2013 Orange County International Auto Show

Today was the first full day of the Orange County International Auto Show. Thankfully, I was able to free up my schedule to attend. So, what follows is a whole lot of photos of the show, along with my rather occasionally insightful—but mainly disrespectful—comments. Come for the photos. Stay for the snark. All of the photos are clickable, linked to the full-sized, hi-resolution originals.

2013 Chrysler 200

This is the car I drove up to Orange County for the show. It’s the 2013 Chrysler 200 sedan I’m evaluating this week, and about which a full review will be coming in due course. So, I won’t say anything else about it for now.

Anaheim Convention Center

The Anaheim Convention Center is a place I haven’t been for several years, since I went to a WorldCon Sci-Fi convention in the 90s. The new, improved convention center is much nicer than the aging one I remembered.

Classic Mustangs

Greeting us at the door was a row of classic Mustangs, perfectly restored. What a nice way to say hello!

Full Motion Racing Simulator

There was a full-motion simulator right at the entrance to the hall, run by Ford. It was fun, but not like really driving. Driving games really don’t get the physics and feel of driving right. If I hadn’t spun off into the kitty litter 100 times, I’d probably be saying something different.

2014 Jaguar F-Type

Also right by the entrance were Jaguar, the cars God drives, as I pointed out a few months ago. Indeed, this is an F-Type, the very model I reviewed. If I had my druthers, though, I wouldn’t get the F-Type. I’d get this:

2014 Jaguar XF-RS

It’s the new Jaguar XF-RS, and it looks fantastic. I bet it’s a hoot to drive. This probably isn’t the color I’d choose. No, I’d definitely go for something in red or black.

Range Rover

Of course, next to Jag was Range Rover, the best 4-wheel drive SUV…in the world. When it’s working, anyway. You might be better off getting a used one from Carmax, along with their warranty plan, rather than buying one new. The same is probably true of Jag, too.

2014 Range Rover Interior

You could live in here very comfortably. It’s everything the interior of a car should be: everything that isn’t leather is wood. And everything that isn’t wood is aluminum.

2014 Cadillac Escalade

Cadillac’s answer to the Range Rover is, of course, the Escalade. But it doesn’t make you want to drive through the English countryside. It makes you want to go into business as an independent purveyor of pharmaceuticals.

Cadillac CTS-V

The real star in Cadillac’s line-up is the CTS-V. It may still look like a drug dealer’s car, but with 556 HP, you’ll reach your Walter White cash goal a lot faster.

VW Jetta Hybrid

I’ve driven the Jetta. I’ve reviewed it. It’s not the most exciting car you can find. It’s not even as exciting as it should be for what it is. It’s utterly soulless in gasoline-powered form. So, I’m betting that making a hybrid out of it hasn’t made it better.

2014 VW Beetle Cabriolet

Here are three men looking at a VW Beetle Cabriolet with a female VW rep. I do not know why men are looking at a Beetle Cabrio. I can only assume they’re shopping for one to buy their wives. Otherwise, I think they’re going to need to turn in their man cards. There’s nothing wrong with the Beetle, of course. It’s a perfectly good car for women.

VW Eos hardtop convertible

This demonstrates the very real problem that makes a hardtop convertible so difficult to live with. Once you put the top down, you can kiss the trunk goodbye. I imagine that gets irritating eventually.

Bugatti Veyron

There was a Bugatti Veyron there. It was for sale for a cool $2.5 million. This is as close as I could get to it. And I had to use a lot of zoom to get this close. But it’s close enough to see that it’s made entirely from carbon fiber.

Ford GT1000

This is a Ford I wouldn’t mind owning. Right up until I needed it to go to the grocery store, and realized there’s no trunk.

Honda race car

Honda had one of their factory team race cars there. presumably to remind us that none of the things that make this car cool make it into any of their production vehicles any more, because dully performing front-wheel drivers are where Honda’s at now. Remember the NSX, though? Good times. Good times.

Lexus LFA interior

Toyota, on the other hand, via their Lexus brand, still make some real cars. Like, for instance, the Lexus LFA, for which this is the interior.

2014 Toyota Corolla

On the other end of the Toyota spectrum, however, is the new 2014 Corolla, which, despite the new bodywork, is essentially unchanged mechanically from the 1990s. I believe it still even has rear drum brakes. They make millions of ’em, and they have the reputation of lasting forever. Oddly enough, though, the only car I ever had that went completely tits up was a 1991 Corolla that threw a rod—three weeks after I paid the last payment on it. I hadn’t even gotten the title in the mail.

Lexus Grille I

Meanwhile, Lexus seems to be going to great links to demonstrate the malignant influence Audi has had on the design of car grilles. Lexus’ interpretation of the Audi unified grille design is hideously ugly. It just doesn’t get any worse than that.

Lexus Grille II

I was just kidding you. It does get worse. Much, much worse.

Toyota FJ Cruiser

Toyota announced that they’re going to stop making these. Now I have a sad.

2014 Dodge Viper SRT

Meanwhile, over in the Chrysler Corporation’s corner, they were showing off the 2014 Dodge Viper SRT, a car that they are apparently unable to sell. You weren’t allowed to open it and look inside at the show. Much like at Dodge dealerships. Which may partially explain why they’re not selling any. Apparently, Dodge dealers feel that if you aren’t ready to buy one unseen and undriven, you can’t be trusted to look at it. Also, the fact that the Viper has a reputation for being a bit tail-happy, i.e., killing you within 10 minutes of ownership by driving backwards into a tree, is also problematic.

Dodge Charger interior

This is the interior of the Dodge Charger, a car for which I inexplicably have a huge soft spot. Not for this model of course. The SRT8 model. I mean, I’m not an idiot.

2014 Jeep Cherokee

Jeep was showing off the new Cherokee. It looks very…angular.

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Interior

Chevrolet was there showing off the Camaro ZL1. No car that is this good mechanically, with 556 HP, and costs more than $50,000, should have an interior this abysmal, with this much crappy plastic. Both Ford and Chrysler have really upped their game as far using modern materials to make the interiors of their cars nicer, and Chevys are just as crappy as they were 30 years ago. GM really needs to get with the program. If the new Holden Commodore SS, which is coming to the US in December as the new Chevy SS sedan, has an interior this crappy, I will be very displeased at GM. And Australia.

Also, if you do buy a ZL1 Camaro, and order it with an automatic transmission, you should be put in a bamboo cage and poked with sharp sticks.

Chevy Camaro ZL1 driving visibility

Can you see outside a Camaro ZL1 in case you ever need to change lanes? No. you cannot.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the 2014 Chevrolet Panty-Moistener.

2014 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

Mercedes-Benz had the venerable G-Class "Gelaender" on display, and blinged up. I drove the military version of the Gelaender for a couple of years when I was stationed in Europe on a NATO assignment. I crashed the hell out of one, t00. Complete totaled a BMW 5-series with it. Then drove it back to Holland from Germany. These things are pretty much indestructible. Though they will destroy your wallet if you try to buy one.

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

Mercedes seems proud of the new CLA-Class vehicles. And well they should. never has a quick drive through Poland seemed so possible.

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class trunk

The CLA-Class is surprisingly spacious inside. For instance, it has what I call a "Two Hooker Trunk". But really, it doesn’t have to be hookers. You can get the bodies of almost any two adults in there. I’m sure that will make this car a favorite of waste management executives in New Jersey.

2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class interior

The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class interior now comes with sensuous mood lighting.

2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class instrument panel

The S-Class also has a completely digital instrument panel on color TFT screens. All of the analog instruments have been replaced. Except for the clock on the wooden dashboard like it’s 1937.

2014 Subaru Outback

Subaru made sure to have a prominent display for the outback, a favorite car of outdoorsy communists all over the world.

2014 Subaru WRX STI

The 2014 Subaru WRX STI was also on display. It’s powerful, fast, fun and practical. It’s the Subaru you want, even if it is the ugliest one.

Hideous customization

Even if the WRX STI is the ugliest production car in the world, you can always make an uglier car in the aftermarket. In addition to the regular manufacturers and performance shops, there were some local customizers there, showing off their ability to utterly ruin cars. This is completely idiotic. I could never be friends with anyone who thought they might like a car like this.

Bentley. Customized. Ruined.

Why? Dear God in heaven, why? You already own a Bentley. With the exception of a Rolls-Royce, it’s already the most blinged out car you can buy in stock form. The only additional thing you can do is ruin it, when you do this. Look at those wheels and tires. You know that this will destroy the ride quality right? You’ll have a half-million dollar car that feels like you’re riding a washboard. This is just nonsensical.

Customized HHR

At least this customization was on what I believe is a Chevrolet HHR, a car that already came pre-ruined from Chevy. So, maybe this is an actual improvement. Give it a new paint job, a 40,000 watt stereo system, and a gas grill, and you’ve got a specialized game-day tailgate party vehicle.

A Buick

One final note: Apparently GM still produces Buicks. Who knew? Seriously, I don’t even know what the point of Buick is anymore. I can see why Ford keeps Lincoln around; they need a luxury brand, even if they’re utterly incompetent at running it. But Chevrolet has Cadillac. I just don’t see what purpose Buick serves. And I don’t why Chrysler doesn’t have a luxury brand, now that I think about it. But that’s a subject for a different post.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Author: Dale Franks

Dale Franks is the former host of The Business Day, ”a daily, four-hour business and financial news program on KMNY Radio in Los Angeles. From 2002-2004, he was a contributor on military and international affairs for TechCentralStation.com. Currently, he a publisher and editor of the monthly political journal The New Libertarian, as well as an editor of the popular web log, Q and O. Dale served as a military police officer in the United States Air Force from 1984 to 1993, in variety of assignments both in the United States and Europe, where he also was assigned to the staff of the Headquarters of Allied Forces Central Europe. In addition to broadcasting, writing, and speaking on various topics, Dale has also been a long-time technical training instructor on a variety of computer software and technology subjects. Dale has also long been involved with information technology as an accomplished web designer, programmer, and technologist, serving as the corporate knowledge specialist for Microsoft Outlook at SAIC, the nation's largest employee-owned corporation. Additionally, he is the author of a number of software user guides used for classroom training by one of Southern California’'s premier computer training and consulting firms. His book, SLACKERNOMICS: Basic Economics for People Who Find Economics Boring, is available from Barnes & Noble.

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