My last day at NAIAS is the first day the public’s allowed in. Before this, the COBO Center was open only to the press, and then only to people in the industry (or anyone willing to spend $75, instead of $12, to get in). But through next Sunday, several hundred thousand people will stream through — men in car-brand shirts and hats, women with books that they’ll read in the food court.

Auto shows excite the kind of people who are willing to put out money for what amounts to a walk-through commercial. They grab the large, glossy bags manufactures give out for free; they sometimes grab… More…

I have never owned a new car. My first automobile was a Jeep Wrangler, 11 years old when I bought it. It was a fine car, but it had a broken passenger door, and one time someone fell out in the parking lot of an ice skating rink.

I bought my second car just out college. It was an Oldsmobile Intrigue, 4 years old. It was intriguing in name only, but was a boat of a car and, at 6’2”, I loved it for its boatyness. Our relationship, though, was short-lived. I fell asleep one night while driving home, swerved across the opposing lane of traffic, and… More…