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Showtime! Houston – The World of Auto Shows is Changing

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Showtime! Houston – The World of Auto Shows is Changing

A lot has been said and written lately about the demise of the traditional auto show. The best example is probably that of the most prestigious auto show in the US, the North American International Auto Show. The Detroit show moves to early June in 2020, hoping to attract more people and – equally important – more OEM exhibitors. Here in Texas, the three big shows txGarage covers are in January (Houston), March (Dallas) and November (San Antonio).

Let’s face it, it’s tough to produce an auto show at a time when manufacturers release new vehicles throughout the year. If you want to be the Big Dog and make your product reveal at one of the major shows here in the U.S. (Detroit, Los Angeles or New York), your timing has to be perfect; if not, you just get lost in the shuffle. And for the most part, those big names with the big bucks pick these shows to unveil their latest and greatest offerings.

But last week we saw Aston Martin take centerstage with their DBS Superleggera in Houston. A 715bhp, James Bond-type road warrior that will deliver you from 0-60mph in 3.4 seconds and only stop outperforming itself once you reach its 211 mph maximum. And let’s not forget the 900Nm of torque available from 1800-5000 rpm. (Pass me a martini, shaken and stirred).

True, Mr Bond’s ride only comes with an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission these days – alas, no manual available – and the fuel economy numbers won’t win any awards. But at least the two-door body (with 2+2 seating) has a bonded aluminum structure using composite panels. It also has a 51:49 weight distribution, which is damn near perfect. Just like that martini. And of course, those Bond Girls.

Personally, I’ve had the good luck of putting over 2000 miles on a brand-new Aston Martin DB9, and fortunately for me, I returned it in one piece. Saying goodbye wasn’t easy. Nor should it be.

For me, this year’s Houston Auto Show sparked an exquisite memory of walking out into a hotel parking garage, removing the cover of the lone DB9 waiting for me, opening the driver’s door and slipping inside. Followed, of course, by the unmistakable sound of firing up its finely tuned 12-cylinder centerpiece.

With that, it was good to see Aston Martin take centerstage in Houston on the show’s preview night. Maybe other auto shows will follow suit, and maybe they won’t. But auto shows need a spark if they hope to retain the crowds they currently have, and attract new visitors. Otherwise, we won’t get to see and hear some of the best production vehicles in the world. And that will be a loss.

So, kudos to Houston – and thanks for the invite! We’ll see you next year…

Alan Pease

Alan Pease is our Central Texas correspondent, covering city, county and state government, as well as all that's taking place at the Circuit of the Americas. Alan is a long time automotive and motorcycle industry professional, and covered the approval, development and opening of the Circuit of the Americas for Autoweek magazine. Prior to writing for Autoweek and txGarage Alan designed and executed over 350 individual press introductions, drive routes, and ride-and-drive events for BMW cars, BMW Motorcycles, MINI Cooper, Aston Martin, Jaguar Cars, and several General Motors divisions. Press introductions took him across the entire United States (including Alaska), as well as Canada and the United Kingdom. Alan also raced in the Inaugural Iron Butt Rallye, riding as a Factory Rider for BMW Motorcycles. He finished the 10 day, 10,000 mile solo rider race tied for 1st place. He lives in Austin, Texas, and can be reached by email at contactalanpease@gmail.com .

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