One of my fondest memories as a little guy was going to the auto show at Bartle Hall with my dad. It’s where my love for luxury cars was encouraged to grow. I still remember specific cars that I sat in as an 11 year-old. I even remember songs that came on while I was testing the radios. Jagged Edge anyone? Excuse me, I’m a sucker for some good R & B. I remember the Chrysler 300M specifically because my dad and I both liked the look so much that we went to look at one at a dealership a few weeks later. I remember hoping that I would win the drawing to stand inside the cash machine and collecting the dough while the bills blew around in my face. I didn’t win. I think the kid that was selected nabbed less than 40 bucks. What a joke. I’m not bitter about it or anything. The novelty made the event even more special to me as a kid. I remember multiple concept cars, which I can hardly recall if that happened in this year’s event.
After a many-year hiatus from the event, I was so excited to attend this year with one of my best friends. He also recalled fond memories as a child and hadn’t been in years. My hope was to recapture some of the awe and magic I experienced as a kid with the new filter I’ve developed here at Pure Pursuit, selling late model sport-luxury vehicles here in Kansas City. Speaking of Pure Pursuit, I parked in our parking lot which was a few blocks away from the event. Of course, before we went to the show, I took my friend into our showroom to start the night on a high note. He was enthralled by our 2015 Maserati GranTurismo for sale, and rightly so: you can’t stand next to this thing and not realize that you’re in the presence of greatness.
So after a brisk walk through the Power and Light district (which later included watching a drunk girl walk face first into an evergreen tree…haha) we landed at the event. We swam through the sea of vendors, which included my arch nemesis, the Girl Scouts. Seriously, there were boxes of Thin Mints like sirens calling out to me above the noise of the event (it felt like the Oscars with cookies being shoved in my face). I am proud to say I held my ground, even with the cheery little song coming from the little girls almost like mockery to my ability to withstand the pressure. I made it through the valley of the shadow of my eating plan’s death. Hallelujah.
We got our tickets and rode the escalator (…which still freaks me out by the way. Even at 27, seeing that episode of Rescue 911 where the kid gets caught in one because of his jacket scarred me for life. Pray for me.) and landed at the first vendor, Ford. We decided that food was going to be our priority so we quickly made our way to the food trucks to catch some local grub. I love cars, but I love food more. Sue me. I finally decided on the Chinese truck because it was the “healthiest” option I could find. One thing I would suggest in a culture that is growing more health-conscious is at least one truck that has a menu that is healthy overall. Just my two cents. We sat down and observed the guy that got handed one of the more “blah” DJ jobs on the planet, just trying to blend in.
This song happened…the 90’s were an interesting time, weren’t they?
After finishing our grub and $5 lemonade, we made our way to the back and worked our way through the show. We started at Nissan, and the Titan they had on display was a thing of beauty. As I had little interest in the everyday cars, we navigated through them rather quickly.
A few things of note on the standard manufacturers:
- It was weird to come across the Scion display (I am actually a fan of the FR-S) and see what they have to offer. It was like looking at your family’s dog that is about to be put down and you both know it. I don’t remember seeing anyone look at their selection at all.
- The new Toyota Sienna is baller. I literally just said that. They are the best, no question about it.
- Toyota also had a pretty sweet virtual reality headset for “test drives”. I appreciate the novelty there; it leaves an impression that you can talk about later down the road. Kudos, Toyota.
- The Ford Raptor they had on display melted my face like a stick of butter. I actually giggled.
The paint on this thing was so ridiculously beautiful. I would have paid the ticket price just to look at this thing. Wow.
Moving on to the real reason I was there: straight luxury, baby.
- The Alfa Romeo display, though it was only 2 cars, was pretty sick. They had the prime location, being smack dab in the middle, but the display would have caught the eye no matter where they were. With a 4C and a Giulia on display, there was no shortage of spectators wishing they could get up on the platform. I will remember that section when I’m 10 years older for sure.
- Porsche was a bit disappointing for me. I have a strange affection for the Panamera, and I was excited to see it make an appearance. Other than that, it felt a bit flat. No real display, flash, or excitement. For a company that makes so many variations of their lineup, the presentation brought very little diversity.
- I really thought Lexus had a nice outing. Though I am not as familiar with their lineup, I thought the Orange RC F was absolutely brilliant. Strangely enough, Lexus had more of a “presence” than many of the other luxury brands.
- BMW got me a bit riled up with the M4 but that’s about where it ended. I didn’t even realize that they had an i8 on display until I ran into a friend towards the end who asked if I had seen it. We had to backtrack to BMW just to look at it, and it was still hard to see until I walked to the back of their display. It felt like it was being put in a corner. Call me crazy, but if I have an i8 to display, I’m going to make it the centerpiece. Visual difficulty aside, the i8 is just plain gorgeous.
- Some people may not understand this, but one of the top 3 moments of my night was sitting in the new CTS-V. I have loved Cadillacs my whole life, and this only furthered my opinion. We sat in this car the longest, just enjoying the view. High five, Cadillac.
- Maserati brought 3 cars, which I was more than excited about. They had a black GranTurismo that was nearly identical to our 2015 GranTurismo For Sale. I’m normally not a blue car guy, but I actually prefer our color over theirs. Regardless of color, these things are a marvel that inspires wonder. Maserati, thank you for gracing us with those three beauties to stare at. Applause.
- I am partial to Infiniti, so I spent a little more time checking out their display. They were one of the last stops, and they were beautiful as always. I loved comparing the Q70 and Q50 as I plan for the next car I will buy after enjoying my G35 for a bit longer. Speaking of G’s, I had an extended conversation with the Infiniti rep working the event, and together we lamented the death of the G. I made sure I pledged my loyalty before I moved on to the last few displays.
Overall, while there were some moments that I’ll remember, I found the entirety of the show to be lacking a lot of punch. It felt more business-like than festival-like. There was a certain blandness that felt much different than when I was a boy. Maybe I’ve just grown up. Maybe I’m jaded. I didn’t even look at the painted Mini Coopers because I was bored just thinking about looking at them. I do have to tip my hat to KC Trends, who ended up being the stars of the show. There were crowds of people around them the entire time. Granted they had 2 Ferraris and an Aventador which formed an unfortunate amount of drool on my face. I mean DANG.GINA.
Some parting quick thoughts:
- The Nissan GTR, though it doesn’t change much, still excites me. Every. Dang. Time.
- Lincoln is stepping their game up. I’ve never thought twice about a Lincoln, but I did a double take at the show.
- I hate the Mustang. People lined up to get in one and I would have rather been in the Fiesta. They do nothing for me. That may be sacrilege to some people, and quite frankly I don’t care.
- It’s hard to watch kids with suckers on their hands and boogers on their faces get inside $100k cars like jungle gyms. I know it’s part of the gig and that’s what the cars are purposed for, but it’s still hard to watch. On the flipside, I’m so glad my dad took me as a kid, because it’s where I learned to appreciate the art of the automobile. Get them started young and you have lifers for these events.
- I was very curious to see the K900 from Kia for quite some time and genuinely looked forward to getting inside of one. Of course, you couldn’t, which was a big disappointment. It’s got to be hard to convince people to buy a $60K Kia, but it has to be much harder when they can’t see one up close. Come on, Kia, humor me.
- I love how the auto industry connects all of us in varying levels of fascination. People of every background came out to see what’s happening in the automotive slice of the pie. What a time to be in this industry!
I will be back next year, hopefully with a little more excitement to talk about afterward. See you next year at Bartle Hall!
Note: I experienced the event as a spectator. For behind the scenes coverage, check out my good friend Andrew’s blog here: http://www.rightfootdown.com/event-coverage/12864/
About Pure Pursuit:
Pure Pursuit is Kansas City’s premier Luxury Sports Car Dealer. We Specialize in Mercedes- Benz AMG’s, BMW M’s, Audi S/RS, Porsche Turbo/S, and more. We ship Worldwide, and deliver concierge-level service that customers are raving about. See For Yourself Here!
About the Author: Grant Braaten is Digital Marketing Manager of Pure Pursuit Automotive. Grant is proud to be from the greatest city in the world, Kansas City, MO. His general distaste for being a cog in the corporate system led to him to contribute to three KC startups before founding his own Non-Profit. He has the honor of being the first employee at Pure Pursuit’s nationwide headquarters…Learn more about Grant here: http://purepursuitauto.com/project/grant-braaten-digital-marketing-manager/