I never thought I’d ever be remotely interested in attending the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center, but I came close this year.
(Yes, I’ll admit it: I’ve lived around the Motor City almost all my life and am a total car-gnostic (carpathetic?). Usually, I just couldn’t care less about cars.)
But the Kia display includes the Batman and Green Lantern cars from its partnership with DC Comics to promote the “We Can Be Heroes” initiative. “We Can Be Heroes” is using the Justice League-inspired cars to raise awareness and funding to fight hunger in the Horn of Africa. Five cars have already debuted (Batman, GL, Aquaman, Flash and Cyborg); two more are yet to be revealed (Superman and Wonder Woman). And an eighth that will encompass all seven characters will be auctioned off at the end of the initiative, along with some Jim Lee artwork.
The team also includes West Coast Customs, along with RIDES and Super Street magazines.
Here’s DC’s take on the Batman and GL cars:
Batman Optima SX Limited
Previously unveiled at New York’s Time Warner Center, Kia, DC Entertainment and RIDES magazine worked together to design and build the Batman-inspired Optima. RIDES transformed the exterior with a matte- and piano-black paint scheme, a dramatically lowered coilover suspension and muscular ground effects kit, huge Ksport performance brakes for extreme stopping power, custom-designed 20-inch black wheels with one-of-a-kind Batman-logo center caps and a performance exhaust system. Other exterior modifications include a custom front grille shaped like a batwing that took over 40 hours to create, yellow LED lighting accents throughout the vehicle and the iconic bat signal etched into the SXL’s HID headlights.
Green Lantern-inspired Soul
Based on the intergalactic peacekeeper known as Green Lantern, the Super Street magazine’s wide-body Soul shines with a green and black two-tone exterior paint scheme complete with green mirror-chrome tint on the windows. Super Street’s build team lowered the Soul to improve its stance and applied widened wheel wells with one-off 18 x 10.5-inch deep-dish wheels. Traditionally a four-door vehicle, the Soul’s back doors have been welded shut to streamline its appearance. Blacked out headlights feature projector beams that glow green. Customized Green Lantern-logo fog lights in the widened front fascia, and green LED lighting further enhance the overall appearance of the Soul — this machine is ready for anything, just like Green Lantern.
A custom rear cargo compartment houses the Green Lantern power battery with his signature lantern logo etched into a clear panel displaying the superhero’s oath lit by LEDs. The rear deck also holds a video monitor to display the “We Can Be Heroes” promotional video. Up front, the Soul’s steering wheel and front seats were reupholstered with green and black leather and includes the Green Lantern logo stitched into the seat backs. Other interior touches include various dash pieces painted in the green and black scheme.
Unfortunately, the best car (and the one that would have made me drag my butt to the auto show press preview) didn’t make it to Detroit: the Aquaman Rio.
Maybe next year.