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The Worst of Car Shows

No one wants to think that they’re going to get things stolen out of their cars when they just want to show them, but it is the sort of thing that can happen. When dealerships have cars outside for display, they don’t leave anything outside that can be easily stolen. You’re probably not going to find anyone who will try to steal your actual car at a car show. Most car thieves are more savvy than that.

However, at least try to remember that they’ll still try to steal anything that they can run away with. Car thieves frequent car shows for that reason, since they know that they’ll probably be catering to a crowd of people that is trained to expect the best. It’s also not impossible to get your car stolen at car shows, either, especially at the end of the day when people are packing up to leave. Just don’t operate on the assumption that it will never happen to you. Use a parking brake and make sure it will never happen to you.

Now me personally, I’ve never had anything stolen at a car show. I have had my car scratched before, though. It wasn’t a serious scratch, but I still tend to try to stop people from touching the car unless I’ve spent at least two seconds vetting them and confirming that they’re not kids and they’re not obvious troublemakers. It’s not a foolproof system, but I haven’t had my car scratched again. Seriously, if an owner tells you not to touch the car, especially if he or she is polite about it, you’re probably not dealing with a curmudgeon. You’re just dealing with an owner who’s been burned over a car scratch.

Okay, this next one isn’t as bad as having your car burgled or scratched, but it’s still pretty annoying: people who won’t stop taking pictures in the most aggressive way possible. You wouldn’t think this would be such a big deal anymore thanks to the Internet. Can’t they just look at the pictures that appear online? No, it’s only gotten worse today. Everyone has a camera on their smartphones, and they figure that they can and should do anything to get a picture.

I mean, I love it when people take pictures of my car. If you’re literally elbowing people out of the way in order to get a good shot, though, you’ve officially gone too far. If you go further than that, then you need to be escorted off the premises. I’ll be around to do that personally. You’re a car enthusiast: you’re not working for the tabloids.

I love car shows enough that even getting all of this on the same day wouldn’t dissuade me from going to them all the time, whenever they were in town. However, I want to prepare people for what to expect from the very worst of all car shows. I also want to warn the people who engage in these sorts of behaviors that we’re on to you, and we know what to expect.

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Things To Keep in Mind When You’re Buying a Classic Car

I love classic cars as much as the next car enthusiast. They’re just so different from modern cars under the hood and on top of the hood. You won’t meet many car enthusiasts who don’t have a favorite era when it comes to classic cars or don’t have favorite specific cars in mind. If you’re a car enthusiast and you actually have the financial resources to acquire classic cars instead of just gazing at them admiringly at a car show, then I envy you. I’m also going to give you some important advice here and now.

For one thing, a lot of people are worried about the insurance premiums that they’re have to deal with when driving classic cars or owning classic cars. Classic cars were not built with modern safety standards, so it might stand to reason that the insurance rates for them are going to be higher. This is going to vary a lot, but insurance rates are actually pretty low for classic cars.

We don’t drive them all that often, unlike the minivan that you drive to work every day. We also tend to put more effort into maintaining them, in sharp contrast to the car whose oil hasn’t been changed for a while because you just keep putting it off, and you figure that the mechanics are just exaggerating about it anyway. I promise you that we’re not. However, you probably treat your classic car differently. One way or another, your insurance shouldn’t be too high, so you should be suspicious if that is not the case.

Your insurance rates aren’t the problem when it comes to classic cars: storage is the problem. Where are you going to park your beauty? My Dodge Charger has its own honored place in the garage. I’d shell out for a storage facility if I didn’t have the space. Do you have the space? Can you pay a storage facility? Can you afford to have an additional garage space installed and put together, not to mention maintained? These are all important questions to ask prior to buying your classic car, as much as you might love it.

You should also make sure that you know how to work on it or maintain it, or that you know a mechanic who can do it for you. I can tell you that some younger mechanics just don’t have a lot of experience on anything made before 1970, and 1970 is an ancient date for some of them. There are mechanics that more or less specialize in classic cars, and you should find one of us.

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The Right Car Show Attitude

I like to think of car shows as a bonding experience. We’re all there to share in our love of these fine machines. We want to appreciate the cars of others, and we want to learn about them. We’re not just interested in the ride. We want to learn about the specs.

Car shows are educational. They’re not just visual. I think going to car shows all these years has been a huge part of my education as an auto mechanic in fact, and I would have loved to go to more of these in trade school.

Car shows shouldn’t just be competitive. The competitive part is just for fun, like trivia quizzes at fan conventions. We’re all car enthusiasts together, and we’re not trying to have fun at the expense of others. I think drivers in general get too competitive these days. We’re always trying to race each other on the road at one level, even though the public roads with lots of other cars are pretty much the worst places to race.

If you’re really competitive and you love cars, stick to NASCAR. I love NASCAR too, but car shows are different. They’re not about watching your opponents crash. You want them and their cars to be okay and you want everyone to have a good time.

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Don’t Invest in a Classic Car: Love It


A classic car is not a wise financial investment. If you’re getting the car because you love it, great. If I ever had the money, you bet that I would have a garage full of cars like these, and I would be working on them all the time in order to bring them into the next century. However, you can’t count on them becoming steadily more valuable over the course of this century. A car is not a mutual fund.

The value of almost any good is based on what someone else is willing to pay for it. It’s possible that you’ll find someone in fifty years who wants to buy your classic car for exponentially more money. However, you will probably be selling the car at a loss even then, thanks to the powers of inflation. Financial investments can correct for those awesome inflation powers. Investments in goods really do not work that way.

Keeping in mind the fact that lots of people have bought classic cars and treated them like investments instead of prized possessions, it shouldn’t surprise you that a lot of people are going to try to scam you when you’re in the market for a cool new classic car. In fact, if you’re trying to sell your classic car and turn a profit at one point, this may be the sort of tactic that you will have to resort to if you’re not careful.

You should know the market value of the car that you want to purchase going in, or you are going to end up with a car that is way too expensive. Unless you really want the car so much that you’re willing to pay ten times what it’s worth in some cases, you need to do all of your homework.

Honestly, speaking as an auto mechanic, I say that you should get the classic car that’s falling apart, and then take it to a mechanic who loves old cars and knows old cars like the back of his or her hand. They’ll give you the resale value that you want, if that is what you want. They can also give you the car that you want, and that should be more important to you if you are getting a classic car in the first place. There are better investments out there than classic cars. As for possessions, though, it is really hard to beat a classic car.

Naturally, the biggest cost involving classic cars is the cost of the acquisition in the first place. The dealers or the original owners know that they have to make each and every sale count, and you better believe that they’re going to try to exploit each and every sale for all that it is worth. As a mechanic, all that I can say is that you’re better off spending a comparatively small amount of money here, and then paying your trusty auto mechanic to restore the car to its former glory. You’ll be that much more likely to get the car that you really want, and you will be less likely to ultimately operate at a loss.

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What Not to Do At Car Shows

I’m going to level with you: I love car shows. I go to as many car shows as I can. I’ve managed to win prizes at car shows before. I believe that my car show etiquette is above reproach. Sure, so do most people, but lots of people don’t even know that there really is such a thing as car show etiquette. They think that anything goes at car shows, and I want to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth.

Sure, the owners of the cars might not actually say how much they hate you, but I promise that if you do any of what I’m about to describe, they do hate you. They probably hate whomever you came with, too, especially the kids that you let crawl all over their cars.

That brings me to my first point: it’s okay to bring your kids to car shows. I like kids. Lots of car lovers like kids. Getting your kids interested in cars early in life is cool, since they’re all going to be driving later in life and it’s good if they get interested enough to work on their own cars someday, especially daughters. We need more woman car fans.

However, if your kids are crawling on owners’ cars, or worse, defacing them in some way, you really shouldn’t be upset when the owners tell them to leave. You also shouldn’t start arguments with the car owners about the rights of children in public spaces and whether there are things that children just ‘need’ to do in order to express their individuality. I don’t understand why your kid’s intellectual development hinges on scratching my car. I guarantee that no other car owner will either, including the parents.

My next point is really different, but I still have to make it. We all go to car shows hoping to see the coolest car, but the concept of the coolest car is going to vary from one person to the next. We can all agree that some cars are more expensive than others, though, and you should really keep that in mind before you decide to bring your Mercedes to a car show that is full of much less expensive cars. If your car is going to make the rest of us look good, bring it. If it will make the rest of us look bad, don’t.

There are plenty of car shows for luxury cars: show your car there and don’t try to upstage my Dodge Charger, which is a luxury car to me, anyway.

By the way, as much as I love my Dodge Charger, I don’t talk about how it’s better than every other car on the planet. I mean, that would be rude. I also don’t want to leave myself open to the inevitable criticism from someone who is convinced that he or she has a much better car than me. I’m trying to set a good example for other car show participants, because this sort of behavior is everywhere at car shows.

You have people who won’t stop talking about how great their cars are, and they don’t care about appreciating anyone else’s. You wonder why they’re even at a car show at all. They should just be home polishing their own cars until the finish starts to wear off and they need a re-spray. I think we should all encourage them to do just that.

It’s no secret that car shows have a tendency to attract people, especially men, who are really macho and really obnoxious. With no disrespect to Texas, we get a whole lot of that in this state. If you’re revving your engine a lot and trying to look as cool as possible and dressing like the Fonz, you’re a poseur. People will see you that way. Not everyone at the show is going to be young. Some of us got out of this phase a long time ago. Some of us also know that the Fonz is a pretty dated character now, too. Keep that in mind, and you’ll probably want to be as conventional as the rest of us.

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