Are New Cars Ruining Old Car Shows?

The warmth of the sun felt good on the back of my neck as I joined several old friends who had gathered in the grassy area next to the parking lot where our classic cars were on display. A warm weekend in Minnesota in late September tends to bring everyone out, as does the knowledge there were not too many of theses events left for the season.

Turnout was good, with over 200 cars filling the car show lot, but a quick scan also revealed more than half were built within the last 15 years. I suppose I should have been tipped off to this when we pulled into the lot and the event organizer instructed me to park on the other end of the lot as they were saving this area for MoPar’s… I scratched my head (driving the DeSoto, thinking to myself, “This is a MoPar”). What I didn’t realize is that she meant new MoPars, and soon a large section of the lot was full of newer Challengers, Chargers, Durangos, and Jeeps. While the event was promoted as an American-made event, there was no restriction on years, and they had every right to enjoy the event as much as others.

As we sat in the early morning sun, taking in the array of cars entering the event and enjoying a warm cup of coffee, it didn’t take long before someone in our group remarked, “I think these new cars are ruining old cars shows!” It’s funny how sometimes a single statement can bring back plenty of memories of those who have echoed such concerns in the past. Having been around long enough, I can even recall an old car show where Model A owners had to take a backseat to Model T owners. Over the years, nearly every car has had its place in the hot seat and been shunned by the wider car community, from ’50s to ’60s to ’70s to ’80s and beyond.

I recalled reading an editorial from nearly a decade earlier by Jim Sutherland, who voiced concerns over the onslaught of new sport trucks attending old car shows, in which he wrote: “What kind of twisted logic allows a post-millennium car or a brand new truck to qualify for a car show when some poor schmo who put thousands of unpaid hours into his ’57 Ford has to park away from the show in a dusty parking lot?… I know I speak for every car owner in the free world when I ask for a hard-line adherence to the 25-year rule. In other words, bring that 2009 Mustang back in 2034. Until then, leave it in the dusty parking lot outside the show because you haven’t paid any old car dues. You’ve simply taken on monthly payments for a soulless clone made out of 90 percent plastic. That hardly qualifies as earth-shaking (although the sound system might), and it leaves you outside the fence in the ‘real’ old car world.”

Although written over a decade ago, I was surprised by the number in our group that would make these same claims today. The conversation in our crusty group of car guys became more colorful as we discussed the merits of these newcomers to the hobby, leaving one old gray beard to remark, “Those guys in the new car world have car shows every day of the week… They’re called new car dealerships.” I smiled and reminded them it wasn’t so long ago that many of them lamented the same sentiments in regards to Rat Rods, Sport Trucks, Tuners, or even obnoxiously loud audio systems.

As we discussed the merits of different cars, eras, and fads, we acknowledged that the youthful car enthusiast will always find a way to participate in the car hobby. While the path they choose may be different than our own, if we do not support and encourage them, our hobby will cease. Then there will be no one left with an appreciation for our classic cars, much less a willingness to buy them when we decide to let them go. We concluded our discussion by vowing to go spend some time checking out what these young enthusiasts had done to personalize their rides and to gain a better understanding of the challenges they face. Ultimately, there is a place in the hobby for everyone, and there are still plenty of car events that are geared toward the 25-plus-year-old cars too.

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86 Responses to “Are New Cars Ruining Old Car Shows?”

  1. Mick

    People in the comments section complain of new cars attending shows that aren’t 25 years old yet they hark back to the 80’s and 90’s with their Plymouth duster etc that also wasn’t 25 years old at the time they were shown or adorning the cover of Street Machine or Hot rod and Custom, Custom car etc. Many of us would love to get our hands on old american tin but markets and greed have driven the prices way out of the ball park for the average restorer/customiser. Personally I am glad the days of “customised” furry interiors, jack up kits and lethal modifications are over. As motor enthusiasts we are all facing the biggest upturn in the history of the motor vehicle since the inception of the internal combustion engine and as such we should be pulling together without prejudice as in the next 10-15 years the majority of us will be priced off the road unless we can afford an electric vehicle.

  2. John Pearson

    I showed up to a show a few years ago with a 99 BMW M3. I distinctly remember the lady at the entrance to the grassy field where we were parking mutter, “That’s not a classic car.” Over the course of the show, a significant number of people between the age of 15 and 30 walked up and said that it was the coolest car in the show.
    I was just pleased to not see another 50-70s American car, which is the only type of car that seems to show up to local shows. For me, 80s-90s cars are the coolest ever made and I am stoked to see events like, Radwood, pick up momentum. There is definitely room at most car shows for all generation cars, just understand that different generations of people have different interests.

    • Edeen

      I prefer the classics when going to a car show.
      I understand why the new cars want to show off though, those things will be in the junk yards soon anyways so they better show off while they have a chance.
      When people say “Any car should be allowed”, does that mean even the most every day basic ones like bone stock Corollas?
      That would be as exciting as going to a gentleman’s club and most of the entertainers are frumpy out of shape Walmart women in their pajamas. But SOMEbody likes them, right?

      Also, you don’t have to go to a car show or even a dealer to see a newer charger. Just look in your rear view mirror, there is probably one tailgating right now. The “car show” comes to you now.

  3. Raymond Clark

    Those showing old cars isn’t the Sam either.
    Years ago I stumbled into a VW show, figured I’d run into some of my old customers but found none of these did their own work and bragged who did the engine, seats and detailing :(

  4. Mike

    I use to feel the same way, Classic car shows are for older cars. I have restored/modified more old fords than I can remember. Life catches up on those of us over 60 and a couple hours of driving a 65 mustang feels like sitting on a park bench all day. I drove a Roush 2012 mustang and was hooked, power and comfort. For myself it’s always been about driving my cars more so than sitting at a show. I would feel a bit uncomfortable bringing a newer muscle car to a show but that’s just me. Remember when car shows were a sea of model T Model A and lead sleds, I’ll bet those guys didn’t appreciate my “only 10 year old “ 68 mustang GT. If car shows don’t allow the newer stuff in, the hobby will be just as dead as all those model T guys.

    • sillasims

      The younger cars can absolutely be shown at a show that will not detract from the older machines. I think car shows should be era-specific: older than 25 years old. I am sure there are countless shows that will encompass the younger cars as well.

  5. Trevor Flock

    I think the issue is most classic car shows is they have the same cars year after year, the new car shows do at least have different vehicle showing the newer models, personally I would rather see both so you can see how vehicles have developed over many years.

  6. Ivan Sola

    I kind of agree…im not really into new wave plasticars..ours have lasted generations(72 400 bird)..theirs prob wont last 10..i also believe alot of classics are going to horders here and overseas..wich makes for slim pickins ….but hey..ive got mine…they got theirs and in the end..we all love our cars

  7. Doug

    Us old car guys are aging..and dying. We loved the old muscle. You wanted a bad ass car you built the motor and learned to fix the body and custom paint. The new car guys do nothing with interior or paint. Boring cars

  8. David Baker

    My thoughts are all cars should be represented at car shows. It is the responsibility of the car show organizer to set up classes so that a 69 camaro is not being judged up against a 2018 Challenger. We have to embrace modern muscle or our hobby will die. Every year there are fewer and fewer classic cars available to restore.

  9. Roger Turner

    I agree with many of the above comments and have been likewise frustrated at times with the number of late model/new vehicles at :classic car : shows. I think a lot of issues and frustrations could be eliminated if the folks running the shows would put more thought into setting up classes for better definition of what vehicle goes into what class. I have had my car put into the wrong class many times because there was no defined class for a restomod 1942 Ford. Another sore point with me is judging. Many shows have a hard time finding qualified judges and I understand that, but they need to realize judging is very important. Real car guys recognize when a car is misjudged and it puts a sour taste in their mouth. Two of the large shows in my area have a reputation for biased/bad judging. I still enjoy these shows because I can visit with friends and strangers alike about what we all like, CARS.

  10. Dan Jackson

    I believe that the new cars should not be allowed only classic cars that they have worked on themselves and customized it is an expensive hobby but every dollar I put in my 1971 GMC short bed step side that’s taken me a little over 11years to restore from the ground up deserves its proper place in the show with other cars and trucks of the same type of years early models to Im thinking probably the early fifty years to possibly 1985 now with me being 53 myself in about one more month

  11. Jeff Bassett

    I bought my 65 Mustang Fastback 2+2 back in Oct 78 when I was 18 yrs old. My original intent was drag racing but after a few yrs. I parked the Mustang only to start a ground-up restoration in 83. I finished my car in 87 and started going to cruise nights & car shows. Over the years I went to countless events and won too many awards to remember. Over that time I’ve seen big changes in how these events are run and who are allowed in. I use to belong to a large Mustang club here in New England and back in the day 80/85% of the Mustangs at shows were 1st generation (64.5-73) & Mustang II’s. Then the newer Mustangs started taking over and we were relegated to the back of the show field while the newer cars were up front. Even the points program was taken over with very few “older” cars in the standings. Eventually I quit the club because they didn’t care about us older cars.

    I agree that without the youth our hobby will die along with us but without the old classics there would be no car hobby! I totally understand that the today’s youth don’t have the money to buy classics and they are into the cars they grew up with. Frankly I feel that car events should allow some newer cars but should be limited to customized/modified vehicles or special interest models. This way a guy or gal with a “real” classics can attend and not be relegated to a dusty parking field or on the side of the road.

  12. robert kurmis

    I would take this one step farther. When I started showing seriously back in 1981, I would say that 95% of the cars were restored by the owner. Maybe they had a body shop do the paint, or had the upholstery done by a pro but the majority of the work was done by the owner. Fast forward to today and you will be lucky to find maybe 30% of the cars at a show built by the owner. Its sad. For me it was and will always be about the build. Guys like me that show have to go against a guy that did nothing but write out the check and most have no clue about whats in there car. I would rather see a kid in a 78 Nova with a do it yourself paint job, then some 6 figure car owned by some clueless moron that has never turned a wrench a day in his life.

  13. john

    It has bothered me from day one, especially after I restored a car there was only 210 made and taking over 9 years to do, and having new Corvette, Mustang, Charger and Challenger owners snubbing my efforts and looking down at my car just because it did not cost as much as theirs did. They have no idea of the actual cash and labor, which I put in, to make or made the car look new again therefore, I should not even dare to talk to them or even share the same show space with their brand new production line made car. Of late, I see more and more truly classic cars not being allowed into a car show, big or small, because of the lack parking space because of all these new cars being driven from a persons place of work directly to the show while the older restored car owner must go home, after work, uncover or get their car out of a garage and then go to the show which makes them get there later than the new car owner does. There is a place to go look at new cars and that is a new car dealership show room. My wife, about 10 years ago, made an observation at a car show I will never forget, as we walked by a line or row of there “New Era Show Cars” all of which were the same make and model with about a 3 year spread in model years. Their hoods were all open and she made a very astute observation: “The only difference I see in these cars are the different colors of the fluids in their windshield washer fluids and antifreeze.”. Like her, I would rater see different makes, models, styles and years of restored older cars that a gaggle of new cars of that are almost showroom new which owners merely laid a bunch of cash down for and drove them right off the show room floor to the car show meant for antique or classic cars. In closing, this is only my wife’s and my opinion and I would love to here some type of logical rebuttal to this observation.

  14. dave

    Yep around here old guys with new corvettes park and open their hoods like we want to see the engine. WHY

  15. Robert Remillard

    I read this article with interest a friend and I were at a show and had the same discussion I purchased a 1959 Chevy Impala sport sedan in1992 and it was a rust bucket. I worked on it and was completed July of 2016. I get tons of complements at this and other showers I see a lot of new cars and somehow they walk away with top trophies which sparked the conversation with my friend who turned and said I don’t understand how a car like yours which has been brought back from the dead has thousands of dollars and hours invested can get beat out by a car picked up at a dealership. So I simply said I’m not looking for a trophy I’m looking at the people who look at my car and wish they had one.

  16. Michael Grentus

    I see the new cars almost every day on the street, if a show is advertised as a classic/old car show that is what I am going to see, not new cars.

  17. Glen Nettles

    I agree, I have a 1970 Duster that I spend countless hours working on but, I also have a 2014 challenger that I special order 1 of 3 built. I have also spent countless hours working on it. Now I didn’t have to do any body work. But, I really dug into the engine compartment and some suspension mods etc. In 2016 I was working the Good guys show in Nashville where they have the American Sunday show for the newer cars. I received a award for my challenger. Trust me I was icer the moon with appreciation. I still love the classic cars but, today’s muscle cars are truly amazing. But, the sound of a big cam and headers still makes my heart skip a beat. The hobby has to stay alive and grow. I have to go now I’m putting on new aluminum heads on my Duster….

  18. Gary

    If we want younger generations to continue loving and showing cars, we can’t chase them away just because we don’t like what they like. And you don’t want to have separate shows for old and newer cars, because that mix gives you the opportunity to get the youngsters to appreciate the old stuff too. You’re not going to live forever – you need youngsters to like your old car enough to keep it around long after you’re gone. I prefer shows where they don’t segregate vehicles at all – the ones where they just park them as they arrive so that there are no boundaries. That gets more people to walk by more types of rides, and increases the chances that somebody will discover something cool for the first time. Be friends with the youngsters and the whole group grows… spurn them and they will not miss you or your car when you’re gone.

  19. Frank Williams

    The thing about an old car, especially one that was built before one’s birth, is that it is a survivor. Indeed, just like a war-time veteran, an old car has succeeded over opposing forces. And when its original beauty is re-surfaced again, now we have a jewel. Newer cars haven’t earned their survival status yet, but when they pass the test of time, then they will also be cherished as jewels.

  20. Craig Hanks

    Sometimes the newer cars have tech on them that is interesting. Only thing I don’t care for are the chrome wagon wheels with the microscopic side wall tires that leave me wondering how they can turn around inside of a city block, as well as having a ride height low enough to leave your exhaust system behind after the first set of tracks. Other than that, they’re okay.

  21. Bruce parratt

    Yes, new cars are ruining car shows. If you want to see a new Challenger, and why not they are wonderful cars, then go to a dealership. There you can even take one for a spin.

  22. Terry Williams

    I have a 2011shelby and when I go to car shows I am a outlaw in the field because all though I have done modifications to the car I am an out sided but I never let it bother me I realize that I haven’t spent the time or effort that others have and In shows they deserve to win am just there for friend ship with fellow car lovers and enjoy the day with the guys

  23. Charlie Van Leuven

    I agree that there maybe to many new cars showing up to show’s and cruises, but as in our club alot of owners that had older cars have bought new cars and are leaving their classic cars at home because they love the Creature Comforts of new cars. One way I agree that there should be a 25 yr age limit and maybe that will help keep the newer cars at home.

  24. Fred MacDonald

    I have mixed feelings regarding the new car old car thing. I have a nephew who has some newer cars, and he would not buy an older car at this time in his life. The newer generations need cars they can drive year round. They don’t have an extra 30 Grand for a dedicated show car. We need to let them in with the newer cars because they are the future of car shows. And many of the cars they show up in are interesting!! As for the Dells Automotion Show, I won there years ago when they had 40 classes, but now they have only six, and my car doesn’t fit in any of them. Last time I was there they just went around on golf carts and gave awards to what looked good to them. There was no real judging. It’s expensive, and if you’re too late you can’t even get in.

  25. Paddy

    Agree with comments re new cars ruining car shows. Have a different slant on car shows. All cars shows have way too many Camaros, Corvettes, GTO’s, Mustangs etc. By this I mean these were not the cars we had, Dad was an Oldsmobile man, I learned to drive on a 55 4 door, now when I go to shows I look for Sedans, Wagons, 4 doors – these were the cars I grew up with, I really appreciate a 50’s/60’s survivor/restored 2 door sedan, shift on the tree – even the Blueflame 6 or the leaning tower of power – Just Sayin.

  26. Nick

    I noticed the same thing at this years spring musclepalooza show at Lebanon valley dragway. Way to many newer cars. I actually prefer to include the rarer tuner cars than to see Challengers , Camaros and Mustangs

  27. David Goldenstein

    Thank you!!! I have put a lot of work put into a 1971 Buick GS 455 convertible for a car show in 2018 only to have a 2017 Stock “Hi Performance” Camaro take peoples choice!!! I hope he thanked all his dealer cronies, but it’s the last car show I will participate in.. How hard is it to drive it from a dealership??

  28. Edward Wright

    As a great number of our classic cars are being sold and shipped overseas, and most car shows are fund raisers for varies charities, I can see why they are open to the newer year cars. I have a ’57 Chevy Pro Street and might be the only car of this type at a show.

  29. Pete

    I can see this point of view on new cars. I used to think that anybody can buy a new car and keep it clean for a car show. But I started thinking about keeping people interested in the hobby and what was likely said when 60’s and 70’s cars started showing up. You could likely say the same about sombody that bought a brand new street rod.
    But I now think every car should be able to be in shows. The car hobby is for everyone, not just those that have old classic cars.
    When I built my current car, a 1984 Porsche 944 w/ Chevy v8 power, I got the same kid of reaction. Then I started asking how it is different from any other small car with a big v8 swapped into it. Hot rodding is hot rodding and it doesn’t matter the car, it is the idea of modifing something from original. Isn’t this the same kind of thing as swapping a flathead v8 in place of a 4 cyl back in the day?

  30. Jeff Agalsoff

    I agree with your statement
    But i get tired of seeing same cars over and over
    We need veriety and the new generation is our future and its up to the promoter to limit wat shows up 😎

  31. Bernie

    Old cars are the likes of artwork , you never tire loking at them.
    besides they have more room for long legs. Have owned nine old cars.

  32. Gary Choiniere

    Us old grey beards remember when a 50’s car was new. We used to customize them with curb feelers, fake whitewalls, blue dot taillights, fender skirts, Lancer hubcaps, glass pack mufflers and dual exhausts, etc. Looking back, there were no big budget builds, we couldn’t afford it! I’m proud to be a grey beard with my 53 ford truck. I’m also sure the newbies are proud of what can buy because they can afford it. I marvel at what we can do with “old junk” and appreciate new technology.

  33. Gary Gray

    The new cars like Corvettes, Chargers, and Mustangs bring in a younger crowd to oooh and aaah at the whistles and bells. They may take the time to oooh and aaah at our old relics and ask a few questions such as what does this knob do (roll windows up/down), what is that lever for (throttle or advance the spark), etc.. I believe our hobby for the old classics is slowly dying as technology takes over and the young’uns nowadays have no clue how to shift gears, or just generally maintain a classic. Sad to see, but it’s a sign of the times.

  34. Craig Caggiano

    I agree that when attending a car show I specifically look for Antique or Rat Rod based shows. I think that allowing new cars to attend is ridiculous. It’s like they drive them off the show room floor right to the show some with no customization at all.

  35. Dennis Smith

    Yes, they STILL are. Example, just after the ‘new’ Camaros came back in 2010+/-, I was a regular show attendee with a fully restored 1969 Big Block SS. It had won many awards but at a major show, it didn’t even place. All the winning cars in the Camaro classes we new Camaros. As one of my friends said, “Heck, next year lets just go over to the airport rental lot and rent a new car just for his show.” Sadly, it’s still like that as the “newer generation” has no appreciation for the older cars or the time, effort and skill it takes to resurrect one of those great cars. Sad, but true!

  36. Roy Ritter

    I drove my 1928 Studebaker to a local ” Old Car ” show. Almost every thing there was SUV’s with Clown Wheels and Muscle Cars that you can buy at a Dealership now. ( I did not stay ).

  37. Jaime I Del Valle

    Remember, the Concourse at the beginnings are for new cars. Today are real Classic Cars from the production lines. People see them on the media and want to touch them. Jaime I

  38. Gordon Wright

    The choice / decision as to vehicles invited / allowed to display at an event should be at the sole discretion of the event organizer. I attended a Mustang Club show a few months ago. It was open to any and all vehicles. Of the 100 or so on display there were only a few Ponys. It wouldn’t have been much of a show without all the others. That said, I’m an Old Guy. I’m happier with a 25 year rule.

  39. Jeff

    I think everyone should be able to participate, but each group should be categorized by era/decade(s). Every group should have equal access and similar areas to display/present their pride and joy. :-)

  40. zatara

    couldn’t agree more;

    kinda like making grandma wait outside while the beauty queen cavorts about before the crowd up and down the catwalk;

    grandma was once a beauty queen, too;

  41. wayne schell

    Yes, lagree, the old car shows should be for 25 years old and older. The new ones will have thier day.

  42. Lisa Kaye Davey

    I have heard this discussion many times. While we have several classics we like to show, we also enjoy seeing all of the registered vehicled Our 16 year old son prefers his 1970 Maverick over the new rides by the way. Most of the shows we attend and host with our car club are to raise money for charity so the more cars the better. We all have one thing in common, the love of the hobby.

  43. Mark Berube

    As stated, if you want the hobby to continue, you have to include young people with a passion for cars. It’s not about us vs. them, it’s about having a passion for cars and trucks. Young people gravitate to the cars of today in the same way we gravitated to the cars of our day. It’s natural and to be expected. The solution is to mix things up. Veterans of the hobby should get to know the newcomers, learn about their cars and talk about their own. My passion is for older cars, but I respect everyone who is calls themself a car guy or car girl. I want to attend shows where I can see both old and new, preferably side by side. It’s cool to be able to compare the cars of the 50’s and 60’s with the cars of 2000’s and 2010’s. A lot has changed, but the things that we get excited about haven’t. Cars and people, good times and great memories. That’s what it’s all about!

  44. Frank A. Kowalski

    I agree strongly, how does one compete with a new car at a classic car show? I have a 68 Chrysler Imperial which is all original including paint and interior. I have been told at many a show that I should have won but instead the trophy when to a brand new Mopar with the temp license plate attached.How does a 50 year old all original compete with this? But I love the hobby and the people so it does not matter to me nut how can this be fair?

  45. Richard Bailon

    I totally agree! I think there should be an attempt to bring it to the publucs eye just how a classic car show means “Classic” . I get show tired and sick how these shows indeed accomandate the new millinnum post 60’s era cars/trucks. I think i know why these organizers allow it and are willibg to look pass keeping to classic era vehicles. Its like anything else in this country; greed if money to be made and tbats ashame !!

  46. Ralph Blackburn

    I and many of my car-guy buddies DO BELIEVE that car shows are for vintage and classic cars (25 years and older). BUT more and more “newer car owners” seem to believe that they are entitled to bring their new cars out to show them off AND deserve to be judged for trophies. Their new cars are just that – “new cars” and they have not done anything to them except pay a premium price and then maybe wash them. If they want to have them included in car shows, they need to work with the people that put on the car show and have their car class identified. Putting on car shows is a lot of hard work and they should be helping.

  47. Charles

    I understand that a guy is proud of his new Camaro, Hell Cat, whatever but I’m an OLD car guy and i’m disappointed when I attend a show and it looks more like a new (or slightly used) car sales lot and I am really disappointed when a car that has not yet burned a full tank of gas wins an award over a well cared for and kindly preserved 40 year old car with the same nameplate.

  48. Charles Hibberd

    I belong to the Emerald Valley Vintage car club in Eugene Oregon and the decision was made to stop using the 25 year rule and made the rules that cars must be 1975 and older!

  49. David Hollick

    I am stunned at all of the new cars that come to a classic car show even though they know that they won’y get any awards. Yes, they are ruining it for all of us classic, nostalgic car lovers. Who really cares about looking at a new car during a classic car show, I don’t?

  50. Brian Garinger

    I live in Sudbury Ontario Canada, and our local club Sudbury Classic Cruises has a annual show that only allowed 15 year old car or older, this past summer they made it 25 years or older. With a beautiful park that could hold 600 cars, they had 250 plus classics only.
    Now the weekly cruise night was open to any age or type of vehicles has now been moved from mall parking lot to the Steel Works Hall were they only allowed 25 year and old vehicles. This lead to smaller number of cars coming out and a lossof public interest. The Local club is now looking at going back to the mall parking lot as car people and the public like to look at the new and classic cars.
    Now a days people are modifying the new cars (engine, suspension, wheels etc) turning
    them into high performance cars and trucks. The public seem to enjoy the newer vehicles over the classic.
    Plus what do you do when car guy builds a fiber glass 34 ford coupe and the vehicle registration is 2018. Not meeting the 25 year old limit.
    Times are changing we should make room for any year of vehicle.
    Thanks for the discussion topic.
    Yes I’m a car guy, we own
    1968 Pro Street Valiant.
    1969 Plymouth GTX all original numbers matching survivor car, bought it from the original owner.
    2018 Dogde Demon.

  51. Milt H Heger

    We just had this discussion in our club last Thursday! – Make no mistake…some club member’s have such cars in addition to their classics, hot rods or vintage muscle cars but NO way they’d take them to an obvious classic car show.

  52. Bill Hedrix

    yes, new cars are ruining car shows, nobody cares about your corvette under glow lights. also, factory built hot rods , vs home built.

  53. Raymond Stith

    I am in total agreement with this article. Are we turning into the old fogies that we had to deal with when we were young. Maybe I will be around for another 10-15 years. I want the hobby that we love to last forever!

  54. Lee Robinson

    I have the same sentiments. Every year there is a local Mopar show in my area. I look at the 40’s thru the
    70’s cars. That is where my interests lie. There are a lot of late model Challengers, Chargers, Magnum’s
    at the show. They have lots of blinking lights, Lambo doors and all the late accessories. I just walk by and
    don’t pay much attention to them. You can get parts for them at the Dodge dealer or the myriad after market
    sources. In 2050 how many will be around and what will they look like then.

  55. Albert E FALLER

    I agree that the shows should be catering to the older classics that are getting fewer as they age. The owners of these old cars put a lot of special time into them that the manufacturers are putting it into the new ones from the start. If I want to see new cars I will go to the dealership!

  56. Richard Hartung

    I was in the same situation a couple of weeks ago. I was showing my 1939 Desoto which is an AACA HPOF badged car. Historical Preservation of Original Features. In the car show were mostly newer cars less than 5 years old. Several of the owners I knew and it seems as if they knew who was going to receive each trophy. These newer cars require very little prep work just keep the clean and running and any part that is needed can be had in less than a few days. The older cars that require the more work from the owners did not get any respect. The newer car shows do not have any classifications for the antiques so we do not get recognized when the awards are being given out. Here is an example. A gentleman was displaying a 1916 Indian motorcycle that was a senior awarded MC from 1969 and it was a perfect MC. This MC did not even get mentioned at the award ceremony. This MC over 103 years old and no one complimented the owner. Yes the car shows have changed. People just want to see high performance cars, big engines, outrageous panted cars and trucks, lift kits on trucks. The spectators have little or no knowledge for the older cars and I personally understand that situation. So I pick the shows that I attend to insure that at least there are cars older that 30-40 years old because the public also needs to understand how the hobby has grown and to understand how cars have changed such as roll up windows, no air conditioning, tube radios, 6 volt positive ground systems and all of the old qualities that went into the older cars.

  57. jim

    I must disagree with a “let it go” stance. At a recent show I was in, there was a late-comer to the show that arrived in a brand new McLaren. Parking started at 0700 and was to close at 0900. When he arrived at 1100 they placed him in a choice spot in the middle of the viewing area. The “oohs“ and “praises” were abundant as the spectators walked around the car. During the awards that new car earned the driver three trophies. One for best paint (it probably was), one for best of show and he also picked up the people’s choice award. Well there is no way to stop the people from their choice if the car is in the contest… .. . Unless – vehicles less than 25 years old are allowed in but are not assigned a class or number. If they want to show off their cars, let them do so and even at a reduced rate because they are not in the running.

  58. Bienvenido Marquez

    That’s why the Classic car show was created to admire old American classic cars ,76,down,new cars should admire at the consecionary,dealership not at an old classic car show.

    • Sheila

      One of my dream car’s that I had given up on owning long ago resently became a dream come true. And especially how I got it. I lost my dad a couple months prior and got some of what he left me. I wanted to be sure I spent that money in a good and honorable way. In the memory of my dad. I wanted something good to show for and justify spending the money that I probably should have saved. My dad’s favorite color was white. Which I really don’t understand but to each his own. My Dad was a Ford man all the way. He only bought white Ford’s 😂. Again to each his own. I however like a wide range of cars. Muscle cars being my favorite. I was torn between buying a mustang or a Cameron. Finally I decided that I would get the one I really wanted the most and one of the year models I loved and could afford. I couldn’t afford on of the older models like the 1971 I had when I was young and wish I had kept. I think alot of us let go of a car we loved when we were young and regretted it terribly still today. And I’m one of those people. But what is done is done. So I bought a white 1996 Camero. In my opinion this car is a beauty. I love it very much. Especially thinking I would never get one and those days were over for me. I was fortunate even to get one in good shape. Because alot of people get these car’s and rag them out inside and out. But not mine. I kept thinking how much I would love to put it in a car show. So I was looking online to find out if it was year worthy of doing so and I ran across this post. And thanks to all the comments I’ve read I feel like it will be fine to do that. Because it is 26 years old and I seen where people are saying it needs to be at least 25 years old. And it’s not a make that people wouldn’t normally see in a show or wouldn’t want to see in one. So thanks to this post my question was answered and I’m not walking away with my feelings hurt and feel like I can enter it in one after all. Thanks guy’s for your opinions I’m going to go with them.

  59. Donald Knarston

    I think car shows should be era specific, ie. older than 25 years I am sure there are plenty of shows for the younger cars where they can be shown without detracting from the earlier cars.

  60. Adam

    I agree in some respects and disagree in others that new cars ruin old car shows. I recently attended an event where a top prize was awarded to a new Hellcat. Beautiful car, no doubt, but not in my opinion award worthy. On the other hand, I am certain that a good number of the general public who came out were drawn by the modern muscle and left with an appreciation for cars such as the hellcat’s precursor, a stunning 426 max wedge factory drag car.

  61. John

    I don’t mind the newer cars at car shows, but keep the classes separate for. I don’t want a Newer Dodge Challenger parked next to my ‘53 Mercury!

  62. Frank Bloom

    I too have lamented about the “new stuff” at one of our local big car cruises. Owning some early all steel cars I favor driving my ‘96 Impala while my honey follows behind in My ‘95 Impala into our Friday night cruise. These cars are right on the border of the 25 year old line. I like driving these cars because of the cruise, a/c, & comfort of a “newer” car. I too gruff at the new stuff with all my grey beard buddies.

  63. Joe

    Interesting read. I happen to have a foot in each side of this article. I collect, maintain and restore foreign roadsters and have old and modern ones. To keep the hobby alive cars shows and clubs need to broaden their class offerings and welcome modern cars of all brands. There should be more to car clubs and car shows then Chevy, Ford or MOPAR from the 50s thru the 70s.


    I’m one of the OLD SCHOOL guys who agrees that late model cars should not be allowed to enter “old car” shows. They have their place in the wonderful world of car shows (SEMA?), but leave us to enjoy and appreciate our hot rods while we can.

  65. Paladin

    I think the defining trait should be the custom work that has been put into a car. In other words, a newer car can be included if the owner has put a significant amount of time and money into customizing or restoring the vehicle. Rare / Survivor cars are another category, as I have seen some at shows that are all original, including original rust (“patina” LOL) dust and dirt, but they were interesting because they were driven survivors rather than trailer / garage queens. A fat pocket book doesn’t necessarily mean your car automatically belongs with those that have been painstakingly restored or customized, though that is often needed to restore a classic to mi9nt condition. Just my 2 centavo’s worth.

  66. David Hawkins

    Earlier this year at a local car show I received a call from a friend who arrived earlier saying ” don’t bother coming to the show, grounds are full,no more cars are being let in”, that evening I saw some pictures from the show, a lot of new cars, that you would see every day at the supermarket, nissan’s, kia’s, etc, and here’s a dozen or more cars from the 50′, 60’s and 70’s parked on the street. Pre 1980 to me is a good cut off , only my opinion though.

    • Marlon

      I like all of them!
      I’m at a place where I can appreciate both. I have a 51 Ford F1 PU that’s a work in process. She’s not even close to being ready for a show. At the same time, I have a very rare 15 ZL1 Camaro convertible (rare in itself without any history) that was a GM show car. Because of it’s rarity, I get frustrated bc most people don’t understand what she is and I find it a rare occurrence when there is a class that she fits in. The only time I have won anything with it was at Artomobilia in Indy (best in class).
      Again, I like them all and a place should be made for the different classes so each is judged with it’s own. Like everyone else, it’s my opinion.

  67. George Siecko

    I was annoyed seeing all the rice burners, Ford Fiestas and other makes and models at Cars and Coffee until I realized that I had various tastes throughout my life time. These cars are what they are interested in now and maybe in sometime they might be interested our classic cars.I have a ’62 TBird. I have to also state that I do get some young people showing interest in it. I admit I do look at their cars, but I do not see the fascination in a Ford Fiesta or some other makes and models As the saying goes “To each his own”.

  68. Bill Zeromski

    I think there’s room for everyone at the shows seeing that they have their own class and are not competing directly with the classics and older original “Muscle Cars” they usually have a class like “Modern Muscle”

  69. GON MAD

    While most anyone can BUY a fast car these days I’ve always had to build all my own cars & therefore I appreciate the effort it takes to do this & sometimes wish I could plunk the cubic dollars down for a new supercar but it;s different when you build it yourself. I think the spirit is there for the younger kids to have something unique & fast & I encourage all to be involved no matter what year it is. I consider the alternative of no option to modify these cars to stifle creativity & innovation a scary thing indeed. I say keep them coming no matter what year they are!

  70. Chris Campbell

    Most people who show up with a newer car will want to show it off, most likely because it represents some personal investment for them–either time spent making a modification personally or by choosing one and having it done. It means they’re “car guys” of some sort, either by hands-on work or by dreaming and obsessing. It seems to me that we do want to encourage that interest and maybe broaden it to include older cars. A couple years ago a Hagerty Insurance guy decided to drive a Model A as his only powered transportation for a year. He had a blog, and because I live where Hagerty is headquartered, I saw the Model A buzzing around time quite often. It prompted some interest in my part in Model A cars, instead of just the V-8 models of my youth. Exposure is a good thing, and friendships that can pop up in unlikely places.

    • Old snobs

      The hostility shown in these comments toward newer car owners at car shows are probably from the same guys who wonder why young men don’t seem as interested in the automotive world. Your snobbery is killing your hobby.

      • Duncan

        Don’t bring your car to the show with a sign that says “Look but don’t touch” save it & pin it on your lady !

      • Paul

        Thats not a logical statement. When I was a young man I loved the muscle car I owned and many of the others. The fact it wasnt old enough to be at the local show didnt deter me or anyone else.

  71. Ron Warner

    I enjoy it when someone comes up to me and asked questions about my 1928 Desoto DeLujo Rumble seat Coupe.

    • Roy Dutton

      It’s the loud sound systems that annoy me. Can’t hardly talk to people about their cars. Can’t hear what they’re saying.