QOTD: What's Your Favorite Type of Car Show?
Ever since I was a lad, [s]growing up[/s] [s]maturing[/s] getting older in a community of about 1,200 souls and 90 minutes from any sort of car dealership, I’ve been fascinated by cars. Grasping every copy of a car magazine that found its way into our rural mailbox with my grubby little hands, I’d read each one cover to cover until the pages fell out. I knew what each person in our town drove; when someone showed up with new wheels, I’d invariably appear in their driveway asking if I could look at it. That wouldn’t fly today. Good thing everyone knew each other.
Thanks to this dearth of youthful car-related entertainment, 30 years later I now find myself checking out every single car show I happen to find, quenching a long simmering thirst for cool wheels.
Some shows are organized to the nth degree: wait in line, pay the cover, and be herded into a dimly lit stadium like beef cattle for the privilege of seeing the same cars that were there last year. Others are vast, expansive outdoor affairs, stretching across lush grass fields dotted with colorful cars, looking for all the world like The Friendly Giant spilled his bag of Skittles.
Cars & Coffee is a new experience for me, particularly one where private owners show off supercars that cost several multiples what I paid for my house. The image above is from this past weekend at the duPont Registry in St. Pete, Florida. The mix of cars was an absolute riot: Lambo, Lambo, Ford GT, Ferrari, Lotus, Neon, Porsche … wait, what? Neon? Well, at least it’s a highly fettled SRT4.
That’s the thing: I don’t care what type of cars are at a show. If someone is enthusiastic about their ride, then that’s cool. Gold-plated investors who pay top dollar for a collector car, driving up the price for the rest of us, only to park the thing and hermetically seal it in a garage … not so much. The type of car doesn’t matter to me either. Domestic or import, it’s all attractive to me. And, yes, Tim, I do still care about horsepower.
Thinking of that, it was well into the ‘90s before one could count the number of import-brand cars on more than two hands. I’m serious. Up until then, the automotive landscape consisted of Cavaliers and Tempos, plus the scattered Grand Am. Trucks, which were as commonplace as white powder in a record producer’s office, were mostly battered examples from the Detroit Three. My father, naturally, drove a pea-green Renault Encore.
Y’know, if anyone had the temerity to suggest back then that two of the three manufacturers that provided 98 percent of the automobiles in our town would barely make it into the next century before wobbling into bankruptcy, they would’ve been laughed off the island. To suggest one of their saviors would be Italian probably would have earned a person an extended stay at The Waterford in our capital city. But that’s a QOTD for another time.
With all that in mind, what’s your favorite type of car show? Some sort of highly organized event full of high-priced exotics? A casual Sunday-morning gathering in an empty parking lot? Or something different?
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