Thai trade in the spot­light

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

BANGKOK traf­fic is crazy enough. Go to the Thai cap­i­tal’s an­nual mo­tor show and there’s just two words for it — sen­sory over­load.

There aren’t many world­wide re­veals, although this year the new Ford Ranger was shown for the first time.

Lo­cals make up for it with wild and won­der­ful cars, laser shows, crazy ac­ces­sories, ex­cru­ci­at­ing pop mu­sic and eye-pop­ping dance rou­tines. It is not a place for kids on the open­ing me­dia day, when ex­hibitors have no is­sue with scant­ily clad mod­els draped over the cars.

Thai­land is a ma­jor player, pro­duc­ing sev­eral hun­dred thou­sand cars and utes a year for in­ter­na­tional mar­kets, though there are few lo­cal mak­ers of pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cles. Thairung is one of them and it gained plenty of at­ten­tion with its Trans­former, which looks like a shrunken H2 Hum­mer, with a bit of Jeep thrown in.

Thairung builds a mil­i­tary ver­sion of this ma­chine, which sits on a Toy­ota HiLux chas­sis, for the Thai Army.

An­other ve­hi­cle gain­ing plenty of at­ten­tion was a newage Mini Moke, which is pro­duced in China and sold in se­lected de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. Maker Moke In­ter­na­tional claims it can do 110km/h but that prob­a­bly wouldn’t be wise given its limited crash pro­tec­tion.

Isuzu was in dan­ger of be­ing over­shad­owed by the Ranger at the other end of the hall but got its time in the spot­light with a pair of re­mark­able D-Max utes.

One was wore a fan­tas­tic green metal­lic wrap that glowed un­der the bright lights. Dropped down low and rid­ing on 20-inch wheels, it was one of the show-stop­pers.

Next to it was a su­per-tough off-road D-Max with raised sus­pen­sion, knobby mud tyres and mas­sive chunky bull bar.

Toy­ota re­vealed a “Nur­bur­gring Edi­tion” Corolla sedan — no kid­ding — which fea­tures a body kit but no me­chan­i­cal changes. The com­pany didn’t say how fast it could lap the fa­mous cir­cuit. It might take a while.

Next to it was an up­dated Camry, which was painted brown, a colour that makes white Cam­rys look good.

Chevrolet got in on the act with a matt black go-any­where Colorado7, while it also built a cus­tom Cruze.

Its hot ver­sion of the car that sells as a Ba­rina in Australia was low­ered and decked out with a glow­ing green grille and head­lights.

The ac­ces­sories sec­tion didn’t dis­ap­point, with some of the cra­zi­est parts known to man. The best was a chan­de­lier to hang from the roof of a Hi­Ace-style com­muter van.

There were su­per-sized and su­per-bright al­loy wheels in al­most ev­ery colour un­der the sun, in­clud­ing one bright green ex­am­ple with oval spokes de­signed to look like flower pe­tals.

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