Auto shows are a blur of glitz, corporate over-spending, and questionable song and dance routines performed at vehicle reveals by recent performance arts graduates with dead-eyed smiles and student debt to pay down. They’re also a weird microcosm of the industry at large, with executives, PR folks, and journalists from all over the world flying in to occupy the same physical space for a few short days. Naturally, this leads to sleep deprivation, ingesting the worst kind of calories for days on end, and numerous culture clashes that can’t be resolved by Google translate.
Roadkill was there this year at the 2016 LA Auto Show, and we made the best of the frenetic energy surrounding the event. The show opens its doors to everyone this week and runs from November 18-27th at the Convention Center in downtown Los Angeles. Here’s some of the fun stuff we did, and you can probably do too, so head downtown.
1. Make Paper Dragsters At The Galpin Pavilion
Maybe ‘pavilion’ is too strong of a word, but Galpin has its own little showroom tucked in between the two main show floors at the LA Auto Show this year, and it’s filled with all sorts of fun stuff. Our favorite activity was building these little paper drag racers, but you can also get your picture taken with the Scooby-Doo Mystery Machine, or bask in the glory that is the Pink Panther car, a life-size Hot Wheels that looks much like a piece of bubblegum stuck to a shoe and still attached to the floor. Only with wheels.
2. Bask In The Shadow Of The Empire
Nissan did two very surprising things at this year’s LA Auto Show. The first was bundling its special Star Wars edition Rogue SUV with a collectible ‘Death Trooper’ helmet, thus making them the first automaker to willingly associate themselves with the storm troopers of a despotic regime (we’re assuming the Torture Droid Armada is next). The second was parking a life-size TIE Fighter at its display, most likely so no one would question the whole ‘Death Trooper’ thing. It certainly makes an impression.
3. Steal Sriracha From The Trunk Of A Lexus
Of course we wouldn’t actually condone anyone actually stealing delicious hot sauce from the surprisingly unguarded trunk of a completely unlocked Lexus IS sedan, and we’re not saying that’s what we did either. But we’re also not saying that it’s not possible.
4. Flee DTLA’s Predatory Tow Trucks
It turns out the City of Los Angeles is very, very serious about the parking restrictions surrounding the Convention Center where the auto show is held – and pretty much everywhere else, too. While scoping out The Last Bookstore (which has a huge automotive section, by the way), we escaped the line at the cash register just in time to see a flatbed roll up behind the Challenger R/T Scat Pack we were driving for the week…mere minutes after the sign we’d parked beside told us it was time to go.
We gave the wrecker a thumbs up, and the driver responded by pointing to the other side of the street, where it was apparently safe to deposit the car for a few more hours. Then he drew his finger across his throat in a slashing motion, and the entire truck disappeared into a cloud of acrid, black smoke. Or maybe that part was just a dream brought on from too much Sriracha.
5. Do Whatever It Is These Guys Are Doing
We’re not sure what’s happening here, but it sure looks important. And futuristic. It’s kind of fun to imagine what they might be talking about: ‘How many screens is too many screens, Roger?’ ‘Don’t be a fool, Pietro – you can never have too many screens!’
It’s at the Acura booth.
6. Buy Every Hot Wheels Ever Made
One of the LA Auto Show’s best-kept secrets is the basement display that’s filled with cool aftermarket hot rods, questionably-modified high performance rides, and a truck that travels to the event each and every year filled with all of the Hot Wheels that have ever been produced – and most of the Matchbox cars, too. Think we’re exaggerating? Where else could you find a Studebaker USPS Stamp-and-Truck set, a tiny John Glenn complete with Space Shuttle and capsule, and Tom Cruise’s motorcycle from Top Gun all within a five foot radius of each other? If you said in the offices of Roadkill, you would be correct – but you’ll be able to snag them at the auto show, too.
7. Check Out Volvo’s Weird Moose Detection System
Sure, it can spot things other than moose, but the fact that there’s an anatomically-correct moose statue haunting the Volvo booth, and that the system itself is pointed right at said moose, has us thinking it’s mainly for moose. Or is that ‘Mainely for Moose?’ We forget how the bumper sticker goes.
8. See If The Spiders Under The Ford GT Have Hatched Yet
We noticed the little white sack of spiderlings on the center diffuser strake of the 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning Ford GT when it was displayed at SEMA 2016. As of a week ago, they were still there at the auto show. Go see if they’ve hatched. It’s possible you’ll find the entire Ford booth covered in a sticky web. Don’t go in if that’s the case. There’s nothing you can do.
9. Go Get Pie At The Pie Hole In A ’69 Polara
This one’s a little tricky, because you’ll need a ’69 Polara to make it happen, but the pie tastes just as good if you get to the Pie Hole on Traction Ave (just a few blocks from the show) using a less exotic means of transportation. Or at least, we assume it does, because we wouldn’t know. We are sure of one thing, however; Driving around the darkened streets of LA, as seen through the windshield of one of the longest coupes ever built, is a cinematic experience for anyone who didn’t grow up in the City of Angels but who has seen every one of its streets lensed by Hollywood since they were six years old.