NFR: 2014 Spokane Auto Show. ..yawn....


WFF Supporter
This year marked the 60th year I have been going to auto shows. The first ones featured something new called a Corvette and America's first muscle car-the Chrysler 300. I have seen all of the automotive developments that have taken place in the intervening years, both good and bad. There has been plenty of each.

The Spokane show is the only game in town from up here on the tundra and it is still a 200 mile round trip, often in the snow. Why do I still make it? Well, it's for the same reason that we all go fishing in the early spring when we know it is going to be cold, the water is still cold, it blows like stink and we know we have about a 12% chance of actually catching a fish. The show's mid Feb date is kind of a bookmark, it means pitchers and catchers have reported, the days are longer with light in the evenings and the lowland lakes opener is just 2 weeks away. For me it is kind of a symbol of hope after a long cold winter, a gateway to the good times just ahead.

This year was a little different though as I was actually going to buy a rig to replace my 14 year old Explorer. I had been researching cars for about a month starting with a potential list of 17 models and finally honing it down to 1. One of my stocks reached a 52 week high last week so I sold enough for a generous down payment, contacted my credit union which authorized me to spend far more than I ever intended to, gave me 60 days to find a car and reduced my interest rate to 2.24% if I bought something on their 'green' list. I had settled on a new Subaru Outback Premium model. All Subies sold in Washington are PZEV models so I would get the better interest rate. In addition dealers have a glut of Outbacks right now since the Forester is selling faster than Subaru can build them. Some dealers have 10x more Outbacks than Foresters and are really slashing prices. Over here they start at $950 below factory invoice and I have quotes from west side dealers that are $2,900 below MSRP. It is a great time to buy an Outback. If you fit. Alas, a test drive backed up by a tape measure revealed that the seat has 2'' less thigh support than my old Explorer. Maybe okay to run to the post office and back but a real killer between here and Rock Creek or Yellowstone. My new car fever was quickly extinguished. I took the time yesterday to write to Subaru America and ask why if they are going to build cars in America for Americans and by Americans, why not build them to fit Americans? We don't average 5'5'' here like they do in Japan. In fact, we are taller, wider and have more circumference than anytime in our history yet those little one size fits all seats still prevail. It doesn't have to be that way. I sat in a new Kia Soul, an even smaller car than the Outback and it had one of the most comfortable seats in the show. I'm pretty sure I could drive one of those to Bozeman or Butte without needing a chiropractor at the other end.

The show itself was vexing. There were no long legged beauties wearing CFM pumps and leather miniskirts, no gorgeous blonds on a rotating dais with ample bosoms displaying generous cleavage, no little bippies dressed like call girls handing out brochures at the various displays, no theme, no energy, no flash or pizaz, just a lot of salesmen with a single mission-make a buck however possible. I've been going to these things too long, I still remember the glory days when it was actually fun with music, entertainment, beautiful women and stunning show cars. Not over here, the building is old and dimly lit, the layout is awkward with cars in various parts of the facility and crowded when you reach them.

The new GM downsized trucks didn't show up, we needed to see those. The new vans from Ram, Ford and Nissan were also absent. The new Chrysler 200 didn't show and although the new aluminum F-150 was there, you couldn't touch it or see inside. Strangely, the Ram exhibit didn't have it's most successful model-the 1500 Ram pickup-and no turbo diesel 1/2 ton either. One opportunity lost by Jeep was failure to present it's revamped Patriot as the lowest priced 4wd SUV on the market. This often reviled model has been revived by a new 6 speed auto to replace the rubbery CVT. Unlike most of the cute utes this has Jeep all wheel drive with a locking center differential instead of the Mall Wheel Drive found on most of the cute utes. With factory rebates and generous dealer discounts you can buy a competent albeit small SUV for right at $20k. Think brand new 2007 model at 2007 prices and you get the picture.

Dealers seemed to be trying to advance the notion that small utes should sell for right at $30k, midsize models at around $38-40k and full size at $50-75k. They did this by bringing their very most expensive models with every available option for the maximum transaction price. To me a $25,000 rig with $11,000 worth of options is not a $36,000 car or SUV. Overall the emphasis seemed to be on the high end stuff with not a lot of meat for those who want and can only afford a more modest ride. I know that those sticker prices are just BS but not everyone does nor do they know how to get around them and leave with sticker shock. Some of those 2014 trucks that stickered for $50k have over $7k of rebates on them already but even at that $43k seems like a lot to spend on a rig that will see landfill duty or carry wet dogs around.

So all in all it was kind of a bust, I didn't get to buy a new rig, stuff I wanted to see was absent and my old car show companion-Jesse James- has moved to Arizona. Will I go back? Of course, it means spring is almost here and I'm ready.

Now if only that Kia Soul with the sweet seat was AWD......I'd hamster up!


Mark Walker

Active Member
Bummer about the show, Ive,
We're still tossing the Dodge ram V6 or the Nissan Frontier around here. Kinda' leaning toward the latter although it's hard to give up a full sized PU.


Idiot Savant
WFF Supporter
Don't feel bad Ive there were no babes at the Fly Fishing Show either. In fact the gal at the Hardy booth was just that....rather hardy!

Just get the Outback and throw in some Recaro's and call it good.:rolleyes:


The wanted posters say Tim Hartman
WFF Supporter
Don't feel bad Ive there were no babes at the Fly Fishing Show either. In fact the gal at the Hardy booth was just that....rather hardy!

Ya know, in retrospect you should've probably gone to the Abel booth! ;)

Chad Lewis

NEVER wonder what to do with your free time
I'm not very happy with Subaru right now either. My FJ Cruiser is paid off in a month and the plan is to drive it 'till the wheels fall off. But the new Crosstrek has caught my eye. Problem is I can't abide a vehicle without enough power to get out of its own way. With the only available engine in North America being a fairly anemic 2.0 four cylinder it's not an option for me. I was a bit wistful about getting one until I found out about the sweet little turbo diesel the rest of the world gets. 6 speed manual. 260 pound feet of torque. Billions of miles per gallon. Who the hell does not want that? Now I'm just pissed at Subaru that I can't have one. Screw you Subaru. I'd buy one if I could get it.


Don't feel bad Ive there were no babes at the Fly Fishing Show either. In fact the gal at the Hardy booth was just that....rather hardy!

Just get the Outback and throw in some Recaro's and call it good.:rolleyes:

We must have been looking thru the same pair of glasses, Ive I know how you feel,I'm on the seach for a pickup truck and all I have found is luxury cars with little exposed trunks posing as a pickup truck. I need a 7 foot bed extended cab truck with none of the chick stuff that fails to work in about 6 years & cost a fortune to have fixed. The last guy that was showing a chevy showed me a lighted vanity mirror option , like what the heck do I need that for!!!!! But I did like the fly show..


"Chasing Riseforms"
Gees. The description reminds me of a fly fishing show I just attended… really. I must be the only one disappointed.


Ive I have fond memories of our trips to the auto show and a sumptuous lunch somewhere.
I still think of that Black Ford F-350 King Ranch with the brown distressed leather seats. I also remember you trying to get me out of it to look at the Dodge.
Man I wish I had that truck. Remember when you win the Powerball that is the one I want.;)


WFF Supporter
I won't forget my buddies Jesse. When I win I am meeting my best fishing buddies in Kellogg, Idaho where I am treating them to the new pickup of their choice after which we will drive to some private water in Montana and fish and eat like kings for a week. You will be getting the invitation as well.

You may have to be satisfied with a new Ram 3500 Dually with the 6.7L Cummins. With 850 lb/ft of torque and 30,000 # towing capacity you might be able to forget that King Ranch of your dreams.

If I only win a piddlin' 1.5 mil after taxes though-all bets are off. We'll still do the week in Montana and I'll provide all the food and beer but you'll have to provide your own rig.

Missed you on Friday, I had to do lunch alone.


Support WFF | Remove the Ads

Support WFF by upgrading your account. Site supporters benefits include no ads and access to some additional features, few now, more in the works. Info