While working at Jalopnik may seem like a dream job, we're sometimes treated as a curiosity by print journalists who don't understand how the web works. Not this year. The sheer number of people asking, and the flood of resumes into Wert's inbox sort of harshed our buzz.
If you want to understand the sheer impact the Carpocalypse has had on the world, consider the fact the Firehouse bar is no more. For those unaware, the "Firehouse" was a real firehouse converted by Chrysler each year into a bar where they'd pay for free drinks and food for journalists. It was a fun afterparty. The kind of place you can have Dr. Z pour you a beer or Motor Trend Editor-in-Chief Angus McKenzie lecture you on the new media landscape for an hour. The Post's "Hacks n' Flacks" BYOB (Buy Your Own Beer) after-party, while fun, just wasn't quite the same.
Any journalist worth his or her salt could walk out of an auto show with three or four-hundred USB flash drives and lots of toys. Back in the good ol' days of, you know, last year, automakers would pass out unnecessarily ornate press packs filled with USB drives on keychains and leather-bound press releases. This year they were back to pieces of paper and discs. The nicest USB drive we received was from BYD, which promptly corrupted the files we loaded on it (no joke).
The lack of certain automakers meant companies like Revenge were no longer relegated to Michigan Hall in Cobo's basement. The reason this is so sad is it makes it seem like DUB cars are on the same level as the new offerings from Chrysler. Well... come to think of it.
Chrysler President Jim Press used part of his press conference to explain why Chrysler would resurrect itself and how great a job the company has done in firing people. Seriously, they laid off like thousands of people. That makes them awesome how? But that's just Jim, the rest of the company was even worse. Like Cubs fans convinced this will be their year, Chrysler's need to convince everyone they have a future with cars like the 200C EV Concept is just depressing. This is especially true when you consider they didn't have the requisite cash to mount their logo without almost killing someone.
GM built a fake card-carrying rally with employees around their reveal on Sunday morning of the Detroit Auto Show. You know it's bad when you look around and realize they couldn't even get enough employees together to make the rally look impressive.
Since they had nothing to reveal, Lamborghini merely trotted out their typical team of hot booth professionals to pose in front of their cars. They held a press conference to do this and we, like others, took lots of photos. We felt awful for the male model as the sound of shutters clicking drastically declined when he walked on the platform. Sorry, guy who looks vaguely like a taller Mark Rufallo.
There were a number of reveals this year, but not of new product. Most were concept cars of the pie-in-the-sky variety. The absence of new product on the show floor was made up for by automaker booze. Normally, we expect that type of thing in the after-hours, but this year that was cut back in favor of allowing cheaper offerings on the show floor in even greater quantities.
Though it gave us a chance to drive the Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid, the electric test track in the basement smelled awful. Was it the cars? No. Was it the Wayne State Formula SAE team? No. Actually, it was the mulch. The smell was so intolerable indoors, the VW booth above was forced to run their air conditioning to blow the smell out. That caused the air conditioning units to drip water into the basement, onto the track where it ran off into the mulch — thus causing the smell to become worse. By the end of the press preview, the Volkswagen booth was smelling like the inside of an abandoned Westfalia camper.
Tuesday is usually a down day for the show, reserved for non-product press conferences and demonstrations. This year there was so little to report on we ended up in a two-way battle with dozens of auto reporters to get to the Tesla press conference and then again to get to Senator Bob Corker. Seriously, ou'd have thought Elon Musk and Corker were both Bono. Neither needs the added ego boost.
On the first night of the show we went out to a restaurant near Cobo to grab some food and do some work. We wandered out around 11 pm and noticed flashing police lights. We have to thank the jerk who said "Don't mind him, he's dead" and made us turn to see the lifeless body lying in the cold Detroit street because we'd have otherwise not noticed. We told the interns he was "sleeping" just to make sure they didn't go home with nightmares. Instead, we did.
Photo Credit: Bill Pugliano / Getty Images News