General Motors had a big presence and demonstration in the Javits Center North Hall at the New York auto show yesterday, but the highlight of the media presentation this time was not electrified vehicles.
To be sure, the Volt and a cutaway Spark EV and whole Spark EV were present, but ear plugs were handed out to media and guests before listening to a talk by Mark Reuss, GM Vice President and President, North America.
The ear plugs were not for Mr. Reuss, who spoke in a normal tone, but for an introductory video celebrating great Chevy performance and racing cars.
In the minutes leading up to the video and the GM media presentation, music had been by Aerosmith; the raw and raucous, in-your-face defiant, “Back in the Saddle.” It set the tone for the pending automotive celebration, and was suggestive of the spirit underlying the company.
As the official presentation began, the volume was seriously cranked up for the brief car film clip shown inside the Bow-Tie-shaped movie screen on center stage. It resonated with GM racing car imagery and sounds to precede Reuss’s presentation and was so overwhelmingly loud as to boom the exhaust note of V8s into one’s eardrums. The ear plugs had been handed out without explanation, but their intent was soon apparent.
It was not unlike being at pit row – with your head at times only eight inches from a barely muffled 427 escalating up the ICE-tone musical scale to 7,000 rpm.
Actually the imagery was of a variety of perspectives viewing exciting racing machines doing what they do best, but it was turned up loud so as to physically pound home the hi-po theme being presented as GM’s heritage still being built upon to this day.
Celebrating its larger-than-life legacy, it was a reveling in GM speed and internal combustion power, and it would seem apparent that car guys and gals are very much running the show at GM.
After the brief video, the stage presentation by Reuss was essentially about recently revealed adrenaline inducers, including the C7 Vettes, the 2014 Camaro, and newly unveiled was GM’s latest Mustang fighter, a track-ready 2014 Z/28 Camaro.
The revived Z/28 features a who-cares-what-the-mpg-is 7.0-liter LS7 V8 engine with 500 horsepower and 470 pounds-feet of torque matched with a six-speed Tremec TR6060 manual transmission.
To be fair, while speaking of the new Corvette, Reuss did mention its new performance cars do better than ever in their EPA numbers – when driven sedately no doubt, not on the boil as they were made to do.
More than a 0-60 ripper, Reuss said GM’s engineers say the new Z/28 has amazing lateral acceleration, and “it is the real deal,” he said of the fast-lapping racer for the street.
Sound deadening on the Z/28 is deleted, there’s no audio entertainment system other than the sound generated by the tuned exhaust, rear window glass is thinner, air-conditioning is optional, and only one speaker inside the Z/28 is for a mandatory warning chime, which Reuss said he wanted to remove, but they had to keep it.
This beast is otherwise stripped for speed and is 300 pounds lighter thus more agile than the even-more-powerful ZL1 Camaro; the Z/28 is a turnkey track-day special, and it was the news of the day.
In the electrified realm, this week GM did also reveal its eAssist 2014 Buick Regal and 2014 LaCosse, and Chevrolets making a presence, but otherwise languishing by comparison in a corner were the Volt and pending Spark EV.
While a mob surrounded the big V8 vehicles on center stage, I went over and snapped some pictures of a Spark EV which GM had cut away revealing normally hidden carbon fiber boxes and orange insulation and other unique hardware for its first EV since the EV1.
No doubt the company says it is committed to electrification, and it is to be a greater part of its future, but Wednesday in New York was more about glorying in the days of thunder past, present, and future, than the sound of electrified silence.
Undoubtedly electrified cars are generating interest also but if this were likened to a culinary feast for the senses, the big iron were the delicious mouth-watering entrees or perhaps wonderful sugary and fattening desserts.
In contrast, electrified cars were the sensible, nutritious vegetables, and lean, trimmed portions that were good for you, and you knew you should eat more of them.
But for anyone with a taste for a healthier and more long-term sustainable automotive diet, in case you’ve not seen these images before, included are several of the cutaway Spark EV that GM had on display. You click on them to enlarge for better viewing.