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The Philadelphia Auto Show Returns for Another Memorable Year

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Photos courtesy of the Auto Dealers Association of Greater Philadelphia

If you’re looking for a thrill ride, a test drive or to ogle some classic cars, head into Philly for the best auto show in the country.

Philadelphia Auto Show Executive Director Kevin Mazzucola has been with the show since 1998. “It’s been around for 120 years, so it’s part of the fabric of Philadelphia—there’s always a car involved in our special memories.”

Originally from Montana and Wyoming, Mazzucola moved to Philly as a lobbyist for the auto industry. “There’s such a feeling towards tradition and ‘back in the day’ in Philly. It’s great.”

The Valley Forge resident practically gushes that although the goals of the show are to educate and entertain visitors, “The show brings in $50M for Philly, with 200K expected to attend this year. It has a huge economic impact.”

Generations show up together on the Auto Show floor—from “Back in the Day Way” for grandpa and his g-babies to dreamers and hopeful shoppers eyeing the exotic and super cars, the Bentleys, Rolls, McLaren, Aston Martin—and let’s not forget “Custom Alley” downstairs for the aftermarket, modified muscle crowd. With more people purchasing cars online through sites like Carvana, the show is a great place to see your next purchase in person before you make that big decision. “The more we get into digital purchasing of cars, the more the show becomes the place to ‘try on’ your next car,” Mazzucola says.

The show is also becoming more interactive, with a patient atmosphere. “About half the people who come to the show will buy a car in the next 12 months,” says Mazzucola. With 75% of all new vehicle sales being trucks and SUVs, the show includes three opportunities to test ride this year:

  • Camp Jeep is the biggest off-road driving experience indoors via a one-of-a-kind track with an exhilarating hill climb.

Camp Jeep at the Philadelphia Auto Show

  • Ram Truck Territory’s all-new 30,000 square-foot-track features all-organic materials to simulate off-road experiences. Professional drivers will provide auto show attendees with rides through moguls, over rolling hill obstacles and staggered logs, and we dare you to try the 15-foot-high hill climb.
  • At the e-Track, consumers will be able to test-ride select manufacturers’ electric vehicles on an indoor track to experience the capabilities of this fast-growing automotive segment.

etrack test drive at Philadelphia Auto Show

And that’s just the fun part.

The Auto Show’s Black Tie Tailgate, a one-of-a-kind preview party lauded as the biggest philanthropic black tie event in the Philadelphia area, is back for 2023. The featured beneficiary is the Department of Nursing and Clinical Care Services at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The Auto Show actually started a foundation in 2003 to support their charitable efforts. The relationship between the Auto Show and CHOP began in 1986 with 200 people. The event has raised $10 million for CHOP and its various departments since 1986. This year, five to 6,000 guests are expected to attend the Black Tie Tailgate.

“We are extremely grateful for the generous and ongoing support CHOP receives from the Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation, and we are excited about the upcoming Black Tie Tailgate,” says Madeline Bell, President and Chief Executive Officer of CHOP.

“CHOP nurses, respiratory therapists, technicians, support and administrative staff are committed to providing excellent care for patients and their families,” notes Paula Agosto, Senior Vice President and System Chief Nursing Officer at CHOP. “We are so grateful to the Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation for helping to raise the funds we need to maintain our focus on high-quality, safe patient care and advance our educational and research missions.”

For himself, Mazzucola hopes to get a good look at the silver 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle 396 SS convertible.

Related: Here’s What to Do Around the Main Line Area This Weekend