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2005 Los Angeles Auto Show, Part III


2005 Dodge SUper Bee concept

2005 Dodge SUper Bee concept

2005 Los Angeles Auto Show Index by TCC Team

Ferrari: “Wild Object of Desire”

Frank Stephenson

Frank Stephenson

If anyone was wondering how Frank Stephenson feels about his job as the chief designer for Ferrari and Maserati, he cleared things up Thursday. “For me, Ferrari is a wild object of desire,” said the Moroccan-born stylist, who has spent a little over two years ago with the Italian automaker. “I’ve played at Ferrari,” he stressed. You can’t call that work.” Stephenson’s playful nature can be seen in the form of both the new Ferrari F430, as well as the Maserati GranSport. Prior to heading to sunny Italy, Stephenson put time in with BMW AG where, among other things, he’s credited with penning the popular MINI. Stephenson was the keynoter at this year’s Design Los Angeles Forum.

The Ultimate Los AngelesMachine?

2005 Dodge SUper Bee concept

2005 Dodge SUper Bee concept

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There’s no question Los Angelenos love their automobiles, even when they’re stuck in traffic on I-405. To tap into that mobile mindset, fourteen different automakers have set up advanced design facilities along the Southern California coast, and those facilities are responsible for an assortment of popular products and concept vehicles. But what would happen if the designers at those studios had the chance to produce a product specifically earmarked for the Californialifestyle? That was the challenge that eleven of the studios chose to accept, offering their own visions of the “Ultimate Los Angeles Machine.” The three judges assigned to the project found themselves deadlocked until they came up with a Solomon-style solution: picking the best design for the weekday, another for the weekend. Which is which isn’t entirely clear, but the Dodge Super Bee was one of the winners. “It’s what would happen if (wild Californiaaftermarket designer) Big Daddy Roth met Formula One,” explained Chrysler Group’s advanced styling director, Freeman Thomas. Looking a bit like a motorcycle-cum-spacship, the Super Bee weighs barely 1500 pounds and features a 2.0-liter V-8, for rocketing through those windy Californiamountain passes.

2005 Volkswagen Mobile Lounge concept

2005 Volkswagen Mobile Lounge concept

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Volkswagen’s Mobile Lounge, meanwhile, is “a more tasteful and creative solution” than today’s massive limousines, said designer Daniel Jenkins. The van-like vehicle’s interior is designed to let you party hearty enough to forget you’re stuck in traffic.

Benz Muscles Up with CLS55

2006 Mercedes-Benz CLS 55

2006 Mercedes-Benz CLS 55

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Underscoring its decision to offer a performance version of every product in its lineup, Mercedes used the Los Angeles Auto Show to unveil its latest — and twelfth — AMG model. The CLS55 is a 469-horsepower version of the brand-new CLS, a coupe-like sedan. It shares the same, supercharged and intercooled V-8 already found in the E55 AMG, and will rocket from 0-60 in just 4.5 seconds. The performance edition will hit market in late February, just a month after the U.S. debut of the CLS500. That’s unusually fast for an AMG model and reflects the fact that the brand-within-a-brand’s engineers were actively involved from the very start of the CLS program, according to Rob Allan, U.S. product manager for AMG. Besides the big V-8, the CLS55 AMG will be shod with 19-inch wheels, and given the oversized brakes found in the Mercedes SL55 AMG sports car. Mercedes expects to sell about 1500 of the top-line CLS sedans in the U.S. this year, and though a formal price has not been announced, sources suggest a premium of about 30 percent above the CLS500 is likely.

 
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