American Muscle Cars of The New York Auto Show
The New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) is last stop on the auto industry’s annual trade show calendar. Although other venues feature more floor space than New York’s Jacob Javits Center, the NYIAS is the largest of the nation’s commercial auto shows when measured by attendance numbers. The Big Apple’s week-long auto extravaganza is the industry’s sole opportunity to showcase its wares to the North American market region that ranks second only to California in its consumption of sports cars, luxury cars, and SUVs.
As the final manufacturer-sponsored exhibition of new models, concept cars, and automotive technology of the 2014 model year, New York represented a final opportunity for automakers to generate media buzz as the summer driving season approached. 300magazine attended press days at the NYIAS before its doors opened to the public. The first installment of our NYIAS event showcase focuses on the best from America’s home team: muscle cars and sports models from the Detroit Three.
The 2015 Dodge Challenger led all American NYIAS debuts in terms of media attention and public anticipation. Dodge marketing teams pulled out all the stops to stoke the fires of curiosity. The division’s public affairs personnel deliberately delayed the 2015 Challenger’s unveiling until the second and final day of the media access period. The sheet-draped profile of the new car sat under guard throughout the first day of the event, and several journalists could be seen playing a waiting game with the security staff in hopes of scoring an underhanded exclusive.
At first glance, the profile of the ’15 Challenger betrays few details of the designers’ revisions. Make no mistake; it’s the same endearingly slab-sided retro boulevardier that neo-Mopar mavens have come to adore.
The focus of the redesign is evident from the opposite ends of the new Challenger. Whereas the previous car was styled as a contemporary adaptation of the 1970 original, the 2015 Challenger channels the 1971 facelift of the same car. Bifurcated taillights are the highlight of the rear fascia revisions.
The front of the 2015 Challenger echoes the split-grille style of the ’71, but the high-intensity daytime running lights are reminiscent of BMW’s signature “angel eye” daytime lamps.
Dodge made wholesale changes to the interior of the 2015 Challenger. The car received dramatically upgraded material, fit, finish, and telematics connectivity. Challengers now offer the Chrysler group’s largest and most advanced 8.4” Uconnect multi-media, communication, and climate control interface. A new dashboard instrument cluster replaces the generic LX platform gauges from the 2008-2014 model, and a new short-throw shifter improves the tactile experience in manual-equipped cars. The Challenger’s high beltline means that sightlines have not improved, but the cockpit experience is far more agreeable than in previous iterations.
All Challenger models offer a wide range of high-impact colors.
As always, matt-black body graphics and branded decals are available to maximize the Challenger’s throwback factor.
Close examination reveals a surprisingly faithful reproduction of the 1971 Challenger’s latticework of grille bars.
When bright metallic blue and low profile decals just don’t cut it, Dodge has your back; behold the redneck Lamborghini.
Besides retina-searing paint options, Dodge has refreshed its portfolio of optional wheel designs and finishes. This car sports forged multi-spoke alloys with anthracite PVD finish.
The 2014 Challenger received a final hurrah in the form of the Mopar ’14 Edition. The Mopar ’14, in turn, received its final hurrah at the NYIAS – all 100 examples of the car sold out in a single day roughly two weeks before the show’s press days. Exclusive body graphics, interior leather, unique black rims, and a functional “Shaker” hood scoop send the ’14 out in style.
Whether by design or accident, Ford’s highly anticipated 2015 Mustang bowed in December 2013 in advance of January’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mich. Late 2013 online leaks of CAD/CAM renderings revealed most of the car’s exterior details, and Ford may have advanced the Mustang’s debut to avoid a total anticlimax.
Many industry observers had expected a New York unveiling for the 2015 Mustang. The original 1965 Mustang had debuted in New York at the World’s Fair in Flushing, Queens, and a metropolitan reprisal seemed to be in the cards prior to the late ’13 internet image fiasco.
Nevertheless, Ford’s marketers found a way to salute the original pony car’s New York roots by launching the 50 Years Limited Edition at the NYIAS. The anniversary car features white paint, three-quarter-window louvers, and chrome trim that recall the 1965 original. Appropriately, 1,964 examples of the car will be issued exclusively in full-dress GT V8 trim.
Ford wished to remind locals that the Mustang is a native New Yorker.
During lulls in the press conference schedule, manufacturers rolled out the red carpet for VIPS, area dealers, and members of the press.
The SRT Viper usually reserves its best venom for the New York crowds. Shortly after the show, Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne announced that the SRT performance outfit would be discontinued, and the Viper nameplate would return to the Dodge fold. SRT made the most of its last ride on the show circuit with the “SRT Viper Anodized Carbon Edition.” The car’s signature is a matte metallic black finish that Chrysler calls the first of its kind on a Chrysler group product. While the black reads as silver in person, the play of light on the hybrid matte and metallic surface is impressive to behold.
Only 50 Anodized Carbon Edition cars will be produced, and only ten of those will feature SRT’s Time Attack (TA) performance package. Modifications for these “hot rod” Vipers include gumball Pirelli PZero Corsa DOT race rubber, aero appendages that add downforce, upgraded spring rates, stiffer sway bars, upgraded Brembo brakes, and carbon fiber cross-braces to stiffen the structure.
For gearheads, this is tantamount to a holy relic. The factory Vipers GTS-R racecars return to action at LeMans on June 14, 2014.
The undisputed star of the 2013 NYIAS returned as a conquering hero in 2014. Having vanquished stud opposition including the Porsche 911 and Nissan GT-R in recent media comparison tests, the 2013 Camaro Z-28 concept returned as a production model in 2014.
Make that a “limited production model.” Very few of these cars will be built, and only the most well-heeled and hardcore Camaro enthusiasts need apply. The Z-28 features little sound-insulation, summer-only race tires, has no radio, and sports carbon-ceramic race brakes.
Money well spent.
The Z-28’s two-seat sibling was GM’s designated 2014 stunner. Another Big Apple debutant, the Corvette Z06 Convertible is a landmark car in Vette history. In a rare act of daring, Chevrolet is offering the Corvette’s highest-spec engine in an open body style. Previous Z06 and ZR1 models featured closed canopies designed to minimize body flex and keep insurance premiums at bay. Advances in computer assisted design and materials technology have overcome the challenge of marrying a robust chassis with an open car. The insurance premiums are your problem, so deal.
The second installment of 300magazine’s NYIAS photo showcase will highlight standout European luxury and sports models from Porsche, Maserati, Koenigsegg, Rolls Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin, and other titans of the old world Pantheon.