San Diego International Auto Show kicks off today

Show has 5-day run at convention center

SAN DIEGO - More than 400 new models will be on display when the San Diego International Auto Show opens Wednesday for a five-day run at the San Diego Convention Center.

It is the first of what is expected to be a banner year of events for the convention center. Steven Johnson, who is with the center said for the 70 planned conventions, the predicted economic impact for 2014 is estimated to be $1.4 billion.  

The Auto Show array will include 2014 models from major manufacturers, electric vehicles and muscle cars -- especially the Ford Mustang, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Among the Mustang showpieces on display at the west end of the convention center will be:

-- a 1965 Emberglo convertible

-- a 1973 Mach I

-- a 2007 Shelby GT500

-- 2004's 40th anniversary edition GT Coupe and

-- a 2012 Boss 302.

About 15,000 square feet will be dedicated to exotic cars from makers such as Lotus, Maserati, Ferrari, Lamborghini and others.

"I don't think it's possible to drive all the cars that are available even if you're here all five days," said Kevin Leap the show's director.

New this year is the prop vehicle from "The Walking Dead" television series, and from the series "Orange County Choppers," two motorcycles are sure to draw attention.

"The Honor Bike has been around the country drawing huge crowds at a number of events but this is the first time for San Diego," said Joe Collins with Geico Insurance, which had the bike built a year ago along with the gecko bike.

Also new this year is an interactive theater from Kindle Fire which will display movie clips and behind the scenes video from several Marvel films.

Friday will be Electric Vehicle Day, with representatives from San Diego Gas & Electric on hand to provide information on rates available to drivers of battery-powered cars. Numerous EV models will be on display.

Informational booths will include details about state and federal tax credits for electric vehicles, rules for carpool lanes and use of charging stations.

Sunday will be Ford Family Day. Children 12 and under are free when accompanied by a paying adult. Also, four free tickets are available at participating Ford dealers around San Diego County.

Free tickets are also available to active-duty and retired military members and their families at area Toyota outlets.

Otherwise, prices are $12 for adults 13 years old and up, $9 for seniors 62 and up and military with identification, and $8 for children ages 7-12. Kids up to age 6 are free.

The show is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

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