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Coverage of the Motor Trend Virginia International Auto Show

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  • Coverage of the Motor Trend Virginia International Auto Show

    Coming Sunday, I will be providing coverage of the Motor Trend Virginia International Auto Show at the Greater Richmond Convention Center and Presented by the Greater Richmond New Car Dealers Association. This is a showcase for Manufactures, Local Dealers, and Aftermarket Businesses to display the latest cars to hit the showrooms, give the public a view of pre-production vehicles, and for vendors to show off the latest thing to perfect your car or add to your memorabilia collection. This will be from a drifter's point of view, so you probably won't see anything Front Wheel Drive (except for maybe the new tC) and I will be giving my opinion on the vehicles that I think could be used for the artists of oversteering.

    Hope you are looking forward to it, because I'm looking forward to that new rubber smell! If you have an opportunity, it's usually a good show to head out to if you can't make the bigger auto shows, so don't miss it!

  • #2

    With the 2011 season nearly a month away, the time has come to show off some of the offerings presented by manufactures in Rear Wheel and All Wheel Drive configurations. Besides going to the show room, the best way to see your favorite or potential new drift car is the auto show. However, if you aren't in LA, Detroit, or New York, how can you attend an auto show to see your future drift vehicle? The answer is the Motor Trend International Auto Shows! I attended the Virginia Motor Trend International Auto Show at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. The show lasts from Friday, March 11 through Sunday, March 13 with some of the latest 2011 and pre-production model vehicles from makes such as Hyundai, Chevrolet, Ford, Lexus, Dodge, and many more.

    The great thing about the VMTIAS is the fact you can get into the car and see what you're actually buying without the Salesman trying to pitch you something. This year, you could also drive some offerings from GM as they had the "Experience the Ride and Drive" demos that would allow you to drive new cars from Buick, Chevrolet, and GMC, including the new Camaro.

    Along with the show, there were many presentations and giveaways, from wining two Mustang Boss 302s (a '69 and a '12) to cash, there was some more incentive to show other than the cars. Kids had a ton of fun, not just looking and sitting in their favorite cars, but from characters like Spongebob SquarePants and King Robota, an eight foot tall robot that would interact, dance, and play music. The Virginia Motor Trend International Auto Show is a great family atmosphere that all ages can enjoy.
    Now that we have the introductions over with, here are the cars that the drifters would have fun with!

    2011 Camaro

    Not much change since the introduction of the 2010 model, other than a more powerful 3.6 liter V6 that still gets great fuel economy. For 2012, expect the Z/28 to make a powerful and lightweight reappearance and a new convertible version of the 2LT and 2SS chassis.

    My Take:
    I personally like the looks of the Camaro, and with Blue 808 making a suspension package to get more steering angle out of the car, it can make for a great competitor to the Mustang for domestic drifting. Along with that, the old Pony Car wars are back so just expect these cars to get more powerful and far better handling with each year by the aftermarket, if not the manufacturers. I had heard that the gauges set too deep in the cluster, so either they fixed that or they really weren't that bad because these guages are very easy to see. I really love the throw back of the Rally Sport gauges on the center console. I'm really looking forward to the Z/28 package, will 2012 help bring back the old Trans-Am days?

    2011 Mustang

    The big update for the Mustang is in its powertrain, no longer will you see a SOHC in the 2011 cars and instead of the standard bearer 5-speed, you now will see a 6-speed. The new V6 also produces more power with 315 HP coming from its DOHC mill. The GT500 model will get a full 5.4 liter aluminum engine, instead of a cast iron block and and 10 more HP at 560 HP.

    My Take:
    The Mustang really captures the look of the Fastbacks back in the late '60s and '70s and, again, I love it. With the RTR helped designed by Vaughn Gittin, Jr. that can be packaged with a V8 or V6 really helps the grassroots Ford drifter. Along with that, a new Boss 302 model is coming out that will include three keys, two standard and the Red key. The standard keys allow the car to be streetable, more fuel efficient, and traction control on. The Red key, on the other hand, allows for more fun, track-day oriented driving. Could we see a version of the Boss 302 in Formula Drift next year?

    2011 Genesis Coupe

    The Genesis Coupe will lose a model, but gain one as well. You can get an R-Spec instead of the Track model, but you can still get the 2.0L Theta Turbo 4-cylinder. The R-Spec 3.8 will replace the base 3.8 model with the Lambda 3.8L V6. Also, if you get the 2.0T Premium or 3.8 Grand Touring, don't expect to be able to get the 5-speed, as it will no longer be available on those packages. The interior is also softer, replacing the hard surfaces of the 2010 model, especially the arm rest.

    My Take:
    Along with Nissan and Mazda, Hyundai has become the source for sporty, fun to drive Asian cars. The oddball rear quarter windows have grown on me, but the Genesis was and still is a great car to look at. What has surprised me is the fact that no other team has come out with a Genesis Coupe with the Tau 4.6L or the newer 5.0L V8. I would like to see a Genesis Coupe with a 5.0L V8 to see how it compares to the Mustang 5.0L V8. I think it could make for an interesting match!

    2011 RX-8

    Not much change in the RX-8, but news is that the 2011 model is the last version we will see of the car. Due to stricter global emission standards and slow sales, there will be no RX-8 for 2011 in Europe.

    My Take:
    While not a replacement for the RX-7, the RX-8 made its own name through the SCCA, drifting, and Grand Am competition. Nothing beats the sound of a well tuned Renesis engine, other than a peripheral ported 4-rotor, but you can use the 4-rotor sound levels to drive a nail though a wall. Mazda has shown great potential in motor sports through its Mazdaspeed program and has helped many a racer and drifter march up the ranks to Pro driving. It will be a shame to see this car go, but if the rumors are true, the replacement should be very exciting to see!

    2011 MX-5 Miata

    The standard bearer for Spec and Autocross competition, the MX-5 Miata has proven itself since the original NA model. With 2011, the MX-5 will lose an interior, color, and a sport model with the power-retractable hardtop (PRHT). WIth the PRHTs, the controls are set above the stero now. Interesting note is that the Hardtop and Softtop have the same cargo volume! Impressive, considering the packaging needed to fit hardtops.

    My Take:
    There needs to be a MX-5 in Formula Drift! One of the most popular convertible Japanese cars on the market, how has this not been in competition with a Pro team? I would also like to see the return of the Mazdaspeed MX-5, with a turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder that could blow the doors off cars twice its size.

    2011 tC
    The new tC has been changed into something that looks more like a helmet than a car, but it hasn't lost its sporty nature. The interior is more driver-centric, as said by Toyota, and is powered by the same 2.5L 4-cylinder that powers the Camry. Six-speed manual and automatic transmissions are also coming the the 2011 tC, so expect an increase in fuel economy and better drivetrain performance.

    My Take:
    One of the most controversial vehicles in Formula Drift, the fact that the tC isn't sold here in the US as an All Wheel Drive model is a let down. The architecture is there for it, this has the potential to be an Impreza and Lancer fighter! However, there are rumors that the FT-86 will be coming to the US in 2012 or 2013 as a Scion, thus maybe some of the controversy can go away and help make Scion a manufacture to consider when building your drift car.

    2011 Impreza

    The 2011 Impreza WRX gets the same body as the STI, thus increasing the front and rear track 1.5 inches. The rear subframe also gets stiffer bushings and new wheels are offered in 17X8 and a 235 width tire. The 4-door and 5-door hatch are still offered for 2011.

    My Take:
    I really like the new look for the 4-door Impreza. It is much tougher, meaner looking that the 2010 model. The Subarus competing in Formula Drift need an update, but that may not be needed, as there is a Subaru version of the FT-86 on the way.

    2011 Challenger

    Fairly big changes in store for the 2011 Challenger, as the 290 HP V6 will be replacing the 250 HP version. The 6.4L Hemi V8 making nearly 480 HP will be in the SRT8 Version. There is a possibility of an 8-speed Automatic making an appearance on the Challenger and Charger.

    My Take:
    Another successful retro-styled car, the Challenger sounds awesome with the 410CI Methanol burning Sprint car engine that Sam Hubinette has in his. I personally like this car more than the Viper. The character it emits and the legend it continues to write, it makes a far better drift car than the Viper.

    2011 Charger

    A stark redesign for the 2011 Dodge Charger, it carries the look of the original Charger through the hood, side, and especially the rear lights. Also for 2011, the new charger will get the same 3.6L V6 that is used in the Jeep Grand Cherokee, meaning more power and better fuel economy. A new, more refined interior and 8-speed automatic is rumored to be in the works as well. The Charger is also available in All Wheel Drive, as well as Rear Wheel Drive.

    My Take:
    The new look for the 2011 Dodge Charger are much improved upon and I like the big 4-door vision of the legendary Charger. I personally feel that the Charger carries the legend of the original very well, even more so with the SRT8 version. I want to see a comeback of the Mopar Drift Charger!

    With 2011 here, the new cars for drifting enthusiasts and competitors hasn't been this good in some time and it will only get better. As performance and drifting start taking a front seat with fuel economy in the eyes of the American public, expect to start seeing more Rear Wheel Drive and very exciting cars to start making a great reappearance. For to long, the public has allowed itself to be dulled by bland, cookie-cutter cars and if the 2011 line up is any indication, the future is bright for automotive enthusiasts of all kinds! Hope you enjoyed my take on the 2011 cars and coverage of the 2011 Virginia Motor Trend International Auto Show and look forward to me covering the 2011 Formula Drift East Coast swing, because I sure do!


    • #3
      Scenes from the show: