CHARLESTON, W.VA.--New cars and trucks will begin rolling into the Charleston Civic Center today as setup begins for the 2014 West Virginia International Auto Show.
The annual show, now in its 16th year, is a showcase of the latest in automotive trends, design and technology.
Co-sponsored by Charleston Newspapers, the show is presented by the West Virginia Automobile and Truck Dealers Association and produced by Motor Trend Auto Shows.
Hundreds of models from dozens of auto brands will be on display during the three-day event, which begins Friday. Attendees will be able to get inside and drive some of the latest models beginning to hit the road this year.
"The show is really going to be exciting," said Ruth Lemmon, association president.
"There's something for everyone," she said. "It's a family-oriented show, so you can bring the kids and let the kids play in the cars as you browse."
While the show has always proved popular with auto enthusiasts, Lemmon said organizers made an extra effort over the last year to bring attractions that would interest children, teens and the casual observer.
"We know everybody is coming to see the cars, but we asked ourselves what we can do to liven things up and make it entertaining for the entire family," she said.
For the first time, this year's show will include a display of ultra-high-end cars from auto publication DuPont Registry's exotic vehicle collection.
The show will also feature a two-day meet and greet with Bobby Brantley, one of the stars of truTV's Lizard Lick Towing, a reality show chronicling a local towing and repossession company in Lizard Lick, N.C.
"The young people really love this show," Lemmon said.
Brantley will be on hand for autographs and photos 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Ford will also be bringing their EcoBoost simulator, which lets drivers get behind the wheel of a virtual Ford vehicle and test drive it in various high-speed situations.
Among the more traditional fare, the show will feature the latest 2014 models from a variety of brands, including the BMW 4 Series, Corvette Stingray Coupe, Acura RLX, Lexus IS, Mazda3, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester, Toyota Corolla.
Ford will also be displaying their 2015 Mustang prototype model. The company's iconic sports car celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and the Auto Show will be the first time the updated 2015 model is displayed in West Virginia.
Among its various design and technology updates, the new 2015 features a new engine, with versions coming in either a 5.0-liter V8, a 3.7-liter V6 or a new fuel-efficient 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine.
The West Virginia Motorsports Council will also host the The Car Clubs of West Virginia Showcase at the show, feature specialty and classic vehicles from several car clubs around the state.
"That's like a trip down memory lane for some people," Lemmon said. "It's always interesting to go up and hear the people talk and tell you stories about how they had this same car back in high school, or went on their first date in one."
Lemmon said nearly every model vehicle sold in the state would be represented at the show.
"Everything that we're going to be showing is something that you can either get today or in the very near future," she said.
While you can get in and browse most of the vehicles on the sales floor, attendees will also be able to test drive some select Ford, GMC, Cadillac and Buick models during ride and drive events throughout the show.
The vehicles available for test drive include Ford's Fusion, Escape, F-150, Focus and C-MAX models; Cadillac's ATS, CTS and SRX; Buick's Enclave and Encore; and GMC's Sierra and Terrain models.
Though customers can ask questions, sit in and test drive the vehicles, they won't be able to buy any directly at the show.
Lemmon said that's one of the show's advantages for people who are just curious to see what's on the market today.
"The fact that it's a non-selling show means it's a perfect opportunity to go there and look at what's available and browse and compare models without feeling any pressure to buy anything," she said.
The 2014 Auto Show will run from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $10 for adults, $6 for seniors 62 and older, $5 for children age 7 to 12, and free for kids 6 and under.
More information about the auto show, including the floor plan, is available online at www.WestVirginiaAutoShow.com.
You can also follow the show on Twitter at @WestVAAutoShow or at www.facebook.com/West
VAAutoShow on Facebook. A Motor Trend Auto Shows mobile app is also available for free on iTunes and Google Play.
Contact writer Jared Hunt at busin...@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4836.