THE DRIVE with Alan Taylor | Episode #317

It’s a new year, and Alan is gearing up for a month of some of the big trade shows; CES, North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), and Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale are just around the corner. We chat with some of our favorite guests about what this year has in store. We begin the show with automotive journalist, BJ Killeen, who discusses the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year Awards (NACTOY), and rides that are about to make their debut at NAIAS. Next, Brian Moody of Autotrader talks CES, auto apps, and life-saving autonomous technology. Changing lanes, John Hennessey of Hennessey Performance shares the story of why he created THE EXORCIST, a 1000-HP Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Last but not least, Karl Brauer of Kelley Blue Book sounds off about his new monster, the Dodge Demon SRT. Tune in for an episode packed full of trade shows, technology, and horsepower.

  • [00:00:00] Gearing up for Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale
  • [00:05:23] Automotive Awards Help Buyers Choose
  • [00:12:31] Mid-Engine Corvette at NAIAS
  • [00:19:53] Concepts Are Now Foreshadowing
  • [00:28:28] Mercedes G-Wagen & Rolls-Royce Phantom
  • [00:35:55] Automotive Technology at CES
  • [00:42:16] Technology is Here to Help
  • [00:48:41] Phone Apps that Warm Up Your Ride
  • [00:54:46] Let’s Make Tech Intuitive
  • [01:02:09] Answer to Demon: THE EXORCIST
  • [01:12:04] Dodge Demon Draws Crowds
  • [01:18:10] Most Bodacious Machine Ever Seen

Discover more about segments and guests below…

[00:00:00] Gearing up for Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale

Trade show season is upon us and Alan will be bouncing from city to city. First up, he will be traveling to Las Vegas to stay on the cutting edge of automotive technology at CES. Then, he will make a quick stop in Detroit for the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) to see the newest rides that are about to hit the market. His last stop will be in Scottsdale, Arizona for the world’s greatest collector car auction and exhibition, Barrett-Jackson. Automotive journalist BJ Killeen joins us to chat about Alan’s opportunity to host the Motor Trend Live Stage at Barrett-Jackson which will allow car lovers to learn more about amazing via a second screen experience. Find out which celebrity guests will be joining Alan on stage.

[00:05:23] Automotive Awards Help Buyers Choose

The North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year Awards (NACTOY) will be announced soon at the NAIAS. Winning vehicles that win create a ripple effect in the automotive industry; consumers trust the opinions of the publications they love and cars dealers often feel the effects. With stakes so high, BJ Killeen questions the credibility of the NACTOY Awards. Automotive journalists from the United States and Canada have paid to be a part of the jury for this prestigious award. Although this jury is supposed to be unbiased, manufacturers go out of their way to make sure that journalists are heavily exposed to their car before the judging occurs. Do you trust the votes?

[00:12:31] Mid-Engine Corvette at NAIAS

NAIAS is one of the best places to catch the latest from automotive OEMs, and automotive journalist BJ Killeen can’t wait to get a sneak peek. Audi and BMW have brand new releases and brilliantly redesigned favorites. It is rumored that Chevrolet will be offering up a mid-engine Corvette which may give the Dodge Demon SRT a run for its money. Also, Ford will be introducing the first ever diesel F-150, and will jump back into the small truck category with the Ranger. Auto designers are creating the machines we’ve dreamt of and we can’t wait to see what’s in store.

[00:19:53] Concepts Are Now Foreshadowing

In the past, automakers would design a concept and unveil it at the big auto shows for journalists and consumers to gawk at without intending to bring it to market. Today, automotive journalist BJ Killeen tells us that concepts are almost always hitting the production circuit. It’s very expensive to build a concept car, and so OEMs are using these designs as a way to introduce what is to come. Moving from concepts to new models, BJ shares some other vehicles that will be hitting the showroom floor of the NAIAS. We can look forward to Hyundai’s Veloster, the Infiniti Q (an all-electric sedan), and Jeep will be introducing their first mid-sized pickup. As the preeminent event in the auto show market, unveiling vehicles at NAIAS comes at a high price. As the cost of admission skyrockets, should OEMs debut rides at smaller, less expensive shows?

[00:28:28] Mercedes G-Wagen & Rolls-Royce Phantom

This year at the NAIAS many heavy hitters will be driving onto the showroom floor. Redesigns are huge when it comes to keeping up with the ever-evolving technology of the automotive industry. BJ Killeen discusses why she’s looking forward to a few rides in particular. Mercedes is stepping it up by releasing a revamped G-Wagen; Alan hopes that they’ve made it a little more comfortable as well as off-road capable. BJ also describes her excitement over the incredibly smooth, butter-like transmission of the Rolls-Royce Phantom. These are just two of the stunning new machines we can look forward to. Curious what other rides are approaching? Listen now.

[00:35:55] Automotive Technology at CES

The automotive and technology industries are merging. It’s exciting to know that this new wave could help save the lives of drivers everywhere; a multitude of safety features are being implemented into our cars. Automotive companies are becoming a big part of this shift and it’s time for us to educate ourselves on these new advances so we can use them to the best of our ability. Perhaps the best showcase of this technology is CES, and automotive journalist BJ Killeen and Alan discuss their excitement for this trade show. Find out what to look forward to at CES.

[00:42:16] Technology is Here to Help

While many of us many are resistant to the emerging world of automotive technology, there’s really a bigger picture that we need to see. Autotrader Executive Editor, Brian Moody, give us a different perspective on the advances that are coming to our rides. Systems such as lane assist, steering collision avoidance, backup cameras, and autonomous features are all being designed to help diminish the occurrence of human error while driving. Brian believes that these technologies are also being perfected to make our lives easier. Are you ready for an easier and safer ride?

[00:48:41] Phone Apps Control Your Vehicle

We chat with Autotrader Executive Editor, Brian Moody, who believes we will soon have apps for everything; our phones play such a huge role in our  daily lives, so it makes sense that they would also assist us with our vehicles. Years ago, Audi released a phone that you could use to lock your car – that was just the beginning. OnStar has already made it possible for you to start your car through their app. Explore the endless possibilities of phone-to-vehicle communication.

[00:54:46] Let’s Make This Simple

Ease of use is one of the key points that automotive journalists touch on when they are reviewing a new, technologically advanced car. Brian Moody, Executive Editor for Autotrader, shares that OEMs are beginning to focus on making our vehicle tech easy to use. BMW released gesture control years ago, and while it’s something cool to impress the kids with, it’s not exactly necessary. Instead, OEMs are focusing on making automatic Bluetooth connections and infotainment systems that are easy for anyone to operate. Technology in new cars needs to become intuitive, and it is well on its way.

[01:02:09] Answer to Demon: THE EXORCIST

Horsepower gets some gearheads all riled up and John Hennessey of Hennessey Performance has made those extra ponies his passion. Last April, Dodge released their 840-HP Demon SRT; John knew that rivalries equal relevance, so he needed to create the competition. His answer was the 1000-HP Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 which he aptly named, THE EXORCIST. John can’t wait to see the head-to-head race of these two monsters as soon as he receives his Demon. Hennessey Performance has built and sold over a dozen EXORCISTS, making it a popular ride amongst horsepower enthusiasts. Also, John just received a Jeep Trackhawk, and he can’t wait to share how they soup that beast up. The answer to speed is here.

[01:12:04] Dodge Demon Draws Crowds

When a monster hits the streets, it’s hard not to stare. Kelley Blue Book Executive Publisher, Karl Brauer, got to experience these stares firsthand when he took his new Dodge Demon out for a spin. Karl tells us that it drew a surprising crowd because even though it looks like a wide body Hellcat, onlookers knew it was something special. While this machine pushes 840-HP on the track, it makes for a very comfortable daily driver as well. Karl is really excited to break this baby in; with the help of Demon brand drag tires he’s already sent the backend a little sideways. Can you feel the Demon’s pull?

[01:18:10] Most Bodacious Machine Ever Seen

When you fall in love with the world of drag racing at a young age, it sticks with you forever. Karl Brauer of Kelley Blue Book recently took ownership of a 2018 Dodge Demon and it is fulfilling his lifelong need for speed. His first love was a ’69 Plymouth GTX that his brothers helped him fix up to race the other kids in town. Now, he owns the fastest production car ever made and raves about how capable it is on and off the track. Luckily, this new ride comes with a bumper-to-bumper warranty, so he can get a little wild on the road. The Demon will be a collector’s item and Alan shares that his is on the way any day. Are you ready to hear that V8 growl?

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Episode Credits:

  • Program Host: Alan Taylor
  • Producer: Dave Milligan
  • Production Assistant: Joanne Bolden
  • Audio Engineer: Dave Milligan
  • Copy Editor: Jess Baumgardner

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This episode was produced by Entertainment Right Now (ERN). If you found value in this episode, and you’d like to hear more, leave us a review on iTunes and be sure to subscribe to our podcast so you don’t miss a beat. Your feedback helps us to reach more enthusiasts around the world! If you have a question you’d like us to answer, please leave a comment below or e-mail us at

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