Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Car Show Culture

   I entered this marriage with a perspective that cars were nothing more than modes of transportation.  Learning through Handsome, then, the scope of artistic expression and passion and also the varying skills required in his car world, was eye opening. 

   Suffice it to say that his mechanical and electronic skills far exceed my own and most likely always will.  But my passion for this brave world is beginning to give his a run for its money. 

   Wait, does Passion have money? 
And if so, where does Passion get it? 
I don't think Passion needs money,
but Passion sure can cost you money. 
I digress...

   We attended our second car show of this season over the weekend.  In Oklahoma we are already deep in the throes of an extreme summer, and we had a really wonderful time!

These Camaros' lucky parking arrangement
had me craving a Dreamsicle. 
Bad.  Like, real bad.

"Would you like a white SS with orange racing stripes,
or an orange SS with white racing stripes, ma'am?"

   At any given car show you are likely to see every imaginable shade of red.  Every shade of most colors, actually, but red does seem to dominate.  Car owners, body men, and painters swim in color and pattern just like any other visual artist does.  Some people work hard at staying factory-original; other people take license to be very imaginative with their interior and exterior schemes.  The results are always interesting and often cause for friendly debate. 

   This photograph reminds me of a central theme that makes me kind of emotional.  Patriotism is pervasive, though inarticulate, at these gatherings.  In ten years I have never once heard mention of politics at these events, but there is lots of cultural exchange and fabric-of-life kind of talk.  And so much of it fortifies my opinion of living in this country!

   In sharing with each other your vehicles and your stories, you are helping to build a spontaneous oral history.  You are cross-pollinating the widely flung tales of people, families, and businesses through the decades, over the miles of these United States.

   And by the way, oral histories are arguably the most valuable bits of record we could possess.  More on that another time...

   If you listen closely, you can absorb who was president when this car was popular and why that matters; what industries were strongest then; how music impacted people that year; why someone chose that car and how he paid for it, whether a romance was important then, etc, etc.  Fascinating stuff! 

   People are interesting, and they are very willing to share their stories, especially when those stories can be illustrated by a big, beautiful, well loved machine.    I have seen men and women of all ages bond happily and anonymously this way, and that is just cool.


Some vehicles strike the marrow in my bones. 
This perfectly intense black Chevy truck
was one such creature this past weekend. 
I feel like Darth Vader would drive it.

   Speaking of a shared culture, only a few cars at the shows we frequent ever boast this kind of frenzy-causing ability.  This particular car is said to be titled in Georgia AND the owner had installed the right horn in his General Lee! 

   He was happy to oblige the crowd all day long.  Even across the expansive parking lot, Hazzard's twelve-syllable anthem is absolutely laughter inducing!  Suddenly every one's a southerner.
   If you are too young to have any stories to tell about actual social reform in the 1960s, then you are just exactly the right age to feel like you...

A.)  were blood related to the Duke family.
B.)  at one time were in love with a member of the Duke family. 
C.)  wanted to have your car worked on by Cooter.  Or...
D.)  were sympathetic to poor old Roscoe P. Coltrane and his misadventure sidekick, Flash.

"Geyoog, geyoog, geyoog!"

This is a veritable tuxedo on wheels. 
Even sitting still she looks fast, smooth, and classy.
She kinda took my breath away. 
I just love than rear wheel skirt, so ladylike...

Can you tell from this photo that the bed of this truck is textured? 

   It has been sprayed with bed liner material mixed with the same paint as the body.  What's special about this find is that Handsome's Dad is who started doing this way back in the early 1980s.  He was a pioneer, and people who show cars still know him by name.  He owned a body shop where were sown the seeds of automotive passion as well as a very respectable work ethic in his young son, my future Love.

   Saturday's car show was excellent.  We saw friends, soaked up the sights, and celebrated some common appreciation for a pretty special art form.  Like always, though, at the end of the day we were ready to pack up and drive home.  We had memories to file away, a car cleaning bag to replace to the shop shelves, and a mild case of dehydration to nurse.

   The last thing we do before leaving is attend the awards ceremony.  Should our entry number be called (it often is), Handsome assigns me the task and the honor of accepting our trophy. 

   I dig it baby.  This is my moment.

   I mentally pretend to have not only invented cars but also to have personally designed whichever one we brought that day.  I imagine having hand painted the car with a brush built from a wild boar's whiskers. 

(Victoria Jackson with Paul Simon? 
Classic SNL?  Look it up, it's super funny.)

   As I sashay up to the microphone, flapping my pointy elbows like a rooster (this is part of the act) I notice a sour, humid odor that proves I have been at a car show all day in 95-degree heat. 

   And without warning my Car Guru fantasy shifts to thoughts of slipping into and drinking in deep gulps of the swimming pool waiting for us at home...
   Cars smell good.  Boys who work on cars smell good.  Girls who attend seven-hour car shows in summertime?  Not so much.


  1. This sounds like so much fun. I've always wanted to check out a fun car show, just for the heck of it. My Dad loved that kind of thing and we kept talking about someday going to Reno for Hot August Nights. We still haven't made it, but maybe someday.

    And *squeeee* there's the General Lee!! Were you thinking of me when you wrote that part? I squealed at my desk at work when I saw it. Yay!

    Passion sure can cost you money. Or so I've heard.

  2. Excellent pieces. Keep posting such kind of photos on your blog.

  3. That is some news. Great going. Best of luck for further endeavours


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