My dad took me to the Auto Show when I was a kid, and McCormick Place would transform into a mysterious new car wonderland. That was my amusement park. Each car was a different story. I'd hop into a new Country Squire Wagon, and I was driving my own imaginary family on vacation. An MG TR6 and I was meandering down the English countryside, perhaps with a scarf and driving cap.

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But those new sports cars? Those put me in total fantasy land. Mustang, Challenger, Camaro, Corvette--each one invited me in to grab the wheel with one hand, the shifter with the other and hit the gas. Faster and faster, throwing gravel from the shoulder of some unknown highway as I slide into the turns, until dad would lean in and say, "Alright, time to go."

"Time to go." Only now, present day me is sitting in the new Shelby GT500 at the River Center. The Quad City Regional Auto Show Starts today, showing hundreds of cars from dozens of manufacturers at Davenport's River Center.

It took some calls from KV Dahl, and a little convincing from Ford's regional car show director, but soon the key master, Dan, all the way from Detroit, was unlocking the driver's door of the sexy GT500 show car to let me to sink inside. It took me right back to those first days of falling in love with the machines as a kid.

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Customers are just now taking delivery of their GT500s, many waiting a year or more for these 760hp refined beasts to rumble into their garage. Heck, it was a thrill for me to just be up close to one. But when Dan handed me the key fob, and I belted myself into the Recaro drivers seat, it was otherworldly. The cockpit came up to greet me, every gauge and knob within reach. This is truly a dream car. I can't imagine what I would do with that much horsepower. But today's technology is about more that that. It's about the challenge of creating the perfect combination of style and performance. To me, That's the Shelby name on a Mustang.

There is no shortage of beauty and beast combined all throughout the River Center this weekend. The Dodge Bros. obviously know how to direct horsepower. The Challenger 392 Hemi Scat Pack Shaker is on display. Camaro SS.

auto show camaro

Over at Honda, there's a Civic SI Type R that will push you around the neighborhood or the track effortlessly, and the Toyota Supra name has come back, with room for one comfortably, and speedometer that seems more at home on the launch pad than the driveway.

auto show civiccsi type r

I spent a few hours combing the new offerings from around the globe, and could still go back and see more. Take a little time this weekend for dreaming at the River Center. Maybe you'll run into the 10-year old you.

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