Allen Saxton of Nyack stood in awe of the Dodge durango’s “Hemi” model, and his mind wandered to revving the high-performance engine while zipping through Lower Hudson Valley traffic.

Then, the 52-year-old father of two returned to reality as he scanned for his wife in the Tri-State International Auto Show’s crowd at Rockland Community College. He recalled Sunday’s mission: Finding a sensible replacement to the family minivan, which is quickly approaching its demise after countless vacations, errands and youth sporting events.

“This show is all about weighing wants versus needs,” Saxton said, a smile still lingering from his automotive daydream.

Similar scenarios played out from Friday to Sunday inside the college’s gymnasium as hundreds gathered to drool over flashy sports cars, grunt at heavy duty trucks and luxuriate in roomy SUVs and minivans, many featuring rows of TV screens to pacify backseat riders.

Brand-new models from dozens of auto-makers shined under neon lights. Sales spiels about mileage and durability echoed in the cavernous space, while prospective buyers slammed car doors, squished seats and snapped cellphone photos.

Cayleigh Kelly, 17, and newly licensed to drive, sat behind the wheel of a Jeep Wrangler before excitedly joining her father, Jim. He quickly told the Bergen County Technical High School senior her inaugural vehicle remains a few years away.

“Going to college is her first car,” the father joked.

Many attendees described the auto show as a supplement to online shopping. Some talked about low gas prices, at around $2 a gallon, fueling their willingness to buy now, though others said they still favored climate-friendly hybrids and electric cars.

Plenty of people said they researched prices via the Internet, including those eyeing a $40,000 white Ford mustang, said Steve Secor, a salesman with Route 23 Automall .

“It’s nice when they look at the price and you don’t have to peel them off the roof of this place,” he said.

Janie Mesich of Bardonia, and a retired Pfizer worker, spent Sunday simply looking to check something off her bucket list.

“Before I die, I’m going to get a sport car,” she said, smiling and laughing.