As the last major auto show of the season in Canada, as well as the only one on the left coast, the Vancouver International Auto Show features almost all the new models that have come before plus a variety of features and exhibits that make this show unique.
Words & Photos by Gerry Frechette
This bullet-proof 1937 Cord was commissioned by the then-Governor of Louisiana, Huey Long, but he was shot before he could drive it. Neither of the subsequent two owners drove it, either, leading it to be called the 'Cursed Cord.' It had been in storage 75 years before a full restoration was performed by 360 Fabrication, and it made its public debut at the Vancouver show.
Making its North American debut at Vancouver was the new Lexus LS 500h with multi-phase hybrid powertrain. The front end continues with the 'bravely-styled' grille, but the rest of the exterior is more conservative. The interior, though, is sensational, with its 'progressive comfort' approach and complicated forms and textures.
This locally-owned, all-steel 1940 Willys 'Gasser' drag racer is powered by a blown Chrysler 392 Hemi, faithful to the way these cars were raced 50 years ago.
This original, unrestored 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Competition, with racing history including the Targa Florio and Mille Miglia, is said to be worth about $12-million USD. It belongs to a local collector whose identity was not divulged.
It was a double-win for Toyota Canada in AJAC's Green Car Awards, as the Prius won the Green Car of the Year award, and the RAV4 Hybrid took the Green Utility Vehicle of the Year trophy.
It's been seen before at other shows, but Vancouver got its first glimpse of the very pretty Buick Avista concept car. We can only hope this concept becomes reality.
Chevrolet's new Canadian-made compact SUV, the Equinox, made its regional debut at Vancouver. It promises toget the brand firmly into contention in the segment with its good looks and newly available diesel power.
Following the successful launch of the Solo EV commuter car, Vancouver-based ElectraMeccanica has announced its intention to produce the Tofino, a two-seat composite-body sports car with a claimed 400-km of range. The price when it hits the road in 2019 will be $50,000.
The Electra Meccanica booth was a busy place, as people clamoured for a look at the Solo commuter car, and the new performance version of it with big brakes and wheels, and racing slicks, no less. The plan is to have a spec-racing series for them.
This Genesis Concept, first seen at the New York Auto Show last year, wowed the Vancouver crowds, showing that Hyundai's premium brand will play in not only the high-end luxury segment. It is said to have a high-performance hybrid powertrain.
A somewhat whimsical take on the ultimate 'get to the ski hill' machine, the GMC Snow Machine would have fared well in Vancouver's unusually icy winter. Long distances might have been a challenge, though.
Supposedly still a concept, we believe the new Civic Type R will look just like this, and challenge strongly in the 'rally car for the street' wars.
Another 'what-if' car for those kids of any age who love the miniature race cars, and dream of actually driving one on the street. This one does run, but is strictly a one-off custom.
Kia Canada announced a multi-year pledge of support as the official national automotive partner of Special Olympics Canada. Vincent Li, Special Olympics BC (floor hockey, softball, soccer, bowling), Alex Pang, Special Olympics BC (figure skating) and Dan Howe, President and CEO, Special Olympics BC, were on hand.
The new Countryman PHEV is the first plug-in hybrid model offered by the premium British brand. It made its Regional debut at the Vancouver Show.
Built as a promotional exercise by a log-cabin manufacturer, and to be auctioned at Barrett-Jackson next year, this car's body is a 240-year-old cedar tree trunk. Power at city speeds comes from an electric motor. Unfortunately, the two turbine engines, while they make whirring noises, do not propel the car forward. But they sure do look cool.
Range Rover chose Vancouver for the North American debut of the mid-size Velar, first shown at Geneva last month. Notably sleeker than the larger Range Rovers, the Velar slots between the Range Rover Sport and Evoque in the lineup/ It is expected to appeal to the urban crowd who want high style with capability.
Auto shows are way more than just new cars and trucks these days, as the manufacturers try to engage with young people with lots of high-tech hands-on displays. Here, a young lad sketches a car in GM's 'Starts With a Sketch' exercise.
Subaru Canada showed Vancouver show-goers what their vision is for a soon-to-come large SUV in the line-up.
In what was one of the more unusual PR stunts, Toyota had a couple of small EVs on hand, available for media to drive at some speed down the carpeted alleys of the show – before it opened to the public. Track workers kept the unsuspecting media hordes warned of the approaching vehicles.
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