This was a bumper Detroit motor show, despite all the concerns over Motown's impending financial meltdown, and one that held fascination for everyone, whether you were the most dyed-in-the-wool lover of the traditional Yankee brands, or a confirmed Europhile.
The Germans, Japanese and Koreans were there in force with products of global significance, and Ford had an all-new replacement for its vital F150, America's best-selling truck for 37 years and the third best-selling vehicle on the planet
Most of all, Detroit 2013 had Mary Barra, the new GM CEO-designate, first-ever female chief of an American car giant and a notably efficient, emollient replacement for the austere Dan Akerson. Barra stepped out on Sunday night to launch the GMC Canyon pick-up into a media storm that immediately cast her in the role of superstar.
So great was the media's collective determination to get close to the 52-year old former product chief, a GM "lifer" who joined as an intern in 1980, that reporters and cameramen climbed on cars and fought one another in what USA Today described as "one of the most furious scrums at an auto show news conference in a long time".
The fact that the Canyon (and its sister product, Chevy Colorado) represented the beginning of an avowed "GM product onslaught" or the return of GM to a neglected class was completely lost in the melee. So was the new Mercedes-Benz C-class, a well-received Three-Pointed staple whose Sunday night reveal clashed with GM's fun and games.
Coupés and sporty cars abounded. Toyota's FT-1 coupé was a little over-decorated, but its proportions were exciting enough for everyone to hope it was heading for the big-time as a replacement for the much-missed Supra, as well as a big brother for the super-successful GT86.
BMW staged a world debut for the 2-series, which looked just as enticing previously as the 1-series coupé. Audi had another of its Shooting Brake concepts, strongly tipped to foreshadow the debut of the new TT at Geneva in six weeks' time (just as another Shooting Brake concept did back in the mid-Noughties) and Kia - once again - grabbed all eyes with its original, slightly outlandish but thoroughly believable Stinger coupé concept, particularly interesting for its rear-drive layout and its 315bhp from a 2.0-litre turbo engine.
The biggest American news was always going to be the F150: someone revealed that if you could have stood the year's 763,402 sales end to end, they'd have reached from Los Angeles to New York. Most important move was the model's eye-catching switch to an aluminium outer body (the all-new ladder chassis is still steel) a move that saves up to 320kg.
This in turn has allowed the adoption of a 2.7-litre EcoBoost V6 engine, described as having the performance and towing ability of a mid-range V8. The normally aspirated 6.2-litre range-topping V8 is dropped, and the Ford's increasingly popular 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 becomes the top performance engine.
Chrysler's new 200 saloon, a decent-looking Ford Focus challenger with Alfa Giulietta bits hiding underneath, seemed to get a better reception from European reporters than Americans. It seems the ultimate expression so far of Fiat chief Marchionne's determination to find synergies between the two companies which Daimler (Chrysler's former suitor) never managed. Production starts in a year's time, and dealers are reputed to have high hopes.
In all it was a lively and optimistic show, with US car sales already back to pre-recession levels and America's Society of Auto Analysts issuing bullish market predictions for the next few years. Most of all, it was a show GM and its new chief, Mary Barra, will never forget.