The coming year looks to be huge for national car shows. After the lack of events caused by the global pandemic, a full calendar is rolling out across the US. But if it is your first time at a show, do you know what to expect?
For those showing or spectating, we can help. Read on as we tell you how to search for “Car show near me” and what to expect when you arrive. Check out our calendar for our upcoming car shows.
Types of Car Shows
Car shows can generally be classified under four main headings.
Classic Car Shows
These are the events where the old-timers come out to play. The classic cars in the show may be uncategorized, or they may be themed by manufacturer, model, or date. One thing you can be guaranteed is that these will be cars you rarely see on the road.
Some of the cars may even be customs, with exciting modifications. Awards will be offered with individuals, teams, and garages competing. The Gassers car show, for example, is a celebration of vintage speed that we have at the Zimmerman every year. You can see the highlights in the video below.
Cruise-In shows are more relaxed, participants have more freedom to come and go throughout the day, and are open to all classic, vintage, and custom automobiles. In a Cruise-In, there are no prizes or special car categories, and no awards handed out to participants. The Zimmerman Automobile Driving Museum has hosted several Cruise-Ins in the past and people love them.
These festivals are designed so car enthusiasts who are not professional racers can try their hand on the circuit. Different types of races may have certain specifications, such as engines sizes or requiring particular models. Races may or may not give out prizes.
In some cases, you may even find professional drivers taking part. This is often to put on a show and attract visitors. Track days would also fall under this category, where certain tracks are open for the public to drive their cars without racing.
Automotive Trade Shows
Automotive trade shows focus on the future of car innovation. They are for manufacturers to show off the direction their lines are taking. While they seldom show classic cars, they are interesting for a number of other reasons.
Generally, there will be concept cars on show. These are used to test technology and push the boundaries of what industry can achieve. As concept cars are rarely put into production, it could be your only chance to see them.
Where Can I Find a Car Show?
It would be very surprising if there were no car shows in your local area. It all depends on the type you want to visit. Local collectors and body shops may be able to tell you where and when the smaller local shows occur. You can Google search “Car shows near me” and you will get a few results. You can also search SoCalCarCulture.com for Southern California shows or Car Show Safari for nationwide car shows.
The beauty of these events is that you can drop in and leave easily. While they may not have the rarest cars, they will have the most relaxed atmosphere.
For the rarest vehicles, you should visit one of the top-level shows. These can be found in places like a Concours D’Elegance at Pebble Beach in California, Concours of America in Michigan, and other states at various times. Ticket prices can be astronomically high, but you need to visit one at least once in your life just for the experience.
The bigger shows attract the most competition. Excellently restored automobiles will be on show and auctions will fetch record prices.
What Do I Bring to a Car Show?
If you are just going to a car event as a spectator, then you need to bring very little. Food and drink will most probably be available, so you can just bring money for refreshments. If it is outdoor, then you may need to take weather-appropriate clothing.
One thing you should not forget is a camera. If you have a smartphone or professional kit, you will get some great snaps. When you do have your own camera equipment check with the organizers as they may have official photographers or you could require a press pass at bigger events.
When you have a car you want to show, then you may need a few more items. The organizers will probably tell you what practical items to bring, such as chairs and small tables. If you don’t want to spend money on food at the event then snacks and water are a good addition.
For the car itself, take anything that will keep it clean and sparkling. If you are at a race, you will need a toolkit and any mechanical items for tuning and fixing.
Finally, some people make small placards and notices. These may be about the car’s history, where it was found, and how it was restored. Though optional, they add a lot of enjoyment for people passing by.
When attending a classic cars show with prizes, it can help to know what the cars are being judged on. While there may be differences, most shows have the same principles. This involves grading the car out of a 100 point score.
These 100 points are broken down into subcategories. Exterior, interior, mechanical, and suspension quality are all worth 15 points along with cleanliness. The display is worth 5 points, with the overall concept being worth the most at 20 points.
Tips for Attending
The main etiquette tip when attending a festival is to be conscientious of dangling keys or purses which may mark the finish on a show car. The owners put a lot of time, money, and effort into their vehicles.
By all means, take your children, but set boundaries. You shouldn’t touch a car and your children shouldn’t either. Unless an owner invites you to, then stick to a looking-only policy.
It also stands to reason that not every modification or color scheme will be to your tastes. Even when faced with a car you don’t like, be respectful to the people who have worked hard to restore and maintain it. For extra fun, dress in the era of your favorite vehicles.
Car Museums Near Me
Doing a quick Google search for “Car Shows Near Me” will bring up a host of local events. Keep in mind the car museums around the country that also house classics. They will let you see automotive history at any time of year.
The Zimmerman Automobile Driving Museum is a great place to start. Situated close to LAX Airport, we have a great venue filled with classics. Contact us here to book a visit or hire our museum for your next event.