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Drivers Get Chance to Dream at Auto Show

January 15, 2005

DETROIT (AP) _ Every year, Mark Pelkey spends 4 1/2 hours on the road to come from Buffalo, N.Y., for the North American Auto Show, and he’s rewarded with the stuff of dreams, vehicles that for most people are little more than fancy names.

During Saturday’s opening of the 2005 show, Pelkey lingered among the European cars, admiring Porsche’s $440,000 Carrera GT, a pair of Maybach luxury sedans costing somewhere in the neighborhood of more than a quarter-million each, and the blue-and-white BMW Formula One racing machines.

``That BMW engine is just an amazing piece of machinery,″ said Pelkey, 47, an engineer. ``Looking at a lot of these machines is kind of a technical exercise for me, but all this is really just entertainment.″

Car lovers paid $12 admission to climb on powerhouse motorcycles, run their hands over the engine of a Porsche, see a Bentley up close or imagine firing up the super-sized Harley-Davidson pickup from Ford Motor Co.

Mark Winston, 45, of Dayton, Ohio, was ogling the BMW 760i sedan, with a V12 engine and $117,995 sticker price.

``The atmosphere here is great. To be a part of one of the world’s biggest auto shows _ it’s amazing,″ said Winston, on his second trip to the exhibition.

More than 700 vehicles are on display at the show, which runs through Jan. 23, and is spread across 700,000 square feet of downtown’s Cobo Center convention hall.

Diana Teng had a friend snap her photo in the driver’s seat of a $77,000, champagne-colored BMW 6-series convertible. The 26-year-old health department worker from Toronto has been having trouble with the Mercedes C-Class she bought last year and is keeping her eye out for something new.

Her criteria for a new car? ``Prettiness. And if it goes fast, that’s a bonus.″


On the Net:

Auto Show: http://www.naias.com

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