April 7th marked the end of the perennially lauded event, the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS), now in it’s 113th year as the premier event for autophiles and plebeians alike, and drawing crowds uneclipsed by any other leading car show in North America. Similar to Fashion Week, with its fleeting window into the hottest fashion of the year—the allure of NYIAS is its transience; you can browse, touch, and yes, even sit in, over 1,000 vehicles that represent a majority of car makers around the world only once a year in the same showroom, the Jacob Javits Center.
Few buildings could comfortably house so many cars even in New York City, but the Javits Center is a modern architectural behemoth. At close to 900,000 square ft., it easily becomes a trade show parking garage every spring. And with so many four-wheeled, 1-and-a-half ton displays placed at various angles, parked on stages and caressed by beautiful models, there is still ample room for the masses to walk between the vehicles.
Though you can literally go up and touch most cars bathed in the myriad lights hanging between the elegant, futuristic “space frame” struts of the high-walled ceilings, there are cars that are roped off and given limited access. No rags wiped away any greasy handprints from their polished exterior. No pictures were taken of anyone near these cars, other than the select few allowed past the ropes and the detail of security. These high-end roadsters were the Bugatti Veyron, looking as beautiful and aerodynamic as it is fast; Bentley’s powerful, snub-nosed Mulsanne and Continental GTC; the lean Rapide and curvaceous Vanquish from Aston Martin; Lamborghini’s supercar powerhouses, the Aventador and the convertible Gallardo Spyder; and a trio of brilliant McLaren 12Cs, their butterfly doors raised for good measure and ready, it seemed, to fly off the floor.
While these luxury performance vehicles were a clear audience favorite, each hall offered another make and another interesting back-story for the inquisitive onlooker. Wedged in between the Scion and Porsche presentations, the lineup of racing cars from SRT – including the Viper GTS – was impressive.
Now that the curtains have closed, the vendors taken down and disassembled, the doors locked and the last polished vehicle wheeled off the lot, we will have to wait until next year to see what the auto world has in store for New York and to see how close we can get to the “untouchable” fleets.