2013 Washington Auto Show Kicks Off Today

washington auto show
Lexus LF-LC Concept

The 2013 Washington Auto Show kicked off today, February 1st, and this year looks like it will be even better than last year.  Packed with Celebrity guests, the Advanced Technology Superhighway, the 2013 Green Technology Award, and lots of policy talk people should have at the 2013 Washington Auto Show.

Washington, D.C. has long been the site of the country’s greatest ambitions for progress. The 2013 Washington Auto Show not only symbolizes the brightest and boldest dreams of the auto industry but marks the show’s transformation over the years. The Washington Auto Show has not only become the largest public show in Washington, D.C., it’s also the premier address for showcasing the latest innovations in sustainable technologies and drawing the most influential leaders in the industry.

This year, hundreds of thousands of visitors, including many environmental and automotive visionaries, will explore the more than 700 new makes and models from over 42 manufacturers at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

The 2013 show marks a new era for Washington, D.C.’s largest public show. With its doubled time frame, from five to ten days, it’s an even bigger bonanza for area residents to enjoy the fully stocked, two-story convention center with an automotive showcase many describe as “new-car heaven.”

Many manufacturers come to Washington DC not only to display the best of what they will be offering in the new year but what they will be able offering in the future as well with prototypes.  You should also expect to see a good amount of Supercars and Exotics at the show too.

Also with the heavy political influence in Washington DC a lot of policy talk goes on.  If this is your cup of tea, you will be excited to go.

Probably most people will enjoy the celebrity appearances more.  Notable celebrities includes:

  • Karina Smirnoff – The Ukrainian professional ballroom dancer and winner of the 13th season of the well known TV show on ABC, “Dancing with the Stars,” will be at the Washington Auto Show on Tuesday evening, February 5th, 2013.
  • London Fletcher – Linebacker for the Washington Redskins will be in attendance to sign autographs Thursday  February 7th, 2013 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm.
  • Richard Rawlings – The owner of Gas Monkey Garage in Dallas, Texas. He is currently featured on the Discovery Channel’s”Fast N’ Loud” television show. In the show, Richard, along with his partner, Aaron Kaufmann, search for, buy, and restore classic cars for auction in Texas and other nearby states.  He will be at the show on February 5th, 2013 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm.
  • Randy Orton – World Wresting Entertainment (WWE) superstar.  Randy Orton was destined for a career in sports entertainment. After all, not every WWE Superstar can claim the title of “Youngest World Heavyweight Champion in WWE History”. Then again, Randy Orton is also one of the only third-generation Superstars in WWE history. The son of WWE Hall of Famer “Cowboy” Bob Orton, nephew of Barry “Barry O” Orton and grandson of “The Big O” Bob Orton, Randy comes from a distinctive bloodline.  He will be making an appearance at the show on February 6th, 2013 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm.
  • c “The Great White” – Another WWE star known to fans worldwide as “The Great White”, WWE Superstar Sheamus will be appearing Thursday, February 7th, 2013 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm.
  • Penelope Menchaca – host from Telemundo’s “12 Corazones” will be appearing Sunday, February 3 from 1:00pm – 3:00pm.
  • Johnny Lozada – From Univision's “Despierta America” will be appearing Sunday, February 3 from 1:00pm – 4:00pm.
  • Garrett ReismanA real NASA Astronaut will be signing autographs on the Toyota Live Stage on Sunday, February from 11:00am and 1:00pm

Other appearances will includes kids favorites such as PBS characters, Captain Planet, and Talking Friends.  US Army bands will also be in attendance at the show.  For a full list of appearances and times visit the website.

The Washington Auto Show is holding a Military Day on February 5th, 2013.  This means if you are a member of the military or a proud veteran who served our country you will be admitted to the Washington Auto Show for FREE!  All you have to do is show a valid military ID, or DD214 (discharge papers) and photo ID to get Free Admission to the wonderful auto show.

If you love cars and are in the Washington DC and surround area then you need to get yourself down to the 2013 Washington Auto Show.

Date: February 1st – 10th, 2013

Location: Walter E. Washington Convention Center 801 Mount Vernon Place, N.W. Washington, DC 20001

Tickets Prices: Adults $12, Children 6-12 $5, Kids 5 and under are FREE

Visit the website for more information: http://www.washingtonautoshow.com

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Freedom Behind the Wheel, Getting Veterans Back on Track!

Freedom Behind the Wheel, Getting Veterans Back on Track!

For veterans returning home from the war, it can be a difficult to adjust to activities that they used to enjoy. Racing a car can be one of them if a veteran happens to sustain injuries that makes them paraplegic. That's where the great people behind Freedom Behind the Wheel come in.

Started by Ryan Downey and his father Brian Downey the non-profit organization aims to get troops back on track, literally. Freedom Behind the Wheel operates a safe and secure environment where paraplegic veterans can utilize specially built and custom hand-controls for precision race car driving.

Ryan got the idea to start Freedom Behind the Wheel when while assisting a paraplegic veteran in the art of Drifting. He saw that there was a big gap in what was being offered in race cars and vehicles at the time, so him and his dad decided to use their racing experience and vast technical knowledge to build and fabricate something better. The result is a highly modified race cars with specially built hand controls that the Downey's and volunteers put a lot of heart and soul into.

The Downey's have a strong racing and mechanical background and it shows through their passion for helping veterans with Freedom Behind the Wheel. Ryan is a graduate of Ohio Technical College and and grew up working in his father's auto repair shops. Ryan has always loved the mechanical aspect of cars but has always been more interested in designing and fabricating new and innovative vehicles. This lead him to participate in the division Championship at Drift Nirvana, and win.

Brian has over 35-years of experience working on cars and is ASE-Certified. In that time he has managed two successful auto repair shops. Brian has also participated in Endurance Auto Crossing, Drag Racing, Drifting, and many other forms of Road Racing. He was won numerous titles and even placed in the Sports Car Club of America's (SCCA) National Runoffs several times. He has also worked as a racing instructor at many different tracks and race car events.

Both Ryan and Brian are now helping instruct and get veterans “back on the track” and enjoy racing activities and are happy to do so. Freedom Behind the Wheel offers programs in Drifting, Auto Cross, Drag Racing and various forms of motor sports.

For those of use who want to experience the feeling of using the Downey's custom hand controls, without the worrying of wrekcing a car, you are in luck. At the shop they have a virtual simulator so you can test out what it feels like to drive a car using only your hands. It looks a lot like playing Gran Turismo only more modified and there are 3 screens. I tried the virtual race simulator at the Washington Auto Show last year and it was quite fun. I thought I was not that good at using the custom hand controls but I was assued, “No, you are actually pretty good at it!” At least I know I can drive a race car with only my hands, which might come in handy someday.

Freedom Behind the Wheel received a substantial tool donation from Cornwell Tools in the form of tool and toolboxes which helps maintain the vehicles and keep the program running.

With the Downey's help paraplegic veterans can now regain their Freedom Behind the Wheel and enjoy life without limits. To find out more about the program visit their Facebook page.

Baltimore Auto Show Coverage with Pictures!

I am a bit late in posting these pictures of the Baltimore Auto Show, but better late than never.  The 2012 Baltimore Auto Show was not too much to brag about though.  There were considerably less cars this year and no luxury brands like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, and Porsche. Baltimore being poor, I guess it isn't surprising they didn't show this year.  Also there were no exotic cars like Ferraris, Lamborghinis, etc.  Worst part of all, no tuner alley!  It was a big letdown compared to the Washington Auto Show.

While I love seeing the new models automakers are offering and what is in store for new year in the car world, I felt the recent Baltimore Auto Show showed how depressed the economy was.  Through the grapevine I heard the convention center tripled there rates, which explained most of it.  Even considering that the displays weren't anything to brag about and people were generally not having much fun it seemed.  It sort of felt like 2008 was happening in the all over again, but hey this is 2012.

I hope next year will reflect a more robust car market and economy.  Also hopefully the Convention Center will lower their rates!

 

Washington Auto Show Admits Veterans & Military Members for Free – January 31st

Washington Auto Show - Lexus LF-LC Concept

The Washington Auto Show is holding Military Day tomorrow, January 31st, 2012.  This is good news if you are a member of the military or a proud veteran who served our country, because you will be admitted to the Washington Auto Show for Free!  All you have to do is show a valid military ID, or DD214 (discharge papers) and photo ID to get Free Admission to the wonderful auto show.

JR Martinez, who won Dancing With The Stars, will be in attendance as well WWE legend Sgt. Slaughter (who actually served as a Marine.)  The US Army Downrange band will play the Washington Auto Show's “Welcome Home Troops.”  The USA Cheerleaders will be performing to show their support for our military as well.

Washington Auto Show Presents Cool Cars, Concepts, Green Cars, and Policy

Yesterday the 2012 Washington Auto Show opened to the public. Definitely a great event to go to if you are a car lover.

I attended the Public Policy day, the day before the Washing Auto Show opened (January 26th), and got to see all the offerings on hand before the massive crowds. I bet you are wondering what some of the highlights of the show were.

My personal favorites would have to be the Lotus Evora and the Lamborghini Aventador. Lamborghini's are just so amazing, sexy, powerful, over-the-top, etc. Basically everything you want in a supercar.  I imagine this car is on the wall of many young children's rooms across the country. I talked with the salesman from Euro MotorCars, Jamie Gershowitz, about the Evora for awhile. I commented on how the body from from a distance looked like a Tesla. This is because Lotus makes the body shells and chassis for the Tesla Roadster. He told me how fun there were to drive. If I was a dog… I would have been drooling. (Alright, maybe I was drooling just a little bit.)

Definitely the most interesting car there would have to go Freedom Behind The Wheel and the converted Nissan 240SX race car they had on display. All the controls are done with the hands. It is specifically built for soldiers who have lost their legs, but still want to participate in racing. Ryan Downey, who built the car, seems to have refined the controls and cars to be ideal for racing. Best part about their display was they had a race simulator setup to try out the controls. I that that was pretty awesome. I was told I did fairly well.    Unfortunately you can only see this car at auto shows for now.

There were a few concepts on hand as well. “Hybrid” is the keyword and along with “electric” or anything green at auto shows now, and the Washington Auto Show is no different. Toyota NS4 Hybrid and Volvo's XC60 Hybrid were on display. I hope Toyota builds the NS4 Hybrid, because I think it looks super slick. Another concept on display was the Audi E-Tron electric car. Audi is testing a fleet of them in Germany currently, but it no word on when Audi will be testing their electric cars in the US.

Fiat had a little area for doing test drives with the new Fiat 500.  It seemed a lot of press people and government officials were happy to not just look at cars, but actually drive one.  Especially inside the Washington Auto Show.  I thought this was a good idea, but is not necessarily going to make me buy a Fiat 500.  I love the original Fiat 500, but the new one just seems too much of chick car.

The day I attended Senator Jeff Merkley (Oregon)gave a speech and talked about what the Senate was doing to try to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Honestly his speech was pretty boring, but I listened intently anyway.  As well Mark Reuss, President of General Motors North American operations (GM), gave a speech at the show.  I guess he came to make sure all the politicians were happy with the job he was doing and what GM is doing.  As well pat himself on the back about making GM number 1 again.  (Just so you know you have natural disasters to thank for that!)

Ray LaHood, the secretary of transportation, was in attendance as well. Unlike Senator Merkley and surprisingly Mark Reuss, he is a good public speaker.  He spoke in the Advanced Super Highway section of the hall, which featured electric cars, hybrids, and other green cars from many different automakers.   “This great auto show features some of the best cars in the world” said LaHood about the Washington Auto Show adding “In this hall, you can see what is possible.” In his speech he stressed the importance of the auto bailouts. He claimed the government's actions saved our whole economy and over 1 million jobs. I didn't agree with most of his statements, since I am against bailouts, but whatever.

If you love cars, and are in the DC metro area, I would definitely go checkout the Washington Auto Show.  It runs from January 27th – February 5th, 2012.