Small Car Shows

Scott Benjamin

Bryan Hurst of Byron, Mich., sits near his Shelby Cobra replica. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

I was out for a drive last weekend. Actually I was running some errands, but found myself taking the long way between each stop (as I often do). I had planned to get a haircut, stop at the pet store and maybe even grab some lunch in nearby Marietta, Ga. But my plans quickly changed when I spotted a Lamborghini Gallardo and a Shelby Cobra 427 street racing.

Well, I should say that I heard them before I actually saw them, as you might have guessed. And maybe they weren't actually street racing as much as just launching (as hard as possible) from every street signal and stop sign along the way. And although they never really got to push it much above the posted speed limit, it was still an awesome show of raw horsepower. With my windows down, the engine sounds were incredible!

So, as I'm doing my best to (somewhat) keep up with these two extraordinary cars -- mainly to get every last second of listening enjoyment out of this rare opportunity -- up ahead, I saw both cars pull into a shopping center parking lot. As I finally caught up, I saw that the back half of the lot was full of unique, exotic, classic, domestic and foreign cars. There were kit cars, antique cars, sports cars, luxury cars...you name it, and it was there. Well, actually there were no rat rods -- I looked, but unfortunately there were none to be found. I had stumbled upon a small, local car show! And as you could probably guess, I love these things.

There was no admission fee, so I took the opportunity to wander around the packed parking lot. I even spoke with a few of the car owners as they stood watch over their pride and joy. Sure, the cars are interesting to look at, but equally interesting are the stories that their owner's have to tell. Most of the time, anyway.

The show didn't last very long, only a couple of hours, and I had arrived pretty late in the game, so it was over with before I even finished making my way through all of the rows. However, the best was yet to come.

As the cars left the show, I strategically placed myself at the corner of the parking lot exit so that I could watch (and listen to) each of the cars as they drove away. It turns out that this was a good move, because most of the sports car drivers really put the hammer down as they left the show. One last opportunity to show off for the crowd, I suppose (and much appreciated). It was a fun morning.

I always try to make it a point to stop in at these small car shows, cruise nights, car club gatherings or whatever I happen to run across while I'm out. If you keep your eyes (and ears) open, you'll find that there are plenty of opportunities to see some really great cars, trucks and motorcycles up close and personal. Even if you can only spare 10 or 15 minutes, I still highly recommend it.

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