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Curiosities from the Detroit auto show (photos)

Beyond the flashing lights, throbbing subwoofers, and fog machines of the new cars, the Detroit auto show had plenty of curiosities.

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Stephen Shankland
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1 of 11 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Inverted Dodge Ram

After seeing a few dozen gleaming new cars at the North American International Auto Show, one's eyes begin to glaze over and it becomes harder for automakers to get the audience's attention. To tout its award for 2010 Motor Trend truck of the year, Dodge attached this mammoth pickup to the ceiling.

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2 of 11 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Hanging Jaguar skeleton

Heads up! Jaguar, too, left the confines of the show floor with this skeletal car looming overhead.
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3 of 11 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Ford Focus

Mounting exhibits above the show floor makes them easier to spot from far away in the cavernous Cobo Center in Detroit. Ford touted features of its new Ford Focus in part of a model attached to a pillar.
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4 of 11 Stephen Shankland/CNET

NAIAS EcoXperience

Deep within the bowels of Cobo Center was the EcoXperience, where people could ride around a track in various green-friendly vehicles. Have you ever viewed conifers, daffodils, babbling brooks, and waterfalls under fluorescent light before?
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Lexus visualization exercise

Lexus used this wireframe to show how the basics of its car technology fit within an actual vehicle.
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Ford factory robot

It's hard not to anthropomorphize robots, even ones as utilitarian as this Ford factory robot. The automaker had a pair on display, running through its paces of high-precision movements.
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Robot parade

When in doubt, promote your wares with a robot. This one walked slowly through Cobo Center. Some robots are easier to anthropomorphize than others.
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8 of 11 Stephen Shankland/CNET

General Motors engine exposed

Judging by the number of sliced open engines on display at the Detroit show, automakers consider this form of expression an art form. This one is General Motors' 2.0-liter I-4 VVT DI Turbo.
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9 of 11 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Skinny Tango commuter car

This image of Commuter Cars' Tango may look like a camera photo malfunction, but it really is that narrow--its 39-inch width makes it skinnier than a Honda Gold Wing motorcycle. The all-electric car can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4 seconds, the company said.

Disclosure:: Stephen Shankland's spouse is employed by Tesla Motors.

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10 of 11 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Zap Alias electric car

The Zap team's electric car, the Alias, gets up to 100 miles per charge and has a top speed of 75 mph and a distinctive three-wheel design. The car is an entrant in Progressive Automotive's X Prize competition for a car that can get at least 100 miles per gallon.

Disclosure:: Stephen Shankland's spouse is employed by Tesla Motors.

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11 of 11 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Daimler Smart car chassis

Daimler showed off its Smart car stripped down to its innards.

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