Show Opens Today: Don't Flirt With The ModelsBy Kent Shocknek

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Car guys, rejoice (and remember, car guy is a gender-nonspecific term): The L.A. Auto Show opens Friday for a run through Thanksgiving weekend.

Things to look for:

Mazda’s Shinari concept car (South Hall): no, it’ll never be in showrooms, but its look is a sign of the new direction Mazda styling is leaning.  I love the grill, and the creased angles.

The Jaguar CX75 (South Hall): another one that’ll  never be on the dealer’s lot –remember, concept cars usually signal what approach the company’s taking in the future. As radical as it looks, I’m intrigued more by the power system:  an electric motor at each wheel, with 2 tiny 77-pound turbine engines to generate the electricity.

Both these cars had their –ahem– EXCLUSIVE WORLD DEBUTS on CBS2 News, 4:30-7 a.m. I ran into an industry friend of mine at the show who said ‘none of the other TV stations had those cars;’ to which I responded, ‘That’s why I’m glad I work here.’ Hehehehe. Jag’s stand is next to Range Rover’s, with its new Evoque: also, a big departure from the past — but this one you can buy.  

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Chrysler (North Hall):  The new bosses at Fiat are sending over the little 500. It’ll be the new Mini. And with a heated-up engine, it’ll make a great rally car. Also, good to see some life at the Chrysler display:  two years ago, I wasn’t so sure.

Don’t forget Kentia Hall, under the South Hall…. some really nice tuner cars and accessories. Take ear plugs; they crank the sound.

 Things to look out for:

Give yourself 15 full minutes to park and get to the box office. The parking entrances to the Convention Center, with all the downtown one-way streets, has never been simple.  Parking, BTW, is $12. You might find a lot across the street for less. Or take the Blue line to the Pico or Grand stop.

You can’t take your own food inside. They have places to eat/get coffee. But they ain’t givin’ it away. Hey!  You’re not there to eat! Allow 3 hours: 4, if you go on a weekend. Don’t go on the weekend. Weekdays and Thanksgiving are less crowded. You didn’t want to do dishes with your in-laws anyway.

Leave the models alone. They’re professionals who’ve learned their lines about horsepower and suspension. Got a suggestive question about whether they come with the car? Try it: I’m sure they’ve never heard it before.

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Have a car show story you want to share?  Leave it in Comments, below. (L.A. Auto Show: $12/adult, $10/online. Accompanied kids under 12 are free. For God’s sake, wear comfortable shoes. Photo credits: the manufacturers.)