What I Learned At The 2018 LA Auto Show


This year’s auto show was one of the best I attended.  It was not because of the cars but rather because of what I learned about life and the cars

Some of my best memories as a child were going to the LA Auto Show with my father every couple of years.  When the opportunity arose this past weekend to take my son, I jumped on it.  I am really glad that I did.  What I learned at the 2018 Auto Show was not about the cars but rather about life.

A shared passion with your son or daughter is one of life’s greatest gifts. I realized this as we were walking through the endless displays of the latest and greatest from the World’s top automobile manufacturers

As a child, I remember walking into the Los Angeles Convention Center and gasping at the shear scale of the show.  My experience at this week’s auto show was no different.  Instead of everything housed under one roof as I remember it, displays were set in several venues throughout the convention center campus.

In addition to my epiphany about shared passions with my children, I had a few others while at the show.

Cars, like people look different ‘in the flesh’

This was immediately apparent when seeing the new 2020 Porsche 911 (992) in person.  In pictures, my feelings were mixed regarding the design.  However, any reservation was immediately washed away when I saw it for the first time.

My first impression was that looks much bigger than the outgoing model it replaces.  This is especially so when looking at the wheels.  The 2020 911 has 20 inch wheels up front and 21 inch wheels in back as the standard wheel size.  In contrast, the 2016 911 has either 19 or 20 inch wheels both front and back.  21-inch wheels are new for the 992.

While appearing larger, it also looks much sportier than the outgoing model.  It looks shorter and lower to the ground than previous generations.

The one thing that both my son and I did not particularly like was the rear end of the new 911.  It is immediately apparent that it adopted the rear end of the current Panamera.  In our opinion it does not necessary work with the rest of the vehicle.  The space between the top of the license plate frame and the bottom of the taillights is too tall.  There is too much empty space in this area.  However, we both agreed that opinions could change with the addition of a turbo tail or GT2 RS rear wing.

Value is beautiful

This is possibly more of a value statement than anything but since my son made this observation, I am highlighting it here.

The Mercedes Benz, BMWs, Porsches, Jaguars and the like were gorgeous.  They were elegant, stylish and above all, coveted. Were any of them cars I would particularly want to own?  In short, no.

While many of these cars look amazing when brand new, they will look entirely different after a few years worth of use.  I don’t mean normal ‘wear and tear’, I mean their designs will look dated and they will have become what many of previous years show cars have become, money pits.

I couldn’t help but to look at the latest Maybach S Class and think about the depreciation curve of the Maybach 57 or 62 or the latest BMW M5 competition and the E39 M5.  My thoughts didn’t just apply to foreign cars, I thought the same passing the full-size pick up trucks and SUVs fitted with the latest gadgets.

Those cars that really drew my attention and surprisingly, that of my son’s were those cars that we could realistically see ourselves owning in the future.  These were obviously not the latest German or American offerings but rather those cars that are known for quality and value, namely Toyota, Honda, and Lexus.

While Porsche is one of the most reliable new cars, the price of admission is still very high for most.

I can’t see the latest SUV from Mercedes or BMW getting me through the next five years without an expensive repair.  However, this was very easy to visualize looking at a shiny new Lexus or Toyota.  These are the cars I found myself drawn to amongst a sea of choices.

I previously thought that these feelings were my own but my son quickly changed that for me.  When we first arrived, he said “dad, I can’t see myself ever owning anything other than a BMW, Porsche, Mercedes, or a Lexus”.

As we were leaving the show and processing the experiences of the day, I asked him what his favorite cars were.  He replied, “I really liked the Porsche and the BMWs.  However, the Lexus and Toyotas just look like they are just better cars to own”.  I asked him what he meant by that and he said that all of the really expensive cars just seem like they have a lot of polish on them.  After awhile, that polish loses its shine and I can see myself getting tired of that car”.  He continues, “with the Lexus and Toyota, you are not getting a lot of polish.  You are getting what you are paying for, a car that will continue to work for along time when you need it to”.

As I pondered our conversation, I was taken aback by his wisdom.  I had nowhere near his insight at his young age.  I also realized that there was beauty in value.  Dependability, boring, and trustworthiness were just as attractive as the cleanest lines, most luxurious interiors and fastest 0-60 times.

Conclusion

This year’s car show is one I am not likely to forget.  However, it is not because of the cars that I saw but rather the shared experience and insights with my son.  It was sharing in our mutual passion of automobiles.

I realized that my love of cars is not so much the cars themselves but rather the memories, feelings, and experiences that they represent.  I don’t think that this is unique to me but rather applies to all of us.

As a result of my experience at the LA Auto Show, what this blog represents about cars has become much more personal to me.

This video is not my own but rather from Autogefuhl.  While I planned to take pictures and video, I opted to take in the show with my son.

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