their 3-D printed car from SEMA. They decided to really make a statement and print and build their Strati at the show.

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In the Cobo Hall basement Local Motors had a track set up and were giving rides in their other Strati.

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The Mini Superleggera isn’t necessarily new, but seeing it here gives hope that there might be a production version on the way.

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With companies trying new things, it wouldn’t be too crazy if Mini did put something like this into production.

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While the Fiat 500X didn’t make much news, it made me think of Dakar. The X looks like a slightly larger and lifted Fiat 500, which reminds me of the Dakar Mini, which is also a larger and lifted version of the street car. While the chances are small, seeing Fiat in the Dakar next year would be a cool addition.

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The only German car that really stood out was the Mercedes GT S. A smaller, more compact version of the SLS, this too could look very good in race livery.

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Outside of the main hall, the Zenos E10 was a promising looking car. Made by two ex-Caterham and Lotus employees, it’s yet another track toy out of England, but this will be available in the US. Starting at $39,500, we might be seeing more E10’s at track days and back roads around America soon.

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The Hellcat seems like the car that really kick started the modern day overpowered muscle car wars. With both the Charger and Challenger coming out of the factory with 707hp, this seems like the perfect time to switch to the race cars at the auto show.

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Ford really went all out with their performance and race cars. To go along with the new GT350, they decided to bring out an original GT350, which instantly overshadowed the new one.

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It seems like rally raid is slowly get more and more popular throughout the United States. I’m not really sure why this was here, it was just kind of sitting off in the corner alone.

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This 1966 F-100 had its own spinning platform. It’s a Baja 1000 winner and raced by Robby Gordon in 1987. Starting life as a normal farm truck, it was then transformed into what you see here.

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After reading that the truck belonged to Robby, I had to dig up an old photo my mom had signed when she worked at Ford back in ’88. It’s funny how things kind of come back around eventually.

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Joni Wiman’s GRC Fiesta rounds out the Ford display of race cars.

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Michelin had a Formula E car in their booth, adding to the list of the open wheel cars throughout the show.

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This Hyundai went from the coolest car to the biggest let down in a heartbeat. Being nothing more than just a mock up of their WRC car, it gave me hope that we’d finally see a WRC car on U.S. shores. But at least it’s a start.

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Lexus brought out the new RCF GT3. Even though the car was debuted in Geneva last year, it had a dual showing at the Tokyo Auto Salon and here in Detroit this year.

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Toyota showed off their TS040 along with their NASCARs and drag cars.

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Alfa Romeo decided it was better to have more historic cars than new. This Tipo 159 was Juan Manuel Fangio’s car from 1951.

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They paired it with this 1932 Gran Premio Tipo B. If there’s any way to sell cars, pairing the new cars with old race cars has to be the best way. Other manufacturers need to start taking notes from Alfa.

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As if the two Grand Prix cars weren’t enough, Alfa brought the 33 Stradale out too. Only 18 of these were made, and they are one of the best looking cars ever made. I mean, look at it.

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They were originally displaying the new 4C and 4C Spider, but I was more obsessed with the museum that Alfa set up around their new cars.

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They didn’t stop with just the cars either, they had a 12ft glass case filled with pieces from their race and production cars from the past.

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Volkswagen didn’t really have too much, but they had a few 1:43 WRC Polos to make up for it.

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Mercedes brought a 3.0 CSL race car, but it was gone by the time the public show opened. So I got my phone out and decided to pretend it was still here, instead of the X5M they had place there.

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Mercedes had their championship winning F1 car on the main stage along with their newest cars.

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Honda had Ryan Hunter Reay’s car with an Indy 500 wreath and bottle of milk.

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But this took the top spot of the entire show. The RA272 from 1965 was tucked back in the rear of the Honda display that I almost missed completely.

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Driven by American Richie Ginther in the 1965 Mexico GP, it was his only win in 52 starts. With a 1.5 liter V12, it makes F1 now look so tame. Out of all of the amazing and groundbreaking cars that were unveiled here in in Detroit, this was the car I was hooked on the longest.

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Detroit did it again with some truly amazing cars. With ford breaking the internet with the new GT and GT350, Chevy getting into the electric car market with the Bolt, and Cadillac upping the game with the new CTS V it should be a good year for the auto world. I can’t wait to see where the new GT ends up in the racing world and what comes out of the Zenos.

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And to make the Detroit Auto Show a truly international show, one look over the Detroit River at Canada should do it. It’s the only U.S. city with a Canadian border crossing to the South, and the only Motor City. Perfect location for an international auto show.

Delaney

Email: delaney@lifebalsters.com
Instagram: @lifeblasters, @ericdelaney

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