"Forty Shades of Stress"
   Diary of a Show Car
By Tony Costa - Editor
   
    corvette show
To anyone familiar with the the show circuit the following scenario may ring a bell. You decide to mod your car and try your hand at the ultra competitive sport of showing your car at local or regional shows. The car you are showing must be in pristine condition.  An errant swirl or minute scratch will eliminate your car from any serious consideration by the scrupulous eyes of the Judges.

In preparation for the show you spend hours cleaning, clay baring, polishing and waxing your pride and joy. After the paint is finished you must ensure that the wheels, windows and undercarriage are clean enough to eat off of.  Every trace of road grim and dust must be removed and the surface's must be coated with your own super secret blend of polish. After finishing with the exterior you move on to the engine bay. Every piece of stainless, chrome, paint or carbon fiber must be prepped.  You know you are close when you can see your reflection in the darkest corner of that money pit.

The big day you have anticipated and sweated over is at hand.  Your gently move your show piece out of the garage and venture off onto the harsh roads that lead to the show. Those lucky enough to enjoy the benefits of a covered trailer are few and far between. Most of us show contenders must cautiously navigate our way through the dangerously dirty roads that lead to the show.

Your progress to the show is hampered by dump trucks and lawn maintenance vehicles spewing mass quantities of of debris in your path. You find your self playing a real world video game trying to anticipate the next pitfall that will render all your previous efforts useless. Your car is only a few blocks away from the goal and you are faced with one of the most feared threats known to the show car, a lawn sprinkler that is aimed squarely at the center of the road. You stop traffic and try to time your progress with the rhythm of the impulse sprinkler. You go for it and and are forced to stop in the middle of the road because a kid is playing catch and the ball rolls into the street.  All is lost, you take a direct hit from the evil lawn sprinkler.

When you finally arrive at the show gate the registration guy gives your once pristine car a sorrowful look. You are assigned a spot and hope that they don't place you next to the monster truck that is occupied by two hillbillies and their eight children. The only way to avoid this is to always go to a show with some of your other car buddies. The show attendants will always try to find some spaces for you.  Going with a friend or group of friends also minimizes the risk of some idiot parking six inches away from you in the adjacent spot.

"You are assigned a spot and hope that
they don't place you next to the monster
truck that is occupied by two hillbillies
and their eight children."

The once perfectly prepped car is now nestled in the safety of the assigned spot at the show. Once parked the arduous task of re-clean up begins.  The veteran car show warrior  carries a box loaded with every wax, cleaner and polish known to modern science in the trunk of his car.  After selecting the appropriate chemical the show car entrant will try his best to repolish all the surfaces that were desecrated by the hazards of the trip. When the repairs are finalized you can take out your lawn chair and try to relax, yea right.

The next phase of your day at the car show is guard duty. As the spectators arrive they will begin their wandering through the isles of show cars that have positioned themselves for the event. This is where the guard duty begins.  Most spectators of these shows have no clue about how much work goes into each vehicle. To them the cars are nice but nothing special.  The spectators usually know very little about what it takes to own, maintain and customize a car and elevate it to show worthiness.  
Add to that the bizarre fact that almost all shows never charge a fee to the spectators. The financial burden ,an entry fee, always falls on the people who are putting on the show, the car owners.

Most of the show car owners have small windshield signs pleading spectators not to touch the car, good luck with that one.  To the uneducated in show car protocol touching a show vehicle is part of the experience.  Most spectators rarely see cars that glisten with perfection in the mid day sun.  It seems that touching these gems is the spectators way of connecting with a world that they have no chance of entering.

Aside from touching there are several dangers that your guard duty must protect against.


Children: Most parents tend to control their children but some let the kids run amok at these events.  I was at a show recently where the kids thought it was fun to run their toy cars over the fenders of the parked show cars.  When the irate show car owners confronted the parents th
ey were met with indignation. How dare someone ask our little angels to stop having fun.

Womans Accessories: Some women play the dumb card at car shows.  The think nothing of leaning against a car while dressed in studded jeans. Hand bags, adorned with steel and brass protrusions are especially merciless o your paint job. At one show a group of three women sat on a show cars hood posing for pictures. The unlucky owner returned to find a scratched hood, ouch.


Mens and Their Keys: It's not only the women who play brain dead at these shows. Some men, mostly idiot biker types, adorn their belts with all sorts of keys, knives and chains. It seems that some of them go out of their way to damage a nice car. Very honestly if you are a biker who is not really into cars stick with the bike shows.

Senior Citizens: Get out of the way the Seniors are coming! Equipped with walkers, wheel chairs, some motorized, and steel canes they want to get up close and personal with your car.

How about people who want to ride their bicycles through the show and in between the parked show cars. I could go on and on but I think that you get the picture. Yes the  pitfalls of the show car circuit is extreme. My advice is keep on showing but don't be afraid to speak up and protect your investment.

Tony Costa - Editor

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