The Five Guys You Meet at Car Shows
No, this is not the sequel to the novel by feel-good author Mitch Albom. It’s a composite of the folks you’re likely to meet the next time you park your car in amongst the rides at one of the zillion car shows around the country this summer. The bulk of folks at car shows are like you and me: Interested in hanging out with other people who like the same things we do, seeing a bunch of other cool cars and maybe enjoying a hot dog. But this spotter’s guide should help you identify a few of the more common car show attendees: The Trophy Hound
This is the guy who – at all costs – is going home with a trophy that you can purchase just about anywhere for $7.28. Trophy Hounds aren’t interested in you, your car, the food, the music or anything else happening. They show up at dawn for prime parking. They find out who the judges are and they work those guys like a tobacco lobbyist.
Trophy Hounds are somewhat elusive, since they don’t want to talk to you. Look for the guy intently studying the ballot sheet and stuffing the People’s Choice box with his own entries.
The Display Manager
This guy has spent more on tri-fold displays, decoupaged magazine articles, identically painted model cars and t-shirts than he did on the vehicle itself. Signs include a shout out to everybody who ever laid hands on the car, from the body man all the way to the guy who put gas in it at the Pump ‘n’ Pantry.
Look for them at Staples, opening a business line of credit for the purchase of easels and poster board.
The Monday Morning Quarterback
You like Cragar mags, carnival-ride metalflake paint, dual exhaust and an eight ball shift knob, but this guy’s going to give you all kinds of advice on how you could’ve restored your car to factory specification. “I would’ve gone with the correct wheel covers, and you could never get that paint code on that year,” he’ll casually say as he walks past your car and sniffs.
Look for the Monday Morning Quarterback as he leaves the show in his factory correct, Galen Govier-certified 1972 Plymouth Valiant sedan painted the same color as a cordovan wingtip.
The Time Out Guy
A lot of people tote along an entourage of stuffed creatures to surround their vehicle. Road Runners, Tasmanian Devils, Tweety Birds, basically the entire cast of any Warner Brothers animated short.
But the most disturbing manifestation of this trend is the guy with the “time out doll,” a lifelike, humanoid child posed with its hands over where its face should be, and propped up against the bumper to appear as if it is weeping uncontrollably after being punished.
Am I to understand that some people so relished meting out justice to their own children that they purchased an action figure so that they could relive the experience? I don’t get it. Look for the Time Out Guy yelling at kids to get off his lawn.
The Set Decorator
This guy has a small warehouse filled with every possible automotive accoutrement known to man. He’s got a tray to hang off the window complete with plastic hamburger, fries and frappe, a gas pump, a Wurlitzer jukebox, a drive-in movie speaker mounted on a pole, the KITT flashing lights on his Trans Am, Daisy Duke's shorts, the whole magilla.
Look for him still packing up his stuff three hours after the car show has already ended.