IAA Day 2 – Designer Night at the Races™ und eine Rundreise

For those of you who don’t speak German (or don’t have google translate), the German words above are in reference to a side trip I took today to Wolfsburg.  And as with any road trip in German, there were plenty of things to see along the way.  Like this cute little Daihatsu I ran into in a rest area north of Frankfurt off the A7.

For those who don’t know about Japan’s Kei cars, they were designed to be small and light and powered by engines smaller than 660cc to circumvent taxes placed on larger vehicles.  The Daihatsu Copen was originally designed as a Kei, but eventually became available with larger engines.  No picture can really convey how small these cars are, even with my rental Foxus in the background.  Suffice to say the entire length (with rear license garnish per the online brochure) is LESS than the wheelbase of my Ford Excursion.  And it looks like its low enough to fit underneath an Excursion as well.

A great side trip was an all too quick visit to Volkswagen’s Autostadt.  Autostadt is a delivery masterpiece where you can pick up your vehicle and take a quick trip on a test track with a factory technician.  They even have a off-road track for those SUV buyers.  But I enjoyed looking at their towers of cars.  You heard me correct, towers or cars, or AutoTürme in German.  The 48 meters high towers (almost 160′), shown in the picture above, are full of cars waiting for delivery.

But the high point of the day was kart racing at the first International Designer Night at the Races™.  For those who have attended the events in Michigan or California, all I can tell you is the tracks here are at another level.  The track at the IndoorKart2000 center contained 21 turns, if I remember correctly.  With the best laps under a minute that equals one turn every 3 seconds.  No real straights to relax on, but there were several fast sweepers where the karts were hitting their rev limiters – just like Formula 1.

And of course the question on everybody’s mind is – who won (drum role please)………So may I present to you your first winner of the International Designer Night at the Races™ : Opel!

Come back tomorrow when we will have the first report from the show floor.  From what I have heard from a  few of the designers here there are some really great concepts and new vehicles on display

About Frank Schwartz

Frank Schwartz is the founder of CarFriend.me and Advanced Automotive Consulting Services, partner in The Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment and serial entrepeneur. A long time automotive enthusiast, Frank started reading car magazines at the age of 8 and has spent 30+ years working inside the automotive industry. In his spare time Frank races with the Sports Car Club of America, spends time working on his numerous project cars and supports many local charities.
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