Or – How To Have A Good Time At The Asylum.
1. Go early. Go before the mums and dads have been able to organise themselves and their children. This tip is brought to you by John Harney who should know because he is covered in car show scars.
2. Go with everything that you are going to need in one pack. Don’t go back out to the car because the business of finding out which entrance is out and which exit is in will tax the patience of the door staff.
3. You do not need all that much. Avoid taking the canvas deck chair and the pizza cooling trays.
4. Wear comfy clothes. It is a car show – no need to dress up. Dress down. You have NO idea how far down you could dress and get away with it. Make sure you and your shoes are good friends – not new acquaintances.
5. Bring money. I know you said you are not going to spend anything but I don’t believe you and you don’t believe you.
6. Don’t bring big money. You may persuade yourself to surrender it for a ’51 Mercury coupe that ” just needs to be finished off “. The phrase ” finish off ” also applies to bank accounts, marriages, and the owners of ’51 Mercury coupes. If you see the seller wiping sweat from their brow and giving everyone the high five you will know that you have made a bad decision.
7. Bring lunch in a back pack. Catering at car shows generates enough income to buy a house in Sydney or the affections of the federal treasurer. If you cannot make a sandwich for under $ 12 at home, you deserve to go hungry.
8. If you are taking pictures, you can use a flash, but be careful about using a tripod. Reserve it for places and times that have few other visitors – not that you are going to be an inconvenience to them, but the general public can be cow-like to an incredible degree. They have two gaits – stagger and lurch – and would fall into a fire if you let them.
9. The car show girls are going to have a long day of it. Be nice to them. They are attractive ladies and have dressed up to make the experience fun and glamorous for all. Plus if you annoy them they will kick you hard and some of those shoes have wicked heels.
10. Never tell an owner that his car is the ugliest vehicle that you have ever seen. If it is a show car he will be insanely angry at you. Worse, if it is a rat rod he will be delighted and follow you everywhere.
11. It might be, or it mightn’t be, but you are not licensed to bonk it with your fist to find out. If you can’t tell if it is fake, it is a damned good fake and deserves to be left alone. If in doubt watch it when they start it up for the drive-off.
12. Yes, those wheels really do cost that much. Makes your old rims look good. At least you own them.
13. Never pass up a chance to pee – this hint is brought to you by HM King George V. Really…
14. Rome was not built in a day and neither was anything else that rolled into the show. These vehicles are years of work for some. If you are jealous of them, consider what other things you did in the last 5 years. If is still seems like a good hobby, think what you want to do for the next 5 years. If it still seems a good idea, go buy yourself some books and start to plan…
15. Go look at the knuckles of the car builders and mechanics. Yes, yours will look like that in 5 years. For exactly the same reasons.
16. Don’t be put off by the false barriers people put up to define hot rods or street cars or customs – there is a vehicle somewhere that is just perfect for you. It might be as close as a shave job and coat of paint or as far away as a sand-cast engine block and a flat file, but there is one for you. If your car is gonna be simple, be glad – make it happen and drive it EVERYwhere and be happy. If your car is five years of cold garages and welding burns and trying to find the last part then be glad that the journey is hard – your car will be unique in the world. So little else in our lives approaches that. When you are driving it you will be THE man.
17. You can spend just as much for parts that are sort of right as you can for parts that are nearly right. And that is the same amount of money as parts that are exactly right. Wanna spend once, twice, or three times?
18. If she brings tea out to the shed on a cold night, buys you a steering box link, and lets you go to Knuckleup for the annual rod day, you are the luckiest man in the world. Don’t press your luck. Turn down the ’51 Mercury coupe.
19. If you DO buy that damned coupe, finish it well. And paint it in a colour she picks. And shut up about it.
20. If you try to get away with it by saying it is her car be warned that some day she will take you at your word.