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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

My visit to the Houston Auto Show and I got the Ninety Eight back yesterday..

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I got the Ninety Eight back yesterday. It looks grand. They got the scratches out. The hood, the exterior mirrors, the rear bumper were all repainted. The got the scratches out of the trunk without repainting the car. I almost did not recognize my car. It was so good to see my car again. I had them look at the Toronado. The entire front end clip has to be repaired and painted. They are going to do paintless dent repair on the right door, the trunk, the hood. They are going to going to take apart the drivers door and put new pins in and the stuff that keeps sound out and rattling.

I attended the Houston Auto Show:

It is 10:19 pm Saturday night. I got home a few minutes ago. Jason and I were out all day. He was running late. He came and picked me up. We then went to the car show. We were there until after 7 pm. We got there close to 1 pm. We noticed first that the show shrunk in size because brands that are no longer with us were not there( Pontiac and Saturn), SAAB was not there and I did not see Suzuki either. The brands that were there did not have big grand stands or fan fare. All of them had smaller spaces. It was packed with more people too. I did not think it was a great idea to just put the show over one week ( Wednesday through Saturday) and there were fewer classic cars too. Oldsmobile was well represented in the classic car section. They had a 1970 Oldsmobile Toronado and a 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais with the Hurst package. I told Jason you know you are getting old when they have cars you grew up with or remember in the classic car section. I remember when the Cutlass Calais was in production. It was nice to see Oldsmobile there. Jason said that Toronado is different from yours. That Toronado is bigger and looks sportier than yours. He thinks that is when GM and Oldsmobile lost their way. We looked at and sat in cars from every brand when there was not a line to wait to get into a car. My OCD was in over drive today. This little boy was in a Subaru and he licked the steering wheel. I was so disgusted by that and the people touching things. I told Jason I do not feel comfortable with these people touching everything.

We sat in a lot of cars. Jason said he was impressed with the room of the Subarus. They really impressed inside and out. They have easy entry and exit. He said he thinks the Chevrolet Malibu and new Hyundai Sonata were the best in the midsized segment. Honda Accord had great interior room too. The styling was awful on Honda and Acura. Too many cars at the show looked a like and had the same interior set up. The worst on interior room was BMW. Volkswagen shocked us. The Paasat has some room, but Jetta and Golf do not. Something we noticed is steering wheels are getting smaller and most are not adjustable enough to get in and out of the cars. There was no Grand Marquis or Lincoln Town Car at the show. There were no six passenger cars with a bench seat. They are now all officially gone. Every last car has bucket seats. Buick had the La Crosse there. They had several. Jason was impressed with the LaCrosse. I sat in the car I noticed it is not anywhere where Buick once was. The interior had high quality materials and the interior room was quite impressive. I sat in the front and back and I was impressed. GM got that one right. The Chevrolet Impala and Buick Lucerne are showing their age big time. You can see the common GM parts and old GM think in those cars. I saw the Opel Insignia/Buick Regal. I must say Opel did a great job on that car. Most newer cars do not use keys anymore. Most of them at the show had push button start or a key fob that if it is on your body or bag the car recognizes it and you push the brake and the car starts. There were some new cars that do not have floor shifters to shift the gears in the car. For example Jaguar has this knob you turn to shift gears. There were similar systems in other cars, but different.

The Regal will sell well. We sat in the Camaro. GM did a great job there too, but the backseat is not useable. The trunk opening is too small. There is space, but it hard to get to if you need the space. People were all over Camaro. Ford is on a roll. Lincoln like Buick is not what it once was, but something totally different now. People were at the Toyota stand. You would have sworn this week did not happen. They are that blindly loyal to Toyota. The representative at Buick said she worked for Buick for nine years. She said there were years at the auto show you could hear crickets chirp and tumble weeds rolling through the Buick stand. She said in a years time, she has seen the demographic change and all these young people are asking about Buick and want to buy Buick. Buick had to change she said. She said turbo Regal was coming too.

One woman who owned Pontiacs said she missed Pontiac and they should make cars like Grand Prix again. I have mixed views on the Lincoln front end styling. Lincoln is trying to gain consideration with buyers and be a luxury brand like it once was, but they have no rear drive cars or cars with V8's other than the Navigator suv. I sat in all the MK's: MKS, MKZ, MKT, MKX. The thing I do not like about some of the American brands is they are too much like imports now. They look, feel, and in some cases are better than the import competition.

Cadillac DTS and STS were there. The DTS is equal to my Ninety Eight in terms of size and that type of luxury car. CTS was standing tall representing Cadillac. I over heard a GM representative say the only difference between GMC and Chevrolet was styling, trim and features. He said other than that, they share platforms and parts.

GM said the next Malibu would be smaller. I do not know where they would take off the length. They showed photos of the Chevrolet Cruze too.

Chrysler was busy too. I was shocked about that. I sat in the new Ford Taurus and Fusion. Ford did those cars right. Here is the thing. That console is too big and wide in the Taurus. I noticed what Ford is doing. Ford and Lincoln get most of the new products while Mercury gets a few. Mercury is now in the background and Lincoln is out front. The Taurus had almost everything the Lincoln MKS had.

The new Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain are great vehicles. Why do they have the same steering wheel and center stack? They look different other than that. The other thing I did not like is when you get in or out of them the hard plastic on the side of the seat hits you and it hurts. We saw the Ford Fiesta too. That is one loaded and competent small car global car.

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Great review from bed too early this morning...:-) Great news on the Olds!!

I've missed going to any auto show for 2 consecutive years now--just been test driving & buying things, hah--and need to get back to one.

So many points I could agree with you on...cramped BMW's (never ceases to shock me, in so many models), great GM stuff & increasing chatter about it, etc. Shame the set & "that's it", before the power is killed, seat adjustment of show cars can be so off & give a bad/wrong impression too.

Any specific favorites you'd buy, perhaps, or just know more about & drive if in the market after being at the show?

Edited by caddycruiser
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Great review from bed too early this morning...:-) Great news on the Olds!!

I've missed going to any auto show for 2 consecutive years now--just been test driving & buying things, hah--and need to get back to one.

So many points I could agree with you on...cramped BMW's (never ceases to shock me, in so many models), great GM stuff & increasing chatter about it, etc. Shame the set & "that's it", before the power is killed, seat adjustment of show cars can be so off & give a bad/wrong impression too.

Any specific favorites you'd buy, perhaps, or just know more about & drive if in the market after being at the show?

Thank you. Thanks to others who have replied as well. The thing was La Crosse has more interior room than the BMW 7 series. That is really odd. I do not understand why BMW's are so cramped and other automakers make better use of interior space. My friend said the money spent on a BMW is not worth it when you can get a Buick LaCrosse for less.

Oh... the Buick rep also said two more Buicks are coming. I said it before she did and she confirmed them. She said the Astra based Buick and the small crossover. The LaCrosse is big as Buick will get. She said Buick needs a convertible or coupe. I said to her GM should bring the Riviera back.

I will say this too.. There are some serious gaps in the GM line up. You see all the cars on the floor together, you can see the gaps in the GM line up. I thought the Escalade was cool, but it looks like a huge freight train coming fast at you. LOL!

As for would I buy anything I saw.. no. GM and Lincoln have totally pushed me out. I do not exist to them anymore. I still feel there is a place for a large fullsized coupe and sedan with contemporary styling and features and great handling. No one has one. The ones that do exist are all five passenger cars that look like sports sedans.

You see GM and you can see how GM is changing. I never really notice just how many common parts that DTS, Lucerne and Impala shared. Lucerne on the inside looks more like a combo of Cadillac and Chevrolet.

I still think the imports are overrated too. They do not stand out anymore like they once did.

I forgot to mention the new MKX and Audi A8 and other 2011 models were there too. The A8 looks small to me in terms of length. The interior is over the top high tech.

There is a place for the up coming XTS....

Mazdas do not stand out. They blend in.....

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