If it's cool hardware you're after, you'll get your fix among the more than 500 cars and trucks on display at America's Center. The crowd-pleasing concept cars seem to have been sent back in time from a future Earth. Most of the major auto manufacturers -- including Acura, Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Hummer, Infiniti, Isuzu, Lincoln Mercury, Mitsubishi, Pontiac, Saturn and even the dying Oldsmobile -- have contributed prototype vehicles for your salivation. The common complaint that these funky vehicles never actually make it to the dealership is sounding a lot more whiny now that cars like Dodge's Viper and Prowler have made the transition.
The time machine reverses direction for a display of classic convertibles sponsored by the Horseless Carriage Club of Missouri. The carefully preserved cars include a '28 Model A Ford Phaeton, a '38 American Bantam roadster, '47 DeSoto, a '52 Nash-Healey and, naturally, a '57 Thunderbird. A muscle-car display includes a '56 Chevy Belair convertible, '64 Corvette coupe, '69 GTO convertible, '69 Excalibur Cobra, '69 Chevelle SS and '70 Plymouth Barracuda.
Sidelights include record-setting house-of-cards architect Bryan Berg, building a city of playing cards complete with moving cars throughout the show's five days (don't sneeze!); contests; live radio broadcasts; and an area with remote-control cars for tomorrow's speed demons.