Car freaks hit car show

“Jay Leno already has one.”

Ford’s 600-horsepower GT
  • Ford’s 600-horsepower GT
  • photo by Andy Boyd

The darling of the 2017 San Diego International Auto Show that opened yesterday (December 29) was Ford’s new production vehicle, a bright red GT with gull-wing doors that pumps out 600 horsepower with a twin-turbo, 3.5-liter, V-6 engine.

“Jay Leno already has one,” said a Ford representative. The company will produce only 500 over the next two years. Under the watchful eyes of security guards, a crowd surrounded the roped-off turntable and posed for pictures. When made available to the public, the retail price will be just under $400,000.

Over 100 people waited for a ride up Jeep's 35-degree ramp.

Over 100 people waited for a ride up Jeep's 35-degree ramp.

Jeep had an off-road course set up for people to ride in their vehicles (driven by a company driver). The course included a ramp angled at 35 degrees. Over a hundred people lined up for the experience known as "Camp Jeep."

In the “Exotics Vault” show area were the fastest and most valuable cars on display. A 1200-horsepower, modified GT 3RS Porsche would clock out at around 190 mph. But where? “Only on a race track,” said King Aminpour, a San Diego–based high-end car insurer who co-sponsored the exotic displays.

The most expensive? Aminpour pointed to a Rolls Royce Phantom, “Mine, right there.” His name was on the front license plate. The $500,000 car is wrapped in 3M gold metallic vinyl.

SDSU students Tim Klimpel and Dan Jennings

SDSU students Tim Klimpel and Dan Jennings

San Diego State’s Aztec Racing Club showed off their 2016/'17 custom-built race car. Each year in June, SDSU engineering students complete at a national race in Lincoln, Nebraska.

“We have students in mechanical engineering, electronics, aerospace, and computer science,” said SDSU student Tim Klimpel, who is the engine-systems lead on their car. “We even have business majors and art students participating on the team [who are] interested in the business aspect of racing and the art of design."

The club’s goal is to show prospective employers the capabilities of engineering students. “We practically execute what we learn in the classroom,” said student Dan Jennings, the team’s chief engineer. As an example of auto engineering student innovation, Jennings mentioned a group of student engineers from the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences in Zurich, Switzerland, that has developed the fastest all-electric vehicle: 0–60 MPH in 1.513 seconds. “We students aren’t just sitting in the classroom,” said Jennings.

Ferrari 488 Spyder

Ferrari 488 Spyder

The first San Diego auto show was in Balboa Park in 1928. Only eight cars were shown at what was perceived at the time as “revolutionary works of transportation.” At the 2017 show, 30 car manufacturers were represented, including for the first time Ferrari and Maserati.

The show runs through Monday, January 2.

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On the 4th Tuesday of the month, locals can get into the Automotive Museum in Balboa Park for free. It's definitely worth visiting.

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