One of the first things to catch my eye at Montreal’s Car Show was one of the info-commercial lads happily throwing grease and acid on his car and then polishing it away. I almost asked for his autograph but the models you see on the show were nowhere to be found. As a matter of fact this year’s show had none of the car models normally associated with car shows and pin-up garage calendars. No doubt this was because one of the special events was Design With A Feminine Touch. This reflects the growing impact that women are having on the automobile market as consumers.

The Auto Show, held in January at the Big O, is a must for the serious buyer. Nowhere else can you compare so easily the differences between the different makes, models and brands. Before stopping to admire I would recommend a quick walk around the floor to scope out what interests you the most There is too much to remember if you check them all out one by one. By the time you see the last vehicle you may have forgotten that gem at the beginning. The show is truly huge with 32 car manufacturers and 50 exhibiters taking part. There are literally hundreds of cars and accessories to see.

My pick of the show was the 1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata. A convertable with an in-line 4-cylinder 133 horsepower engine capable of 0-100 km/h in 8.6 seconds. The top speed of this beauty is 196 km/h. The only soft spot on this car is its clearence. It has a minimum clearance of 115 mm or approximately 4.5 inches making it a difficult choice for gravel road driving. But the total comfort and pleasure of this car makes up for that. Suggested retail price is $29,940. For all of you into the Internet more information is available at

Of course everyone was checking out the Hummer. A beautifully rugged-looking vehicle that you know will get you there… wherever that may be. The 16 inch (400mm) clearance on the bottom of this vehicle tells you it is truly an off-road wonder. It can ford streams of up to 30 inches deep with no problems at all. No wonder the U.S. Army chose this honey to replace the Jeep. The only complaint I might have is that it takes 18-19 seconds to get to 100 km/h and its top speed is only 134 km/h. Two-door models start at $68,000 but the prices jump to $93,400 for a fully-loaded four-door hard top. Montreal area dealer Paul Gelinas at 514-725-9395 will be happy to answer any of your questions.

Perhaps the most interesting car I saw all day was Chrysler’s Prowler. Old-style design with today’s technology. Va va Vroom. A nice machine that’ll be guaranteed to turn heads. Distictly purple and proud.

Families should look to the Subaru Outback for an all-wheel drive that sets the standards in stationwagon comfort. Priced to sell at $33 to 34,000.

Jeeps were very much in evidence at this show. Most Jeeps have an 8-inch plus (211 mm) ground clearance. Everyone has seen the Jeeps and not much has been changed. Jeep doesn’t fool around with a proven design that much. The Jeep TJ sold for $22,000. Cherokee Sport listed at $31,000 and the Grand Cherokee at $45,885. Another of Chrysler’s products caught my eye. The styling was nice and the interior promised comfort on long drives. It was the Eagle Talon clocking in at a mere $21,235.

Volvo kept the standard none exciting functional box design. Some of the new features include separate air conditioning/heat controls passenger and driver, headlights with a washer/wiper system (a must for driving in the winter), fantastic sound system as standard equipment, etc.

Nuff said, you can see the pictures and next year check out the Auto Show for yourselves. You won’t be disappointed.