What are the best connections you’ve made at a car show?

Evan Klein

Car shows are a universal factor in the automotive hobby. People seem to love to congregate in a parking lot with their cars. The car’s era does not matter, nor does the driver’s age or the scale of the venue. And the age of social media means anyone can use the “carmeet hashtag (#carmeet, or region-specific tags like #dallascarmeet or #milwaukeecarmeet) to find a suitable show. Community is just a swipe away on Instagram or TikTok.

Car shows are alive and well in North America. When we congregate in these spaces, we meet like-minded people that enrich and deepen our automotive experience. It’s a great way to meet someone with completely different experiences, which helps broaden horizons. A good time is almost guaranteed, too. So tell us: What are the best connections you’ve made at a car show?

For me, some of the nicest people I’ve met come from younger generations with obscure automotive tastes.


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A post shared by Sajeev Mehta (@sajeevmehta)

Several years ago I learned about a local car meet adjacent to an independent coffee shop, thanks in part from the aforementioned Instagram hashtags. The meet was originally for an import car scene that catered to the right-hand-drive, JDM spectrum of automotive enthusiasm. It started out informally, but the meet expanded and contracted as participants, local residents, and law enforcement so demanded. Like many car meets, the people who attend make it great. Or perhaps horrible at times … but that’s not the point.

Long story short, my favorite car meet attracts a wide variety of enthusiasts. It’s a Sunday morning ritual so beloved that it’s even referred to “Car Church” by some.


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I personally learn a lot about many of the cars in attendance, cars that I’d be otherwise be somewhat ignorant about. Ironically that newfound knowledge regularly comes from younger enthusiasts. Turns out their love affair with the automobile has blossomed far from my prying eyes, with stories yet to be told. And let me tell you, they’ve got some stories to tell! Let us hear yours.

Xander Cesari




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    Like Sajeev, I would say the best connections I’ve made at car meets would be making 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. 🙂

    That’s awesome! Your experience with Mike isn’t unique, I am sure everyone reading this will have a similar story. There’s an instant rapport, and sometimes an instant friendship too!

    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.

    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!

    Last year at a car show 2 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.

    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 1’s, 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, the club is still going strong with lots of new members and exciting events. That was a pivotal event/meeting for me!

    The most memorable car show for me happened a few years ago. My wife and l were at a show with our restored 1967 M38A1 Army jeep. A lady in her 70’s came by and was looking at the jeep. She asked if she could sit in it, l 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 Viet Nam. 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 to sit in her brother’s jeep. It gave her the ability to say good bye 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.

    I remember a show in Macungie PA., The Awkscht Fescht, where Saturday 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 I a body and fender gut at the time. We were seated next to one another and had a great discussion on our restorations. He had did an Isetta prior and thought he 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. One of the better shows and the doc was a great person to talk to. Did a lot of the work himself.

    My European Car Club has an annual show that is a rain or shine event, One rainy afternoon the shot of the day was a vintage 60’s Land Rover towing a 944 Porsche off the muddy field!

    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, co-authored 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?

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