Through the early months of 2011, the latest and best visions of the second century of the automobile were displayed inside stadiums or convention centers in North America. Within the climate-control environments where the only threatening element is the oil through human contact on vehicle surfaces, cars and trucks have little trouble looking presentable through the shine of strong fluorescent lighting. However, seeing an automobile so properly exhibited inside is certainly a case of seeing a creature out of its natural habitat. Advertised as the largest outdoor auto show in North American, the 2011 Georgian College Auto Show opened this past Friday bringing vehicles from 17 car brands to the grounds of a Barrie, Ontario college campus.
For myself (a car enthusiast), relishing to make valuable use of every moment at a grand exhibit for the complex but harmonious automobile. For only $7 Canadian, my entry into the 2011 edition of the auto show (an event I have attended every year since 1997) was granted on a perfect warm, sunny day. Rescheduled from its long-held fall date to a June event coinciding with the bloom occurring in nature, the 2011 Georgian College Auto Show where my senses were rewarded by a wide assortment of marvellous, new automobiles. This year’s Georgian College Auto Show featured vehicles included many of the new products already seen through the prior indoor auto show circuit. The Nissan Leaf, Toyota Prius v and the Chevrolet Camaro convertible were a few showcase cars presented in low-key manner to great effect.
Avid readers of Automoblog.net would already have a clue about the Georgian College Auto Show after my coverage last fall. For new visitors, this outdoor Canadian auto show is a family-friendly weekend event that also serves a purpose in educating the newest crop of automotive sales and marketing professionals. Like every year, I’ve had an opportunity to share the company of people who embody knowledge and drive (a perfect characteristic to possess for the auto industry). I had nothing but pleasant experiences from people who are not simply taught how to sell a potential buyer a car they cannot afford with loan and lease structures. They were personable, friendly and often helped me acquire some great images. At the Chrysler tent, one brand representative did inform me he has been constantly accommodating requests of dropping and raising the hood on a Dodge Challenger SRT8 392. I spent roughly five minutes alone with the 2011 Challenger SRT8 392 gripping the steering wheel seated in the two-tone leather. I imagine one secret to selling an item is simply allowing the consumer to generate his or her own desire to a critical mass. As like every auto show I visit, I leave wanting so many automobiles.
While I saw cars like the Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 at the 2011 Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto this past February, the Georgian College exhibition of vehicles gave me a chance to absorb the automotive beauty without a rush. Even though I attended the Toronto show on a Media Day limited to mostly other media outlets, I feel myself having my respect and passion for the newest car unveiling getting conflicted by a near predatorily instincts. Please don’t get me confused, I have absolutely no distaste for my media colleagues (in fact I wish to enjoy more fluid interaction with through as I continue my automotive coverage), Media Day’s meaning becomes slanted to getting the first pictures in a rather static display. Through an automotive press source The Garage Blog, it was reported at the New York Auto Show that a Media Day turned ugly when reporters arguing over a computer station turned into a physical brawl. Maybe it is the fresh air or the removal of the blah of winter that preserves the 2011 Georgian College Auto Show as a large but polite gathering.
A reward to my senses, I’ve found the sensation of touch was most relished on this day. Opening the doors of so many of the vehicles such as the MINI Countryman and Lincoln MKS, the feel of my hand around the contoured door handles gave an introductory tactile experience to each car. Once inside, a more unusual sensations came as I sat in the driver seat of the new Nissan Quest minivan (or should that is called a macro-minivan?). As I back into the driver’s seat, the supporting comfort reminded me of a living room chair. Nissan calls the seating inside of the Quest as ‘low-fatigue’.
In a conversely unique sensation as I divert myself from the Nissan Quest minivan, a Scion tC presented another refreshing comfort feel. Fitted with special Scion leather seating (almost a $2,000 option on the Canadian tC model, the model at the 2011 Georgian College Auto Show had the assuring solace of a luxury car. This feeling inside the sport compact car was more than I would have expected from an under $25,000 vehicle. However, the unexpected is one of the things that make these auto shows compelling.
Though some of the surprises presented at the 2011 Georgian College Auto Show included the appearance of sharply coloured Audi R8 Spyder and two classic DeLoreans, there was also the astounding absence in one of the luxury car exhibits. While BMW display featured a high-performance M3 coupe, the tent of German brand rival Mercedes-Benz AMG line-up. Even the brand ambassador admitted some disappointment that Mercedes-Benz did not send any AMG models to the Georgian College Auto Show. Instead, the showcase of the Mercedes-Benz tent was a charming white E350 coupe.
Though the 2011 Georgian College Auto Show does not present the automotive pageantry and theatrics found in major cities such as Paris, Geneva or Detroit, this gathering of four-wheeled (and those two-wheeled creations) is a site where the spirit of motoring is meant for the people at the show. Motivated by a future career or simply the desire to reconnect with a love for automobiles, the Georgian College Auto Show again is united in the fostering of such a great human creation.
Photo credit: Chris Nagy