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2014 LA Auto Show: Tech madness; Youthful colors rock

As the first major international automotive industry gathering of the year, the LA Auto Show annually attracts a full spectrum of carmakers and automotive enthusiasts.

The 2014 LA Auto Show, which recently ended at the Los Angeles Convention Center, offered the usual collection of entry level cars from Ford, Chevrolet, Mitsubishi and the like. And there were high-end automobiles from Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Porsche and Bentley.

There were several themes in this year’s show, most notably connectivity and a retro approach to bright paint colors.

Dozens of cars had global or North American debuts. And what’s an auto show without ambassadors — the attractive manufacturers’ representatives?

The connectivity component of the show was a full day, the day prior to the unveiling of the new cars. Connectivity is a controversial subject. Safety, engine efficiency, driver comforts have all been drastically improved in recent years. But so too has the complexity of “improved” technology. Has it reached a saturation point? Has too much technology prompted a driving gadget overload? Are there so many “bells and whistles” that technology is now a distraction?

The exterior car colors at the 20014 LA Auto Show are off-the-charts wild.

In recent years, some manufacturers went to great lengths to showcase their cars. Volkswagen presented a stage show with cheerleaders to introduce different decades of retro Volkswagens.

Lincoln showcased it vintage cars for one day, including a one-of-a-kind 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II once owned by Elizabeth Taylor. It then replaced the vintage cars with new vehicles.

Mini in one recent LA Auto Show tied its new cars with oversized chains and straps and hung them from the rafters of the LA Convention Center. Automobile bondage?

This year’s show didn’t have as many gimmicks. But there was a lot of color. Cars had exterior paint colors with the names Vitamin C, Plasma Purple and Sun Fusion. Several manufacturers said the new color schemes were geared to youthful buyers.

One manufacturer’s representative was more diplomatic, and I appreciated it. He said the new colors, some outrageously ugly, were geared toward younger buyers or those young at heart.

I felt the same way when talking with the car manufacturers’ ambassadors — young at heart. Bring on the 2015 LA Auto Show.

(Contributing editor and videographer Bruce Aldrich covers the highlights of the LA Auto Show below.)