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Long Island Auto Show hits Nassau Coliseum Oct. 18, 2013

Attendees of the 2012 Long Island Auto Show

Attendees of the 2012 Long Island Auto Show inspect a Subaru BRZ. (Credit: Motor Trend)

For at least one weekend, you don’t have to be stuck in bumper-to-bumper LIE traffic to admire the latest vehicles from the entire scope of automakers. In fact, if you head to Nassau Coliseum, you can even escape the monotony of your commuting carriage and get behind the wheel of an exciting sports car or a monster pick up.

The Long Island Auto Show takes places this weekend (Oct. 18 through Oct. 20) at the Coliseum in Uniondale, where more than 150 new cars, SUVs and trucks will be on display alongside several impressive classic car collections and event areas designed to appeal to auto enthusiasts of all ages.

The people behind Motor Trend produce the free show and if there’s one thing they want to make clear, it’s that you should take advantage of the opportunity to see so many cars in a single confined area.

“Many people feel embarrassed going to a dealership and asking to sit in, say, a Corvette that’s way out of their price range,” said Shaun Foley, a spokesman for the event. But at the show, nearly all the vehicles are unlocked. “It’s a laid back environment, anyone can sit in the cars and kick the tires, as they say.”

Like many auto shows, sales aren’t permitted on the floor so there’s no pressure even though well-versed dealer representatives man most of the exhibits.

But unlike the annual New York International Auto Show, which is heavy on debuts and launches in an attempt to excite the media covering the event and the swarms of crowds it hopes to attract, the Long Island Auto Show is more consumer oriented and relaxed, according to Foley. Long Island is one of the nation’s top auto sales markets and dealers are eager to let people look around their latest inventory.

In fact, according to a report prepared for Motor Trend by Foresight Research and shared with Newsday.com, nearly one-quarter of local dealers’ annual sales leads attend the show.

As for prospective new car buyers, the show presents the chance to see cars from every automaker under one roof rather than circling the island to see the latest from rival brands like Chrysler, Toyota and Subaru.

But that doesn’t mean a five-figure purchase needs to be on the mind of attendees, many of whom bring their entire family. “Don’t be afraid to let your kids sit in the car,” Foley said. “That’s why they are there — let them get behind the wheel and pretend to drive.”

And for those who actually want to drive, Ford and Scion are each bringing vehicles to test-drive in the parking lot and beyond. Auto enthusiasts can also anticipate classic cars from the local Cadillac and Mustang clubs, appearances by the Discovery Channel’s “CARFELLAS” (who run a classic car business in West Babylon) and, of course, a free subscription to Motor Trend Magazine.

The show runs Friday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free, but there is a charge to park in the Coliseum lot.

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