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1999 Detroit Auto Show, Part I


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January 3

PUMPED UP POWER WAGON Technology and styling put a new twist on the famous 1946 Dodge Power Wagon namesake. True to its rugged and powerful heritage — note the awesome 780 foot-pounds of torque on tap — the new truck shows that such strength need not carry an environmental price. The 7.2-liter I-6 turbodiesel employs direct injection and a sulfur-free Syntroleum "designer fuel," which make it one of the cleanest and most efficient diesels yet. The concept's 35-inch tires and towering 77-inch height give it a demeanor that makes even the '46 look a tad feeble. But inside, leather and wood show that even a Power Wagon can be comfortable and refined. - Ted Grozier

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Photo by Joe Wilssens

 

CHRYSLER'S NO-COMPROMISE CITADEL Proving that efficient, high-tech hybrid electric vehicles need not be a compromise, the Chrysler Citadel is a blend of luxury sedan and SUV. It delivers ample interior space, comes with a healthy 320-horsepower engine, yet gets 33 mpg on the highway. The "parallel-hybrid" configuration uses a V-6 to drive the rear axle and an electric motor to power the front wheels. Benefits include regenerative braking, all-wheel drive, and battery charging during cruising. Power sliding rear doors incorporate the B-pillar, providing accessibility. The elegant interior is wrapped in tan and green leather with art deco aluminum and chrome accents.- Ted Grozier


Photo by Joe Wilssens

 

EVOQ EVOKES CADILLAC'S FUTURE -- Cadillac's newest concept car is designed to evoke a sense of the future. Or perhaps one should say "Evoq." The 2-seat roadster was one of five futuristic prototypes GM rolled out Sunday during the first day of the North American International Auto Show. "GM must aggressively seek out ways to lead," said the automaker's chairman, Jack Smith. Clearly, Evoq is designed to lead Cadillac into a new era, one where it can stand tall against import competitors, such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW. The car's look is angular and somewhat menacing, with hints of fins that recall the Caddies of the mid-1950s. "It's the car Bruce Wayne would drive, not Batman," says one GM designer. The rear-drive, running prototype is powered by a supercharged version of the Northstar V-8 generating over 400 horsepower. Officially, Evoq is just a concept car, but inside word suggests it's unofficially been placed on GM's future product schedule. If that holds true, look for a production date of around 2003. Several details are still under study, including what materials would be used to build the Evoq. One possibility is lightweight aluminum, which could make this roadster the fastest car in its class. - TCC Team

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HIP HYBRIDS HIT GM -- There are several other strong contenders among the GM concept vehicles that could make the move from prototype to production. One of the most likely to see a showroom is the Pontiac Aztek, a hip hybrid designed to meet the active lifestyle of Generation-X buyers. "Serious fun," is the way GM Chief of Design Wayne Cherry sees the Aztek. Then there's the Chevy Nomad. The name reprises the Corvette-based concept station wagon that GM introduced in 1954 and the '55-57 production version that has become a prized collector's car. "If you put the Blazer and a Corvette in a blender, the Nomad is what you would wind up with," says designer Christos Roustemis. The rear passenger door slides back like a minivan's, and the electrically-controlled roof over the rear cargo compartment retracts, yielding a cavernous hatch. "You can put anything in there that a small pickup truck would carry, only you've got a hot, sporty car for the weekends," Roustemis adds. - TCC Team

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