San Jose: Silicon Valley Auto Show features ‘the future of drive’ – The Mercury News

Posted: Sunday, January 08, 2017

SAN JOSE — There was the new Acura NSX and the Fiat 124 Spider — even a meticulously customized BMW with a waterfall operating quietly in its trunk, as well as a multimillion-dollar collection of exotics.

Car fanatics got a chance to daydream about these models and hundreds more Saturday at the Silicon Valley Auto Show.

The annual event at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center offered a reprieve from the stormy weather. The show, themed “The Future of Drive,” featured more than 350 new cars, from electric to classics.

“You can come in, try the cars on for size, sit in them, learn about new technology, talk to the experts — and what a great thing to do on this rainy weekend,” said DeeDee Taft, a spokeswoman for the show. “You can come down and literally do all your shopping and comparing — or dreaming.”

The talk of the town was the 2017 Chevy Bolt, a four-door hatchback released exclusively in California just a few weeks ago. The all-electric vehicle can travel 238 miles on one charge and includes a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel, a 10.2-inch color touch screen, electronic precision gear shifts and surround vision.

“This seems to be stealing the show,” Taft said. “It’s loaded with bells and whistles.”

Participants were able to test drive the Bolt and other 2017 models from Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota and Fiat.

The automotive market is strong, particularly in Silicon Valley, where cars with the best and most advanced technology are highly coveted, said Jeremy Beaver, chief operating officer for the Del Grande Dealer Group, a family-owned group in Northern California that includes 13 dealerships and 15 different brands.

The dealership group’s new car sales increased by an estimated 3.7 percent last year, and the business is expected to sell about 31,000 vehicles this year. More than 20,000 of those will be new vehicles, Beaver said.

The auto show also gave car enthusiasts a chance to show off their customized rides.

People gawked as they passed by Shaun Graham’s “Evil E36,” a 1995 BMW 325i with a waterfall in the trunk. Every inch of the car has been modified, an endeavor that took about a year, said Graham, 36, of San Jose.

The waterfall uses 2,500 gallons of recycled water per hour and works through a system of pipes concealed by customized paneling.

“We’ve touched every aspect of this car to make it an all-around show car,” he said.

Graham said he wants to inspire the younger generation to breathe new life into classic cars.

“You can buy an old car — like your grandma’s car or your family car — and have a dream and a vision,’’ he said. “And if you work hard enough at it, put the right talent and time into it, you can make it happen.”


WHEN: The event will run to 6 p.m. Sunday. Doors open at 10 a.m.

WHERE: San Jose McEnery Convention Center, 150 W. San Carlos St., San Jose.

COST: $11.




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