Alright, alright. I will concede that this Detroit show proved me wrong, that it was one of the best in recent memory—simply because it was full of surprises, or at least the kind of surprise that happens when you stop paying attention and forego the rumors.
And the Ford GT is it. That right there is the One And Shining Example on how to perform the figurative mic drop onto the heads of everybody in attendance. It was a secret that we didn't believe because we thought it was wishful thinking, from an insider of an insider who was speculating because the clicks will pile on up if one suggests the resurrection of a beloved supercar and then follows up with the PR man's credo of "we're not allowed to comment on future product" and then, weeks, months later, we see onstage the fruits of such secrecy because it turns out they were dead-on right.
It upstaged the Buick Avenir, it upstaged the Infiniti Q60. It upstaged the Acura NSX that everybody knew was coming but still managed to be blown away by. (Conspiracy: Ford's timing was revenge for Honda's rude interruption over 25 years ago.) It upstaged the 200-mile, sub-$30k, electric-dream, scrotal-shaped Bolt, but just barely—the Bolt representing GM's final acceptance of The Surprise, the thing I had endorsed way back in New York.
I had asked the Circa-2000s-Gawker-Worthy headline: "What's the point of an auto show?" What's the point, indeed. It and I raised the ire of coworkers, enthusiasts, and my 14-year old self, who went to the New York Auto Show for the first time while wearing a suit because I wanted so badly to be an auto journalist.
I'm lucky enough to have been one, and still one in exile. And the surprise, that tantalizing surprise when the CEO winks at the audience and the curtain drops and the beautiful shining sculpture heads out of the fog, like Marinetti's manifesto, a roaring motor car, more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace...in those moments, every tweet and every Instagram photo and every Facebook humblebrag feels genuinely ecstatic.
If the Detroit show is any indication, the auto show is back.
Some days, you think you know everything. And some days, you sit back and watch it all play out, still believing that humanity has it in itself to send something out of left field, to pull off a magnificent surprise, that a corporation full of employees and their loose lips is still capable of wonderful things.
Image via Ford