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Shelby Mustang Cobra GT500, Geneva Auto Show, New York Auto Show, Detailers Paradise, Nissan Titan, Porsche 911 Carrera S, Volvo S40
Issue Seventeen
March 28, 2005
2005 Geneva Auto Show
Photo Gallery:
2005 Geneva Auto Show
2005 New York Auto Show
Photo Gallery:
2005 NY Auto Show
Hot Lap with:
Detailers Paradise
Nissan Titan
Porsche 911 Carrera S
2005 Volvo S40

2005 New York Auto Show:
Little News From the Big Apple
By Max Farrow
Contributing Editor

(March 25, 2005)

Chevrolet Cobalts

Toyota FJ

BMW 3-series (E90)

Dodge Charger R/T

Jeep Commander

Ford Shelby Mustang GT500

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New York Auto Show
The undead arrived at Jacob Javits Convention Center in a fleet of bright red Chevy Cobalts. They proved harmless to the industry execs and journalists who were covering the event, but their plodding, insipid gloominess infected the whole show - spreading extreme boredom and utter despair.

OK, it wasn't a scene from a '50's horror flick - but the Big Apple's annual automotive extravaganza this year was honestly a bit dull. Typically the second most important new-car exhibition in the U.S., the 2005 New York International Auto Show lacked the excitement and imagination we've seen in previous years. While there certainly were a few requisite new-model introductions, even the official agenda handed out as we got our credentials - which showed shortened days and fewer press conferences than ever - hinted at the derivative, lackluster nature of the unveilings we were about to witness.

"Where's the new hybrids? Where are the high-volume models like the Grand Cherokee or Five Hundred? There's not even a match for last year's Audi A6 or Acura RL intro this time!" That sentiment was expressed by many of the scribes in attendance. Last year, Cadillac unveiled the all-new STS - this year, the V-series XLR was their big news. Mercedes, having wowed us a year ago with the CLS and SLK, this year showed only the R-Class we'd already seen at several shows. And although there were a number of cars fresh at least to the North American market, those of us who had covered the Geneva show had already seen those as well.

Last year, New York was a big deal, and we had trouble covering it all. This year, not so much.

A couple hot-rodded Detroiters did catch our attention, however - although not high-volume production prospects and in fact not really new cars at all. The first was the Shelby GT500 Mustang, a tricked-out Cobra replacement. The blown 5.4-liter V8 from the exotic Ford GT sits under the hood, providing "over 450 horsepower" and 0-60 in 4.5 seconds. The suspension has been tweaked for more aggressive handling, although the solid rear axle remains. Sporting comprehensive body modifications and an upscale interior (leather dash and door panel trim), the GT500 will remain a schoolboy fantasy until next summer - when any mental patient with around $39,000 can get their hands on one.

From across town, the Dodge Boys provided the other modern-day muscle debut of the show. Wearing SRT-8 trim, a hard-core Charger was chased onstage by a new police-package version of the same performance sedan (although in reality, this civilian Charger would easily outrun the 250-horse, column-shift fleet vehicle). The corporate 425-horse 6.1L Hemi is the heart of the beast, which features Brembo brakes and an upgraded suspension. Sixty mph arrives in under five seconds, we're told, and is scrubbed away in 110 feet. Outside, blacked-out trim and monochrome paint complement the scooped hood and decklid spoiler - it looks tough. Interior upgrades are sport-themed as well, with supportive seats, special trim and gauges, and a 180-m.p.h. speedo. Pricing hasn't been announced, but we can expect the increased cost to mirror the SRT 300C's - around six grand.

As far as all-new production-model debuts go, we did, at least, see the Jeep Commander. The boxy flagship SUV of the Trail-Rated line, this is the first Jeep to offer three rows of seats. The stepped roof provides extra headroom and stadium seating. Resembling an overgrown 1989 Cherokee, it's certain to be the ultimate in full-size, rugged suburban assault vehicles. The optional 330-horsepower Hemi V8 should give spirited acceleration, and three separate four-wheel-drive systems tailor the truck for all needs. The interior, with rear-mounted skylights, is both modern and luxurious - hues of beige and black are set off by rust-colored leather seats. Production commences this fall.

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