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The media has been deluging us over the past couple weeks with news of various Toyota recalls and the shutdown of manufacturing and sales due to known defects. This type of action is without precedent but the fact that it is happening to Toyota, long regarded as the quality leader in mass production automobiles, is nothing short of astonishing.
Other manufacturers have been quick to jump in and try to steal sales while Toyota dealers have taken extraordinary measures in an attempt to maintain their customer base. Many have opened their service departments twenty four hours a day to address recall repairs and many are offering full meal service all day long to service clients.
One of the best ways for car buffs to get through another brutal northeast Ohio winter is to visit the annual Cleveland Auto Show. This year's show will be held for eight daysFebruary 27 through March 7 at the I-X Center. In addition to the true stars of the showthe 2010 automobiles, trucks and motorcyclesthe 2010 auto show will feature several theme nights, including NASCAR night and Ohio State University night. The league-leading Cleveland Cavaliers will have a major presence throughout the show; several players and Coach Mike Brown will make appearances. The Cleveland Institute of Art will hold its 8th annual Automotive Design Symposium (on Friday, March 5). The 18th annual Automotive Technology Competition will also be held. More than 40 manufacturers will be displaying automobilesboth domestic and importsas well as concept cars, converters, motorcycles, RV's, alternative fuel vehicles and a special display of classic cars. The Cleveland Auto Show claims the most interactive auto show in the U. S. with indoor and outdoor ride and drive exhibits. Adult admission is $12, seniors and pre-teens are $10 and kids six and under are free. $2 off coupons are available from more than 250 northeast Ohio automobile dealerships, although supplies are limited. If you want to get an early look at the show, support Cleveland area charities and mingle with the swells you can attend the special VIP Night of Lights gala preview on Friday evening, February 26. For more details visit the auto show web site at: www.ClevelandAutoShow.com
Northeast Ohio has many outstanding figures in the collector car hobby. By that, I mean not only car collectors but those special individuals who assist with the restoration of the cars. The list includes body men, mechanics and trimmers (or upholsterers), as they're also known). One of those trimmers, as he preferred to be known. was Jim Roll, who operated Tailored Trim Service in New Philadelphia, Ohio. He died February 6 at the age of 72. Jim was nationally known for the quality of his work. Automobiles for which he produced beautiful interiors received numerous awards at automobile concours events throughout the United States, including Pebble Beach, Amelia Island and the Glenmoor Gathering. One of the awards presented at the annual Gathering is named for himthe James E. Roll Award for Best Interior. The award was established in 2007 by several of Jim's friends and was first presented that year. Jim made the selection each year and personally presented the award to the happy car owner. Jim's passing is a sad reminder that we are slowly losing the craftsmen who we have depended on to maintain and restore our collector vehicles.
It has taken me almost two weeks, but I have finally recovered enough from Scottsdale auction fever to write a semi-coherent blog post. It sure was a whirlwind of activity; there are things going on from early in the morning 'til midnight just about everyday. Although it's not for everyone, if you're a real car enthusiast, you should make the trek at least once in your life. That January week in Arizona simultaneously embodies all that's great and all that's wrong with the collector car world. Great cars, great people, unmatched greed and pervasive element of deceit; how can you resist?