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Event Coverage Is this dying out, what's next?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by SDS, Sep 25, 2022.

  1. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 8,609



    Everyone has their own way to enjoy what is left of the old hot rod/custom car/drag racing world. People see those involved as someone with an inkling about old cars and stuff. So, when it is a minority of the whole society scene, one cannot complain about attendance in any event nationally. Hot rods have always been in a small percentage of the whole society scene. When one goes to a national event, the expectations are high with the large gathering.

    Despite the large gathering, it is still a small minority of the overall numbers. So, what is the answer? Having more “nationals events” could be that it is wearing thin to that minority representation. Increasing the entry model year was one way to attract more participants, but still in the overall minority gatherings. The more “nationals” events put on by one organization has created another competitive scene with other large companies. The NSRA has 10 shows over the year. Then add in the Goodguys events of 17 in total number and it gets thin.

    Soon, locally in almost every city, there are nostalgia days with car shows and events. Pretty soon, there are the big events not associated with the two main showcase event companies that are popping up to interest people to a different way to see hot rods and customs. So the exposure gets thinner and thinner. To car enthusiasts, showing up at a weekend cars and coffee seems like a “thing” to do to get the hot rod feel back in play. But, it still is a small minority.


    As a part of that minority, everyone has to do their own thing as we all know it is hard to agree on a lot of subjects and information. The pandemic is still affecting thousands and some people just ignore it as if … it will go away. But the pandemic for the last two years has affected a lot of people and super spreader events play a big roll in smaller attendance at those events.

    So, an increase in local events, different events for a certain select versions of old hot rods and charity events are taking up the slack, using hot rods and custom street rods to draw attention to their events. It would be nice to go to a gathering and not feel like getting sick with the others in attendance. Shoulder to shoulder does not seem as much fun as it once was.

    What was once a one time national event happening once a year drew thousands. But as more events happened and were a monthly/bi-monthly scheduled event, the fun of a cross country driving event like the ones we used to see have waned in these times. So, no need to blame any one particular thing, it is what and how our society has gone in those directions.

    So, the field is getting crowded in almost every region. It seems like the big national events were something to look forward to from back in those early days. But, time and the pandemic is wearing thin.
  2. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 3,660


    Two very true comments above.

    Now the simple math tells us that all of us old guys are eventually not gonna be around. There is a number of guys in the 40-60 range that will carry on for a while longer. The key to trying to insure that we bring new/younger people into this hobby is "inclusion". The "my way or the highway" attitude will eventually cause our numbers to dwindle.

    Case in point: My son's very first car was a 57 Chevy Hardtop. A 50 footer......looked really good from 50 ft. I parked it in our attached garage. The next morning, his 15th Birthday, when he went into the kitchen, he spied the 57 sitting in the garage. The sun was bright and beaming thru the windows and it just had an aura. His knees kinda buckled a little and tears came to his eyes. He was so happy.

    So we started to make some improvements and one thing grew to another and soon the car was not driveable any more. He turned 16 and got an 86 Camaro that he could actually drive. Soon, all his attention turned to performance and he got a 93 Camaro with an LT1 6 speed.

    So sit at a car show or go race someone...........What do you think kids are going to do?

    Now he is 42 and the 57 is still sitting in the shed out back. I think someday he will decide to resurect it. In the mean time he now has a 56 Chevy pickup that he has begun, make that hot rodding. It fits really well on a modified 89 Chevy truck frame and has a 9" Ford rear. Basically any parts needed if he breaks down are available at any parts store, and he has all the benefits of a good riding and driving vehicle. Also he upgraded to an LY6 (LS) engine and 4L80 trans because he drives about a hundred miles a day for work. He did this because his racing experience acclimated him to fuel injection instead of carburetors.....and he wants the increased performance while still getting decent gas mileage. It used to be said that no matter how much weight they were loaded with, Chevy trucks always got 10mpg.
    Can't live with that when you actually drive a vehicle 100 miles daily.

    Here is a construction picture of his truck. I think from the outside it is a pretty acceptable truck by Hamb Standards........but the Hamb wants to kick him to the curb because he has incorporated logical components into his build rather than nostalgia at any costs.

    The way you continue something is to be inclusive rather than exclusive. Smack somebodies hand rather than give them a hand and you only diminish interest. We need to cultivate the group that is in the 35-50 range as they have disposable income and can often identify with somewhat older vehicles. Then a kind of trickle down effect will pass that same love of old cars on to their children.

    I have suggested before that I think the Hamb would grow and continue better if they created another catagory where somewhat non-traditional technology was allowed......while still sticking to the pre 66 vehicle mantra. There are a lot of people out there who are building vehicles with a basic traditional look........yet incorporating modern tech into it. The car I'm constructing right now will have a 500 Cad V8. Plans right now are to use possibly a roots blower with two dummy 4 barrrels for throttle bodies and electronic fuel injection (hidden). Most of the younger guys (I'm old) don't know anything about carburetors and don't want to. So continued exclusivity is a dying breed.........literally!

    I think bringing people to the site by making an additional catagory would be a good thing because gradual interaction would create interest in our older vehicles. The traditional at any costs guys would have the same rules they have now, and they can ignore the added catagory. But the opportunity to include and bring new people around the site..........maybe even convert them to the nostalgia paranoia would be beneficial to our hobby.

    Last edited: Sep 27, 2022
  3. krylon32
    Joined: Jan 29, 2006
    Posts: 8,646

    from Nebraska

    I no longer enjoy going to an event and after I look at the cars sitting around in a lawn chair. The expense involved with high priced fuel plus the ridiculous prices the motels and restaurants charge if it's a multi day event just make me tired. I did go to Louisville for 3 days this year, stayed across the river at a reasonably priced motel and ate fast food. Enjoyed that trip. I still love my old cars and am building 2 at this time. I'm thinking that at 77 I'm not the brightest for doing that.
  4. hotdamn
    Joined: Aug 25, 2006
    Posts: 2,308


    I can tell yall that we just had the Old North State show and it was not only well attended but had some top notch quality cars as well.

    as mentioned TROG grows every year and the 10/8 is the Congregation show in Charlotte, its largely motorcycles but there are a lot of great traditional cars there as well.

    as for good guys and the like, I quit going to those shows 10 years ago, not only was it $80 to get my car in but being a younger guy into traditional hotrods and customs I never really felt very welcomed there.

    it was more MII's and large wheels and less straight axles and bias plys.
  5. 43willys
    Joined: Jun 11, 2012
    Posts: 51


    Im 38 years old, grew up going to goodguys columbus, nsra kalamzoo, back to the 50s etc. My dad and I always went to canfield swap meet, and others. I am currently building a 1936 Ford sedan in the traditonal style. This build has taken a huge cash push from me and has made me sell other off topic cars for parts and tools. Sadly I dont often have the extra cash for shows and swaps anymore due to my build. Its taking all the extra money. With that said I have many friends doing the same so the early car game is far from ending and I will attend events in the future.
    Baumi, williebill, Just Gary and 3 others like this.
  6. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 3,660


    Personally I admire anyone who has the gumption to keep doing what they love .......
    aches and pains be damned! :)
    williebill, Stock Racer and AHotRod like this.
  7. Don't do shows. Tried it, didn't like it. Can't sit on my ass and listen to all the bullshit. When I did go, I looked at cars for interesting ideas/applications and workmanship. If owner built, I asked questions. If pro built I looked but didn't waste time asking the owner questions.

    As far as the younger generation goes, I have first hand experience. About 15 or 16 years ago a kid wandered into my shop and kinda adopted me. He hung around, made himself useful, then asked the right questions, and listened to the answers. I tried to steer him into the traditional hotrod side of this hobby but he wasn't interested. Turned out he's a sand monkey. But in my opinion, this sand monkey is a traditional hotrodder. He has built (from scratch) two chromemoly tubed sandrails. One is Hayabusa powered and the other runs a blown BB. Both are eye bleedingly quick. I kid him that he should take them to the strip or put 'em on the street. He just laughs me off, looks over at my Easy Eagle project and says "I will if you will.". To him the streets are to slow, and dragstrips way too short. He has mentioned that the Hayabusa might be fun at some road track, or Pikes Peak, so I guess there's still hope;). Would most here look at his stuff? Probably not. But in my opinion he's the very definition of a hotrodder. If this kid is the future of hotodding, it's in good hands. And who knows, when he gets to the average age of this board he might slow down and build something Hamb friendly. But it will be completely hand built.
    ekimneirbo and AHotRod like this.
  8. Gasser Mike
    Joined: Jan 8, 2020
    Posts: 2

    Gasser Mike

    Went to Tristate Revival Julsburg Co running gasser class and on Sunday got paired with 2020 Cadillac CTS 4 door sedan first round of eliminations there were 13 gassers in lane 5 supported that show 7 years no more
  9. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 15,895

    from KCMO

    No shortage of younger guys hot rodding around here and in my social media circles. Though I’d be lying if I didn’t want it to die off a bit. The sticker prices are pushing a lot of people out of the hobby. Drop the demand drop the price.

    maybe they’ll all get back into bikes again.
    Dan Hay, Lakeside65 and AHotRod like this.
  10. My students get tickled reading these threads.
    “You guys worry too much”
  11. 31Apickup
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 3,285


    I grew up reading the street Rod magazines in the 70’s and seeing all the cool events where people drove their hot rods long distances to the events. In those days the NSRA events did some actual driving events at the meet. I’m sure the insurance costs most likely killed that part. I drove my 31 pickup to Louisville in 1988, it was so exciting just got it on the road the previous summer and could finally participate ( I was 25). It was fun and did most of the Nats thru the 90’s and Kalamazoo every year until 2009. I was always the youngest of our group. By 2009 most of our group was trailering their cars, and it was getting boring to be at the events for the whole weekend. The change to post 1948 cars killed it for me plus the NSRA editorial comments regarding it. Started to do many of the smaller meets such as Billetproof & Sins of Steel but you also had the issue with some of clicks of this folks. My current coupe build is based upon being able to do road trips, no trailers for me, we’ll see where things go.
    AHotRod and TrailerTrashToo like this.
  12. stubbsrodandcustom
    Joined: Dec 28, 2010
    Posts: 2,115

    from Spring tx

    Street rod BS is dying, hence why Goodguys and NSRA are fading fast also. The billet wheels, tweed interiors have ran their course. Gone are the days of IRS rear ends with SBC loaded with ball milled valve covers and matching shotgun scoops(thank GOD)... Look at the attendance of ultra traditional shows, THROUGH THE ROOF compared to where they used to be, as stated above, TROG has taken the people who want to race, given them a venue, made a great weekend out of the event, and you don't have the guy in his air monarch shoes polishing his paint next to you anymore. The show rod thing is dying off, money is a big part, it costs alot to play in that game, and for what? A piece of plastic? The times are changing to more enjoyment and less polish. Those big shows don't care about traditional anything or the regular joe, all they care about car count, and (insert the latest hot shop) New shiny build, so they can praise them and tug his stuff all weekend. Thanks but no thanks. Look at how many 32 fords with IFS are for sale right now...
  13. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 5,904


    I couldn't agree with this post more.

    Look at the thread on here this week where some poor bastard had the gumption to ask whether he should put a SBC or SBF into a 50 Merc for his 15 year old son to drive. People come out of the woodwork saying he should put anything from a Y block, Hemi, Ford Cammer.... instead of saying, "Put whatever you want in it, get it out on the road and enjoy it".

    The traditional scene started rotting itself from the inside out when it stopped being hot rodding and became restoring within parameters.

    People are out there building awesome stuff. My IG feed has plenty of great metalwork, new customs and hot rods, etc. Most aren't here because the people are too busy building them and driving them to give a shit what some keyboard warrior thinks about it. And the same goes for car shows. There is a new breed in this hobby, and it's less focused on sitting at car shows for days at a time, and more focused on shorter gatherings, getting out and driving, and posting content on social media. There is nothing wrong with this, it's just an evolution.
  14. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 7,286


    I go to more than a few shows a year. Big and small and everything in between. I go to get out of the house. I work from home. I go to see people I know and always meet some one while I`m attending. I met a guy last year, saw him 5 times this year at different events. It doesn`t bother me if the shows are smaller or bigger. I still see people I know so it`s always a good time. Stay home like everybody else. You are in the garage like some kids are in the basement. It`s were you want to be. By your self. Or on your phone doing what ever people do on those things.
    Algoma56 and wfo guy like this.
  15. seabeecmc
    Joined: Jan 28, 2005
    Posts: 1,152


    My take on this is the quality hot rod builders are aging out and not getting around quite so much. There seems to be a growing attraction for the rat rod stock car quality vehicle events. Ron
  16. If someone doesn't want to build a 100% period correct correct it's their car not mine. I know people who are running disc brakes and s-10 5 speeds.

    However they readily admit these parts are not period correct, @57JoeFoMoPar is a great example.

    My issue is with people whose cars that aren't 100% or even 25% period but then want to preach to those who build a traditional hot rod or custom, who have done their research, hunted swapmeets, junkyard, befriended the old time hot rodders how our cars are wrong, and we don't know anything about hot rodding.

    As I have said before I am not a fan of the Techno rod style cars, but I can respect the work in that style of car.

    However, there is some irony here, the same people who are running down and insulting everyone who doesn't meet their standards of what hot rodding is or should be are the same peope who can't understand why things are dieing.

    There has been no atempt to bring young people in.
    When I was a little kid people would invite kids to sit in their cars, they would explain what the car was.

    Once the lawn chair type shows started that was right out the window, I was always taught never to touch someone's car to pull my hands behind back when looking at car and not to get in someone's can unless they invited me to do so.

    I remember several times as the lawnchair began to appear at event being with my mother or father and having people condescending tell them not to tell me touch their car. My mom and dad were always quick to point out I was raised to respect other's proporty.

    As I got older and was trying to learn and ask qustions about people's cars I got condescending why are you bothering me attitude.

    Why would anyone want to an event were they were unwelcomed, and shunned?

    This is a big reason why 20 years events like the Rockabilly Rumble, The Jalopy Jamoree, and countless other small events for traditional hot rods and customs started because not only were we not welcomed and fall out shunned at the fairgrounds events.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2022
    ekimneirbo and 57JoeFoMoPar like this.
  17. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 10,950

    Bandit Billy

    It comes with aging I fear. The other day I yelled at a kid for driving too fast in front of my house. My wife said "really, you're that guy now?"

    Get off my lawn!!
  18. Lakeside65
    Joined: Aug 17, 2021
    Posts: 204


    I'll chime in from the perspective of a 26 year old with a wife, a daughter and a beat up 40 ford. In my opinion the good deals are still out there, you just have to be a little creative and open up to the idea something that may not be on the cover of the magazines is still a cool ride, and likely more affordable. I spent a lot of time worrying about what's cool and what isn't, and now I'm thinking that driving my 40 to work, to the grocery store, to car shows and everywhere else is a lot cooler than anything I could physically do to the car. Like @cvstl once said, just get out slam the door and walk away, who cares if anyone else thinks its cool. I always stick with the "You don't know until you know" attitude. Take a younger guy under your wing, they might surprise you.
  19. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 24,137


    My question is what kinda shop teacher lets their students read the hamb? You trying to warp their fertile minds? :cool:
    williebill, 210superair and Moriarity like this.
    Joined: Jun 6, 2007
    Posts: 5,040


    You should have gone to the Nostalgia Drags on the east side.
    Its a rolling car show with noise and tire smoke and gas fumes and a hot rodders dream.
    Stock Racer and flynbrian48 like this.
  21. It’s a beautiful early fall day. Sunny and not too hot. I have the top off of the roadster. Shows are fun. But driving is the most fun. It seems like a lot of local folks agree as I always see others out wearing their stuff out. In our Hawaiian shirts and cargo pants. Is hot rodding dying? To quote Bob Dylan “ he who’s not busy being born is busy dying.
  22. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 5,904


    As to former statement, I can't say that I have encountered much, if any, of that sentiment. If anything it's been more of what you describe in your latter statement, which I agree with. My thought is that (as Ryan has said on here) "traditional" is more about an aesthetic, and that there is room under the umbrella for all of us, regardless of where we land on the period-correct spectrum. We're more alike than we aren't, and can learn a lot from each other. That is based on inclusion and mutual respect for different taste.
  23. brianf31
    Joined: Aug 11, 2003
    Posts: 862


    I'll echo the car show sentiment. It's boring.

    The Southeast Gassers Association race at Knoxville had a great crowd last weekend. It was attended by a wide range of age groups. Hot Rod Drag Week was also pretty well attended last week. The other drag-and-drive events do well, too.
    Just Gary likes this.
  24. upload_2022-9-26_16-5-42.png

    I need to proofread, I think of things as I am typing and edit on the fly.
  25. Fordors
    Joined: Sep 22, 2016
    Posts: 5,023



    I did the NSRA thing for quite a number of years with my wife and later with our boys, and a few Good Guys events at IRP too. The big draw at GG /IRP was the hot rod drags. We drove to Columbus, OKC, St. Paul, Memphis and many points in between those cities but other than the drive and some side trips to do other stuff the big shows got boring.
    That's an old NSRA card of mine, I signed on pretty early but gave membership up when they opened the shows to late models. I haven't been to a big show since but if I did venture to Louisville I'd check out the exhibitors building and leave. I appreciate a well done '50's, '60's or even '70's car but the name National STREET ROD Association says pre '49 to me.
    uncleandy 65 likes this.
  26. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 5,904


    Preach bro. I understand all too well.

    One other point that came to me while thinking about this is that in the modern era, someone doesn't ever need to go to a car show to display their creations. With the advent of social media, Facebook, Instagram, even the HAMB, people can display their cars in the virtual space to gain world-wide exposure that never would have been possible 20 years ago. If it wasn't in a magazine, and it wasn't at a show, it didn't exist.

    For example, check this killer Lincoln out. This car popped up in my IG feed and I think it's absolutely killer. I've never seen it at a show, especially since it's in CA and I'm on the east coast, and never seen it in a magazine. But there it is.
    pink linc.png
  27. Easy to see why it's dying out. Take a real close look at the lawn chair streetrod/tradrod group. Looks like Bingo Nite at Shady Acres Rest Home. We've become the dredded model T/A restoration snobs we thought were assholes when we were young. Funny how as we get older our memories get more selective and way more creative. When we were young the three day shows meant you slept in your car for two nites and found a buddy who'd sprung for a room to use his shower. You lived on fairground food and sombody made the beer/soda run. Nowdays the traditional/street rodder figures he's roughing it if his room doesn't have cable or wifi or his RV generator runs out of gas.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2022
    ekimneirbo, Tman, seabeecmc and 2 others like this.
  28. no55mad
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 1,952


    Recently gave the 15 yr old grandson a 'fun ride' in the 56 Ply Suburban, 360ci 4 speed. After, he says he is looking forward to getting a Tesla. Son lives in a cheap 1100 sq ft house on a 5K sq ft lot built in the 50's in Hawthorne Calif. Those houses are selling for $1million. Times are changing and cool old cars are not on young peoples minds like in our era (in regards to retirees). Still fun for the older crowd, laying in bed at night thinking about your build/project. Know many 70+ year olds still building; beats sitting on the couch watching TV.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2022
  29. Duncan71
    Joined: Jan 17, 2022
    Posts: 53


    Ill include a sentiment a lot have echoed here... while not trying to seem like a jerk.

    The barrier to entry with hot rods and antique / classic cars is definitely a tough one. As a "younger" guy I've always been into models of car that pre date what my peers are into by 40-80 years. Graduating in mid 2000's I drove my restored Cutlass to 'Prom' or 'Grad' as we called it.

    It was a nicely done car, but in no way original or unique. The purists always seemed to scoff at me because it was a 4-4-2 and wasnt super nice, and I had to do things the "cheap way" not the "right way". As I get older and try and make new connections in the older car networks (57 Chevy and 48 International), but find I also get scoffed at for not restoring, and putting disc brakes on stuff. When I want to buy parts or put up a WTB add I get tons of calls, and have a lot of good conversations, but the reality is lots of people are wanting to sell for +++$$$ past the worth of something. Or even then, prefer to make deals with guys amongst the group of guys they hang with - preferring to just talk about what they have, and their future plans when I'm waving cash in there face wanting to buy (often even the asking price, only to be ohhhh I dont really know if I want to sell anymore).

    That being said, have had lots of great experiences with guys helping out with tech questions and the like. I guess the moral of the story is, being a nice guy and decent person helps our hobby more than anything else. Working in my garage I have people stroll by and want to chat about my projects, or people roll by in what they are into (even if it isnt my forte) and always taking the time to stop and chat and help pays dividends.
  30. Here is a of great example of making an attempt by members of my club trying to bring young people to the hobby, sport, I view it as a lifestyle.

    Our tech inspector owns The Jokers 44 a historic stock car from western New York he often paces the field at Fonda speedway.

    Our last race at Fonda he added a second seat a seat belt and there was a free raffle open to all kids to ride with Wayde during the pace laps before each of our three class features.

    upload_2022-9-26_18-33-33.png upload_2022-9-26_18-45-38.png upload_2022-9-26_18-41-36.png

    The last young man got the best show Mike Gray pulled up in the Bill Koller K-71 a real Fonda car, Mike revved the engine and ended up shooting a giant ball of fire out of the exhaust.

    Wayde said all the kids were over the moon, but the last kid was hooked!
    Those kids are likely to be race fans and cars guys for life!

    Instead of condescending and acting as if young people don't belong, people should be trying to get them involved, and be willing to share their knowledge with the next generation so the car hobby lives on long after we are gone!
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2022

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