David Reininger - motorsport.com
Washington, D. C. (December 26, 1999) The Washington Auto Show opened its doors to the public this morning to begin its nine-day engagement at the Washington Convention Center. The show, titled Hot Wheels 2000, brings more than 500 vehicles, from over 35 automakers, to fill the entire D. C. Convention Center.
This year the show boasts a title sponsor in Hot Wheels, Mattel's brand of diecast cars.
The Hot Wheels display, which features a play area for children of all ages, greets visitors as they enter the cavernous convention center from the main entrance. Kyle Petty's No. 44 NASCAR Winston Cup car, just outside the Hot Wheels "play area", is one of two competition vehicles on display at the show. Petty's Pontiac Grand Prix looks as if it's ready to roll onto the track to start a race.
The history of Hot Wheels diecast cars is on display near the Petty car. The exhibit showcases everything from the earliest red liners released in the sixties to the latest line of Formula One cars just recently announced. The latest diecasts offered by Hot Wheels are exceptionally detailed. The miniature racers, done in 1:43 and 1:18 scale, include the McLaren, Jordan, Ferrari and Williams Formula One cars.
The Dodge stand is graced by the Team Mopar entry in the Craftsman Truck Series. Dennis Setzer's name is above the door of the Dodge Ram pick up truck painted in Team Mopar's black livery.
Of special interest to race fans will be an appearance by Bill Elliott's McDonalds pit crew on Wednesday, December 29. After demonstrating the proper NASCAR technique for changing four tires, auto show attendees will be given a chance to perform a record setting pit stop wielding the same air guns used by the pros.
This year's show, while short on competition vehicles, has an interesting array of concept cars including the Lincoln Blackwood, 2001 Ford Thunderbird, Chrysler Chronos, Dodge Charger RT, Nissan SUT and Jeep Jeepster.
After a look at the future, check out the "Top Ten Cars of the Century" as voted by the Washington Automotive Press Association. A group of automotive journalists selected the top ten cars, one from each decade, based on a variety of factors. "Our list is intended to go beyond sales figures," said WAPA member Les Jackson. "We looked at what car best identified the decade and exemplified social trends. They are not identified to be the 'best' cars of the century, but rather the 'most significant' cars of the century".
The Top Ten Cars of the Century, all of which are on display at the show, are the Curved Dash Oldsmobile, Model T Ford, 1928 Chevrolet, 1937 Chrysler, 1944 Jeep, 1959 Cadillac, 1964 Pontiac GTO, the VW Beetle, the Dodge Caravan and the Mercedes-Benz M Class.
Check out the Washington Auto Show online at http://www.washingtonautoshow.com. The Washington Auto Show runs at the Washington Convention Center through Monday, January 3, 2000.