Philadelphia Auto Show returns with more power underneath the hood

The Philadelphia Auto Show returns with new ways to engage participants.

The Philadelphia Auto Show exposed patrons to a wide array of automobiles. | DERRICK DUNCAN / TTN
The Philadelphia Auto Show exposed patrons to a wide array of automobiles. | DERRICK DUNCAN / TTN

While driving brand new, top name cars may seem like an elusive dream to most, the Philadelphia Auto Show is allowing attendees to do just that.

For the first time ever, patrons of the show were given a chance to take a manufacturer’s newest model for a spin. More than 40 manufacturers were showcased at the event, including Ford, Toyota, Chevy, Cadillac, Lincoln, Honda, and GMC.

The show opened to the public at the Philadelphia Convention Center on Jan. 19.

The main focus of this year’s show is to expose consumers to the domestic cars rather than exclusively “souped-up” custom jobs, which were displayed downstairs at the DUB show.

Andrea Simpson, public relations director for the auto show, estimated most cars that people drive in the nation to be, on average, 11-years-old. She credits that factor, as well stability setting in after a crippling recession, for a surge in new car purchases in the auto industry.

The auto show is a 112-year-old nonprofit that uses proceeds to host a coat drive and donates to Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania through the Auto Dealer Caring for Kids Foundation, Simpson said.

Hybrid and electric vehicles have become more popular, Simpson said, which has caused an influx in the eco-friendly engine technology that was popularized with the Toyota Prius. Fuel economy has been one of the primary focuses of manufacturers. Additionally, cutting-edge features like push-button-start and key fobs, which only require a driver to have the key with them to access the vehicle, show the effect that technology has had on design.

However, the floor at the show was not limited to car companies: Automotive and mechanic training schools like Universal Technical Institute and Lincoln Technical Institute were also present.

UTI’s display was also accompanied by one of the school’s creations, the “Hotrod T-Bucket.” Since the car was built for the purpose of breaking speed limits, it is not street legal, Wayne Wise, a representative from the school, explained. In fact, the car has to be tested on a special treadmill-type mechanism, he added.

“The car has to be run on a dynamo in order to test its speed, because its brakes wouldn’t be strong enough to stop it,” Wise said.

Lincoln Technical Institute also promoted its automotive programs and had a racing simulator, which drew in a younger audience.

The Philadelphia Auto Show will continue until Jan. 27.

Derrick Duncan can be reached at

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