...Continued from page 1

Chrysler is carrying on with its red line too, at least for Dodge. There was one new model – I think it was a car – but the way they do them they seem to have the bulk almost of a SUV. The rear door and window and the trunk are, of course, from the bootie–school. They draped a curtain across the middle and set two teams on it, and they ended up with two different cars. Some designers like fronts, some designers like backs, but buyers have to take the whole mess.

photo, auto salon, audi r8 Banker's hotrod, Audi R8, tops 300 kph.

BMW was showing its new 3–series coupé. Unlike their others, this car has no bootie. There's hope for western civilization after all. Kind of orphaned, off by itself, there was a new white Z roadster with a fastback hardtop that was kind of slick. It was the best thing I've ever seen about this car.

And one of the nearby French bodybuilders was showing a Peugeot four–door convertible based on a 407 platform. This was on the TV–news tonight, and showed how its tricky hardtop folds away into the trunk. Open–topped, it looks a lot better than the sedan it's based on.

There weren't a lot of folks for the first day of the salon, which was fine with me. I only got jammed up a couple of times – near the Ferraris, and I took it as a popular vote. Another mob scene was milling around the Mini stand, where they were showing the Mini Cooper S, but else nothing really new. The new Mini has become the iPod of cars – fit for uTube, mySpace, eBay, and iBook of course.

I went over to the other hall where they have the dregs. The sub–mini cars you never heard of, the Hondas, some Koreans, Chinese, Russian Ladas. And then on my way out another hall had Volkswagon so I popped in there. VW had the salon's best music. Then I found another mob going crazy about Audi.

This used to be a brand only driven by German teachers, but they got into that Quattro business, and now they have V–8s, V–12s, and they are chasing Mercedes, as well as going after the bobos with that little A3 pocket rocket. Yes, so they have big sleek cars like limos and all sorts of teacher cars and middle management type cars, and some street racers, formula outrageous, like the new A8 they were showing.

photo, auto salon, twingo concept The new Twingo for spring of 2007.

But hell, even the Mini's speedo goes up to 240 kph. At the time when Joes are going to the Leclerc discount hypermarché and passing the gas pumps by to wheel out a buggy full of rapeseed oil, and some car makers are saying "tank up with H," there are some contradictions around. Like this thing I thought was a surf board carrier, until I realized that the flight deck was made of solar cells. Man, where will they put the surf boards then?

At this point I must say I've left a lot out. I am not interested in cars from Asia, South America, South Africa, Russia, Britain, Mexico, Canada, Finland, Bulgaria, Israel, Iran, or Egypt. I am not much interested in cars from other places either if they are not Italy.

But I am a bit curious about the Autodata I saw. I mean, it looked like the first car designed by cartoonists. Maybe I got the name wrong – maybe it's supposed to be Autodada. Maybe it's not a car at all. Maybe it's an Easter egg in September. Maybe pigs fly. See it on the Café page.

photo, logo, auto salon, flags

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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