Motor Bella, the outdoor version of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), opened to the public this week (September 20th, 2021) at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac, Michigan. With the pandemic, NAIAS organizers called off the 2020 and 2021 editions of the famous motor show here in Detroit. Although nothing can replace NAIAS, Motor Bella has been an excellent example of what future auto shows may become.
“The Chicago Auto Show did an excellent job over the summer of creating a hybrid event that included vehicle displays both inside and outside the McCormick Place, along with good food and live music,” said Carl Anthony, Automoblog’s Managing Editor, during an interview with Trade Show News Network. “When you look at the new experiences Motor Bella is offering the public in an outdoor format, from off-road demonstrations to augmented reality presentations, it’s evident the traditional auto show as we once knew it is changing.”
“There remains some questions on whether 800,000 people want to go through an indoor event in a short period of time,” said Motor Bella Chairman Doug North in an interview with Al Jazeera English. “We’ve also seen that manufacturers really embrace the dynamic, interactive approach of reaching more customers.”
Automoblog Creative Director Alex Hartman joined Anthony for the Motor Bella festivities at the M1 Concourse. Below are three videos from their off-road adventures at Motor Bella. These videos originally appeared on our Twitter page.
#1: Flying In The Ram TRX
Under the hood of the new Ram TRX is a 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi with 702 horsepower and 650 lb-ft. of torque. The new TRX employs an electronic locking rear differential and a Dana 60 rear axle (3.55 ratio) featuring full-floating hubs and an axle-hop damper. When combined with the five-link coil suspension (with forged aluminum front upper and lower control arms), the Ram TRX allows for over 13 inches of wheel travel at all four corners. Additionally, the off-road driving algorithms are programmed to take full advantage of the TRX’s 2.64:1 low-range gear ratio.
“This was one of our favorite attractions at Motor Bella,” Anthony said. “Our driver had the TRX in Baja mode, and it’s clear Ram has engineered the kind of truck that can engage in off-road sprinting.”
At Motor Bella, the Ram TRX experience begins with an acceleration run over bumpy terrain, followed by several twists and turns and dips and dives, finally concluding with a jump at the end.
#2: Hitting The Trails At Camp Jeep
Since the debut of Camp Jeep in 2004, more than 2.7 million people have experienced the interactive off-road experience at more than 150 events in the United States. And Motor Bella was the latest such event. On average, Camp Jeep will encompass a 24,000-square-foot exhibit space, with 260 cubic yards of dirt, 120 tons of boulders, and the infamous Jeep Mountain with 35-degree approach and departure angles.
“I was filming in the front seat of a Gladiator Rubicon for this video, but they had other Jeep models there as well for the public to experience,” Hartman said. “When you finally get up there on Jeep Mountain, it’s much higher up than it looks from on the ground.”
#3: Climbing Bronco Mountain
After a stay at Camp Jeep, Anthony and Hartman made their way over to Bronco Mountain, where Ford’s HOSS Suspension System was on full display. “Like Camp Jeep, this is meant to showcase the Bronco’s off-road chops,” Anthony said. “Bronco Mountain was part of the Chicago Auto Show over the summer, and it’s great to see it again at Motor Bella.”
The Bronco Mountain experience includes a water fording demonstration, a twist test section, and a deep sand drive. After the sandpit, attendees get to roll up Bronco Mountain itself. The 38-degree climb is the high point (no pun intended) of the 30,000 square foot exhibit. “When you start crawling over the top, it feels like you are literally going straight down,” Hartman said. “With all the buzz around the Bronco’s return, this is a great experience for fans to take part in.”