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The World's
Don't-Miss Car Shows

The World's
Don't-Miss Car Shows


Whether you're a certified grease monkey or just know where the gas goes in, the world's great auto shows make a fashionable and intriguing centerpiece for any gay vacation.

1. FRANKFURT MOTOR SHOW The mother of all auto shows This show (a.k.a. Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung) is the world's preeminent auto extravaganza, a must-do-before-you-die event for gays with gasoline in their veins. European car companies time their most important product intros to coincide with this biennial show, which is so massive that it spans no fewer than nine convention halls. Wear comfy shoes and go easy on the beer!

When: Every other September (next: September 17-27, 2009) Starring: Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi Best attribute: Seeing cars we don't -- and won't -- ever get in the United States Worst attribute: Takes two days to get through Attendance: 1 million

2. NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW (Detroit) America's best car show America's best-by-far auto show may not be in its most desirable or gayest city, and deep January is far from the most welcoming moment of the year. But the splashy domestic and import rollouts here make it the car party of the hemisphere. The rivalry between GM and Ford is apparent by the size of their elaborate displays, and the whole show -- some 14 football fields in size -- is neatly contained in one space so you never need venture out into the Arctic blasts.

When: January, annually (next: January 11-25, 2009) Starring: All the familiar "faces" of the U.S. automotive scene Best attribute: Getting up close and personal with Motor City's movers and shakers Worst attribute: Motown is not really a gay mecca Attendance: 750,000

3. NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW When Detroit in January won't do Ironically, America's most car-unfriendly city hosts one of the country's best -- and most well- attended -- auto shows. Most of the concepts rolled out a few months earlier in Detroit make an appearance here in the massive halls of the Javitz Convention Center, a short taxi ride from the gay enclaves of Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen.

When: Early spring, annually (March 21-30, 2008; 2009 dates TBA) Starring: Most everything seen in Detroit plus a few surprises Best attribute: Gay nightlife within striking distance of the show Worst attribute: Costly local accommodations Attendance: 1.2 million

4. GENEVA MOTOR SHOW Exotic locale, exotic cars Two things make Geneva's Salon International de l'Auto show one of the best in the world: (1) It's full of eye candy -- this is the show in which many of the world's six-figure exotic cars see first light; (2) It's manageably sized, which means less time trolling the halls and more time skiing the nearby Swiss Alps.

When: Mid March, annually (March 6-16, 2008; 2009 dates TBA) Starring: Ferrari, Lamborghini, boutique coach makers such as Pininfarina, Bertone, and Sbarro Best attribute: Flashy Euro cars in a small but international and gay-friendly city Worst attribute: Geneva usually hasn't thawed out by mid March Attendance: 700,000

5. PARIS MOTOR SHOW French flair, fabulous cars Paris's biennial, Eurocentric auto show (a.k.a. Mondial de l'Automobile) hosts some massively significant rollouts--at least for European consumption. And lure the pretty people this show does, to the tune of nearly 1.4 million per year, making it one of the busiest -- and sexiest -- auto shows in the world.

When: Every other October (next: October 10-19, 2008) Starring: Peugeot, Citroen, Renault Best attribute: Shopping, eating, shopping, drinking, and shopping Worst attribute: The wallet-crunching euro Attendance: 1.4 million

6. TOKYO MOTOR SHOW Transport's crystal ball Some 1.5 million people flock to the world's most modern metropolis to peer into the future -- and not only for cars but for motorcycles, tractor trailers, parts, and other machinery as well. With such a diverse array of sheet metal, Tokyo's biennial show is the ultimate destination for the queer gearhead or technophile. But you don't have to be a car geek to enjoy the Tokyo show, as it also boasts the most whimsical, cartoonish concepts of any show in the world -- concepts packed with high-level technology that would make a NASA engineer writhe in envy.

When: Every other autumn (2009 dates TBA) Starring: Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Suzuki Best attribute: The bizarrely comical concept cars Worst attribute: Pint-size hotel rooms, supersize hotel bills Attendance: 1.5 million

7. LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW Boys and toys In car-choked SoCal, your wheels are your very identity. Thus, at the Los Angeles International Auto Show you'll find everything, including exotics, luxury, economy, pickups, and of course anything remotely "green." A bit less glitzy than Detroit's show, it's far more crowded, not just with straights but with many thousands of queers (WeHo is just 10 miles from downtown L.A.'s convention center, where it's held). Indeed, there may be no better show to get your cruise on while searching for something stylish to cruise in.

When: November, annually (next: November 21-30, 2008) Starring: All things that drive "green" and require a lot of green Best attribute: Boys everywhere Worst attribute: Kids everywhere Attendance: 1.7 million

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