If you’re looking for the latest in the automobile world, look no further than the Twin Cities Auto Show. This year the TCAS celebrates 43 years of having one of the state’s best exhibits for all things on 4 wheels (and some with more than 4). Jon and I decided to head to the Minneapolis Convention Center to see it for ourselves.
First of all, there is a TON that goes into putting on the TCAS year after year. It really is an impressive event. Don’t believe me? Check out this time-lapse from 2015:
2016 was no exception with more than 575 vehicles on display from 37 foreign and domestic brands. The total value of vehicles within the exhibits equaling over $15,000,000!
We decided to make our first pit stop at the University of Minnesota’s Solar Vehicle Project. The project began in 1990 and was founded by a group of students from the U’s College of Science & Engineering. Over the years they have become an incredibly successful team building over eleven different solar powered vehicles. As a proud former Gopher it was awesome to get an up-close look at Eos, the team’s most recent creation, which can go 200-300 miles even without sun. Keep an eye out for Eos in the 2016 American Solar Challenge.
Although the solar vehicles were definitely impressive, we decided to look for something on a larger scale. One of the biggest rigs from the Truck Driving School exhibit caught our attention and thankfully owner and operator Bill Collins was nice enough to let us hop inside. As Minnesota’s oldest and largest truck driving school there was a ton of cool things to learn about the life of a driver from actual drivers, plus they had some sweet pins to hand out. We liked it so much I think Bill almost talked us into a new career path. Almost.
Of course no visit to the Auto Show is complete without stopping at the ever-popular Camp Jeep where attendees can take a 4-wheel-drive test ride over some bumpy terrain. This is probably the most realistic off-roading experience you can get without actually going off-roading. Climbing hills, driving over logs, and extreme inclines from all angles, it’s no doubt why it’s one of the main attractions at the show. Not only can you test drive, but there is also a rock-climbing wall and Jeep Kids Course. When it’s all over they even give you a photo to take home.
We had so much fun on the course itself that we wanted to go back and test our company van out. That didn’t end too well for Jon, but you'll have to tune in to the video to see what happened next.
If you’re looking for something fun to do downtown Minneapolis the Twin Cities Auto Show has got something for the whole family. With exhibits like Luxury Lane, the Classic Car Walk, the Electric Room, and more, plus celebrity & professional athlete appearances, it might take the whole weekend to get everything in. Take it from us, it's worth it. You know what they say: “gotta go to the auto show!”