This week the North American International Auto Show (the granddaddy of them all) is in full swing.
I was an auto show model (Read: narrator and product specialist) from 1998 through 2007 (Honda and then Jaguar).
But don't let the appearance fool you.
Gone are the days when they'd smear some make-up on us, squeeze our feet into a pair of heels, and throw us on stage next to a car.
For some time now, this gig has required lots of studying, hours of training, and then more studying.
And although it's been eight years since I last stood on a turntable and pontificated on everything automotive from torque to tinted windows, I still kind of miss it.
But I'll tell you what I don't miss: Hearing the eight items on the following list:
1. "Do you drive this car?"
This question is usually rendered with sexual overtones by a male who looks to be more than twice our age. Auto show models get paid damn good money, yes. (I actually drove a Jaguar X-Type back then.) But c'mon. If I could afford to drive a Jaguar XJR -- the $95,000 one on the turntable -- do you really think I'd be standing here talking to you?
2. "Can I have a car brochure?" (And then snatch 10 of them.)
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but they aren't worth anything. They are made of recycled paper. Not platinum.
3. "Hey, little lady, who can I talk to about this engine?"
To which I would reply with a smile through clenched teeth: "Well, for starters, it's a 4.2-liter supercharged V8 that produces 420 bhp (brake horsepower) at 6,250 rpm and 413 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. So, it is capable of propelling the coupe version of this vehicle to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds with a top speed of 155 mph. Any more questions,
@**hole? I mean, sir?"
4. "I don't like any of these colors. In fact, I don't like anything on display here! C'mon honey, let's go over to Mercedes!"
This statement is usually uttered with shade by a female who, for some strange reason, feels threatened by our presence and is somehow under the delusion that her words hurt our feelings when, in fact, we could care less.
5. "Your feet must be so tired in those heels! I bet you need a pair of slippers."
Not as bad as you need a breath mint.
6. "How 'bout I come back after you get off so I can show you a night on the town?"
How 'bout I call security right now?
7. "Can you make this turntable go faster?"
I sure can. There's a speed on this sucker called Fly Me to the Moon. Wanna come up here and try it out? But let's make a deal first: You puke, you're cleaning it up All. By. Yourself.
And I've saved the
best, I mean, worst, for last. Consider this one a bonus...
8. "Do you come with the car?"
Wow! How creative. I've never heard that line before. Really, pal? Really???
Is that the best you can come up with?
But sometimes good things happen on the auto show floor.
Like running into celebrities.
Click here to find out what happened when I ran up on Kid Rock.