Want to shift your auto show experience into high gear? Then let the experts take you for a spin. Longtime automotive journalists John Davis, Les Jackson, Alvin Jones and William West Hopper, along with the president of SCCA Pro Racing, Mike Collins, will provide a peek under the proverbial hoods of the latest vehicles on display and an up-close and in-depth look at the products on the show floor through their individual two hour VIP tours.
Show guests can get an insider’s perspective before they ever hit the show floor. Washington Post automotive columnist Warren Brown will host the “Ask the Expert” booth at the main entrance to the show, where he will be available to discuss the trends and technologies shaping the industry and separate the hype from the truly revolutionary.
John H. Davis is the Emmy-award winning producer, host and creator of MotorWeek, television’s original and longest running automotive series. Davis can be seen and heard throughout the country on PBS broadcasts and the Velocity cable networks. As host of MotorWeek, Davis has the opportunity to put all of the new car models through extensive road tests and to judge their practicality for buyers. He also acts as final editor on all of the new car road test segments and writes many of the test opinions as well as other portions of the program. MotorWeek offers him that rare chance to bring the enjoyment of a hobby to his professional life and to use his broadcasting, engineering and analytical expertise to bring information and insight to those who love cars. Davis and MotorWeek have worked in recent years with the U.S. Department of Energy to promote public awareness of alternative fuels.
A professional automotive journalist who test drives and reviews approximately 100 new vehicles from all manufacturers yearly, Les Jackson is intimately familiar with the operation and engineering specifications of every one of the hundreds of vehicles available in the U.S. His new-vehicle reviews and technical and “how-to” articles have appeared in prominent publications for over 25 years. Jackson is co-host and technical expert on “Cruise Control,” a nationally syndicated radio program devoted to all aspects of the automotive world. He has also personally restored 16 classic automobiles and has authored hundreds of how-to articles on the subject of automobile restoration. He is past president of the Washington Automotive Press Association and a member of the International Motor Press Association. He served as a naval aviator in Norfolk, Va. after completing his education in mechanical engineering and laser physics.
As a host of “Planet Vehicle and the “Women’s Business Report” on Washington, D.C.’s News Channel 8, Alvin Jones is a multimedia commentator who knows how to reach his audience. Jones is also well-known in the D.C. area for his jazz background as host of the hit shows “Slow Jam” on WKYS-FM and “The Quiet Storm” on WHUR-FM. A former media personality with BET, Jones created the persona “The Unseen VJ” and hosted and produced several music video programs for the network.
William West Hopper is sought after for his in-depth automotive knowledge, as well as his knowledge of local history, interior design, art and antiques. A lifelong automotive enthusiast, Mr. Hopper currently serves on the Board of the Washington Automotive Press Association, and has served as a Director for the Mercedes-Benz Club of America, overseeing club publications, website and social media. He currently owns and manages WWH Communications, providing freelance automotive and lifestyle marketing, as well as event management services. Called a “consummate consumer with a nose for a bargain” by The Washington Post, Mr. Hopper produces the Queer4Cars blog which focuses on automotive reviews, with a special interest in road trip destination travel. He is the author of “A Guide to Washington’s Thrift and Consignment Shops,” and other well-received resource books.
Our kid-friendly tours will be led by Mike Collins, president of SCCA Pro Racing, the professional racing division of the Sports Car Club of America. Collins, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, has over 20 years of experience in the motorsports and event industries. He started at the bottom, literally sweeping the floors, and worked his way to the top of one of the nation’s leading special events and exhibition companies, Hargrove, Inc. After running some of the country’s largest trade shows and special events, including multiple presidential inaugurations and The Washington Auto Show®, Collins left the leadership of that company for the opportunity to pursue a full-time motorsport career.
Collins is the founder and managing partner of Meathead Racing, one of the largest amateur motorsports teams in the United States. He has successfully raced at every level of the sport and in 2016 competed in the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires. Collins has been an active SCCA member for 15 years, serving as a member of the Spec Miata Advisory Committee, a National Scrutineer (2009 Runoffs Line Chief for Spec Miata), the Washington DC Region Licensing Chair, and a Competition Committee Member. While remaining dedicated to the motorsports industry, he helped launch NexxtShow, a new exhibition company, in 2011 and served as its Senior Vice President.
Award-winning syndicated automotive writer and Washington Post columnist Warren Brown will host the Ask the Expert booth during both weekends of the show. Please check the website for schedule.
VIP tours will cost $40 per person are currently scheduled as follows:
- Jackson: Saturday, Jan. 28 at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.; Sunday, Jan. 29 at 11 a.m., 2 p.m.; Thurs., Feb. 2 at 6 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 5 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- Jones: Saturday, Feb 4 at 10 am and 1:00 p.m.; Sunday, Feb. 5 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.; and Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 6 p.m.
- Davis: Saturday, Feb. 4 at 11 a.m., 2 p.m.
- Hopper: Saturday, Jan. 28 at 10 a.m. and 1:00pm, Sunday, Jan. 29 at 10 a.m., 1 p.m.
- Collins: Kid-friendly tours on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 11 a.m., Monday, Jan. 30 at 6 p.m. and Tuesday, Jan. 31 at 6 p.m.
Additional weekday tours are pending. Interested parties can register online at www.washingtonautoshow.com.
The largest public show in D.C., The Washington Auto Show opens to the public on Friday, January 27 and runs through Sunday, February 5, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Produced by the Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association (WANADA), The Washington Auto Show features more than 600 new makes and models from many global manufacturers.