From the outside, a car show can seem like a weird thing. To the uninitiated, it might look like a bunch of bored people sitting in folding chairs, not talking to each other, not drinking, not cooking out, really not doing much of anything else but sitting in a hot parking lot and sweating for seemingly no reason. If you’d like to know what REALLY goes on, please keep reading and I’ll do my best to lift the cloak of mystery that surrounds this seemingly bizarre activity. I suppose I’ll state the obvious here and tell you that I am a car/car-show person. I’ve been going to these parking lot parties since I was a little kid and I’ve apparently infected my daughter with this affliction. You may see her wandering away from me with her iPad snapping pictures of cars at very low and artistic angles.

Most car people are the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. Chances are you know a car person. They are that phone call you hate to make because you rarely ever call them, but when you do it goes something like this: “So my car is making a noise, can you tell me what it is and how much it will cost to fix it and where should I go to have my headlights rotated and can you do it?” Instead of annoying calling this person on the phone, why not bump into them at one of the many secret hangouts they are likely to be found?

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Types of Car Shows:

1 | The Friday/Saturday Night Parking Lot Hooters/Sonic/Checkers/Retro Diner/Insert Pizza Place Name _____ Show. You’ll likely find an abundance of older gentlemen from between the ages of 50 and 102 polishing up their late-model muscle-car, classic 60’s muscle car, giant 50’s convertible, or unidentifiable hot rod looking thing with no hood. If you pay a couple of dollars, you might even win a trophy or door prize consisting of spray wax, a microfiber towel, or even a 6-pack of motor oil. These meetings are great because everyone is super nice, friendly and people love to lie about all of the things they did when gasoline still had lead in it and was only 31 cents a gallon. Pro: there usually aren’t a bunch of kids in Honda’s doing burnouts on the other side of the parking lot trying to impress no one and therefore, the police are usually not staking out the parking lot. Con: there is likely a DJ wearing a backwards hat while blasting 50’s music so loud that you actually consider yelling TURN THAT DOWN until you realize how old you’ll sound yelling that at the top of your lungs.

2 | The Un-Organized Car Meet In Lets Say a Whole Foods Parking Lot on a Random Tuesday Night in Sarasota Meet. You know who you are. If you don’t know about the meet from reading Twitter or Facebook, you are likely not one of the under 30-somethings who are mostly cool and like to show off some amazing cars on a weeknight because they probably don’t have 2.3 kids and a mortgage. This meet can be really fun if it’s not spoiled by what they call “The Honda People” who can could show up at anytime and ruin it for everyone with smoky burnouts and impromptu drifting shenanigans which immediately attract the attention of Sheriffs department who are not amused with your mad-skills-yo-vtec at all and the next thing you know, end of meet.

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Photo Credit: Erica Habedank

Photo Credit: Erica Habedank

3 | The Cars and Coffee Meet. This is my favorite type of show because there is no DJ present as these events typically takes place at the butt-crack of dawn on a weekend. It seems to have become the most popular car-thing event because it seems to attract hard-core car people, or people with busy careers who can’t get out during the week because of work/family obligations. These people don’t like to explain to anyone why they won’t be home on Saturday night because they will be busy sitting in a hot parking lot so they can work on growing the beard. I am particularly fond of these sunrise events because I like coffee, I like cars and I am usually up early anyway. I also know that the only “Honda People” who will be there are likely driving a very expensive NSX or a very rare S-2000 and wouldn’t dream of causing trouble before the sun comes up. This event attracts every demographic and every kind of car. You’ll see Ferrari’s, Porsche’s, BMW’s AMG Benz’s, Lamborghini’s, right hand drive cars, left hand drive cars and center hand drive cars, old muscle cars, new muscle cars and even a random customized 4×4. The best part is, everything is done before 9am and you can go have a nice breakfast and still have the whole day in front of you.

Photo Credit: Erica Habedank

Photo Credit: Erica Habedank

So when you see a car show going on, stop on by. 99% of the time they are free, everyone is nice and you might meet a new friend you can call when your car is making that thump thump sound that you only hear when your radio is off and the moon is in Virgo.

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Erica Habedank/ CW44 Tampa Bay

Erica Habedank