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The Detroit Free Press

Best concept vehicles selected

Firepower, Gladiator are among the winners

June 23, 2005

The Chrysler Firepower, Ford Shelby GR-1, Jaguar Advanced Lightweight Concept and Jeep Gladiator were named the best concept cars from the 2005 auto show season at the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn.

The North American Concept Vehicle of the Year awards are judged by a panel of more than two dozen jurors, including Free Press auto critic Mark Phelan. The awards were presented last week by the South East Automotive Media Organization.

The Firepower, a long-nosed luxury coupe powered by a Hemi V8, was named best concept car.

The Ford Shelby GR-1 exotic coupe was named the best specialty concept, a category reserved for vehicles outside the usual range of production models. The GR-1 was the fruit of Ford's renewed cooperation with racing legend Carroll Shelby.

The Jeep Gladiator won as the best concept truck or SUV. The Gladiator combines traditional Jeep styling with modern features like a low-emissions diesel engine.

Jaguar's Advanced Lightweight Concept won as the best production preview concept. That category is made up of vehicles that are very close to models the automakers expect to build within the next two or three years. The replacement for Jaguar's current XK coupe and convertible is expected to borrow heavily from the design of the graceful ALC.

All four winning concept cars debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. Other nominees included the Acura RD-X, Ford Fairlane and Synus, GMC Graphyte, Nissan Azeal, Saturn Aura, Scion t2B, Toyota FT-SX and Volkswagen Ragster.

Free Press staff
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