2014 Orange County International Auto Show

Today was the annual Orange County Auto Show. I went and took a few pictures of things that interested me. All of the pics are linked to the big, hi-res versions. Enjoy the pics, and the commentary as well.

Mercedes 190E

One of the first things you saw when you entered the hall was this very nice, perfectly preserved–or restored– Mercedes 190E It still looks good today.


Gold Ford Edge

I really liked the color of this 2015 Ford Edge. It’s unusual, but attractive. In recent years, it’s been really hard to find a car that’s painted a real color. Everything is black, white, or some shade of gray, with the occasional red or blue thrown in. I like that automakers are starting to expand the color palette, and offer something bolder.


Alfa Romeo 4C

The Alfa Romeo 4C. This is a car I really, really want to drive. It would be a blast to own, right up to the second that–since it’s an exotic Italian–something very important blows up and it costs $10,000 to fix. Which would probably happen once a year. It’s all carbon fiber and engine, so any body work will cost several grand, too. But, as Jeremy Clarkson says, you aren’t really a car person if you’ve never owned an Alfa. I still remember the ‘86 Spider 2.0 I traded my Mom my Nissan Sentra for. There’s just something about Alfas.


Audi R8

The Audi R8 is the poor man’s supercar. At $110,000, “poor man” is a relative term, but it’s less than half the price of a Ferrari, or Lamborghini or Mercedes SL. Of course, for $6,000 there is another poor man’s supercar candidate…


Nissan GTR

…the Nissan GT-R. Plus, it has usable back seats. What was frustrating about seeing it was that Nissan didn’t even want you to touch it. The had “don’t touch” signs on each side. Oh, I wanted to touch it, though. I wanted to stroke it. I wanted to feel myself inside it.

But it was locked.


BMW i8

This is supposed to be the future of motoring. The BMW i8. I really hope this isn’t true. I really hope that we figure out some way to make hydrogen fuel cells work. Toyota has been telling us that the FCX Clarity is the future of motoring. I hope they’re right, but they’ve been telling us that for 10 years and…nothing.


Camaro ZL1 Interior

This is the interior of the $53,000 Chevrolet ZL1 Camaro. Yes, there is a strip of suede on the dash. Otherwise, it has the same cheap plastic on the dash, steering wheel, and around the gauges that you’ll find on the rental car fleet, base-model, 6-cylinder Camaro. It’s enraging.


Classic Camaro

I think I like this Camaro much better. The older lady still has some sexy curves.


Corolla Drum Brakes

“Hello, I’m the drum brakes on a Toyota Corolla. Because it’s still 1985.”


Corvette Z06

The 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06. This is the Corvette you want. By the way, it probably has the best interior of any GM car. And it’s pretty much faster than any other GM car, too.


Dodge Charge Hellcat

The 2015 Dodge Charger Hellcat. 740 HP. Which is what you want in a family sedan.


Jaguar F-Type Coupe

The Jaguar F-Type. This may be the most beautiful car made today. The F-Type. You know what the “F” stands for. Yeah, baby.


Kia GT4 Stinger

Kia had the GT4 Stinger concept car on display. It looks pretty good, too. Of course, like most concept cars, you know they’ll somehow ruin it if it actually enters production.


Lamborghini Huracan

The Lamborghini Huracan. It’s nice to see that Lambo still tries to ensure that everything they make is a little insane.



The Mk VII Gold GTI.. It’s really the only car you’ll ever need. Plenty of room and comfort, a nice interior, lots of cargo space, and fun to drive. There’s a reason VW’s sold tens of millions of them, and it’s perennially Europe’s car of the year. Of course, I’d want to turn it up a notch and get the AWD, 305 HP Golf R.


Stretched Fiat 500

Fiat had this 4-door version of the 500 on display. It’s a good-looking little car, made for surfers, and designed in conjunction with Vans.


Subaru Outback

The Subaru Outback had people crawling all over it all day. People really love this car.


Lecturing No One About Ram Trucks

The saddest sight of the day was this poor fellow, whose job it was to regularly pick up a microphone and run through a spiel about the wonderfulness of Ram trucks to…no one. Absolutely no one. I wonder what this says about Ram trucks.


LED Running Lights

So, apparently, they make LED running lights for assholes, now. These things are painfully bright. I had never seen them before today, and oddly, on my way up to Anaheim, a truck sporting these passed me in the opposite lane. They were painfully bright even in broad daylight. I think I would hate the type of person who would put these on his car.


mismatched Paint

This is the engine bay of a Subaru Crosstrek. I guess matching the orange paint on the exterior was a little too much trouble.


Toyota Avalon Hybrid Interior

This is the all-leather interior of the Toyota Avalon Hybrid. It’s a hybrid to save the planet. It has a leather interior because fuck animals.


Fiat-Ram Van

Now that Dodge is part of Fiat, they’re bringing over all of the Fiat vans, like this little city van. Fold the rear seats down and there’s a huge amount of cargo space in this thing. In fact, Euro vans are becoming quite the thing…


Ford Sprinter Van

…especially Sprinter vans. Ford is bringing over the Transport line of vans from Europe A grown man can stand upright in the back. Why would you ever buy a pickup if you could get one of these?

And now, a few words about customization. Customization is often quite horrible.

Custom Smart 4Two

Is it possible to customize a Smart 4Two so that it’s worse than the stock model. Why yes, yes it is.


Customized Porsche Panamera

Speaking of customizing, sometimes, the Porsche Panamera just isn’t blingy enough. When that happens, action must be taken. For instance, the ride can easily be ruined by lowering it, and adding super-low-profile tires. And carbon fiber. Don’t forget carbon fiber.


Ruined Acura NSX

This is the real tragedy. This is a classic Acura NSX. This is what happens when you let barbarians have a classic sports car. It’s been completely ruined. It’s lowered so much that the body actually rests on the tires. If you want to ruin something, ruin something that isn’t precious, rare, and valuable.

Car grilles are becoming…problematic. They are getting large and ugly. I blame Audi for introducing the modern unified grille. I blame everyone else for taking it and running with it.


Lexus Grille

Grrrr! I’m very angry! And I’m very fast!

Ha ha. Just kidding. I’m a Lexus.


Lincoln Grille

Hey, I have an idea! Let’s make the grille as large and annoying as possible. Oh, and let’s put a 6” logo in the middle.


Toyota Camry Grille

The 2015 Toyota Camry is proof than even boring “beige” cars can have huge, ugly grilles. I do not like this trend. I do not like it at all.


Acura Grille

Honestly, I don’t even know what to make of this. Huge fake vents on either side, topped with the 1990’s silver Acura Bar in the middle. Really, isn’t it time to retire this design? Bill Clinton was the president when Acura introduced this. Let’s move on.

So, that was the show. I have a lot more pictures, but 30 of them should be enough for anyone.

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.

3 thoughts on “2014 Orange County International Auto Show”

  1. Stitched on suede. That’s disgusting. It actually manages to draw your attention to the plastic and its own ugly self.

  2. I really enjoyed this post. Comments per photo were entertaining in themselves. It doesn’t surprise me that orange county cars and trucks have such tragic flaws, especially the cheap interiors of GM models. I’ve always enjoyed a good classic. My favorite of this bunch has that Mercedes 190E. Beautiful vehicle.

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