Until tomorrow, there's a car show going on in downtown Tampa.

I went with a couple of friends on Thrusday night. I'd never been to a car show before. It was interesting.

It wasn't like the Detroit auto show or any of the other huge ones, from what I've seen of them. This was put on by auto dealers in the area. For the most part, it was like visiting all the dealers and playing with all the cars, but without being hastled by sales people. Though they were there so you could ask questions about the vehicles.

Unlike the more well-known shows, there weren't many concept vehicles there. But there were a few.

They also had a few exotics. Among them were Pope John Paul II's Enzo (only driven to church on Sundays, I'm sure), a Maserati MC-12 and my all-time favorite car, a McLaren F1 LM. I have never seen a McLaren in person, so this made me very, very happy. There was a black Mercedes McLaren SLR behind it. They also had my favorite car than I can hope of affording one day.

There some other exotics there, as well. Ferrari was there in force. Porche had only two cars on display and they were private owned. One was a 911 GT1, which I had never seen before. I'm not a huge fan of Porches, but when I saw the door opened and saw all the exposed carbon fiber and the roll cage, I was pleased. Next to that was a Carrera GT, which I had also never seen in person. I saw the license plate on the Carrera and asked the guard who owned it. It belongs to Tiger Woods. There was another celebrity's car also on display.

I'd say if you have an interest in cars, it's worth the $8.

Wirehead says:

Yeah, it's actually a half-decent show. I've been a couple of times, but I'm otherwise occupied this year so I probably won't make it.

That's a pretty sick looking tuner Mustang... I haven't seen "GTR" before. Seems like they're trying to appeal to the import crowd. I'd like to see it run and see if it can back up the bravado.

The silver car next to the Mustang is a new Shelby that's actually going into production in basically exactly the form that you see there. It's got a DOHC 6.8L V-10 and 500 or 600 HP, last I heard. Quite a beast, though I can't say I like the styling all that much. I mean, it's nice and all - but it doesn't look like a musclecar. It looks like a 300ZX or a 350Z with a nice bodykit, IMHO. I'm sure it hauls ass, though.

The crazy looking 2-seater is a Lotus Elise and has been for sale for about six months or so in the US - you can see them on the street now and then. They're actually relatively affordable - about $40k, which isn't too bad for a car that will literall out-handle nearly everything else on Earth, and look cool doing it. It's got a 195HP four-cylinder sourced from Toyota since the Rover 4 wouldn't pass emissions in the US - which is actually an unmitigated bonus since the Rover 4 only has 165HP.

If you Google around for Lotus Exige vs. AH64 Apache you'll see some... VERY entertaining clips of a Brit TV show where they ran a hot-rodded Elise Exige with a hardtop vs. an actual AH-64 Apache Longbow on a road course, with the object being for the Apache to get missile lock on the Lotus.

I can't imagine a more appropriate car for the Hulk to drive than a Viper. Heh.

dcormier says:

They wouldn't pop the hood for me on either of the Fords, btw. I looked under the Shelby and it was sealed up. I think it was a pusher (no engine, etc). I've seen pictures of both of these before, but it was cool to see them in person. To tell you the truth, seeing the GT-R got me a bit more excited than the Shelby. Though I do like the profile of the Shelby, I think there needs to be something just a little different with the overall look of the car.

I'm quite familar with the Elise. It has a $42k base price this year and about $54k fully loaded with the expensive paint option. Weighs in at just under or just over a ton, depending on the options you select (touring package is heavier, sport package is lighter). For $7k you can get another 85hp in the form of a turbo kit from these guys. Drops the 0-60 time by over a second (to 4.0), drops 1/4 mile time by a second (12.5 @ 110.5 mph, but keep in mind this car is not build for drag racing) and pushes the car over 1g of lateral acceleration.

I've seen a black one and an orange one, each twice from the window of my office. I really, really like how it looks in metalic orange (which I got to see up close at the show). Though I bet it would look pretty sharp in white with the black grills on the scoops.

The Exige vs. Apache video is amazing. I originally saw this over a year ago when it was one of the "Fave Links" on a newsletter published by the company I work for.

The video is from a show called "Top Gear" and is by far the best and most entertaining car show I have ever seen. Unfortunately, I don't think you can get it in the States other than though (*cough*) creative means. If you get a chance to watch an episode, I would highly recommend it.

One of my favorites is when they did a review of the '05 Viper SRT-10. The main guy on the show owns one. He actually used it to spell out "VIPER" in burnt rubber on the tarmac. It was great to watch.

Among other things, they reviewed the Maserati MC-12. Here's another entertaining one.

peterman says:

I love the Elise. A guy in my neighborhood has one. I've seen him at the grocery store trying to fit his groceries in the car.

At 6'2", I'm never going to fit into that thing, though. For comparison, the thing weighs about 1000 lbs. less than a miata.

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