Speed Racer (movie)
Detroit 2008: Take me to the river

A good way to bracket the Detroit auto show is to think in terms of hometown hero and most lowly and unloved visitor. The former has to be the 2009 Chevy Corvette ZR1, a 620-plus-horsepower Visigoth, a skull-cleaving barbarian wielding a carbon-fiber cudgel. The first six-figure Vette, the ZR1 (powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8) promises to leave just about any Ferrari or Lamborghini you care to name for dead. If this is the last incandescent blaze of doomed petrochemical optimism, it is nonetheless glorious. In tremulous counterpoint we find the Li Shi Guang Ming Tanghua, an Isetta-size mini-electric car shaped like a cream-filled doughnut. Tanghua is everything and anything the...