Those familiar with their Cleveland history remember that Euclid Avenue was once known as Millionaire’s Row for the numerous mansions – belonging to the likes of John D. Rockefeller, Charles F. Brush, Marcus Hanna and John Hay, among others – built along the street.
Northeast Ohioans and visitors from across the country soon will be able to experience something similar when the 2013 Cleveland Auto Show hosts its own Millionaire’s Row, an exhibit featuring vehicles worth more than $200,000.
The exhibit, presented by Collection Auto Group, will allow show attendees to get up close to cars like a 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish; 2013 Maserati Gran Turismo Sport Convertible; a 2013 Mercedes-Benz AMG SL65; a 2012 Aston Martin Rapide S; and a 1992 Ferrari F40.
“(Millionaire’s Row) is something people don’t see every day, but something that people like to see,” said Louis A. Vitantonio, president of the Greater Cleveland Auto Dealers Association, which organizes the auto show. “There are people that would certainly like to see them, and there are certainly people who can buy them, but it comes down to it’s another exciting event at the Cleveland Auto Show.”
Bernie Moreno, president of Collection Auto Group, which will present Millionaire’s Row, said the least expensive car on display will be a $237,000 Mercedes-Benz.
“These are the vehicles that were on posters that you put up on your bedroom wall when you were younger,” Moreno said in a statement. “They are works of art. Whether you drive a Buick Encore or a Volkswagen Passat, these are the vehicles that set the standard of automotive design.”
Also new at this year’s Cleveland Auto Show – which runs from Saturday, Feb. 23, through Sunday, March 3, at the I-X Center in Cleveland – will be a display on natural gas vehicles and fueling stations. Vitantonio explained that this display will be slightly different from the alternative fuel displays of past auto shows – and with good reason.
“Natural gas has become something near and dear to our region, especially in the east with shale drilling and in the fuel economies that people can save from switching from fuel to natural gas,” he said. “You have a lot of people in the region who are working in the natural gas industry.”
Returning to the auto show will be the popular Ride-N-Drives. This year, there will be more brands available for test drives than ever, including Chrysler, Dodge, Toyota, Scion, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Subaru, Hyundai and Kia.
“We were one of the early pioneers in having Ride-N-Drives in the first place,” Vitantonio said. “We have the most number of Ride-N-Drives in the country as a show, and that’s unique to Cleveland.”
Also back will be Camp Jeep. Hosted by skilled Jeep drivers, the attraction allows show attendees to experience the trail-rated capabilities of Jeep vehicles on an indoor track.
A number of local dealers will have representatives on hand at the auto show, including Ron Leikin, owner of Leikin Motor Companies in Willoughby, who will have staff at both the Mercedes-Benz and Volvo displays.
“We will have a new (Mercedes-Benz) model called a CLA, which was introduced during the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl,” said Leikin, referring to commercials that aired during the Feb. 3 game. “It’s a brand new, smaller car for under $30,000. We will also be getting a 2014 E-class, which will come out later in the spring.”
For Volvo, Leikin mentioned two vehicles that will be highlighted at the show: the XC60, a crossover sports-utility vehicle, and the S60, a sports sedan.
“Our guys are there every day. Anyone who needs any info about Mercedes or Volvo can ask for a representative from Leikin and we will be there,” he said.
The Cleveland Auto Show offers an unparalleled opportunity to see automobiles up close and personal, Leikin said.
“It’s wonderful for anyone who’s looking to get a new car in six to eight to 10 months to see everything that’s available in one afternoon or morning,” he said. “Just about every manufacturer has something on display. … You can pretty much get down to ‘I like this one, this one and this one,’ and then all you have to do is go test-drive them. You can do a month’s worth of shopping in a few hours.”
Visitors also will benefit from the space afforded to the show by its host site, Leikin said.
“In terms of size, we’re fortunate to have the I-X Center. Most auto shows in most cities don’t have one floor as big as that without poles,” he said. “We have more display space. We’ll display 18 Mercedes-Benzes with plenty of room to walk around, whereas in Chicago, they’ll display 12 and be packed.”
Attendance at the 2012 auto show was up 3 percent from the previous year, and Vitantonio said he feels this year’s attendance will surpass last year’s.
“I certainly do see attendance increasing, not only with other shows in the Cleveland market, but auto shows across the country have all seen better attendance.”
2013 Cleveland Auto Show
DATES: Saturday, Feb. 23, through Sunday, March 3
HOURS: Mondays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sundays 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
LOCATION: I-X Center, One I-X Center Drive, Cleveland
TICKETS: Adults $12.50; seniors (62 and older) $10.50; preteens (7 to 12) $10.50; kids (6 and younger) free