Why You Should Attend Your Local Car Show

Why You Should Attend Your Local Car Show

If asked to define car culture, the answer will depend on the exact inclinations of the enthusiast being asked. Cars are all basically the same in their utilitarian foundation, but the range of emotions, affiliations and identities they harbour is truly staggering. This might be an overstatement to your average road user who will keenly point out the silver, gray and black homogeneity of automobiles of modern day. And the flash exhibits of exoticisms you see on the roads of wealthier neighbourhoods have little to do with car culture, and much to do with wealth. Oftentimes, woefully tasteless wealth.

Does that mean that there are no car enthusiasts on the roads today? Absolutely not. This just means that they don’t drive their prized possessions daily. Their automotive gems are tucked away in a garage under a canvas cover, while they drive their gray Japanese hybrid that gives them reasonable miles per gallon. You wear your work slacks to work, and your expensive suit to worthy events. Same with cars. They aren’t so heartless as to subject the well-oiled vintage engines and transmissions to merciless urban traffic.

But you do catch glimpses of the vintage, the heavily tuned, and the individualised on country roads and winding canyons, watching the enthusiast drive something they almost meditate in when driving. These are symptoms of a healthy car scene in your area, and if you are inclined to explore it, you’ll probably find a place and a time when they flock together and exchange notes and stories. It starts with a forum thread, then a Facebook group, followed by an impromptu event, which then gains enough momentum to become a fully-fledged local car show. You are likely to find it to be an eye-opening experience. Pristine American muscle from the golden era will sit right next to the legendary French and German hatchbacks that were the heart and soul of European motorsport in the late twentieth century. This will be topped off by the rarest of Japanese imports and the most insane modern tuning jobs, sporting obscene, completely unusable amounts of power and modifications that push the limits of what is road-legal.

But best of all, you’ll meet the people. These are not likely to be the swag-consumed hooners that you imagine them to be. At the very least, those will be in the minority. You’ll find dads with their sons presenting their restoration projects that are, as impeccable as they are, in the words of the owners, unfinished. People at local car shows keenly share stories of their purchase journeys, unexpected places they found parts and the kinds of characters they met along the way. You’ll learn more than you think from these people, and if you are looking to build your own project, you’ll be surprised by the flood of support you’ll get from the community. Truly, a car meet for enthusiasts is like gathering in the town square in medieval times. You take stock of the community, of the local identity and realize why it’s great to be part of it.