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ROAD TO THE OC AUTOSHOW

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Mon, Oct 9, 2006

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

Lifestyle vehicles in abundance

ROAD TO THE OC AUTOSHOW By Reed Berry, Roy Nakano & Zoran Segina "If you can't beat 'em, morph into something completely different." That's what the organizers of the California International Auto Show must have been thinking when it decided to become The OC Autoshow. When the show arrived at the Anaheim Convention Center, October 4-8, 2006, the emphasis was on new vehicles, concept cars and exotic vehicles. In other words, the shift was toward the high end - a reflection of the image cast by the popular television show, The OC.

Aston Martins galore No doubt, the change was in recognition of the fact that the 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show is moving from its traditional January slot up to early December 2006 (November for the press preview days). For the organizers of The OC Autoshow, it was a chance to break away from the sameness of auto shows throughout the country. The OC is home to numerous automotive design studios, not to mention an affluent community that can back such a move. It didn't seem to make any difference to the public, as they game out in groves as usual.

Ford shows a Boss 302 concept car Among the major attractions at The OC Autoshow: A concert by Foghat, the Hyundai Challenge Ride & Drive, a Fuel Cell Vehicle Ride & Drive sponsored by the California Fuel Cell Partnerhisp, the Miss Hawaiian Tropic Pageant, the Auto Show Underground, a host of DJs, and multi-million dollar exotic car displays by Lamborghini, Ferrari, Maserati, SSC and Mosler. - Roy Nakano

Debut of Nissan's new Altima Hybrid GREEN MACHINES

Ordinarily, a sound of my six-cylinder-three-liter internal combustion gasoline engine inside my 1994 Volvo has a reassuring, solid Swedish timbre. But today, it sounds . . . well, primitive.

Because I just spent an hour in the Road Rally, basically driving eight cars around couple of blocks surrounding Anaheim Convention Center: DaimlerChrysler F-Cell, Ford Focus FCV, GM HydroGen, Honda FCXp, Hyundai Tucson FCEV, Nissan X-Trail FCV, Toyota FCVH, and Volkswagen Touran HiMotion. You never heard of these models? No surprise, because each one of them is powered by hydrogen fuel cell. If the plan by the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) - a collaboration of auto manufacturers, energy companies, government agencies and fuel cell technology companies working together to promote the commercialization of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles - succeeds, this may change. It is strange to drive a car, which feels and moves like a regular compact, except that the only engine sound is a distant (or not so distant in some of them) whine, and the conversation revolves around fuel cell stacks, output in kilowatts, how many kilograms of hydrogen is on board, and Newton/meters of power. Not your usual automotive talk. Automakers use a type of fuel cell called a Proton Exchange Membrane, which uses an electrochemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity. Individual fuel cells are combined into a fuel cell stack that resembles a loaf of bread. The number of fuel cells combined into a fuel cell stack determines the amount of power it can supply. Today's fuel cell vehicles use between 65 and 90-kilowatt fuel cell systems. The exhaust is good old H2O, i.e., water. But there are drawbacks. Hydrogen is a volatile compound (from Hindenburg to Challenger) and having it regularly handled by a million Southern California drivers. . . Perhaps self serve may not be the best filling option. From a commercial viability point, the catalyst in the stacks involves a lot of platinum which is expensive. And the hydrogen production has to keep up with the demand. But, if it true that the kilo of hydrogen would cost no more than a gallon of gas, let's say premium, which would let me cover eighty or a hundred miles, now the entire project has a whole different angle. The cost of the catalyst - X, the cost of a kilo per mile - Y, the ability to drive by the Anaheim police officers, and yell through the open window at the city's finest: " I drive on vapor" - priceless. - - Zoran Segina

Lincoln's new MKX (Berry)

LINCOLN Ford executives are on hand to introduce Lincoln's new "2007 Trio", three exciting vehicles that are bound to grab the attention of car buyers. The popular Lincoln Zephyr has evolved into the 2007 Lincoln MKZ, a sleek entry-level luxury sedan with an elegant, comfortable interior and a peppy 3.5-litre V-6 engine. The redesigned Lincoln Navigator, which offers optional power-deployable running boards, has bold new styling as is designed to run on less expensive 87-octane fuel. My personal favorite is the 2007 Lincoln MKX, Lincoln's first crossover vehicle. It combines the practicality of an SUV with the comfort you would expect from a luxury vehicle, along with available features such as a Panoramic Vista Roof with dual-power sunshades and heated rear seats. There's even an audio input jack inside the center console to connect your iPod! - Reed Berry

Lamborghini debuts the 640 horsepower LP640 (Segina) LAMBORGHINI You can just see them now. The year is 1962 - Enzo Ferrari, the head of the fabled Italian automaker, is in a heated argument with a brash Italian engineer in his early forties who found his fortune in tractors bearing his family name. Ferruccio Lamborghini is complaining that the clutch on his Ferrari is unsatisfactory. The Commendatore suggests that the tractor manufacturer go back to his farm and leave the supercars to those men who know something about the subject. Their argument is interrupted when a tall, attractive, and self-assured young woman approaches them. She turns to Ferruccio and says: "My name is Nora. Forty five years hence, I will be the one introducing in the United States for the first time your latest supercar, Murcielago LP640." Sensing the incredulity in Ferrucio's eyes she continues: "The honor will be given to me because I am the head of the largest dealership who sold one hundred seventy five of your automobiles or fifteen percent of the entire United States imports." The melody of the soft foreign accent still lingers in the air as her contours disappear, her long hair waving in the Modena breeze. The two men stare at each other. . . Lamborghini supercar? The largest dealership in America? She is the boss? Impossibile! - Zoran Segina

Nora Keuylian introduces the LP640 Here are the hard facts: Lamborghini Murcielago LP640 Twelve-cylinder V 60 degree engine developing 640 HP at 8000 rpm Maximum torque 482 lb-ft at 6000 rpm Six-speed manual and permanent four wheel drive 0-60 3.3 sec. Top speed 212 mph.

California premiere of the Dodge Challenger concept car

Ford's new F350 Super Duty

Pontiac's new Solstice GXP

Chrysler's Firepower concept car

For more information about what happened in Anaheim, go to The OC Autoshow site. To see words and pictures from the MY2006 show in Anaheim, click here.

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