Spring and the 2024 car show season are just around the corner, so it is time for MyStarCollectorCar to issue our annual recommendations for a happy ending to your car show story.

We have attended thousands of car events over the years and witnessed first-hand why some shows hit home runs while others hit pop flies. We want to distill our observations down to five basic reasons for a successful show and share our findings with our MyStarCollectorCar readers.

As usual, there is no order of importance to our MyStarCollectorCar list because we believe overall car show success is the sum of its parts.

Our first observation is our long-held belief that volunteers are the foundation of a good show because they take care of the details behind its success. Volunteers are the unsung heroes at every show, and they donate their free time long before the actual show date. The basic mathematical rule of thumb is a generous number of good volunteers is directly proportional to a successful car show.

Our second observation is car shows that take place on the same weekend every year will build their events into a major attraction over the course of time. Conversely, shows that move around the calendar too much get demoted right back to rookie status in the car hobby every time they change the date.

Car guys like to plan ahead for car shows and will choose an annual event that falls on a consistent weekend every year because they want to showcase their vehicles at larger events and see other vehicles that are not from their community.   

Our third observation is car shows with heavy community buy-in have a big advantage over car shows with little or no community connections. Community involvement is clear to us whenever we attend a show because they take place on Main Street in smaller communities or on grass in larger communities.

Lack of community involvement is obvious when car shows are tucked away in an industrial parking lot in front of several concrete buildings, one of which is usually the host venue for the event. The overall building vibe is prison-lite and sucks the joy out of a car guy event-even if the free food is supplied by the host business.

Speaking of food, MyStarCollectorCar is a firm believer in the community angle behind a successful show, including an abundance of food services provided by local community clubs instead of commercial food trucks. We realize it is not always possible to sole-source community clubs as food providers at an event, but they are always a welcome sight at car shows for us here at MyStarCollectorCar. Consequently, community club food services are MyStarCollectorCar’s fourth addition to our car show success list.

Our fifth and final observation is the controversial question of new vehicles at car shows. We believe the answer is simple: include the newer rides and provide a separate section at the shows for them.

There is a younger generation of car guys and girls who like the new stuff and have invested heavily into new age rides. They are the 21st century hotrodders who will take the car hobby into the future and share the same basic values and interests as old school car guys.

They deserve a place of their own at a car show–just like the retro rides deserve a place of their own at shows.

BY: Jim Sutherland

Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section.