Cars, people, and memories... there is nothing like going to the Houston Auto Show. It is a time of year where I can communicate with others and have fun. I always want to enjoy this experience as much as I can. I will be here to share some or all of my memories from this year's Houston Auto Show.
I had initially intended to compile all or most of my material in one blog post. However, I will break them up into individual categories.
A Special Hello...If any readers are any of the people representing the car companies at Houston Auto Show 2011 (such as the people who do the announcements and introductions of cars) or of anyone representing the Houston Auto Show itself, I say hello to you. Welcome to my blog!
While the Houston Auto Show is about today's cars, it is also a place where people can purchase various other items from the floor. Certain other local businesses and such offer up many car-related and non car-related items. Even certain groups and dealers showcase their material for others to buy. This, then, is a something-for-everyone event that brings many people together to check out various things.
The Houston Auto Show is like Houston itself- it is not in any way purely glamourous. There may be cars making Texas debuts, but this is no international-type auto show. It is nowhere in importance and appeal like the Los Angeles International Auto Show, New York International Auto Show, the North American International Auto Show, or anything like that. It is, however, OUR auto show. It is our link to the automotive world. It is our link to cars from America, across Europe, and across Asia. So this is OUR auto show though it isn't as glamorous as any of the real international auto shows.
* Cars - I talk about some of the many cars I've seen on the showroom floor.
* Experiences - I talk about what all I was doing while going around Reliant Center.
* Fashion - This is about fashion for the certain hostesses as well as some of the other show-goers.
This one pertains to experiences, so let's get started!
^ The 2011 Houston Auto Show has its own fair share of memories for me. As a preview, get ready for a LOT of reading! (from my Facebook photo gallery on the 2011 Houston Auto Show)
Me and my family pulled up into Reliant Center for yet another Houston Auto Show. I noticed there were a bunch of cheerleaders walking outside. Reason why was because there was a cheerleading competition. With all due respect, today for me was all about cars. Cars and communicating with others was what it was all about for me on Saturday. Each section is marked by headings for easier gathering of thoughts.
The Beginning of a Long Day...I went into Reliant Center facing the Chevrolet section. My journey started at Ford. I saw a Ford Mustang pool table that served as my first picture-taking opportunity. This pool table is styled like a 1960s Mustang. It was VERY cool. What WASN'T cool, however, was trying to get through all the crowds in the Ford section. I got frustrated trying to take pictures of certain cars and just moved on to Chevrolet. The frustration would be agitated a bit more trying to get through crowds (I'm trying to avoid saying "fight through crowds") of people. HAS 2011 was NOT going good for me early on.
A Houston Auto Show Resolution.If there is one thing I am going to avoid doing at the Houston Auto Show, it's try to record video. It's near impossible trying to get a quality video while on the show floor. I did attempt to showcase a few cars in video. The only one I did, however, was a so-so video look around the Ford Fiesta.
I broke away from seeking cars to go find a bag to put my SWAG in. I usually go to the Toyota lot, but I went to the Hyundai stand for a durable tote. To be honest, I think EVERY car maker at the Houston Auto Show that offers bags should offer these reusable and durable bags. They carry a lot of stuff and are very durable. MORE companies at HAS should have these bags.
Back to Work...A lady from Ford named Tiffany was talking about the 2012 Ford Focus. I was in awe of the 2012 Ford Focus' loveliness as the lovely Tiffany was talking about it. The new Focus looks worlds better than the current Focus, so one can say that this car was lovelier by leaps and bounds over its previous model. This is a car I will be pleased to see on the road when it's released proper. I saw a Ford Transit Connect and took a picture of that machine.
A Touch of Luxury.I went over to Land Rover when a handsome bloke was on a stand- the Range Rover Evoque. This car-like SUV is perhaps the most beautiful Range Rover of all time. It was okay to stare at this handsome gentleman. The headlights and tail lights were both low and wide. This is the kind of machine that the handsome and sporty types can drive on the roads and look good doing it. That is... as long as you stay away from the wrong parts of town.
Entering the Jaguar section, I grew some new fondness of the Jaguar XJ as I saw the Jaguar XJ L. The big design cue I've seen for the first time was the LED daytime running lights. I'm used to seeing these on recent Audis, but these look fantastic on the XJ L. I even wondered if the "L" stood for "lustful" as I gazed on this Navy Blue Jag. Not to be outdone was the Jaguar XK convertible that I saw. I left the Jaguar section after seeing a very nice XF.
Lincoln has come a long way. Their cars have never been lovelier. The MKS caught my eye with its gracious and charming character. I fell in love with its lovely looks. It is charming up front and from the rear. Also lovely was the MKZ on its own stand. It has some aggression to it, especially at the rear. The MKZ is a stylish sedan with the same gracious style as the MKS. On another stand was the MKX in all of its hulking charm. To end my Lincoln tour, I saw the lovely newer Navigator.
Specialty Specialization.I took a break away from the manufacturers themselves to get a peek at the specialty sections. I hope I never have to experience being bound to a wheelchair (even if for the rest of my life), but I visited the ADA, Inc. section. ADA stands for Adaptive Driving Access, a Houston-based company supplying independent mobility vehicles. These are machines that allow access for wheelchair-bound people to be able to enter (and even operate) vehicles. Two other terms I've heard for these vehicles are handicapped-access and barrier-free vehicles. I even got into a Honda Odyssey with a ramp for wheelchair-bound people. The entire second row is gone in favor of one big section made for wheelchair access. The most surprising of these machines was a big GMC truck modified for wheelchair access. I left the ADA section becoming a bit more interested and enthused about seeing these machines being made available for such people. Want to learn more about ADA? Please visit www.adaptivedriving.com for more information on Adaptive Driving Access, with dealers in Houston and Pasadena.
I then walked around to see some of the various extra businesses located. These were car-related and non-car businesses. For example, some companies offered everything from aftermarket wheels to certain health and fitness products. The highlight of my time around this part of the Houston Auto Show was when I visited this section offering the Power Balance bracelets. I could appreciate the lady showing me these bracelets as she was wearing a throwback Houston Rockets T-shirt. I was pretty interested in how these Power Balance bracelets work. It was very cool.
The REAL highlight was seeing classic cars. My goodness, people. There is NOTHING like seeing lovely classic cars. My jaw dropped when I saw a beautiful C1 Corvette convertible in black. Black with white and a smattering of chrome. It was GORGEOUS! Equally gorgeous was the C3 Corvette to its left. It was in some burgundy color. Up next in my classic stroll was a beautiful yellow 1970 Plymouth Barracuda. This 'cuda had a Hemi. Boy... it was SWEET! I then saw a 1956 Buick Roadmaster convertible. It had this white and salmon color. It was gloriously beautiful. In my opinion, ONLY Buicks should have those vents on the side around the engine area. Then for the first-time, I saw an AMC Gremlin up close. To its right was a lovely AMC Javelin. There is NOTHING like seeing muscle cars to me.
I learned that Houston Raceway Park in Baytown is now officially known as Royal Purple Raceway. I learned this as I visited the stands there. I walked away from there to see a few
My ONLY regret in this section: I did NOT get to see Heidi Van Horne, nor did I even find the In Motion booth. I hated to not be able to see the beautiful pin-up hottie.
Make sure you're reading the full blog post by clicking on "Read More" to see the rest of this blog post (or disregard this section if you are reading the full blog post)!
Benz Beauties.That would be Mercedes-Benz, of course. There weren't too many Mercedes-Benz models I was in love with (though I am a Benz lover). The Mercedes-Benz section was really represented by Alex Rodriguez Mercedes-Benz here in the Houston area. Now, this is NOT the same Alex Rodriguez of New York Yankees fame. I took a picture of the GL450 SUV from Mercedes-Benz along with a picture of the lovely E350 sedan. The last Mercedes-Benz highlight was that I stepped into a big commercial van. It was surely made for 6-foot tall people like me. I could walk in the back and not have to duck my head. Epic win, player! :) Too bad my knees and feet were feeling weak as I was stepping down from the back of it... :(
[UPDATE: JAN 31 2011] I did NOT know that the Alex Rodriguez I spoke of and the Alex Rodriguez M-B dealership are of the same guy. Thanks to a loyal reader, I included this edit. You know, I even wanted to ask if the A-Rod of Mercedes-Benz was the same New York Yankee A-Rod, but I never asked (and I was always curious anyways).
You can visit the Alex Rodriguez Mercedes-Benz dealership online at the Alex Rodriguez Mercedes-Benz home page.
People, you need to comment on things. It provides more involvement for my blog. Thanks to everyone who contributes to my work!
Got to Step it Up!It's time to head back to the Specialty-type lots.
Star Motor Cars was in the house as Lotus and Aston Martin models were shown off. The Lotus contingent was represented with the Evora, the Elise R, and a beastly Exige. I couldn't get the Evora in a picture because I couldn't find a good angle to take a picture from. The Aston Martin cars were prim and proper themselves. I blogged in "Car Style" once about the Aston Martin Rapide. That baby was sweet, and I saw it in the flesh at HAS 2011. It was in a beautiful dark blue color. I usually prefer British Racing Green Aston Martins, but dark blue was very lovely.
I walked around to another section where I saw a BEAUTIFUL old Ford truck representing AAA Insurance. It was painted kind of like a candy bar- it was mostly an almond-colored machine with chocolate brown accents. It looked REALLY beautiful and clean. I then took two pictures for fun. One was a very bright blue xenon light. However, my most regretful picture was a picture I took of an airbrushed T-shirt business. How regretful? The two people at the stand blinded their faces and referred to me as paparazzi. I was just trying to capture the HAS 2011 experience from many angles. Paparazzi is much worse!
The Kids Fun Zone was always entertaining. It was great seeing the kiddies all having fun apart from the rest of the show. I walked by there to refresh a bit before heading back to photographing cars. My specialty tour was done.
Dodge and Chrysler.The next stop was Dodge. I saw the newer-style Avenger and liked its new design. It had the newer-style crosshair grill with chrome outlining the crosshair grills. The newer Grand Caravan was on display on the floor. It was pretty nice-looking to me. However, the newer Dodge models paled in comparison to a beautiful SUV either called the Dodge Citadel or the Dodge Durango Citadel. I was talking with one man who was as stunned at its beauty as I was. It's the loveliest Durango or Durango-associated machine I've EVER seen. Those are going to be gorgeous to see on the road. Equally gorgeous was a lady in a black dress, black tights, and a cute pair of black platform pumps offering a little more info on it. I learned a little more on the Citadel from her. The Dodge Citadel was shown in a lovely dark blue color.
Chrysler was up next. Here's something about me- there are very few Chryslers that I've disliked. I've always seemed to be enamored with Chryslers. I was starting to like the newer corporate face of Chryslers. One of those beauties was the newer Town and Country van. The newer Town and Country was a gorgeous machine. For the first time, I saw the new Chrysler 200. The 200 is the Sebring's replacement. There are some people say that the Sebring has too many strakes to be gorgeous. To me, the late-model Sebring is gorgeous to me. The 200 is still a lovely car. The 2011 Chrysler 300 was on display with its updated looks. Many called the previous 300 models as a poor man's Bentley. Well, there's nothing poor about these newer 300 models.
An Asian Tour.The next four car companies I'd visit at HAS 2011 were all Asian makes- three Japanese companies and one Korean company. First up was Toyota. I saw the Texas-built Toyota Tundra first and snapped a quick picture of it. I must say that the newer 4Runner models look great. It has some muscle and some brawn to it while not being overaggressive or being too boastful. Then, I saw $75K USD of Toyota- the Land Cruiser. That thing is big and expensive! I then saw the car that costs about $10K USD less than the Land Cruiser- the Sequoia. I had to now find more civilized machines. It began with the Sienna. The REAL treat, however, was seeing the Swagger Wagon- a modified and stretched Sienna with neon underlighting as well as a nice "Swagger Wagon" license plate on the back. I then saw the beautiful Toyota Avalon in a delightful silvery white color. I saw a pretty nice Camry on the floor in an almond color. On a turntable was the Corolla S. It was both sporty and beautiful. I even saw a black Yaris. The real Toyota beauties weren't cars at all- they were the ladies wearing these beautiful red dresses paired with black knee-high boots. I even went to the Toyota stand saying that even though I've been halfway around the Houston Auto Show floor, if I had to vote "Best Dressed" from the ladies so far, I would give the nod to Toyota. One of the Toyota ladies was very nice.
Hyundai is the only Korean make in this section of my blog post. On a stand was the new Sonata. Hyundai has really come full circle over the years. Newer Hyundai models are looking sharper and more expressive. The new Sonata was evidence of the newer Hyundai style. Initially, I thought the Sonata was an ugly bugger (to use some Australian terms). But I think it looks very nice. The newer Tuscon was on the floor boasting the same sharp style. The Tuscon is in no way ugly. The Accent is not ugly, but bland. Nothing really exciting about its looks. Something tells me a re-design or a replacement model could be in its near future. The real stunner at Hyundai was the beautiful Elantra. The newer Elantras epitomize beauty in every sense of the word. Clearly the best-looking machines in the Hyundai section Not to be outdone in my Hyundai tour were pictures of the Azera and both Genesis models.
Back to Japan now with Honda. And to be honest, there weren't many Hondas I was excited to see. This, speaking as a Honda fan. I was in love with the Odyssey and its lovely looks. If there was a surprise to me at Honda, it was that the Element was still offered. The Element is the boxy SUV that you could basically spend a night in if you could. I took a few pictures of it for safekeeping. The lone Honda lady I've seen was dressed nicely, but not like the lovely Toyota ladies in red dresses.
The final Asian stop in this part of the blog was Subaru. I was mostly impressed with the design of recent Subarus. That's only as long as you're not talking about those mid-2000s Subarus with the ugly aircraft-inspired look. I love the 2003-ish Legacy models, but the latest Legacy models look fantastic and sharp. The Imprezas were also beautiful machines. I grew fonder of the Forester and the Outback models with such lovely and gracious style.
V-Dub and Nissan.Three nationalities represented here- Germany (Volkswagen), America (Infiniti), and Japan (Nissan). Volkswagen was where I saw the amazingly bland-looking Jetta for the first time in person. I saw some other favorites like the Golf. The Golf GTI was there in the Volkswagen stand looking as awesome as it does. I saw the handsome Tiguan at the show in the VW section. I love the CC, and I was introduced to the new CC R-Line. I got a reminder as to how stressful it can be to walk around the showroom floor as I saw one of the Volkswagen ladies wearing sneakers rather than the knee-high boots the Volkswagen ladies were wearing. The final machine I was pleasantly surprised to see was the Touareg.
It is a fact that I am not really a Nissan person. That even includes Infiniti. Doesn't mean that I don't hate Infiniti, though. The two cars I were most impressed with were the G37 convertible and the M37S. There weren't too many other Infiniti models I was reluctant to see.
The reluctance at Nissan, however, was punctuated by one word- Leaf. I saw the Nissan Leaf for the first time. The car really stirred my interest as I saw it on display. The Leaf display even had a makeshift deal where you can plug in the electric charger to charge up the Leaf's engine. The only vehicle I was pleased to see in the Nissan section was the Maxima. The newer Quest vans look absolutely ugly up front. They look worse than the Juke (which I was VERY happy not to see at the show). A pleasant surprise in front of me was in the form of the Murano Cross Cabriolet. The Nissan girls were nicely dressed- motorcycle jackets, red blouses, black pants, and some black boots.
Fountain of Youth.Scion is always my favorite section. I encountered the Scion section to see what all they were cooking. I made sure to get booklets and music from Scion. The Scion iQ was on display as I took a few pictures of the cute car. The Scion girls were rocking it. When I do my HAS 2011 post on fashion, I think most of my reading audience may look to Scion as the winners of "Best Dressed." Of all the show floor models, the Scion models were the edgiest and most youthful. They dressed up in some aggressive shorts, had dog tags as name tags, wore black tights, and wore some combat boots. There wasn't too much more to see, so I moved on. It wasn't until I talked with one of the Scion girls about my blog (which you're reading now). I made sure to let her know more about my blog. In return, I got a Scion Racing cap that I proudly wore.
The only Swedish contingent was Volvo. I saw a bunch of modern Volvos including the newer S60 Sedan I've slowly grown to love. Perhaps the most jaw-dropping Volvo I saw was the C70 convertible. It was love from every angle. Even snapped a few pictures of the XC series SUVs.
Whether you like them or not, up next was Kia. Kia has come along on its own. One of the most exciting models was the Forte. The car I REALLY wanted to see was the new Optima. Kia models have these grills that look like they are ready to eat anything in their paths. The Optima is really elegant and charming.
Ups and Downs.I left Kia for Audi. The first few cars I laid eyes on were some of Audi's loveliest offerings. It began with the A6 and its charming looks. It wasn't the newer-style A6 (as in the one featured in recent international Auto Shows), though. Up next was the A3 compact. I honestly wish I could see more of these on the road. Then again, it's not like you see Audis daily as you do Toyotas or Hyundais. My automobile girlfriend was on the stand- the R8 road car. Not just any R8 road car, though. It was the R8 Spyder. I don't really like convertibles, but the R8 road car does look pretty nice without its top. Old favorites like the recent A4 and S4 were there along with a lovely A5 Cabriolet. The only disappointingly-designed Audi was the A8. I actually expected better than what Audi came up with style-wise for the A8. Not to be outdone from the Audi section was a nice TT. I even took a few pictures of some of the Audi gear as the beautifully-dressed Audi girls were behind the counter. They wore these lovely white ruffle blouses with black blazers, black slacks, and black pumps.
After stepping upscale, I stepped down to Mazda (no disrespect). I saw their nicely-designed vehicles ranging from their many cars to the crossover SUVs. I've always loved the CX-7 and CX-9 models. I didn't really have fun with a lot of people or things there. I did see other nice cars like the Mazda2. Next up was a trip to BMW.
I returned to Germany with BMW's section. I was pleased to see the X5 after seeing so much of the unattractive X3. BMWs have looked much less attractive since Chris Bangle came along for BMW. The 528i was an attractive machine I saw at the Houston Auto Show. Equal sentiments went out to the 328i and the latest M3. I even took a few pictures of the "What Was BMW Thinking Styling This Car This Way?" car- the latest Z4. I left to do some more gazing of cars as my tour was nearing an end.
The Big and Short of It.The Lexus section was next in my circuit around Houston Auto Show 2011. I was at the Lexus section taking a look at a variety of lovely Lexus models. I was starting to like the GX460 from Lexus. This, speaking as someone who doesn't usually like the GX series of Lexus automobiles. Before I continued my Lexus tour, I quickly returned to the nearby Subaru section to flash some pictures of the Subaru Impreza STi. It was in a beautiful blue color. Then, I returned to Lexus. I forgot about that lone Subaru once I saw the most beautiful (except for its brownish color) LS600Hl I've ever seen. VIP Auto Salon tuned the heck out of an LS600HL with Brembo brakes, aggressive strakes aft of the front tires, and with a purely aggressive body kit. I was blown away by its looks. If ever there is an F version of the LS600hL, I'd LOVE for it to look something like this VIP Auto Salon car.
From big Lexuses, I went down to Mini. No Countryman models were there, but a handful of Coopers were there. It is always cool to visit Mini. Fun stuff and fun times.
Acura was my next stop. I am not really into Acura to be honest. I took a few pictures of some of their very nice cars and moved on. The TSX Sport Wagon was a nice little car I laid eyes on.
Coming (Back) to America.The final automakers in my Houston Auto Show circuit to visit are all American makes. That finish line of my HAS 2011 tour was inching closer.
Lincoln has come along with nicely-designed cars, but so has Buick. I was in love with cars like the new Regal and the Lacrosse. One Buick that really caught my eye was the beautiful Verona. I was enamored with it very much. However, it was the Lacrosse that really caught my eye and my heart. What a beautiful car! I even told the lady who was on the turntable with the 2012 Lacrosse that the Buick Lacrosse should have been called the "Buick Beautiful." I even joked saying that it could have been called "Beautiful" by some other international term, like Hermosa or Bellissima. :)
I HAD to see the GMC Sierras in person. I wasn't disappointed seeing the beautiful GMC Sierras. The Denali HD was a Sierra model I initially didn't like... until I saw it up close. That truck is BEAUTIFUL! I even saw a more civilized Sierra when I gazed upon a more modest-looking Sierra. It was excellence in craftsmanship for sure.
After my follies at the Chevrolet section, it was time for me to give Chevy another try in taking pictures. I had returned takin pictures of a few Silverados. I saw a lovely Silverado with lots of chrome up front. It was a glorious machine.
Being the Cadillac hater I normally am, I've eased up on Caddy in recent times. I saw the CTS-V coupe on one turntable and became drawn to it nicely. I later came across the CTS-V wagon. It was beautiful, and so was the lady on the turntable talking more about it. She was nice enough in telling me more about it in her lovely zip-front dress and cute wedge pumps. The best way I could think of the CTS-V Wagon was that it does the duties of the CTS-V... only you can add two more people and some groceries. Those were the only two Cadillacs I really cared about.
After the Cadillac detour, it was back to Chevrolet. I saw the Chevrolet Volt on a turntable and took a few pictures. I later found the Stingray Concept. That car was SUPER low! It was an exciting-looking concept, though. I can't believe this concept marks more than 50 years of the Sting Ray. I was having better luck taking pictures since many of the people moved on. Then at one point, I saw something completely different- the Chevrolet Sonic. I was talking with the nicely-dressed Chevrolet girls about that car, and they told me that the Sonic will be the Aveo's replacement. The Sonic looks a bit like a Lancer up front. I was interested in this LS7-powered Camaro concept car. Among the Camaro contingent was a Camaro RS, a Camaro RS convertible, a nice green Camaro, and a Camaro with the classic White and Hugger Orange colors. I was actually really impressed with the ZR1 Corvette the most. It was very lovely to me.
The End...?So I completed my circuit around the 2011 Houston Auto Show. I had some time on my hands, so did I stop? No. This was despite the fact that my Bloggie MHS-PM5 was actually running out of battery life. Therefore, any pictures I try to take now will have to be done quickly. I can't just let the Bloggie just run out of battery life (it is a rechargable battery video camera). So I need to take pictures quickly with as few people around as possible.
I returned to the Ford lot to find more cars I may or may not have taken pictures of. I couldn't get a proper Mustang picture earlier. I then was able to get some good Mustang pictures. Later on, I made it over to the Fiat area where I wanted to get into the Fiat 500. I found out this car actually has LESS room than a Mini. I went over to the Jeep area and saw the Grand Cherokee again on the turntable. This time, I saw a pretty girl who was talking more about the Grand Cherokee. She was probably the hottest lady as far as hostesses were concerned. She had a lovely jacket, a black top, something that seemed like leather jeans (they weren't regular denim jeans), and some sweet peep-toe pumps. The jacket, pants, and pumps are all kind of an Army Green color. I'll share some pictures in my "My 2011 Houston Auto Show Experience - Fashion" blog post.
You made it! It was a lot of reading, I know. But, it's nothing you aren't used to if you are a regular reader of my blog. My final blog post has hardly anything to do with cars. This is where I will share some of my fashion-themed material. It is the final bit of material I have to share with all of you. I am adding only so many pictures to my Houston Auto Show 2011 gallery. To see the pictures I've taken, visit my 2011 Houston Auto Show gallery on Facebook. I may consider adding a Picasa gallery in the future.
Remember to keep reading John's Blog Space for more separate entries regarding various aspects of my Houston Auto Show experience for 2011! The best way to do so is to subscribe to my blog! Haven't done so? Here are ways to get social with me:
Thank you for reading! Subscribe to my blog via FeedBurner (or any other aggregator in the sidebar)! Click on the graphics below to subscribe to both of my blogs, and also Become a Fan (or Like) my Facebook Fan Page:
* Subscribe to John's Blog Space!
* Subscribe to John's Shop Space! (http://jbmshopspace.blogspot.com)
* Subscribe to the all-new John's Gran Turismo Space! (http://johnsgtspace.blogspot.com)