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There is no doubt that British Columbia’s love affairs with the automobile is as strong as ever! The 2017 Vancouver International Auto Show was an overwhelming success with 115,608 attendees coming through the doors of the Vancouver Convention Centre over the course of the six-day show – a double digit increase in attendance by close to 14%.

Not only is Vancouver on the map for best attended consumer show West of Toronto, but the 2017 Vancouver International Auto Show also displayed two North American unveils for the first time in its 97 year history – the 2018 Lexus LS500h and the Land Rover Velar.

From an ultra-rare, one-of-a-kind 1937 Cord with a unique history, to a BC-made log car, to the latest in electric technology and, of course, the plethora of manufacturer vehicles for every taste, price point and user need on display, the 2017 Auto Show showcased British Columbian’s love for all things auto.

British Columbians of all ages stopped by to admire their favourite vehicles and, most importantly, learn about the vehicles from the product experts representing the world’s top manufacturers.

A show highlight that definitely got people talking was the 1937 “Cursed” Cord restored by Abbotsford’s 360 Fabrication.

Originally commissioned for the former Governor of Louisiana and U.S. Senator Huey Long in 1935, the Cord features eighteen automotive firsts – the highest ever from any manufacturer and was designed to be bullet proof.  But before Senator Long had the chance to even see the vehicle, he was shot by a single assailant and died two days later.

Between 1935 and present day, this particular Cord and its significance fell out of history until 1983, when it was acquired by Canadian businessman, Gary Morgan.

A truly-one-of-a-kind vehicle with a notorious past, Huey Long’s 1937 Cord finally made its first public appearance on its 80th birthday year at the 2017 Vancouver Auto Show.

For many car lovers, our love affair with automobiles started at an early age with Hot Wheels collectibles and racetrack sets.

To salute the 50th anniversary of the beloved die cast toy, the 2017 Auto Show showcased life-sized versions of two of the coolest models ever produced. Both the full-sized versions of the Bone Shaker and the Darth Vader Helmet Car were just incredible to see and delighted Hot Wheels collectors of all ages.

As always, the Auto Show offered the latest in green technology for consumers interested in learning more about alternative fuel vehicles.

The Electric Vehicle Experience Test Drive, presented by CEVforBC™, signed up hundreds of curious British Columbians (up a staggering 27 per cent year over year)  wanting to experience electric vehicles first-hand over the course of the show.

For the second year in a row, the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) kicked off the press tour unveilings to announce the winners of the 2017 Canadian Green Car of the Year and the 2017 Canadian Green Utility Vehicle of the Year award winners. Toyota claimed the highest honours with the Prius winning the Green Car of the Year and the RAV4 Hybrid winning the Green Utility Vehicle of the Year.

This year was also significant for the electric vehicle (EV) industry, with many auto manufacturers showcasing their latest offerings on the grand show floor and an exciting regional unveiling of the new plug-in hybrid electric vehicle from MINI. As EV’s become more common on Canadian roads, interested drivers took the opportunity last week to learn more about them by talking to the various manufacturers in a non-sales environment.

It’s no surprise why this pressure-free, non-sales environment attracts so many show-goers year after year.  With over 400 vehicles under one roof, the Vancouver Auto Show is the best way to window shop and get the full picture of what the global auto industry has to offer consumers.

The end of another Auto Show is always bittersweet – a successful Show is the culmination of a year’s worth of hard work. But while we say farewell to the 2017 Auto Show, believe it or not, we’re already preparing for the 2018 Vancouver International Auto Show! The 2018 show is slotted to run from March 28 to April 1, 2018 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at [email protected].