Nerd’s Eye View: LA Auto Show 2015 – The Other Interesting Cars

Nerd’s Eye View: LA Auto Show 2015 – The Other Interesting Cars

by Khiem Dinh

Alfa Romeo came out of nowhere and had probably the sexiest booth for a number of automotive and non-automotive exhibits. I mean, just look at this TZ2! It’s a proper bright Italian red drawing your eyes to it. I love the classic leather straps holding the front bonnet down. The side pipes add that bit of badassery; I mean, who doesn’t like side pipes? An interesting bit is the thin metal strip on the A-pillar going between the front wind shield and the door window. Maybe it was a wind noise reduction device. I like how the mirrors are up on the fenders instead of out on stalks sticking out the sides, potentially reducing drag a tad.

There are some interesting details on the openings in the front fascia. Looking at the three rows of slots above the main front opening, the top and bottom are simple holes punched in the sheet metal. The middle slot however has a bit of extra sheet metal ducting that was riveted on. I like old classic mechanical things, like the wind shield wiper that features a parallelogram geometry keeping the wiper blade vertical as it moves horizontally across the wind shield.
The two air scoops on the side of the car feed air through the two big tubes visible through the rear window. I have no clue what the air is feeding. Transmission cooler? Brakes? Diff cooler? All three? There is a roll bar bolted into the car with a single horizontal member. It looks pretty insignificant by modern safety standards, but this car is not too far removed from the generation of racers who wore leather skull caps for helmets and goggles. So compared to those even older guys, this car is way safe!
The Alfa Romeo Giulia was a surprise and probably my favorite car of the whole show.
Unfortunately, all of the cars were locked (even during media days!), but they did make exceptions. I was able to sneak this picture while some TV crew did a video shoot of the car. That ladies and gentlemen is a 500+hp twin turbo V6 with close ties to Maranello. This car was behind sitting in an enclosed area (you can just see the glass in the top right of the picture), so I had to strain a bit to get this shot and therefore also did not get a close-up personal look at the engine. The two big glossy tubes on the sides of the engine should be the compressor inlet tubes to the turbos. Right where the intake tubes kink inwards, you can see what should be the MAF sensors. At the front of the plastic engine cover, you can see what should be the two electronic throttle bodies. With as tight as all the packaging looks, I’m going to guess there is a pair of air-to-water intercoolers integrated into the intake manifolds; you know, kinda like the Ferrari Formula 1 car. So what’s the story on the two big dull plastic tubes going from the front of the car to under the engine cover? My guess is they are just to feed cool air into the (I think) intake manifold area.
Yup, functional hood vents. Notice the louvered panel underneath the wire mesh screen to make the vent more effective. Yup, different colored car; it was a bit crowded in the booth so I had to jump around between cars.

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