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Mr. Reed
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Hello. I'm thinking about taking my car the the car shows next year. When you guys do. Do you let people sit in them and turn on the lights or anything. I've read articles that some people were expressing the displeasure of roping cars off so you can't touch them. I think we should embrace some people being curious about the cars from times gone by. Show them the inside and trunk and tell them about how things work. What do you think?

 

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No one should be allowed to freely get in a collector car and play with the switch’s and other controls.   This is how things get broken.   On many early cars the parts get fragile with age and they break if treated like you are handling a modern car.   I wouldn’t allow anyone in my car without careful supervision.   

Edited by Mark Huston (see edit history)
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Car shows are an excellent way to share your car

with the public.  When they are well located and promoted,

they reach the general public and not just fellow car fans.

 

I would let people sit in your car only upon your invitation.

You can even take their pictures.  However, they should not

operate lights and switches and levers.  They don't need to

do that to learn about the car, and that would be inviting 

things to be broken.

 

Staying with your car to explain things is very helpful.

Otherwise, newcomers walk by long rows of cars without

gaining much insight.  At one small local show, three girls,

about 13 years old, were walking down the row.  I got the

owner of a Corvair to show them how the trunk had the

engine, and the hood was empty!  They were very interested.

I pointed out how with a bench seat, one could enter from

either side of the car and simply slide over.  That was novel

to them. 

 

A car will make a lasting impression with such an explanation

and personal interaction--far more than just being a stationary

object in a row.

 

 

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27 minutes ago, Mr. Reed said:

I've read articles that some people were expressing the displeasure of roping cars off so you can't touch them. 

 

By the way, very few cars are ever roped off.

If you keep the windows down, people can walk

beside them and look inside.  They need to have

respect for the cars, because belt buckles and purses

can scratch the paint.  No one should touch the car

without being asked to--just as you wouldn't touch

an antique vase or painting in a museum.  The key word

is INVITING people to open a door or sit inside.

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If people are curious and want to ask questions that is fine, I have for 40+ years answered them ( if they are civil) and let them know more about the car which most likely is something that they are curious about. Mostly tell them that all things about it are "manually" operated - no computer to think for you, that is up to the person driving or riding in the car. I will tell them what it cost when new or have that information on a card on the windshield, Never answer "what's it worth" and find that the past decade or so people are polite enough to not ask that anymore. You open the door to show them inside what the door panels or front seat looks like not them. People are curious about history, you can compare then ( when your car was new) to now - the price of gasoline per gallon then to now, the cost of a loaf of bread, etc.

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One of my biggest pet peeves at car shows is the owners leave the hood closed & aren't around to ask if I could see the engine. I would think someone at a show who doesn't know what under the hood beauty & simplicity looks like would be VERY interested to see it. I had a 1966 Impala with, as one friend called it, a highly modified engine, (468/550hp with Corvette tripower) that I always opened the hood on it at shows and cruises. Sometimes I'd remove the air cleaner & that got all kinds of people interested when they saw the 3 deuces.

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2 minutes ago, George Smolinski said:

One of my biggest pet peeves at car shows is the owners leave the hood closed... 

 

Sometimes, George, I think the opposite of that!

I want to take a picture of an interesting car, to

capture its beauty and styling, and the hood is agape.

 

Our local show solved the dilemma nicely:  Mid-way

through the show, after cars were judged, we asked

owners to close their hoods for better photography.

As newsletter editor, I never pictured a car with its

hood open;  national magazines rarely do either.

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5 minutes ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

 

Sometimes, George, I think the opposite of that!

I want to take a picture of an interesting car, to

capture its beauty and styling, and the hood is agape.

 

Our local show solved the dilemma nicely:  Mid-way

through the show, after cars were judged, we asked

owners to close their hoods for better photography.

As newsletter editor, I never pictured a car with its

hood open;  national magazines rarely do either.

Excellent idea John. I'll give that 👍👍

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I have always thought that one of the most enjoyable parts of owning an old car is the interaction with 'civilians', i.e., non-old car owners, at car show events.  Agree with the above comments about not letting folks climb in and mess around with things, but people always seem to appreciate/enjoy hearing about the vehicles and their various features.  My cars are 'drivers' and not Pierce Arrows or high end cars, only 34 Plymouths and Dodges.  People all seem to light up and engage when I show them how the 'dual ventilation' front windows work on these cars (vent and window operate separately, throw a lever and the entire window frame, including the vent, lower into the door) and they comment on Chrysler engineering even 'back in the 30s'.  Older folks who remember these cars from their youth provide some of the most interesting stories I have ever heard--one older gentleman told my wife and I stories of loading bombs into B-24s in Italy during WWII.  Bottom line, WE ARE ALL AMBASADORS FOR OUR HOBBY.  Next time restrictive 'old car' legislation is introduced, maybe someone will remember their conversation with you and vote our way.  That youngster that you showed the side mounts and suicide doors to may some day join our ranks and take over our roles as stewards for these these old piles of wood and iron.   

2010-0801 Plymouth at Vista Rod Run11.jpg

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A 27 year old with a car nearly three times his age is bound to invite some conversation. 

 

The only downside to that is some codger trying to demean your knowledge of your own car or worse tell you that you have no business owning such a car. Yes, I had that happen. Only time in my life I told an elder to do anatomically impossible things to himself.

 

Knowledge of and enthusiasm for your car will make you a lot of old car friends. 

 

I'm reminded of my high school guidance counselor showing a bunch of us high school gearheads how to start her 1955 Roadmaster in 1974. She loved that car and drove it proudly.

 

A "pedal start" demonstration might be a good icebreaker.

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Good signage is very helpful at shows and saves you getting a raspy voice answering the same basic questions over and over. Attached are a couple of examples (my son works at a graphic design shop). These are aluminum, the same size as "No Parking" etc. signs.

As a photographer, I agree with JohnS about closed hoods. 

1940 Packard 110 sign.JPG

1978 Caballero sign.JPG

IMG_1314 (2).JPG

Edited by J.H.Boland (see edit history)
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When I was showing my mostly original 1964 Vespa at local shows I wrote about rescuing it from the trash as the previous owners wife decided when cleaning up their garage she decided this old piece of junk was worthless.  I worked with the Vespa’s owner, he told me to come get it if I wanted it.  You can bet I was there within the hour!

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A crank start is an even better icebreaker!  I invite supervised kids to sit behind the wheel, and have their parents take a picture.  I ask little kids:  "Would you like to hear my duck?  When someone gets in my way, it quacks."  Then I blow the bulb horn, and I let them try it.  Little kids need help; bigger ones get these enormous grins when they can do it by themselves.  Sometimes I'll say:  "You've heard of blowing the horn, haven't you?  Well, that thing up front is a real horn; maybe someone in your school band plays one.  And now I'll REALLY BLOW he horn."  And I take the bulb off and blow a great blast with my mouth.  When they want to try it, I say no, because it's full of my germs; these days, especially, they accept that.  Most of the grownups thank me profusely for sharing.  And it's a helluva lot more fun that growling ''DON'T TOUCH!"

 

And if I have the steam car out, I can show all kinds of magic tricks.

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A vast, vast majority of show-goers are respectful and understand the rules of "look but don't touch." The rare RARE exceptions are often corrected before any real harm is done. The horror stories you hear are the exception rather than the rule, so don't let them discourage you from attending shows. It's not a big deal, it's not a situation where you have to be hyper vigilant for fear that someone will break into your car and do something stupid. You can decide to let people interact with you and the car or not, but either way most people will just look and then walk on. 

 

Go and have fun and you'll understand what it's like better than reading about it online. 

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1 hour ago, Walt G said:

 Never answer "what's it worth" and find that the past decade or so people are polite enough to not ask that anymore. 

 

My standard answer is it depends on the market, but what a vehicle is worth, is what a willing seller will sell to a willing buyer....but my car is not for sale.

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1 hour ago, rocketraider said:

A 27 year old with a car nearly three times his age is bound to invite some conversation. 

 

The only downside to that is some codger trying to demean your knowledge of your own car or worse tell you that you have no business owning such a car. Yes, I had that happen. Only time in my life I told an elder to do anatomically impossible things to himself.

 

Knowledge of and enthusiasm for your car will make you a lot of old car friends. 

 

I'm reminded of my high school guidance counselor showing a bunch of us high school gearheads how to start her 1955 Roadmaster in 1974. She loved that car and drove it proudly.

 

A "pedal start" demonstration might be a good icebreaker.

Thank you. I appreciate that. I'm looking online for more literature and pictures of my 50 Buick so I can learn more about the differences between them and colors excreta.

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One of the best resources for information from the factory for a car is the data book they issued and sent to dealerships that the salesmen used to answer questions for customers when the car were new. All kinds of information from ,mechanical and engineering to styling and equipment.  The data books started to become more popular in the era around WWI and by the mid 1920s most car companies issued them - not available to the public ( that is what sales/promotional  literature was for) . Most were small about 4 x 6 inches and loose leaf then ring bound. Many were over 100 pages in length.

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     I’ve gone to maybe a hundred high end car shows and concours of America events with my Kissels. I’m there (usually at a distance) to oversee the cars and answer questions, but never to crowd the folks. I have never had any person attempt to climb inside, even kids, when they are non roped events. I think al ost all folks at high end or concours events appreciate the requirements of respecting others property. At roped events, after a few hours and judging, most folks are just dropping the ropes to let folks get close in the same way.
     In my view, let people snoop. Pop their heads close to your cars. If they are very interested, I’ll invite them to sit in the Kissel suicide seats for pictures - always a great smile maker!

59CE18E8-314D-4408-A195-0EEC351FF642.jpeg

0AA965C3-DD38-4C27-B4A6-CEA0A992E003.jpeg

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I second all of the above. I was at a show next door to a little league park last summer. When one of the t ball games was finished some of the kids went through the lot looking at the cars. I let several sit in mine (with my supervision) and they got the biggest kick out of it. Sitting in a seat cant hurt anything, however I dont think I would want some fat cow sitting on the hood, LOL. 

I will take my 8yo to car cruises, almost always theres some old timer that insists that he sits in the car. He always enjoys that as well.

I have been from car cruise to fine concours events. About the only time I saw a vehicle roped off was at a motorcycle show.  The particular event was staged in a hotel lobby as a precourser to the big event. About 50 invited motorcycles, of which I had a couple in place. Just so happens there was a Brough Superior parked right beside my bike. The owner had display lights and it was completely roped off. Only bike there like that. However this same guy would inspect all of the other  bikes up close and personal, even sitting on quite a few. Fairly rude by my standards.

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One memorable example of interacting with the public--

especially children--occurred a few years ago at a local

lake where we held our AACA region's picnic.  Enthusiastic

owners brought 2 Amphicars (amphibious cars made in

Germany in the 1960's) and gave members rides.  They even

gave rides to a few children of onlookers--non-members--

who were amazedly gawking down at the dock!

 

Picture driving down the parking lot and boat ramp, right 

into the water.  I'm sure those children and their parents

will have something to remember all their lives:

 

 

Car club 2016 picnic (10).JPG

Car club 2016 picnic (12).JPG

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The only events I've been to that are roped off are concours events. I suspect that is to lend an air of exclusivity for the benefit of the folks who paid $$$$ to view them. Over the last 20 some years there have been only a few cases of thoughtless or arrogant lookers. Most are respectful of the cars.

I'm happy to answer questions, open hoods, move coolers for a pix etc. etc. I've never been asked to allow sitting inside but I would likely refuse.

I was approached by a man with an older gent  by his side. He politely explained his father was blind and asked if would I allow him to run his hands over my 55 Buick so he could "see" it. Watching him run his fingers over the body panels and feeling the trim details was the highlight of the show.........Bob

Edited by Bhigdog (see edit history)
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I notice that Jay Leno will put his hands on guest's cars, but he's obviously demonstrated to the world that he cares about old cars and knows how to treat them. Allowing most strangers to get in your car and fiddle with things is asking too much of an owner who's devoted time and money to making their car roadworthy, whether it's a show car or not. Nevertheless, I try to find some middle ground. If someone has a genuine interest in my vehicle and conducts themselves in a friendly and civil manner, it doesn't matter to me whether they touch my car or not, though most people like that don't do that without asking.

 

If someone's very young and doesn't really know etiquette around rare cars, but has genuine enthusiasm...again, I say nothing, as I want to encourage their interest. My cars aren't nice enough to fret over really small stuff. One young man asked me if he could drive my car...I said no. 😄He was just unfamiliar with what's appropriate, but he was nice, so I was respectful about it. However, if people are goofing off, being jerks or drinking, I'd try to convey to them that I'm not comfortable with them even being near my car, let alone touching it. I've never encountered people like that, though.

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I think it depends on the car.  If you are that worried about the car leave it at home. 

 

That said, a lot of kids today don't have adults in their lives that have time to teach them about history or just general good manors.  I love great signage, tell the story about your car, not the nuts and bolts, but why you love your car. 

 

Bring a lawn chair, a small cooler, and enjoy the day talking to the kids and adults.

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I'm am anomaly..Though since my teen years..50 years ago..I could care less about car shows or showing a car,I don't have the ego need. Don't get me wrong,I been to and particapite in hundreds, but could care less except maybe a worthy cause otherwise ,I go for the fkea market and to have minor social intercourse with old car friends and serious enthousiasts.I don't give an F about spectators or their visual edifiction.

. My vehicles are selfishly for me and me alone (and so are yours,whether you belive it or not) and drive them in a priority "earn your keep fashion" and need no excuse to "take one out" for a show or tour" after being ground into the road week after week.

 I have a similar view if museums.

Once you see a the great Stutz or Parkhard V16 and Duesy sitting there so what..A few museums you've seen it all..

If they arent being driven about to hear and smell , perform and touch a door handle,it's nothing but pure

static worthless junk!

  Any museum that doesn't have at least 3 or more cars out at a time ,of rotating stock running round  giving rides , 300 days a years should be should be ashamed.

 Drive,drive and drive some more.If it gets chiped or worn out out ,fix it again..

 

 

 

 

 

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I'm am anomaly..Though since my teen years..50 years ago..I could care less about car shows or showing a car,I don't have the ego need. Don't get me wrong,I been to and particapite in hundreds but could care less except maybe a worthy cause otherwise ,I go for the fkea market and to have minor social intercourse with old car friends and serious enthousiasts.I don't give an F about spectators .

. My vehicles are selfishly for me and me alone and drive them in a priority "earn your keep fashion" and need no excuse to "take one out" after being ground into the road week after week.

 I have a similar view if museums.Once you see a the great Stutz or Parkhard V16 and Duesy sitting there so what..A few museums you've seen it all..

If they arent being driven about to hear and smell , perform and touch a door handle,it's nothing but pures static junk!

  Any museum that doesn't have at least 3 cars out at a time of rotating stock running round  giving rides and 300 days a years should be should be ashamed.

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A large part of the reason I participate in car shows is to meet people who are interested in my cars. I like talk about them, all the features and benefits. Rarely does anyone get to sit in one of my cars at a show. I open the hood when we get to that topic. I close it for those who want to take photos. Rarely do I enter my car to be judged. Trophies or awards mean nothing to me. This is not a popularity contest for me. It's about being a spokesperson for the hobby. Showing off what Chrysler engineers did back in 1938. Not what I do to take care of my car. My cars might be my ugly babies. They are beautiful to me. They may not be overly popular with the masses of car show attendees.  They are my pride and joy to share with the people who are interested.

 

Just going to the gas station weekly I get to talk to people, not unlike a car show. I especially love it when teenagers show great interest. They love to hear about the 6V positive ground system. Vacuum window wipers. Generators. Tube radios, and more.

Edited by keithb7 (see edit history)
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20 hours ago, Mr. Reed said:

Hello. I'm thinking about taking my car the the car shows next year. When you guys do. Do you let people sit in them and turn on the lights or anything. I've read articles that some people were expressing the displeasure of roping cars off so you can't touch them. I think we should embrace some people being curious about the cars from times gone by. Show them the inside and trunk and tell them about how things work. What do you think?

 

Please tell us what the car in question is, it really matters. 

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20 hours ago, George Smolinski said:

One of my biggest pet peeves at car shows is the owners leave the hood closed & aren't around to ask if I could see the engine. I would think someone at a show who doesn't know what under the hood beauty & simplicity looks like would be VERY interested to see it. I had a 1966 Impala with, as one friend called it, a highly modified engine, (468/550hp with Corvette tripower) that I always opened the hood on it at shows and cruises. Sometimes I'd remove the air cleaner & that got all kinds of people interested when they saw the 3 deuces.

 

Funny, the rows of open hood post war cars are a total turnoff, how many orange Chevy small blocks to you need to see in a lifetime? 

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7 minutes ago, 1937hd45 said:

Please tell us what the car in question is, it really matters. 

My car is a 50 Buick super sedan. Black with original grey interior,even has the black rubber mat in it still and  original engine. Drives good just needs some help starting in the morning.

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Ron, the "eye candy" you have posing next to your Kissel is inspiring , and motivating - even to someone like me that has been told by my doctor's to limit my sugar intake because I am a border line diabetic , the desire to share my cars,  and thus experience a wonderful moment that will be part of the cars history ( not to mention mine) will be most worth while.

Gotta love the topics and images here on this wonderful AACA Forum. 😄 To quote the A Team's Hannibal Smith " I love it when a plan comes together" .

Edited by Walt G
correct mispell (see edit history)
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I don't go to many shows.  If its nice out and I have the free time  I would rather go for a drive in my speedster. I take it on grocery runs and trips to the hardware store quite frequently , and when parked it gets lot of attention. I invite kids to climb in.  There is nothing they can hurt. and you never know which kid is going to sit in there and the dream starts.  It fun for everyone, but my car had a $10 K pain job and spotless interior I would be thinking differently  I am sure.

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4 minutes ago, rocketraider said:

Keep learning and I daresay you'll straighten that out too.👨‍🔧

 

But if I were 71 years old I'd be grumpy to start in the morning too. Hell, I'm 65 and that's already starting!

Thanks. I'll look into that this weekend. The shop manual should explain the carb settings to me. I'll have to reread it a few times haha.

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I usually don’t do shows but this past weekend I took my Pierce to a small local  AACA chapter event about 70 miles away.  There was one boy, maybe 6 or 7 years old, who couldn’t get enough of my car - likely because it was the only one from pre 1940, and there was only two before 1955. In any event I let him get behind the wheel for a picture only to find out they lived in my neighborhood less than 1/4 mile away from us and we never met… Not only was he well behaved but he was thrilled, I can only hope he keeps his interest in them.

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12 hours ago, Mark Wetherbee said:

I usually don’t do shows but this past weekend I took my Pierce to a small local  AACA chapter event about 70 miles away.  There was one boy, maybe 6 or 7 years old, who couldn’t get enough of my car - likely because it was the only one from pre 1940, and there was only two before 1955. In any event I let him get behind the wheel for a picture only to find out they lived in my neighborhood less than 1/4 mile away from us and we never met… Not only was he well behaved but he was thrilled, I can only hope he keeps his interest in them.

  Mark,

  With this boy living so close, I hope you can arrange with his parent to take him for a ride in your car.   That will be a lifetime memory for him to talk about when he's a

   a  old  guy of 50 showing his 2020 Electric 4 door Mustang at a AACA Show

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