Start It Up – Concept and Technology Garage at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show Media Days

The Chicago Auto Show has already begun for some.  Prepping for any event involves careful planning and follow through in order to make it successful. #CAS18 gave it’s media the opportunity to rev-up their experience by hosting the Concept and Technology Garage on Wednesday, February 7, 2018.  

Those of us who were able to defy the odds and arrive on time come plane, train or automobile to Chicago in February, were treated to driving experiences, in-depth chats with manufacturer representatives and a few surprises as you will see…

For me, I rolled in after one cancelled flight and a day long train ride…but I made it! Registration complete and media credential hanging around my neck like a gold medal, I was off.

**NOTE:  One important thing to know about attending The Chicago Auto Show is footwear.  You will be hoofing it all over creation.  Get out those comfortable shoes.

Upon entering, what does my wandering eye see? The KIA Stinger GT Federation Concept car in a most stunning shade of orange.  Some oranges…not so much…this orange…YES!  KIA rep Neil Dunlop was more than happy to give me the low-down of the specs and specials that make this KIA tick.  Waiting in a short line was worth it to take this concept for a spin around the garage.

Video by Jules Stayton

What a dream.  Handling, acceleration, braking…all A+.  Designer and engineer influence surface in the skin of this Stinger.  Body hugging bolstered seats provide stability and feel like a firm hug from a high school sweetheart as the well-appointed interior reflects necessities within easy reach.

I reluctantly give up my seat of comfort and allow the next person in line to light-up their life.

My eye turns to the next kid on the block…the Lexus Black Panther inspired LC Concept Coupe.  Highly anticipated, the movie releases on February 16, 2018  and if the car has anything to do with it’s success…brace yourself for a box office bash!  

Photos by Jules Stayton

Claws on the side view mirrors, panther on the hood, ground effects, WOW. What a statement in “deeply saturated, iridescent Structural blue”. An eight month process takes place for this “first-of-its-kind” paint.  There is no blue pigment, instead, a reflection of blue light.  The Black Panther LC Concept Coupe is part of the limited-edition 2018 Lexus LC Inspiration Series.  Collaborating with Marvel Studios, this Lexus is special.  Only 100 will be sold in the U.S.

Fresh from being voted “Best in Show” at the L.A. Auto show by…looking beautiful in Alfa Rosso…comes the Alfa Romeo Stelvio.  Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) brought multiple models from some of their various platforms…Alfa Romeo,  Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, and Ram Trucks .  Alfa Romeo rep Berj was friendly and well versed in his brand.  He encouraged me to stop by the floor of the show to see interiors and the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio,  I did and they are spectacular.

Photos by Jules Stayton

Being in the market for an SUV myself, I welcomed a chat with FCA rep Jordan about the all-new Jeep Cherokee.  Having been a Cherokee owner in the past…this is not the Jeep I remember.  Luxury seating, leg room galore and functionality…accolades abound.  Four inches wider in the cargo area will fit my golf clubs nicely, thank you.  I’m liking the re-design very much.

Jeep Cherokee

Photo by Jules Stayton

Why wouldn’t a Concept and Technology Garage include a snow monster concept like the Nissan  370Zki (Ski)?  After all, it IS February in Chicago.  It’s presence almost guaranteed the snowstorm that hit on day two of the media preview.  Complete with American Track Truck front skis and Dominator® Tracks on the rear, it forms the biggest souped-up snowmobile you’ve ever seen.  Hauling the 370Zki was a loaded Nissan Armada complete with the Snow Patrol concept trim package that will tower you three inches higher than the production model.

Photos by Jules Stayton

The Leaf came equipped with Pro Pilot Assist Technology, Nissan’s flagship semi-autonomous feature.  The Kicks took its place in the garage as well as the Star Trek inspired Rogue and 2018 Special Forces TIE Fighter Altima.  

Photos by Jules Stayton

Whew, glad I wore those comfortable shoes.  

The thrill of the day, driving some “old” technology the 1950 Ford F1 truck.  My Ford rep in tow, we cruised the room in the three speed manual transmission.  No power steering, giant steering wheel…what a way to end the event with the opposite of “technology” but innovative in concept.  The F1’s current day counterpart receives “Truck of the Year” year after year, I guess it succeeded as a concept in its day.

The million feet of show space and over 1000 cars wait patiently for the media to descend…we are revved up thanks to the Concept and Technology Garage…more Chicago Auto Show coverage to come…goodnight for now you beauties.

Waiting Patiently

Photo by Jules Stayton


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