The New York International Auto Show 2012 was a frenzy of activity during its opening press days Wednesday and Thursday as reporters from dozens of news organizations careened from press conference to press conference, trying to be everywhere at once, like a bunch of eight-year-olds in go-carts.

The different car companies all try to outdo each other in pageantry and presentation as they show off their offerings in the best possible light. For a car-lover, it can be a little overwhelming, Christmas for an eight-year-old.

The cars at the show run the gamut from the $1.8 million Bugatti Veyron supercar to the Terrafugia Transition flying car, from the new 2013 Nissan Altima to the 2014 Chevy Impala. Perhaps the best thing that the show does, though, is put on display the particular traits and quirks of design and performance that really differentiate the world's cars and carmakers.

BMW has its cars set up in orderly rows, showing off the newest in electric technologies, whereas Chrysler's and Fiat's cars are glitzy red and black, tessellated around each other seemingly at random. Mini wants to be the class clown, and so it hung a car from the ceiling. Rolls-Royce is having none of that and won't even let you anywhere near the cars.

The auto show will be open to the public from April 6-15, and there are some highlights that should not be missed. If you only have time to see three cars (but why would you go less than a full day anyway?) be sure to see the new Shelby 1000, new SRT 2013 Viper and the Terrafugia Transition flying-car. If you're pressed for time, you can probably skip the entire General Motors wing and not miss anything exciting.

Do plan to spend the day, though. The show, taking place at the Javits Center at 655 West 34th Street, is huge. With over forty manufacturers and hundreds of cars, the show sprawls through several halls.

Top 10 cars to see at the New York International Auto Show 2012:

1.       Shelby 1000

2.       2013 SRT Viper

3.       Terrafugia Transition flying car

4.       BMW M6

5.       Porsche 911

6.       Bugatti Veyron

7.       Bentley Mulsanne

8.       Range Rover Evoque

9.       McLaren MP4-12C

10.     Mercedes-Benz AMG SL65