If you were to ask five different people why they go through the time and effort to show their cars, you’re likely to get five different answers.
And you might get different answers from me, depending on whether I’m showing a customer’s car or my own. If we’ve just finished a restoration of a client’s car, we like to go to a top-level marque-specific show at least once, to establish the car as being accurate and to get it known. If a car is judged by a knowledgeable team and comes out well, it will be acknowledged as a quality car, and if the judges share results you can better prepare for the next event.
When I’m showing my own cars, my motivations are very different. I like weird and unrestored cars, and they become something of a conversation piece with people who share your interests. You might even open their eyes to something different.
The stranger the car, the more fun I have with it. Who loves Davis three-wheelers? Well, I do, and it is amazing how many people want to stand there and talk about one. I just love sharing the experience, because to me it’s all about the car.
Sometimes people ask me why I don’t take my Hudson Italia out much anymore. Several years ago at the Meadow Brook Concours (now Concours of America), it was recognized with the FIVA Preservation Award for the best preserved vehicle. Well, if you love cars that have never been messed with, few prizes mean more. And as a guy who thinks of himself as a custodian of these great cars, it doesn’t get any better.
While the car itself is the important part of any show, people have different priorities. Some want a perfect restoration and others want to win at any cost. But to me, that takes away a lot of the fun.
If you’re so intent on winning, all the other car owners are your competitors, and you’re going to miss out on meeting and talking to all kinds of people with your car as the catalyst. I guess in the scheme of things, I’m closer to the couple sitting behind their car in lawn chairs than I am to the folks who just want to win. I don’t even care if there’s judging, because to me the best shows are the ones where you can relax and enjoy each other’s company.