“If you’ve seen one auto show you’ve seen them all,” cynics often like to say. Whoever believes this clearly has never been to the annual Austin Auto Show, motoring once again into the Austin Convention Center the last weekend in April. With a number of yet-to-be released vehicles scheduled to make an appearance, the attractions are sure to satisfy even the most well-informed automobile devotee.
But it’s the cars that they surely have seen before that will make this year’s auto show memorable.
Once again, the Austin Automobile Dealers Association is sponsoring the Austin Auto Show, which kicks off Friday April 24 at 10 a.m. and concludes Sunday April 26 at 6 p.m. Over the three-day period, visitors will have plenty of time to peer through the windows of nameplates like Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Mercedes Benz, Porsche, and a number of other luxury models. More affordable offerings – made by Acura, Mazda, Subaru, and Toyota – will also be on display to give car buyers an idea of what’s next.
It’s what used to be, though, that makes this year’s show a must-see. That’s because some of the most iconic cars in movie and television history will be there, vehicles that were characters in and of themselves.
The DeLorean Time Machine
“Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads” These immortal words were spoken by none other than Emmett ‘Doc’ Brown, creator of the DeLorean that – along with the flux capacitor – made time travel possible. Visitors will be able to get an inside look at the sports car that teleported Marty McFly back to 1955, forward to 2015, and to the wild west – circa 1885 – in “Back to the Future III.”
For those who grew up in the 80s, was there a cooler car than K.I.T.T.? Short for the Knight Industries Two Thousand, the jet black 1982 Pontiac Trans AM was featured in the original television series “Knight Rider,” and served as Michael Knight’s – played by David Hasselhoff – secret weapon. Perhaps best known for its ability to converse with Knight, K.I.T.T. probably won’t talk at the auto show, but the artificial intelligence functions the interior is decked out with will have attendants talking.
Who you gonna call to fend off the paranormal? Ghostbusters, of course. The 1980s film franchise was an instant classic when it hit the silver screen, helped by the vehicle that enabled Egon, Venkman, Stantz, and Zeddemore to engage in “slime time.” The ECTO-1 is a 1959 Cadillac, built by the Miller-Meteor company. Fans will remember it was purchased by Egon for a cool $4,800. It’s probably worth just a bit more than that now.
The Mystery Machine
“Scooby-Doo” was a cartoon about a band of crime-solving wannabe detectives, led by none other than Scooby-Doo himself, owned by Shaggy. Similar to the Ghostbusters, though, their cases couldn’t be cracked without a set of wheels. At the show you’ll find a recreation of the Mystery Machine, crafted out of a 1966 Chevy G10 van.
Toyota Sienna ‘SpongeBob’ Van
Parents know that “SpongeBob SquarePants” is still very much a part of kids’ entertainment venues today, an animated series that’s generated $8 billion in merchandising revenue for cable broadcast network Nickelodeon. Recognizing its worldwide appeal, Toyota crafted the car that SpongeBob rides in when he’s not plumbing the depths of the ocean, first introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show last year.
With tickets for the Austin Auto Show starting at just $6 for general admission, visitors will have all the entertainment value they get out of a movie, but at half the price.