Human InterestThe Examiner

A Walk Down the Fast Lane at New York International Auto Show

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By Roger Witherspoon

The sleek bright yellow Lamborghini, one of the many expensive sports cars at this year’s New York International Auto Show at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan through Apr. 7.

For most people, a car is a useful mode of transportation to get to work, run errands and a means to enjoy a night out on the town.

But then, the average commuter or party-goer is not traversing boulders or plowing through a couple of feet of water and mud.

For trips like that, one might consider a line of Ford’s Bronco SUVs, now on display for the next two weeks at the New York International Auto Show in the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan.

“We have the Big Bend, the Black Diamond, the Outer Banks, the Badlands, the Everglades and, of course, the Raptor,” explained Brandon Turtkus, Ford’s spokesman for off-road craft generally referred to as “enthusiast vehicles.”

“The Raptor is the cream of the crop,” he continued. “It’s the most capable with 37-inch tires and twin-turbo V-6 engine pushing 400 horsepower.”

The Raptor on display, with its roof and doors stowed away and the massive wheels looked different from the adjacent Everglades model, with a built-in winch on the front grill and water drains on the floor. Water drains?

“The winch is standard on the Everglades,” explained Turtkus. “These are for water fording and they also come with an integrated snorkel. The winch is integrated into the front bumper and is designed to pull yourself out of the mud, or pull a friend’s car out of the mud.”

The Broncos are marketed as “built wild” vehicles and vary with the motorists’ primary use. The Bronco Sport, for example, is the smallest of the bunch and is designed to compete with the Jeep Renegade and Toyota Forerunner in the average suburban terrain where “off road” means driving over someone’s lawn.

“I wouldn’t take the Sport rock crawling,” cautioned Turtkus. “But maybe you’re into desert running, and we have a Bronco that will suit your needs. The Raptor is designed for the desert. If you are in Arizona, it makes more sense to have a Raptor than an Everglades.”

The New York auto show, which opened Friday and runs through Apr. 7, is the oldest car show in North America. It premiered at Madison Squarer Garden in 1900, a time when cars were mostly expensive toys for the rich, and admission, at 50 cents, was a day’s salary for the average worker. It is now sponsored by the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association representing commercial and private cars.

If you need to get through a couple of feet of water or mud, consider a Ford Bronco Everglades.

More than one million people visited the sprawling Javits Center last year to see the hundreds of cars in the three-story, five-square-block exhibit area. Many took the opportunity to briefly test drive some of the vehicles on the inside EV test track or the curbside, off-road Camp Jeep and Bronco Off-Roadeo with its steep, bone-rattling trail.

People who like sports cars can spend a day drifting and daydreaming between the practical, such as the Hyundai Ioniq 5, whose electric Ioniq 5N won the 2024 World Performance Car award, to the exotic, such as the hybrid Corvette E-Ray whose combined V-8 and battery-powered engines rock 655 horsepower and push the sleek car toward 200 miles per hour. At that speed, the police mail you your ticket and a request to mail in your license.

There are rows of expensive performance sports cars and sedans, such as the burgundy Rolls Royce or the sleek, sunshine yellow Lamborghini.

The increased availability of electric or hybrid cars of all types is especially noticeable at this year’s auto show. The sleek Corvette, for example, comes as a gas-guzzling flash, a high-performance mix, or a quiet – but high performing – electric.

The trend is especially noticeable at Ford, which is celebrating 60 years of its iconic Mustang, still the nation’s best-selling sports car, which debuted in 1964 and drew widespread attention as the hot rod of Steve McQueen playing a detective in the action thriller “Bullitt.” Ford marked the occasion with dual presentations of the gas-guzzling sports car and the electric Mach-E version. For this opening weekend, Ford, in conjunction with area Mustang and Shelby clubs, have a special display of Mustangs through the decades.

But the real change through the decades has been the widespread acceptance by sports car enthusiasts of the Mach-E version.

“We find that there are a lot of features that are in both cars, such as the large info screens,” said Mustang brand manager Joe Bellino, “and they link the two brands. Mustang took the automotive world by storm at the 1964 World’s Fair, and people gravitated towards it. Mustang has had this cult-like following for 60 years, while competitors have come and gone in this market.

“What made Mustang unique is we stayed faithful over the years to the kind of sports car it is – the appearance, low and cool and the rear-wheel drive are still there. When you see the Mustang on the street it turns heads.”

Ford marked the anniversary with a 486-horsepower version of its standard Mustang GT, and a 500-horsepower Mustang Dark Horse. And as a limited edition, Ford introduced the Mustang GTD, sporting an 800-horsepower engine and a price tag starting at $300,000. On the electric side, the new Mustang Mach-E Rally has a 450-horsepower motor and a top speed approaching 200 miles per hour.

“The Mustang Mach-E is not a competitor. It offers that electric performance and the features and speed Mustang is known for,” Bellino continued. “They play well off of each other and help us attract a different buyer. You’ll look cool driving the Mustang and just as cool behind the wheel of a Mach-E.”

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