As any person in the old car hobby can attest, car shows are a large part of the lifestyle. On any given weekend, most popularly on swampy, hot summer days, one can find and attend a nearby car show. Some of these shows are marque-specific, some are import-only, British-only or American-only, and some are exclusive of manufacture date (pre-1970, pre-1959, etc.). Add to that, you can also participate in cruise nights, club events, poker runs, time rallies, and so on.
The simple fact of the car show or event is that it brings people and their machines together. The car show enables regular people to bring attention to what they take pride in; this is their opportunity to shine, but also to talk with others like them about the cars they love.
You will see and hear the phrase “concours d’elegance” which translates from French to English as the “competition of elegance.” This is how these events began; they grew out of an aristocratic tradition from the days of horse-drawn carriages. Then, as now, people got together to show off their stuff and ogle other folk’s stuff.
Believe it or not, the first car show on record was held in New York City in 1900 at Madison Square Garden. The wild reality is that most of the marques in that show are now defunct, but then that is the case for a lot of the shows today. Think about it, the Pebble Beach event is a car show with a fairly large lineup of beautifully restored and exorbitantly-priced obsolete cars. Some of the cars at Pebble Beach will be auctioned for upwards of $5 million. It’s like Dr. Rene Belloq said in Raiders of the Lost Ark: “Look at this (watch). It’s worthless – ten dollars from a vendor in the street. But I take it, I bury it in the sand for a thousand years, it becomes priceless. Like the Ark.”…or like an obsolete car.
The car shows that I attend usually have cars that are worth no more than $100,000 and most probably reach an average of $25,000. When is that last time you went to a 401(k) retirement plan show? I ask this silly question to highlight the fact that car shows give people a chance to show off how they have invested their time and money – while other people may be making more or less on their retirement accounts, we crazy kids are spending it on new wheels and high lift cams.
As with the cars, the shows will either grow on you or they won’t. Some shows you will look on with fondness and attend every year; other shows, you will come to dread and never attend again. As a Pennsylvania resident, some of the shows that I enjoy attending and/or participating in are: Das Awkscht Fescht in Macungie, PA (this show showcases cars from pre-1900 on with a different, featured model every year), the Pennypacker Mills British Car Show in Schwenksville, PA (all British sports cars at the Governor Pennypacker estate), the New Hope Car Show in New Hope, PA, and the Buckingham Car Show in Holicong, PA.
If you are interested in attending a car show near you to participate with your own car or just to take a look around and experience it first-hand, the internet is your best bet for help finding a local show, try these sites:
Have fun! Be sure to share any favorites in the comments below.
Note: I took the accompanying photos at the 8th Annual Pennypacker Mills British Car Show sponsored by the Delaware Valley Classic MG chapter.