It's a Gas, Gas, Gas

The 2001 St. Louis Auto Show has a vehicle for everyone -- from classic to concept

On the streets of Gotham, there's only one car powered by a jet turbine and only one man who can drive it. Batman has been generous enough, however, to loan his wheels to the 2001 St. Louis Auto Show so would-be criminals can get a taste of what they're up against. In addition to the awesome Batmobile, the Dark Knight has sent along an extra set of his costume and utility belt, so locals can ogle all the hardware at the show's OnStar booth.

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.

The Ford 24/7 concept vehicle
The Ford 24/7 concept vehicle


Noon-9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31-Friday, Feb. 2; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3; and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4. Tickets are $5-$8, with coupons available at Schnucks markets. Call 314-342-5000 for more info.
Americaís Center, Broadway and Washington Avenue.

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.