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Hey Mac! - 2013 Detroit Auto Show Charity Preview A Record Breaker

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SEE ALSO: 2013 NAIAS Press Pass Coverage

By Mac Gordon
Senior Editor-at-large
Michigan Bureau
The Auto Channel

In the early days of the annual auto shows, before the NAIAS debuted in 1991, salesmen and loan writers joined the gorgeous models at desks surrounding the turntables.

Yes, indeed, members of the Detroit Auto Dealers Association and their aides were ready to “write up” customers on the spot in the old shows.

The late Sam Goldfarb, an Austin, Volvo and Saab dealer in Dearborn, Michigan, recalled the early days frequently when DADA officers decided 'deals' should be closed in showrooms, not at the shows themselves. 'Leads' were told to go to showrooms in order to finalize transactions. How could F&I be brought up in the noisy Cobo Hall?

What a difference between then and now! Exhibits are glitzier and louder than ever; salesmen are non-existent; Show exhibits are larger and costlier than ever; the girls are prettier; the tumult on the soundtracks louder.

A yardstick for judging the Detroit Show remains the attendance at the Friday night charity party, which this year broke all records, as did the millions raised for charity by ticket sales for the star-studded event.

Motown...the Motor City, call it whatever, but Detroit remains the hub for automakers worldwide.

That the Detroit show, first launched in 1907, should be an eye-popping gala built around cars, even with sales on the floor and cars tipped up and over above the turntables, is no surprise.

The city named after the Detroit River (Straits in French) is sure to be a show presenter for another century. It's an historic event for a city steeped in creativity!