According to You: Best connections made at car shows

M1 Concourse

We hoped that our question about “the people you meet at car shows” inspired you to tell you a fantastic story or two. And we hit the jackpot, because these tales are relatable, heart-warming, and illuminating—they reveal why the car community is such a wonderful group of people.

So let’s start off with the response we received from @Phil.

I met a woman named Alysse at a work conference which I was attending. She mentioned her husband was attending a local “general” car show that weekend. A bit of everything—old, new. Hot rods, muscle cars, imports, etc … my wife and I are both gearheads, so we each drove a car. I believe it was our 1934 Borgward rat rod (yes, you read that right) and our 302-powered Miata.

We met a great group of people. So great, in fact, we ended up selling a car to one of them by the end of the day. One of the people we met said he always wanted a vintage Jeep Wagoneer. As luck would have it, my wife had completed all the bodywork on an 1987 Wagoneer restoration, and gave it a custom paint job with the intention of “back dating” it. There was no interior in it, and the mechanicals had yet to be sorted out.

A few hours later, and the guy, Travis, is looking over our partially completed resto as a blank canvas for a dream project of his. A deal was struck. Ten years later, I’ve actually ended up working with Alysse, coauthored a rather geeky book with her, and we are all close friends and colleagues. We still see Travis’ Jeep from time to time. He finished the restomod project my wife started, and made it his own.

Who knows what would have happened had we not gone to that car show?

Honor and the Army Jeep


While many of us have met great people at these shows, @Richard takes it to the next level with this heartwarming encounter:

The most memorable car show for me happened a few years ago. My wife and I were at a show with our restored 1967 M38A1 Army jeep. A lady in her 70s came by and was looking at the jeep. She asked if she could sit in it. I said yes, and helped her to get in. About a minute sitting there, she started to cry. I asked if she was OK, she said yes.

She told us that her older brother was in Vietnam. Her family received a letter from him and a photo was included. He was sitting in “his army jeep” and was extremely proud of it. Two days later the family received the notice that he died in combat. She said that she was crying because we allowed her to sit in her brother’s jeep. It gave her the ability to say goodbye to him.

She then showed us the old photo that she still carried in her wallet. This is what our old vehicles can do for people.

Go ahead and touch


One of the best ways to get younger generations interested in antique/classic/modern/specialty vehicles is to let them experience the cars firsthand. @Tom clearly understands the importance of hands-on experiences, and how vital they are to avoiding the construction of gates and ladders:

Last year at a car show, two small boys and their dad were looking at my ’66 El Camino. I asked the dad if his kids wanted to sit inside it. The boys were wide-eyed and excited to do this. Too many owners that have signs with DO NOT TOUCH! It made me happy inside and their dad was elated that I allowed this to happen.

Intermingling brands?

Das Awkscht Fescht

While there’s nothing wrong with being parked in a lot full of like-minded, brand-specific enthusiasts, @Bob tells us why it is so important to cross-pollinate with those who roll up in a vehicle with other, oftentimes more unusual automotive experiences.

I remember a show in Macungie, Pennsylvania—Das Awkscht Fescht, where cars are lined up according to year and not make or model groups. My ’57 BMW Isetta was parked next to a ’57 Chevy convertible. The owner was a doctor, and he and I had a great discussion on our restorations. He did an Isetta prior and thought he’d give the ’57 Chevy a go. I remember that he said it was more than he anticipated and not the same as the Isetta restoration. This was one of the better shows and the doc was a great person to talk to.

Join the club?

Cameron Aubernon

And as a perfect contrast to @Bob’s experience, here’s @Steve on the joy of meeting good people with the same taste in vehicles:

My first car show I attended in Tucson, after college graduation (1980), I met two of my (now) best friends. They were parked together with their Mustang Mach 1s, and had a banner displayed for the local Mustang Club. I spent time talking with them, and joined the club at its next monthly meeting. Forty-three years later, all three of us are still members, and the club is still going strong with lots of new members and exciting events. That was a pivotal event/meeting for me!

Acts of kindness

Cars Caffeine
Jonathan Camere

@Bruce has attended Hagerty’s own event at our home office in Michigan, and it proves that you meet some very helpful people at car shows!

For camaraderie and variety, the Hagerty Cars and Caffeine is hard to beat in my hometown of Traverse City. Once, after most had departed, my ’66 T-Bird failed to start. A knowledgeable gent suggested the likely diagnosis. After towing to a local restorer, his verdict was indeed confirmed and the needed repair made.

Which reminded @DUB6 of this:

Small world, Bruce! Something similar happened to me at a show with my ’66 Pontiac. A guy stopped (while EVERYONE else had either left or were leaving) to see if he could help. I diagnosed the problem and got it fired (loose wire)—then I profusely thanked him for stopping. He said, “Well, I didn’t do anything—you fixed it.” To which I replied, “Wrong—YOU did indeed do something—YOU stopped.”

I see this same guy quite a bit at shows and we’ve become friends (he even invited Mrs. DUB6 and me over for a pool party), and I remind him of the episode and re-thank him often. He’s “paid it forward” as far as I’m concerned!

Not that I needed more friends, but …

Corvair early models at Orphan car show
Kyle Smith

Speaking of @DUB6, he met a heckuva nice guy at a local car show. I know people like Mike. (To be honest, we all need to Be like Mike, don’t’cha think?)

I would say the best connections I’ve made at car meets would be new friends. I’ve met and befriended a large number of people over the years. One that really stands out to me is a fella named Mike. Once when I pulled into a small show, he made it a point to jump up and spot for me as I backed into a space. He then extended a hand and started in on one of the friendliest conversations I’d had in a long time. Turns out we had a lot in common, and hit it off big time.

Another time, Mike made it a point to come clear across a huge show area to invite me to come and sit under canopy shade with his club. Since then, we’ve stayed in communication (he’s recently had some health issues so doesn’t get to the shows as often). I consider him a good friend. I could cite dozens of other stories about how I’ve met interesting people at shows and have ended up calling them true friends. 🙂

Put it to work

Home is a Journey - Feb 8 - land rover help

Help comes in many ways at car shows, but what about the good people that use their vehicles for their intended purpose? And doing so in order to rescue others who wind up sinking in the mud? That’s where @Bill and his story come into play.

My local European car club has an annual show that is a rain or shine event. And on one rainy afternoon the shot of the day was certainly a vintage ’60s Land Rover towing a Porsche 944 off the muddy field!


Perhaps we aren’t done, and there are more stories to tell. Please, members of the Hagerty Community, would you keep the ball rolling and share your story of the folks you met at a car show?




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