Plenty of eye candy at NH Auto Show

BEDFORD – They might drive sensible cars, but people can dream – dream it’s 1964 and they are driving a red VW Beetle along a California highway, or dream their race car is rounding the Loudon speedway’s final turn, or just dream they are gliding a Mercedes-Benz into their own driveway.

Visitors to the New Hampshire Auto Show last week could dream all those dreams and more.

There were cars from 25-plus manufacturers, along with all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles, snowmobiles and some that were hard to classify and looked like they came from a James Bond movie.

Michael Mills, of Merrimack, for example, was in the market for a 2015 Nissan Maxima, but that didn’t stop him from sitting in the driver’s seat of a Honda race car.

And Ryan Smith, of Bedford, and Carolyn DeBeradinis, of Milford, were intrigued by the event’s show-stopper: a Polaris Slingshot, with its one wheel in the back and two in the front, a motorcycle for two.

Smith said he was actually here to look at a BMW 535 diesel, because he’s interested in performance and fuel economy.

Presented by the New Hampshire Automobile Dealers Association, the show took place at the NH Sportsplex in Bedford and was produced by Motor Trend Auto Shows.

Part of its purpose, said Steve Freeman, general manager of Motor Trend Auto Shows, is for manufacturers to display their “latest and greatest” in a non-selling environment.

Attendees were encouraged to sit in the cars, inspect under hoods and even take select models for test drives.

“It’s a good way for people to try the four or five (vehicles) on their short list,” he said.

This was the show’s second year and the NH Sportsplex was chosen again, Freeman said, because it’s the biggest free-standing building in New Hampshire.

New this year was a luxury row that allowed attendees to compare BMW, Jaguar, Audi/Porche, Lexus, Volvo, Land Rover, Acura, Equus, Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti, all at one location.