Classic car shows evolve alongside a new generation of car enthusiasts – Everett Post

(NEW YORK) – Classic car shows have long been a staple of the auto craze – a place where geared turbofans meet other enthusiasts to show off their antique rides.

“The mood is usually very, very chilled out. It usually happens pretty early in the morning on weekends, ”says Kristen Lee, assistant editor for automotive news site The Drive. “People bring their dogs, they all have their cars refurbished, and they come and park, and they just run around and admire everyone’s drives.”

A show recently shown in New York City featured the usual classics. Ford Mustangs, Chevrolet Corvettes and Chevelles, Pontiac Firebirds and Dodge Challengers from the 50s and 60s were all well represented. The cars weren’t the only setbacks, either – music by Billy Joel and Elvis Presley echoed through the event from carefully placed speakers.

But Lee says if you’ve seen enough of these shows, you might notice some trends.

“For me, as a kind of show-goer, it feels like a guarded community. Obviously no one turned me down, but a lot of the shows I grew up on were a lot of people my parents’ age, “says Lee, adding,” It never really looked like I could be in. “

And older audiences tend to prefer older cars, says Bradley Brownell, a writer on automotive website Jalopnik.

“There was always this demarcation with the 1973 oil crisis,” he says.

Brownell says 1973 was an important year in auto culture because it marked the beginning of the “malaise era,” a term that became popular after President Jimmy Carter’s “Crisis of Confidence” speech in 1979, despite the word “malaise.” “Never shows up in the speech. New federal government regulations to tackle poor fuel economy resulted in a 1970s auto market that many complained wasn’t as exciting as the decade before – and echoes from that era echoed for decades.

“Traditional enthusiasts will tell you that after ’73 everything is rubbish. “It’s about emissions controls. Fuel injection, you can’t work on that, “says Brownell.

But Brownell is not a traditional enthusiast. He is the co-founder of “Radwood” – a car show aimed at vehicles that came after the Malaise era, particularly “between 1980 and 1999”.

And it all started with one of his own cars: a Porsche 944 from 1983.

“I loved this car,” he says. “And I invested so much time and sometimes money in this car.”

But the energy that went into the Porsche wasn’t always appreciated, says Brownell, where the idea for Radwood was born.

“I took it to a car show and when I paid for admission [fee], they said, ‘Are you sure you want to come to this car show? You know what we’re doing here, right? “Brownell says.” I kind of felt like there had to be a place for people like me where I had so much emotional involvement in this car, and I … I love this car, but it’s kind of an underdog. “”

He says the types of cars you’ll see at Radwood vary depending on the region the show is in, but could have anything from Geo Metro convertibles to Ferrari 348s and Lamborghini Diablos. However, Porsche and BMW are often the best represented brands.

“The crazy thing about Radwood is that literally everything from that time is welcomed, encouraged, and valued.”

Brownell says that on average, each show also includes at least one Delorean – the car from the 1985 movie “Back to the Future”. And it’s not just cars that put their flux capacitors back a few decades, Lee said.

“Radwood embodies a very strong nostalgic atmosphere. So people play a lot of 80s music, people dress up in 80s clothes. “

The first Radwood was held in Southern California in 2017 and has since toured more than a dozen cities across the country. Brownell says the show has drawn car enthusiasts from all walks of life over the years, from “people who weren’t alive when these cars were built to people who owned them brand new.”

Lee says the success of Radwood shows that it highlights a broader shift in car culture.

“These new shows feel a lot more inclusive, there’s a lot less gatekeeping. It feels like a safe place, ”says Lee. “I think that is also indicative of how enthusiasm for automobiles also moves.”

“What we see in some mainstream media and the like – they say, ‘The car culture is dying, with the introduction of the electric vehicle, there are no car enthusiasts anymore.’ And that’s not true, ”says Chad Kirchner, editor-in-chief of the electric car news site EV Pulse.

Kirchner says a new kind of car craze is brewing amid the wider shift to electrical power in the automotive industry. This includes everything from Tesla-specific tuner shops to homemade EV conversions of gasoline cars.

“People on TikTok that I see are electrifying Chargers and Challengers and all these things that they just brew themselves,” he says.

Kirchner says that passion for electric cars requires different skills than traditional transmissions, but it still brings out the same passion for cars that made Radwood so successful.

“Sometimes hacking, sometimes you need technology, but you definitely need enthusiasm,” says Kirchner.

That’s why he recently teamed up with Brownell to create another auto show called Autopia 2099. The show, slated to take place in Los Angeles in early December, will focus on all-electric vehicles.

“It should be a bunch of people hanging out and expressing their enthusiasm for the electrified drive, be it a brand new Tesla or – maybe someone has a GM EV1,” says Kirchner.

“One of the things we want to do is break the barriers of fancy EV technology. We want people who are curious about EVs and how they work and how they are charged to come out and meet people who actually own them and drive them every day, ”says Brownell.

Brownell says they expect to see everything from EV-converted Mustangs and BMWs to an electric VW microbus. One car that is unlikely to make it to Autopia 2099, however, is Brownell’s own EV project car: a Porsche Boxster in which he plans to install a Tesla engine. He says the goal is for the car to develop around 1200 horsepower.

“That’s one of the reasons it’s not finished yet. I’m afraid of what my own brain has come up with. “

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.