Two days, two shows. One expected conclusion. If you follow any of our social media outlets you saw that line paired with photos of a Dodge Hemi Cuda and a W111 Mercedes-Benz 220s. Two cars from, two shows. One (the Cuda) from the Churubusco Charity car show, and the Mercedes from the third annual Eurofest Fort Wayne car show. After being around the cars, the people, and the atmosphere at these two shows I’ve come to a few conclusions. Some that I thought I would never come to and some that seemed all but inevitable.
One, I do like old muscle cars. I think they’re cool. The people that own them, the older people at least, are eager to share their love and knowledge to younger individuals whom are showing a keen interest in the vehicles they cherish. People would see you looking at their car, then they would walk over introduce themselves and answer any questions that you have for them and they are quite happy to do so. I have never been to a show where that’s happened before. I guess its just our generation being so connected with each other, and everything we want to know being available on social media and the interwebs we don’t seek out each other as much for questions or comments we have on our vehicles. When we can just comment on a post on the various social media outlets. I’ve come to learn that I value the face to face conversations more. You get to see the emotions, the passion in the owner’s eyes when they talk to you about their prized possessions.
Take the owner of this ’69 Camaro for instance. After seeing this car around Fort Wayne a couple of times we walked up to get a closer look at the car. When Brenden and I were checking out the car the owner, Mark, walked up to us and shared his story about the car with us. We came to learn that the car was an actual Yenko Camaro. Quite the rare bird. Mark was looking to get a first gen Camaro to build into a drag car in the early 80’s He picked this example up for an astonishingly low price then began work on it.
Before he could begin the transformation he got a call from a gentlemen concerning the car. The guy on the phone was from the Yenko owners club and asked Mark for the VIN. After confirming it with records at the time, Mark came to learn that he had bought one of the first 50 Yenko Camaros ever produced. Upon hearing that, the drag plans were thrown out the window and the car was slowly restored to it’s factory condition. He seemed to happy that people of our generation knew what a Yenko Camaro was and were showing an interest in it. He shared photos and stories from the restoration process with us. I would’ve loved to stayed longer and chatted with him but I was keen to see more of the cars.
It wasn’t just Mark that treated us like this. Every owner did. They would walk up, introduce themselves, and chat with me while I snapped photos of their baby. I have never been in a place where this has happened to me, I was giddy with excitement. Brenden drove his fathers 1961 Willys Overland to the show. He even made a connection with the owner of the other Willys Overland in the show (As seen below). The owner and Brenden hit it off, and proceeded to chat about each other’s vehicles for a good solid hour.
I feel like that connection wasn’t there at Eurofest. It’s not like people wouldn’t talk to you though. Owners did come up and talk to me, but the majority of owners sat behind their cars on lawn chairs, chatting among themselves. All of my advances towards them were met with kind, but sheltered conversations. Usually they consisted of me asking how they are, a quick retort from the owner. Then the conversation would end. They wouldn’t try and continue the conversation with me. I felt that they thought that I was some punk kid trying to get a rise out of them. When in reality I wanted to know more about them and their cars.
Then elder European car crowd doesn’t seem very accepting of the younger generation. I think they have been hearing stories about what happens at our shows (cough cough SOWO, H20i) and they think we are a bunch of hooligans that are trying to take over and ruin their beloved scene. I don’t think its the modifications to our cars that offend them. By acting like fools at shows. Treating each other, our cars, our tastes, the show locations and organizers with disrespect. We are taking this car culture in completely the wrong direction.
I don’t fault the Eurofest organizers for trying to keep the hooligans out of the show and trying to have a laid back and respectful show. They aren’t going to get anywhere with our generation by trying to be exclusive though. They need to be accepting of our generation and visa versa. If a bunch of young kids showed up with their loud, fast, and brash Euro rides they wouldn’t turn them away. I feel that they are trying to keep the show to themselves because all the awards went to cars owned by older people. Best Modified went to a Mercedes that only had wheels on it. There were cars there that were better modified in my opinion. Like Andy Wilder’s Volvo wagon or the Karman Ghia that was in attendance. If I heard correctly, Best in Show went to a bone stock Audi TT……..WHAT?!?!?! I would’ve chosen at least twenty other cars at the show before I even considered the TT. Nothing against the owner, but I felt there were better cars there.
I honestly don’t know why they even gave out awards. Because the Three Rivers Chapter of the Mercedes Benz Owners Club was putting on the show there were Mercedes specific awards as well as general awards. Benzes won awards that weren’t even in the Mercedes category. I felt that the awards ceremony was mostly the Mercedes owners giving each other oral pleasure. I did hear that the yellow Testa Rossa won an award, and a convertable series two VW Beetle took home an award. I feel that that was the organizers thanking the owner for DJing the event. I wouldn’t have paid the $12 entry fee into the show. It felt like a waste of my time, I couldn’t even imagine what I must have been like to sit there and watch your money go to trophies that the organizers gave to the people who they like the most, not the cars that deserved them.
Its because of these reasons that I enjoyed the Churubusco show infinitely more. The show wasn’t just for classic American Cars. While they did feature heavily in the show, it wasn’t just for American metal though. There were a couple European cars there and nobody seemed to mind. There was a Porsche 944 and a Sunbeam Tiger in attendance. It was an all inclusive classic automobile show. It wasn’t just for one group of people and this made me happy. I was discussing it with Brenden and we agreed that you could have rolled up with a BMW E30 M3 and you would’ve been immediately accepted. There would be people walking over asking questions wanting to know more about the car and you.
As I sit here listening to Muddy Waters and The Rolling Stones live from the Checkerboard Lounge in Chicago in 1981 I’ve come to realize that no matter where you come from, what you drive, or what you choose to do with it, we are all the same. We are all passionate about the automobile. If a blues artist and a rock artist can get along and make great music together, why can’t we do the same?
We should all hang out together, cruise, and share stories. Talk about our interests, make friendships, and most importantly, accept each other for what we are. Just because someone is different than you doesn’t mean that you should discriminate against them. They are just as passionate about cars as you are, and we need to learn to respect that.
The elder generation and our generation need to learn to get along. I felt that the reason the classic American car crowd was so happy to see someone our age talking to them and showing an interest in their cars was that they are concerned that once they are gone there will be no one who will take car of their cars. While the majority of people my age are more into Asian or European cars, there will be people who will want to keep these cars alive. People who won’t let them disappear with history. While there may be less of us than them who are into American cars, the foundation is laid to keep that part of car culture alive. I think that they are elated to know that we will take care of their culture long after they are gone.
We are on the cusp of the changing of the guard in car culture. We have to take the lead from the previous generation. To grow and evolve this culture of ours. We have to live up to the standards of the generation before us.
WE HAVE A LOT OF WORK TO DO.