2003 Toronto Auto Show

February 23, 2003

Related Articles:
TCC's Auto Show Index by TCC Team (2/23/2003)
Our coverage of the world's major auto shows, year to year.


TORONTO — The 30th annual Canadian International Auto Show that has just ended is as complex and multi-faceted as they come. It’s held in both of the huge halls that comprise the Metro Toronto Convention Center as well as the SkyDome, home of baseball’s Blue Jays, and takes up every square foot.

2004 Ford Freestar

2004 Ford Freestar

Enlarge Photo
In addition to the eight world debuts from General Motors, Suzuki (a fleet of rebadged Daewoo models turned into Chevrolet and Suzuki models) and Ford (the new Freestar minivan, built in Canada), two North American intros from Mazda of cars they had shown previously only in Japan, and 48 debuts of Canadian-market production vehicles, the show was also the site of an important world design competition for college students and a design seminar that starred six of the best professional automobile designers in the world today.

And, if that wasn’t enough, there was a special tribute to Dr. Donald Panoz, the billionaire who came into racing only six years ago and has turned it upside down ever since. Panoz was recognized for his resurrection of tracks like Mosport, Road Atlanta, and Sebring, his fleet of cars competing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, his creation of the American Le Mans Series, his Panoz street cars, and his driving schools.

As a final fillip, there was a special exhibit of race cars and photography honoring the late Juan Manuel Fangio, the Argentine driver considered by many to have been the greatest racing driver of them all, amassing dozens of victories in all kinds of cars, including five Formula One world championships, a record note equaled until last year.

Oh, yes, and we forgot the special 50th anniversary Corvette display, the muscle car and race car exhibits, and the multi-million-dollar collection of classic cars from the Thirties.

World Automotive Design winners

The awards for the second annual World Automotive Design Competition, organized and hosted by the show and sponsored by Alias/Wavefront, the company that makes most of the world’s automotive design software, were quicker and cleaner than the Oscars. Ninety college students, representing twelve internationally recognized transportation design schools, submitted 68 entries.

Each team of students was asked to create a vehicle that met the realistic needs of their own cities, while at the same time recognizing the emotional elements that make a vehicle attractive. The countries represented in this year’s competition were China, France, Japan, England, Italy, Korea, India, Sweden, the U.S., and Canada.

The students’ designs were judged by some of the world’s foremost authorities on automotive design critics, historians, academics, design media, and production and concept car designers.

The judging panel included Robert Cumberford (Automobile and Auto & Design), Akira Fujimoto (Chief Editor, Car Styling), Ken Gross (Automotive Industries and The Robb Report); Peter Horbury (Executive Director of Design, Premier Automotive Group); and Tom Tjaarda (designer of the Ford Fiesta, Ferrari California Spyder)

The twelve participating schools were: Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California; Coventry University, Great Britain; Hong Ik University, Seoul; Humber College, Toronto; Istituto Europeo di Design, Torino, Italy; National Institute of Design, Ahmedebad, India; Seoul National University of Technology, Korea; Strate College Designers, Paris; Tokyo Zokei University; Tsinghua University, Beijing; Umea Institute of Design, Sweden; University of Tsukuba, Japan

The Car Connection
See the winners »
The Car Connection
Commenting is closed for this article
Ratings and Reviews
Rate and review your car for The Car Connection
Review your car
The Car Connection Daily Headlines
I agree to receive emails from the site. I can withdraw my consent at any time by unsubscribing.
Thank you! Please check your email for confirmation.