Car shows fall into a similar category as museums, in that; there are some rules that should be followed when displaying or attending. Most muscle car aficionados know exactly what this means, and the goal of this article is to have you pass this information on to someone you know, who may be less versed in proper car show etiquette. Come on, admit it, all of you know at least one individual who has poor personal boundaries at car shows.
Know and respect your boundaries: When you drive into a car show, pay special attention to where you park your vehicle. If a spot looks too narrow when passing by, it probably is, so there is no point in trying to shoehorn your 1970 Dodge Charger into that compact spot between the Cadillac Eldorado, and the Plymouth Satellite. Rather, circle the lot and wait for a more spacious parking spot, or do what many do; arrive early, and jump on prime real estate before the crowd.
Car shows are about the cars, not a personal fashion show, so be mindful of dangling chains and necklaces, chunky jewelry, bracelets, and gigantic watches, which look like you strapped a clock to your wrist.
Remember, you are going to be perusing, mingling, and small talking with many show-goers and not attending the Fall fashionista extravaganza. If you are anything like your Santa Ana Muscle Car Examiner, and you talk with your hands, the last thing you want to do is accidentally scratch someone’s pride and joy from flailing your arms over a debate over whether Chevy’s are better than Fords. We all know the answer to that questions, and let’s just say the winner is the Big M superseded by the pentagon.
Children and Pets: It is always a great idea to take a kid to car show. How else would our fair artistry ever persevere or thrive if we did not take the time to educate and expose our lineage to the wonderment of the muscle car culture. However, that notwithstanding; how many times have you gone to a car show, only to see a distracted parent allow his or her child to touch cars on display, as well as allow them to lean and frolic on display vehicles.
Your Santa Ana Muscle Car examiner was mortified at one event where a child was eating an ice cream bar, walking down rows of vehicles, randomly touching displayed cars and coating them with his filthy hands, dripping ice cream all over them. Where were the parents? Distracted, talking to passerbies and not monitoring the proxy etiquette of their children.
Many car shows have designated food and rest areas, which should be used exclusively for that purpose – food and rest. If you, your children, or pets are hungry, eat in the designated area first, and then go back out and enjoy the show. If you or your guests are tired, rest in a designated area before returning to the show. Please do not take a five minute time out by leaning against a show vehicle, or sitting on an attendee’s bumper, as that is in extremely poor taste. I bring this up, because I have seen an attendee do this before.
Quiet criticism: Remember everyone, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and show cars are an expression of art. Some might say that Michelangelo’s David, or Salvador Dali’s art is bizarre or offensive, or as I like to say, trans-mundane. However, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and if you do not like or appreciate an exhibiters’ vehicle; save the comments for after the show, as you never know if the owner might be standing right behind you.
A good case in point was a time yours truly was at a show and go, and the proud owner of a 1967 Camaro convertible drove into the show. It was a white with red stripe SS-350, or so it appeared. The car was wearing a set of modern Torque Thrust II wheels, with a ZL2 cold air induction hood, which raised the clone flag, and then the owner raised the hood, and all doubt was removed.
The car was a June; Los Angeles built 1967 Camaro that featured standard red interior, with Rally Sport trim, and a Powerglide 2-speed transmission. Conspicuous by its absence was the code 4P, which would indicate that the car in question was a factory SS-350.
Being a natural loudmouth, I blurted out to my friend, that the car was a nice factory RS, and a mediocre attempt at a tribute SS/RS-350. The owner just about jumped out of his skin insisting that he purchased the car from the original owner, and that it was a true SS. My first mistake was saying anything, and my next mistake was trying to educate him on proper identification after insulting him. The owner closed the hood, and sped off, almost hitting several pedestrians in the process.
The point here is, no matter what, keep criticism to yourself, or keep it constructive if anything. Carroll Shelby once stated that he built his cars for his taste, and no one had the right to judge them but him, and he was right. If you like it, then rock it like you own it.
Look with your eyes, not with your hands: If you have noticed, many exhibitors display a sign that states, “Look but please do not touch.” This should go without saying, as there is no reason to feel how smooth a paint job has been applied, or smudge windows with your face by peering in. There is often a reason that individuals either have tinted windows, or leave their windows up during a show, so please be respectful, and look from a distance.
Your Santa Ana Muscle Car Examiner has seen an individual who likes to kiss the drivers side window of cars they like, and would pass rows of cars, littering them with random kisses on the glass as though it were a pseudo trophy for the people’s choice award. Wrong! The correct and polite thing to do is to compliment the owner on his or her vehicle, and move on to the next. Trust me when I tell you, this works out much better than leaving a big fat smacker on someones freshly cleaned glass.
Well, that is it for now everyone. Please feel free to post your views on whether the information you have just read is accurate, or way off base. Also, feel free to drop a line if you feel there are other factors to consider in car show etiquette. Take care, and as we say, keep the shiny side up – until next time, happy motoring.