Updated: May 18, 2021
The 2021 Twin Cities Auto Show is here and this time, it's at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds. With many things pandemic related, many indoor venues were effected by the restrictions that were imposed by the CDC, and the Minneapolis Convention Center was no exception. Last years TC Auto Show (TCAS) actually only lasted for a weekend before being shut down for Covid-19 and not many people got to go out and explore last years' new cars. This year however, the TCAS they planned ahead by using the state fair grounds as its host. A much larger area, the usage of the entire lot was not completely needed, and were able to spread things out to keep crowd control and to spread out the amount of cars that were available.
Drive Cartel Dream Killers podcast returned to the TCAS this year, and boy was it a beautiful day for it. Podcast Plaza can be found tucked away in the nice quiet corner of the "Lifestyle's Neighborhood" and more specifically, the Schilling Amphitheater next to Lulu's; just west of the main entrance. We went live on stage and on Facebook with Miata Monday's event coordinator, Tam Nick, and with some overview on some of the cars and groups at the show. In the crowd, the one and only JWP stopped by for some insight on his new shop, and a few jokes were even made at Josh's expense. Catch the podcast at the Drive Cartel Facebook page now.
One big draw to the TCAS being outside, is the Raminator being able to actually crush some cars for everyone to see. As well as being able to ride in a modified version of the Monster Truck, it is a huge draw and different from the indoor events of the past. The line can get lengthy for the rides, but it is free to all attendees and the truck bed can seat 8 passengers at a time. A few more than eight, if your child can sit in your lap. It's certainly a once in a life time experience for not just the kids, but for some adults as well. The cars are changed every so often to be crushed so you'll never just get there, and see the Raminator just roll over some pancaked cars. Check the TCAS website for scheduled times.
The Gary Curtis Driving Experience brings you the "Truck Track" at this years TCAS, and meanwhile gone is the Jeep Driving Experience, Gary Curtis brings you a a different experience all together in a variety of vehicles available from several brands. With a driver, you can expect to take high acceleration to sudden braking, to rumble strips and turn radius'. Another thing to do while at the state fair grounds, it's free and available to the majority of guests, check the TCAS website for scheduled times.
Although the Volkswagen Tiguan is the vehicle of the show, Ford brought out many variations of its new Bronco and has them placed around the fair grounds for easy spotting. Each one is different from the other, in order to portray Ford's available custom options for the Broncos. Whether it is from the 2 door or the 4 door body style, there are a wide variety of options and packages available. Outside of the typical wheel options, mud flaps and such, you can even opt to pick a camping tent, locking differentials, to even a "Sasquatch Package" for those who want to do something a little more outside of the cities.
Something on the return is the showing of actual owned and custom vehicles at the show. This year, Minnesota Car Enthusiast Club brought out a few cars, but so did Car Queens, Northstar Camaro Club, and more. You can find excellent rides from a new/current gen Acura NSX, to a classic Camaro, and amazing works of vinyl and plasti-dipped vehicles. On certain days, the auto show is also even holding free car meets for anyone, and everyone to attend. Come show off your ride for everyone to see, just register here at the TCAS website and select which day you plan to come out.
Don't forget to stop by the Coliseum to view check out the Project Car finalists and place your vote for who you think, has the best built ride. The Project Car feature returns again this year and this time, the winner will receive tickets and an all paid trip to the Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas collector car auction. There are several builds with several different genres and styles that can make voting tough as each vehicle tailors to something different from the others. There are 12 participants in this years Project Car contest, and so choosing one, is certainly going to be hard to do.
The state fair grounds works out well for the pandemic restrictions (which are now slowly being removed) for the Twin Cities Auto Show and with it's spacing, does have quite a bit of walking to do. All the makes and models are spread out well and it even made space for owners to bring their own cars into the show. Not to mention just some of the fan favorite foods of the state fair, but their are a lot more attractions this year, especially for the kids. Bounce houses, dog docks, Raminator, truck track, test drives, and even a parade, you can easily spend quite a few hours there. Parking is free and so are all of the attractions, just make sure you bring your wallet for food and drinks, as not all places accept cards. And bring a buddy to help you eat some cookies so you can actually shut the lid from Sweet Martha's as well. All in all, it is a different experience this year and I only have to wonder, not what, but where the auto show will be next year.