- The Washington Times - Monday, December 27, 1999

Christmas may be over, but Washington, D.C., area grown-ups had the chance yesterday to dream about expensive playthings very expensive playthings at the Convention Center downtown.
The 58th annual Washington Auto Show opened yesterday, giving men and women the chance to behave like children in a toy store.
"I want a sports car. I'm going to have to get a sedan," said Linwood Turner, 35, of Silver Spring, Md., who was taking pictures of concept cars, while remembering his mortgage payment and child.
The year-2000 models will be on display at the Washington Convention Center through next Monday.
"I like the gadgets, [but] the car prices are a put-off," said Michael Ercole, 60, who left his wife at home to check out the new cars with three friends.
Mr. Ercole was scouting the show for the latest in options such as an infrared heat sensor for night vision and anything else that's new and intriguing.
The Alexandria resident had more than a few queries about the Isuzu VX2 yet another variation on the sport utility vehicle including the specifics on a camera system mounted to the back that activates when the vehicle is in reverse.
"You get all kinds of questions. They're onto the technology. They want to know what's new," said Robin Bush, a product specialist for Isuzu who spent about 10 minutes talking about the camera system and the hauling capacity of the VX2.
The technology on display now in a prototype vehicle may end up rolling down the highway in the near future.
"A lot of the stuff you used to see [as high-tech possibilities] now is a reality," said Fred Moss, who remembers looking at navigation systems as a concept at the show six or seven years ago. He just bought a new Acura and paid an extra $2,000 for his navigation computer.
"I have been looking at the car since last year at the show," said Mr. Moss, who was with his nephew, Ray Field, 10. "I pick mine up tomorrow, but I come to the car show every year anyway."
The sound of car doors being slammed echoed constantly across the convention center. Springs creaked while prospective buyers looked under the hood.
"My wife is the one that dragged us out. She's from Detroit. She always goes to car shows," said Donald Owens of Bowie, who was test-riding cars with his wife, Terry, and daughter, Jasmine.
The Owens family hopes to purchase a new family car in the next six months. Price is the first issue in the decision. However, Jasmine was impressed by the Buick Signia concept car an "orange car with TV seats," she said.
"We're not missing a car," said Mrs. Owens. "We're doing this very methodically, [but] I'm hoping to finish before they close."


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