AUG 3, 2009: Cars shows-have we crossed the line on what qualifies?



I’ve attended thousands of “old” car shows over the years and the key word every time was “old”.


‘In the last 7 years I’ve seen things like brand new Chevy trucks taking up prime time space at classic car shows.

This is wrong.’


What kind of twisted logic allows a brand new truck to qualify for a show when some poor schmoe who put thousands of unpaid hours into his ‘57 Ford has to park away from the show in a dusty parking lot?



This is the greed factor at work-organizers are revenue driven so there’s a threat to cash flow with something like a weather issue just before the show. Most old car owners are reluctant to take the risk of driving their babies through a convertible top shredding hailstorm-that’s a reality.


So Mr. Show Organizer is faced with the prospect of bleeding cash faster than General Motors without tax money transfusions or….


he lets in anything on 4 wheels with cash for the registration fee.


That’s a huge mistake and lethally short sighted. I know of one show that takes place in a small town of 5000 people that routinely brought hundreds of cars and tens of thousands of dollars into the community. They had a few bad weather weekends over the years and suddenly you saw a shift in the philosophy when a side street was dedicated to newer mini-trucks and cars-with obscenely loud sound systems.


The peaceful family affair was turned into a cheap carnival overnight with moronic, pounding crap loosely called music dominating the show. This was a jarring experience on a formerly peaceful summer day that used to be a benign, positive celebration of the car-not the latest in hi-tech audio torture.


The punk-ass attitude came with this new car show phenomena- hats were turned around or tipped to the side like Gomer Pyle’s at the gas station in Mayberry and suddenly we lost a car show and gained a hip-hop Woodstock.


Needless to say the show is now a fraction of the size and the revenue dipped to catastrophic levels-turns out the “hats worn funny” guys with the hellish music turned up to 120 decibels don’t like to spend money on restaurants. Or hotels. The best they can do for the local economy is pick up a case of beer for the trip home.


The guys that used to go to this event set up show and shines closer to home where the greed factor wasn’t an imperative. Something was lost at that point because the show in the small town was always unique-the town was full of old main street buildings that readily lent themselves to that trip down memory lane.




It’s getting worse with current shows. I don’t care if you worked ten jobs and every holiday to pay for it-you still have a brand new Mustang, not a Boss 302 . You don’t even have a notchback ’66 Mustang with a 3- speed manual and a 6-cylinder motor.



You’re not part of this world.



What you’re part of is the new car world and they have shows every day of every week-they’re called dealer’s lots.  I know I speak for every car owner in the free world when I ask for a hard-line adherence to the 25-year rule. In other words bring that 2009 Mustang back in 2034-until then leave it in the dusty parking lot outside the show because you haven’t paid any old car dues. You’ve simply taken on monthly payments for a soulless clone made out of 90% plastic. That hardly qualifies as earth shaking and it definitely leaves you outside the fence in old car world.


It’s an unarmed fence so far but don’t be surprised if somebody snaps at some point and unloads a few rounds of 12-gauge buckshot into a Honda with a brutally loud sound system at a so-called old car show. 



Jerry Sutherland