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Bill Raymond, chief engineer of the Ram program, talked with us about the Ram 1500 and Heavy Duty programs over the 3500-dually chassis display. He said that the two programs shared interior and other work, but that capability-related engineering tended to stay separate. The Ram 1500 Heavy Duty program was handled by the Ram 1500 team; its future at this point is unclear.
Bill Raymond said that the knob-controlled transmission was implemented as the most intuitive, easy-to-use way to control the electronic eight-speed; he personally got used to it almost immediately, and when they asked someone who had never driven one to move a Ram 1500 at the launch, it took moments for that person to find the knob, figure out how it worked, and use it naturally.
While the six-speed automatics on lower-end Rams is electronically controlled, it remains shifted by a mechanical linkage, and will keep the column shifter indefinitely. Raymond stepped around a question about whether the 4.7 liter V8 would continue (evidence is that it will not), but said that the six-speed would continue to be used on Rams such as Tradesman and Express.
Cobo Hall has parking inside, on the roof, and at private garages nearby, along with shuttle service from the Detroit Zoo and other locations; Cobo is also on the People Mover route. If you’re not coming first thing in the morning, the Zoo plus shuttle may be the best way in. The roof lot has reasonable prices (when available), while surrounding private lots are pricier ($10-15) but nowhere near New York standards ($50).
Parking is reasonable, food is not; try leaving the Hall for a local eatery. Ten dollars will buy a tuna sandwhich in poor condition, inside Cobo. The visible parts of the renovation are mainly in the downstairs atrium, which some visitors may not get to, and the main entrance; some of the washrooms have been redone and others are original, but all of them work well, other than not having hot water (on Monday, at least), and were clean. Overall, Cobo remains a far superior hall to New York’s Javits Center.
If you live in the area, go to the auto show. It is one of the grandest shows in the country and the facilities have been nicely upgraded.
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