Welcome to Spring and Car Shows

Well, yesterday was officially the first day of Spring. And while today may be Tuesday, most of us are thinking forward to the weekends to come and the car shows that will be popping up all around just like the flowers. I hope it has thawed or is thawing out where you are and that your car is ready for the season. Can little British cars get Easter bonnets? No, I promise not to go down that trail.

Crowded Car Shows Amelia Island 2022
Rolls-Royce at Amelia Island 2022

Anyway, we have a lot of news this week. All sorts of interesting stories including some racing items since Spring brings racing to Florida. But before you get to that, I would ask you to consider the car shows. Specifically, what traits make the shows you go to desirable? And conversely, what puts you off from different shows?

I go to a wide variety of shows each year, but they all seem to fall into one of three broad categories. And please know, I enjoy each category but there are distinct differences. And sure, the lines blur between them, but in that broad-brush way, you can pretty much categorize most shows as either a golf course show, a park show, or a parking lot show. I am going to talk about these distinctions more in a future post, but basically the come down to where you hold your show, whether you must register or be invited to the show, and how open the show is to the public.

Again, there is nothing wrong with any of these, but it is helpful when you are planning to put on an event what you are trying to achieve and who you market is. Sorry if this sounds a bit too much like business, but it really is. I mean, is the goal of your show to give exposure of the cars to a wider public audience and perhaps recruit new member or enthusiasts? Then maybe you need to be looking at a “parking lot” show that is in a public, well-traveled place. The prime example of this is the near ubiquitous Cars and Coffee. No registration, no fees, no awards.

Autumn in the Mountains British Car Show 2021, Asheville, NC - Welcome to Spring and Car Shows
Autumn in the Mountains British Car Show 2021 Asheville NC

On the other end, you have the more closed show that is set to appeal to those who are already in the hobby, know the cars, and want to see the best of the best. These shows are not just shows, they are showcases and Events. Yes, with a capital “E”. These shows are art gallery openings, not just visits to the local museum. With these shows, the presenters are not trying to appeal to the general public to garner interest in the hobby or get member for a club. No, they are putting the finest examples of motoring art on a pedestal. Oh, and the awards are prestigious. These are concours events.

Between those two extremes are what I call the “park” shows. These are the events, normally held by a club or group of clubs, at a local park or more contained venue like a racetrack. Registration is required and must be paid for. Awards are given but are normally more of the popular choice variety. To the automotive crowd, this is a time to gather with friends, have a picnic, and examine what the other person is doing with their hobby. There may be competition, but it is all very friendly and casual.

I will reiterate, again, there is nothing wrong with any of these, but it is important to understand the difference both as the show organizer and a show attendee. If you go to a golf course event expecting the environment of a parking lot show you will be both disappointed and shocked. If you go to a park show with popular judging while expecting the concours judging of a golf course show, you will probably be upset and want your money back. Having unhappy attendees is usually the result of expectations not matching what was being presented. And the reverse of that is that when the show is presented well, exactly according to what it is, and publicized as such then attendance will go up too.

Ok, we will explore this more in the future, but I have rambled on enough for now. I have been thinking about this subject for a long time, as anyone who has ridden with me to shows can attest to, and just needed to get those thoughts down.

Please let me know your thoughts on the matter. I really want to hear what you think, and I want to address ways we can make shows of all type more successful in the future.
In the meantime, check out the news and the events listed below!

Thanks for listening.

Michael Carnell
Publisher / Editor

Michael Carnell
Editor at Just British

Michael Carnell is the editor and founder of the Just British Online Motoring Magazine. As a lifelong British car enthusiast, he has owned or driven British cars of all ages from Austins and MGs to Jaguars and Triumphs. He currently owns a 1966 Vanden Plas Princess 1100 and a 1977 MGB. But there is always room for more - no matter what his wife says.