Ahh Car Shows, something for just about everyone.
The following days on the calendar (weather permitting of course) are sure to be filled with a litany of car meets, races and shows that range from the standard get-together of friends at a local parking lots (meets), to the more high profile and heavily sponsored events. The wide spectrum of choices means gear heads across the nation, from the newbie car enthusiast hitting up their first meet to the hard-core petrol-sexuals who’ve already had the next few months eagerly highlighted in anticipation since November, will be congregating together to show their appreciation for hot rides. Such an environment will bring with it a mix of people as well as a mix of cars. The following tips are a selection of Do’s and Do Not’s that, irrespective of which category you fall into will keep you from getting into trouble and ensure you get the most out of the experience.
DO – Check your ego at the door. Ok quick, repeat after me; ‘I am NOT Paul Walker, and I probably don’t own a lime-green Eclipse that will do the quarter mile in under 10 seconds’. Sounds funny right? You’d be surprised, than again maybe not; after all with the potent mixture of high testosterone, shiny rims and bragging rights to be proclaimed, all the combustible elements are present at most car-themed events to start some sort of conflict be it over rides or otherwise.
If you see two gents posted up together in a corner looking like these, just steer clear.
Do Not – Let your personal preferences stop you from seeing all the sick whips in one place. Be you an American classic car devotee or an Italian supercar connoisseur; if you’re heading to a car show take advantage of the fact that you have at your viewing disposal all sorts of goodies representing the various car fetishes out there. Make no mistake that there is a fetishistic element to being a car nut. Whereas one person may require the presence of the newest exotic supercar to make them feel sated, someone else may get off on that white Honda sitting on 16-inch rims (in white, of course). To each their own, but don’t let the opportunity pass you by to take in a little bit of everything. Putting aside the inherent cyclical nature of the automotive industry, you may soon see your favorite Japanese import pimping the style of American muscle cars as such borrowing of ideas is what makes the car culture so great.
DO – Take advantage of all the sponsors and vendors that will undoubtedly be set up if you’re attending a properly organized car show. Making connections at an event like this is practically required, and why not? Most will be offering discounts or great promotions, certainly an opportunity the average car enthusiast will want to take care of; as opposed to say, ordering online and paying costly shipping and handling charges or even sometimes buying off the shelf. In addition, events such as the Canadian International AutoShow or the like will no doubt have vendors and companies trying to sell their new innovations, something any self-respecting car nut will have to be at the forefront of. Why not indeed.
Who wants some giveaways? Giveaways rule!
Do Not – Spend too much time hanging out by the models. I don’t mean the newest and breathtaking Pagani Huayra set up on display for everyone to gawk at. I mean the Pagani girls, that um, have also been set up for everyone to gawk at. Fair enough, I know what you’re going to say; but riddle me this, everyone has seen the ‘amateur photographer’ who seems to be completely oblivious of the sick Ferrari FXX and is instead wearing out his trigger finger on every female within shooting radius. You don’t want to be that guy, trust me. I used to work with that guy and that weirdness doesn’t leave you as soon as the carbon fiber and painted calipers are out of sight.
Models? What models? Beautiful scantly clad women are all over the place at car shows!
DO – Educate yourself. Sounds simple enough right? Well it is, after all the whole notion of car shows and meets is built around the idea of sharing ideas and excitement. You are there in a proverbial Shangri-la of supercars and sexy tuner rides, take advantage of it! Find out what drives the other drivers, where they may seek inspiration from and use it to fuel your own passion. The good thing about being a gear head is there is no such thing as knowing everything, much like life there is a great deal to discover and in some cases even employ in your own automotive life. Put it this way, if you were to go to a wife-swapping party you could sample a little bit out of everything there is, but you may also end up going home with an venereal disease. There are absolutely no such concerns at a car show, and you most likely won’t have to try to explain to someone how trying the ‘rusted out’ look gave you crabs.
Do Not – Forget to wear comfy shoes. What? It’s good advice, you’re going to be doing a lot of walking and the last thing you want is blisters or calluses derailing your plans of seeing every single last thing on wheels.
The next generation of gear-heads are already past the teething stage. Sigh, they grow up so fast don’t they?
DO – Bring your family. I don’t understand why I don’t see more of this to be honest. Granted, car shows and meets typically are for the younger crowd but you can’t tell me taking the whole family crew to SEMA wouldn’t beat going to the Golden Griddle for brunch. As long as you’re not fighting off ‘amateur photographer’ guy from taking too many photos of your wife/sister/daughter, there’s not really much that could go wrong at these type of events. Just think you’ll also be helping the industry by helping to groom the next generation of event-goers. See? Circularity.
Words: Dan Mariathas
Photos: Giancarlo Pawelec, Mark Harris, Universal Studios, and Other.