2014 Detroit Auto Show: Looking Ahead to the Past

Paul Lienert
Jan 15, 2014 22:07 UTC

The organizers of the annual Detroit auto show rebranded the event 25 years ago as the North American International Auto Show. But the 2014 edition — my 40th Detroit show for those who are keeping score — takes me back to the early 1970s when local auto dealers hosted what was still a regional event focused largely on domestic brands. In fact, the hometown angle had been the dominant theme since the show originated in 1907 at Beller’s Beer Garden.

This year, the big news in Detroit is Ford’s redesigned F-150 pickup truck and a new crop of performance cars, including hot editions of the Ford Mustang and the Chevy Corvette. Guess what. I could have written that headline back in 1974.

Except there’s a topical twist: Contemporary sports cars — even the big F-series pickup — are redefining and expanding Americans’ concept of performance to include energy and environmental conservation. Strangely enough, the carmakers seem to have discovered that horsepower and fuel economy aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive, as they once argued.

Take the Mustang, which has been around car shows even longer than me. The latest version, which marks the original pony car’s 50th birthday, still offers buyers the choice of a big V8 — or, for the first time in years, a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that provides much better gas mileage, but still packs a serious wallop.

You’ll still be able to order a big V8 this fall in the new 2015 F-150 truck. But it’s so much lighter, thanks to a switch to all-aluminum body panels, that a new turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 will furnish the same level of acceleration and speed as last year’s truck with a 6.2-liter V8. And you can expect fuel economy to go up by 3 to 5 miles per gallon.

Syrian refugee schools flourish in southern Turkey

Jan 2, 2014 20:53 UTC

Reyhanli, Turkey – In a classroom in southern Turkey, 8-year-old children proudly display their colored-pencil drawings. They include images of the things that make them happiest: hearts, houses and other images typical for children their age. They also show anti-aircraft missiles and revolutionary flags. Syrian refugee children in soutehrn Turky

Syrian girls attending Al Salam school draw pictures in a workshop with the program Zeitouna in Reyhanli, Turkey, on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (Credit: Clare Richardson)

In Reyhanli, a small town in Turkey’s southernmost province of Hatay, children who have fled the war in Syria attend school at Al Salam, where displaced Syrian teachers conduct classes in Arabic. Despite tensions with local communities, Syrian schools have cropped up in southern Turkey to serve a flood of refugee children in their native tongue.