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Auto Show:  2011 Philadelphia Auto Show

2011 Philadelphia Auto Show - What's Hot In Cars? Just Follow the Crowd at An Auto Show

February 3, 2011

If you want to get a barometer of which cars are hot, just watch where the crowd gathers at an auto show and listen to their conversations. We did. As expected, the muscle and dream cars were getting big play at the Philadelphia Auto Show, but there was one very surprising buzz happening…around the Hyundai Equus.

Eyeballing the Red Candy Metallic 2011 GT Convertible Premium Mustang, with a take home price of $41,220,000, 26-year-old Brandon remarked,

Camaros are nice but I’ve always been partial to Mustangs. What size engine is that?” he asked us. When we replied that it was a V8, he said that it could use more power. Huh?

At the Jaguar booth, the crowd was purring around the XKR Convertible coupe complete with19” ten spoke alloy chromed wheels with red brake calipers, a hand stitched leather interior with lush wood trim and a supercharged 510 hp V8. The price? A much discussed $101,125.

There were audible sighs as a 6’1” guy squeezed into the front seat and adjusted the controls to suit his size. (The driver’s seat was flush with the second row but hey, who cares?) We said, “It fits you!” He smoothed his hand over the wheel, touched the lustrous wood and murmured, “Wow, it just doesn’t fit my wallet.”

Another onlooker, Eric Nelson, owner of a ‘95 Jag in top shape, thought that the absence of a Jaguar leaper hood ornament was a bummer. He said, “When it comes right down to it, with that leaper on the hood, you know it’s a Jaguar when it’s coming down the road.”

His friend Jeff Jenkins countered with, “The Jaguar XKR is a little more than I can spend. Honestly, it has to be practical.”

“But it’s not made for the practical person. Not everybody drives a Jag, but they appreciate it for what the Jaguar offers,” replied Nelson.

Jenkins volleyed back with, “I would honestly go with the Ford Escape Hybrid or the Chevy Volt. The Jaguar is not distinctive anymore. But I would also consider the BMW X6, Lincoln MKZ or Porsche Cayenne…that’s my dilemma right now.”

Another vehicle that seemed to cause a dilemma was the 2011 Corvette G.S. Convertible with chrome aluminum wheels and chrome air intakes in bright yellow. On noticing the $77,995 price tag, a gawker lamented, “I can’t get enough of it, but it’s too pricey for me.”

We stopped Ed Pyle and his son, self-appointed “heavy GM guys” who own a Chevy Malibu and minivan.

“It’s the mystique of a Corvette,” Ed said explaining the draw of the crowd.

We moved on, ending up at the Hyundai Equus Signature, a sedate luxury sedan that sells for $58,000 (the Equus Ultimate goes for $64,500).

“This is not what you’d expect from a Hyundai,” one person said, while another corrected him answering, “That’s a Hyundai Equus.”

 “I’ve heard people say, a Hyundai, are you nuts? But look at the fit and finish on this,” noted Berne Russell, owner of an Acura TL and a Jaguar.

He was impressed. He’s looking to buy a new car this summer and the Hyundai Equus will be on the list.

HOLLY REICH writes about cars, travel, lifestyle and more. Her work has been featured in publications that include: Elite Traveler, The New York Daily News, The Washington Post and The Boston Herald. She contributes monthly to Motor Matters syndicate and her blog, "Riffs on Rides," appears on

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2011 Philadelphia Auto Show - What's Hot In Cars? Just Follow the Crowd at An Auto Show - Autotrader