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International Auto Show getting into gear

Chris Dorst
Workers use a crane to lift a 1970 Ford Mustang onto the second level of the Charleston Civic Center on Wednesday afternoon. The classic car exhibit will be part of the West Virginia International Auto Show this weekend (Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.).
Chris Dorst
Car detailer Matt Ritter (right) watches Bert Wolfe salesman Jasper Elberink drive a new Audi convertible through the doorway to the Civic Center's coliseum.
Chris Dorst
Joseph Welch cleans a vehicle in the Moses BMW exhibit in preparation for this weekend's Auto Show.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Mustang pool table was already inside the Charleston Civic Center on Wednesday. The table features a pool table, topped with black velvet -- on top of the lower half of a red Ford Mustang. The West Virginia International Auto Show, coming up this weekend at the Civic Center, will feature many vehicles actually intended to be on the road. Jasper Elberink, a sales accountant with Bert Wolfe Ford, was setting up a display of new Audis that have a wide variety of new features and safety devices."Sensors in the wheels help drivers handle cars on snowy or dry roads," Elberink said. "And if you cross the central line on a road, a camera will make your steering wheel vibrate."When they inflate, airbags could break your nose," Elberink said. "We have two-stage airbags, with sensors that know how severely a car is hit." Cars being displayed are manufactured by companies including General Motors, Ford, Audi, Honda, Toyota, Subaru and Nissan. Car clubs also bring in classic Corvettes, Thunderbirds and other vehicles made long ago.The annual West Virginia International Auto Show is setting up its impressive exhibits, including up to 500 cars, ranging from new models that have not been released -- including a 2014 Malibu and 2014 Silverado -- to classic older cars.
It will be open to the public at the Charleston Civic Center between Friday and Sunday.Ruth Lemmon, president of the West Virginia Automobile & Truck Dealers Association, was walking around the Civic Center on Wednesday, watching workers set up the exhibits."This is the year we will have so much electronics. It is so exciting. New technology will promote safety and provide entertainment," Lemmon said. "Cars are so much smarter than people today," she said.New safety features include inflatable seat belts for back seats and sensors that slow cars down when they get too close to other vehicles on the road, and determine when a driver might be nodding off to sleep, Lemmon said."We are lucky to have this auto show," Lemmon said. "We don't have the biggest population in Charleston. But we always have a wonderful attendance. People come in from cities like Columbus, Pittsburgh, Morgantown and Fairmont."The show will be open at the Charleston Civic Center from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Tickets will cost $8 for most visitors, $6 for senior citizens over 62, $5 for children between 7 and 12, and free for children 6 and under. On Sunday, all children under 12 are admitted free.Reach Paul J. Nyden at or 304-348-5164.
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