Car shows suck (insert chagrined smiley face emoticon here)…

Posted: April 27, 2010 in Hot Rod, Uncategorized

I’m not a car show kind of guy.  I don’t care about a shelf groaning under the weight of a bunch of cheesy trophies.  I actually get bored looking at cars (other than my own, of course) after about an hour.  I’m not into detailing a car, aside from hitting white walls with “Bleche-White” and washing the bugs off occasionally, and HATE waxing a car.  Honestly, once one is done, to whatever degree of completion satisfies me, all I really want to do is go for a ride in it.

Why then did I say I’d show the car next weekend in Lansing at the Conquerors Car Show.  For THREE DAYS!  What was I thinking?

I spent this morning going to get some tubing, steel plate, nylon rope, and little clips to make stantions to rope the car off, and a good chunk of the afternoon putting it all together.  I spent an entire afternoon this past week making a plaque to display the HOT ROD feature (OK, I needed to do that anyway, and would probably have put it off forever, so that’s really a good thing), and I took apart a perfectly good telescope to use the tripod base as an easel.  I spent an entire day making the seat back padding, and then doing it all over. 

Above all, why did I pay a hundred bucks for the privilege of all this aggravation?  I was surprised at the amount of the entry fee, and would probably have passed had I been told how much it was BEFORE I committed to going, changing my schedule, and planning an entire weekend, Kim’s birthday weekend in fact, around this event.   A friend here who has some very exotic, very high-end cars advised me that they’re “invited” to events all the time, and don’t go unless the entry fees are waived.  And expenses.  In fact, they told me they’d had a car shipped overseas, their air fare and hotel all paid for an event in the UK.  I gotta be a better negotiator…

I’m also very aware that my car, particularly this ’36 Ford, is not really a “show car”.  It’s not polished.  The paint isn’t perfect.  The welds on the chassis are all raw.  There’s no chrome at all.  The car was intentionally built NOT to look like a show car, but to look, and to be a car to be driven hard, not pampered.  So, it and the simple stantions and display sign will suffer by comparison to most of the cars, and most, if not all of the displays there.

So, why indeed?

First, I was flattered to be asked by Dennis Leskey from the Ionia Rod Shop.  I like him, I admire his work.  I initially said no, as the set up day is a work day for me, and I wasn’t crazy about spending the weekend at an indoor car show.

Then, one of the original guys from the Conquerors called me.  And called again.  And again.  Another hotrodder who’s a Facebook friend asked me.  I thought about it, and it seemed like it’d be fun to meet some new people, spend some time seeing stuff I haven’t seen before, and doing something new to me.   The ’36 has been pretty well received in the very limited showing it’s had (actually only twice, both events at the Gilmore Car Museum), so I guess I owe it to myself to get off my duff, get the thing cleaned up, and show it off  before I scratch it all up and wear it out. 

I like the attention.  I like being recognized, and having my work rewarded.  I’ve been at this hobby for all my adult life, and I think I’m finally at the “journeyman” level, which pleases me greatly.  If I don’t show the thing off, what’s the point in building it?  Driving it to work and the store is fun, and what I built it for, but it’s also fitting, and good, to show the car for its own sake.  The show itself is a tribute to these pioneering Michigan hot rodders who put the show on originally in the late 50’s, so it’ll be nice to be a part of that, and to meet these guys.  

So, the car is pretty well cleaned up and ready to go.  I got the seats done, and the HOT ROD feature mounted and framed, to hang on the wall when this is over.  I traded a work day to  be able to get the car there, and I’m meeting Steven Brown, the artist who’s doing some sketches of my ideas for the T’Bird at the show on Saturday. 

Plus, I’ll get a nice plaque, and maybe even a trophy to collect dust and spider webs in the garage!

  1. Kim says:

    Soak it all in. You deserve it.

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