A Car Is Born

The St. Louis Auto Show has things that make you go vroom

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2004 St. Louis Auto Show

Edward Jones Dome and America�s Center (Broadway at Washington Avenue)

The St. Louis Auto Dealers Association sponsors the event which runs from January 21 through January 25; show hours are noon to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, noon to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission price ranges from free to $8; discount coupons are available at area Schnucks grocery stores. Call 314-342-5000 or visit www.stlouisautoshow.com for more.

St. Louis Auto Show, you're just a big tease. You make us imagine that we're the carefree metrosexual behind the wheel of the Corvette Futurekill XJ-7 prototype, tooling down Market Street, making the drivers of sports cars and tank-sized SUVs alike veer away in shame.

The reality is much more grim: Not only do we not have the money or the inborn cool to make this fantasy a reality, we couldn't buy the car if we did. Those prototype vehicles are one-of-a-kinds, as unique as Busta Rhymes' lime-green Lamborghini (we saw it on MTV's Cribs) or Marty McFly's DeLorean time machine. To be fair, some red-hot concept cars of the past, like Dodge's Viper and Prowler, did eventually make it into production, but we'll eat our hood ornament if the Cadillac Cien ever sees the street. One of the featured prototypes at the 2004 auto show, the Cien (pictured) is a low-slung silver coupe that looks like it could uproot telephone poles in the whoosh of its supersonic wake.

Even if you don't imagine yourself as some sort of urban Jeff Gordon zooming past other drivers, you'll probably enjoy sneaking a peek at the more than 600 2004 and 2005 production-model cars, trucks and SUVs from 36 different manufacturers. For one week only, you won't have to schlep all over town to see the full menu of new cars on the market -- they're all under the same roof.

Fans of old cars will get a kick out of the Horseless Carriage Club of Missouri's display of classic vehicles, too, many of them manufactured in St. Louis, including such oddities as a 1903 St. Louis Runabout, a 1907 Success, a 1922 Hug dump truck and a 1924 Moon.

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