Since about 1995, my metropolitan area has had a local car show. New cars, mind, not vintage ones. I usually go, simply because it’s something to do before spring arrives. Plus, I’m a car nut. Plus, I know a lot of the local dealers and salespeople.
From the early years right up to about 2018, they had brochures and provided bags to haul your brochure loot-one of my favorite parts of going to new car shows. In 2021 the event was cancelled, for, uh, shall we say medically magnified reasons? Anyway, it was back this year, and moved from the River Center in downtown Davenport to a new expo center at The Bend, a new development on the site of what once was the old JI Case combine factory, right along the Mississippi River.
The claim to fame of the Quad City area is that for most of the metropolitan area, the river runs west, rather than south. The Bend is so named because it’s the point at which the river resumes its north-south trajectory on its way up to Dubuque, Prairie du Chien and eventually Minnesota. Anyway, there’s the new expo center, a Hyatt hotel (with a pretty cool bar and lounge on the top floor), riverfront apartments and such.
Anyway, I usually get a free ticket either from Peter Clarke at Strieter Lincoln or Brian Cox at McLaughlin Volvo, and such was the case. And since I’m currently underemployed (if not unemployed), I decided to go on Friday morning to avoid the mobs that would be around on Saturday and Sunday.
Honestly I wasn’t super excited, as so many of the cars I like have been killed off, like the Continental, MKZ, XTS, CTS, Impala, Lacrosse, and more recently the Passat. I like sedans and station wagons much more than the current gotta-have-it SUVs and combovers.
I suspect they’re so popular because so many more people today are, ahem, large and unhealthy, and can’t shoehorn themselves into a standard-sized car anymore. But I digress.
But what the heck, it’s cars, it’s free, and my calendar was pretty wide open, so I headed over. I’ve heard from friends in St. Louis, Dallas and Chicago that those respective annual new-car shows have been getting pretty lame, with multiple marques simply not attending.
Almost all of the local dealers were represented, except for Strieter Lincoln (who had two new cars the last time I was there, so I can’t really blame them). Jaguar, Porsche, Infiniti and Acura were also not there, simply because the Acura dealer closed around 1999, Porsche in about 2018, and Jaguar around 2012. We’ve never had an Infiniti dealer. Even the Alfa dealer had a car.
Despite the market moving to combovers for dog moms et al, there were still some attractive vehicles. And with all the car shortages over the past year (and counting), it was kind of nice to see a couple hundred brand new cars just sitting around.
The Alfa Giulia is a pretty nice looking sedan, and I loved the cream leather interior with the wood accents. I fully expect it to be killed off in the U.S. market in a year or so. The Fatty McButterpants Stelvio combover is much more common on the roads than the elegant Guilia sedan.
And despite the questionable Bucky the Beaver grilles on the new BMWs, I liked this convertible on display, especially in that metallic olive green. I was chatting with one of the salesmen from Kimberly BMW and he said the color had been getting a lot of positive comments.
A preproduction electric F150 was also on display. I have zero interest in full electric vehicles (unless were talking golf carts and heading to the 19th hole for gin and tonics), but it was pretty weird seing an F150 with a front trunk and nothing inside, like a big-ass Porsche 911.
The 300 is still around, and still looks good, black wheels notwithstanding. I especially liked the metallic burgundy paint.
And the ‘tuxedo’ white leather interior with black dash, door caps and carpeting. It still looks good simply because it is an older design. Have you seen the ’22 Outbacks, with the square flares over the round wheel wells? Blecch!
I also saw my first Maverick, but it was locked up. I’m not a truck guy, but I can see the appeal of this. Modest size, four doors and open bed for hauling bikes, camping crap or what have you.
This one was a loaded up Lariat. I liked the caramel-colored leather.
Several Velies were also on display. If you didn’t know, Velies were made here in Moline, IL up to the 1929 model year. The factory still stood right on the Rock Island/Moline border until the early ’90s.
At which point John Deere Seeding tore it down for more lot storage. They kept the first floor brickwork and masonry as a fence, and added a plaque, so it’s not entirely gone.
Anyway, the show was pretty nice, though there were NO brochures, boo. But since I got in free I really can’t complain. The new location was very nice and brand spanking new. The River Center, the last couple of years, was starting to get a little threadbare looking. And there was a ton of parking, no worries about haphazardly finding a space downtown like in years past!