Hooniverse Asks- What's your Favorite Automotive Event of the Year?

Whether it’s the 24 Heures du Mans, the Hershey Swap Meet, or your closest Auto Show, there are certain automotive events that occur only once every year, and that many look forward to with great enthusiasm. Which one of them keeps you up at night in wild anticipation?For a lot of people, today starts what is their most anticipated event of the automotive calendar, the Monterey Historic’  Weekend. Drawing enthusiasts from around the world the multi-day orgy of autos encompasses historic races, road rallies, and car shows, culminating in the foggy ostentation of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
But perhaps you prefer events that are a little less stuffy, and don’t cost a kidney to attend. For you, the annual pinewood derby might be just the ticket, despite the threat of splinters and Boy Scouts. In between those two extremes there’s racing of a more professional nature, as well as LeMons, which, while it is a series, probably only comes to a track near you once per sun-circle.
Swap meets, car shows, and even driver days at the track, may come around with a similar frequency, and as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder, meaning that you may be chomping at the bit for these once a year happenings. And if so, which one gets you foaming at the mouth the most? Is there one event you look forward to as though it were Christmas morning and you weren’t Jewish? If so, which one is it, and why is that?
Image sources: [dee-wnax.itmblog.com, hispanianews.com, sfgate.cominfobarrel.com ,funfilledevents.com]

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49 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- What's your Favorite Automotive Event of the Year?”

  1. IronBallsMcG Avatar

    The Forest Park Easter Car Show in St. Louis. It's really more like two shows in one with the Horseless Carriage Club in one area and everyone else just outside of that. It's a pretty good turn-out, but the best part is just a good time.
    This has more to do with proximity to home, but the Easter Show and baseball Opening Day are my two signs that winter is over.

  2. Maymar Avatar

    I suppose my favorite's the Toronto Auto Show, although that's mostly because I've attended it for most of the past 20 years, and it's in my area. There's not much else except for the Indy (which is pretty solid with the extra series they run) and a couple events at Mosport.

  3. Festiva_Movemnt Avatar

    I have to go local on this one, and say the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, run at Schenley Park in Pittsburgh. I learned, at the event last year, that it is the only vintage race in the nation that is still run on a street course (ie. not on a purpose-built track). Above the great racing that takes place, the overall experience gives spectators the opportunity to walk the pits, meet the drivers and owners, as well as enjoy a very nice car show.
    That being said, I always make a point to keep the Memorial Day weekend Sunday open for watching the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Something about Indy just keeps me tuned-in year after year.

    1. scroggzilla Avatar

      Seconded on the PVGP.

    2. sixfourseven Avatar

      The PVGP is one of my favorite Events of the Year, automotive or not.
      I was so disappointed to be out of town for the race weekend this time.

  4. a-mechanic Avatar

    Woodward dream cruise.

    1. typhoon5000 Avatar

      I agree, and the weekends leading up to it.

  5. P161911 Avatar

    Either the Georgia Tech Auto Show: http://www.gatechautoshow.com/
    My Flickr gallery of the last few years: http://www.flickr.com/photos/25283142@N06/
    Or Petit Le Mans.

  6. BGW Avatar

    These days? It's getting past VA State Inspection day without having to spend $800 on a cracked taillight bezel or somesuch.

  7. engineerd Avatar

    From my childhood in SoCal: the Long Beach Grand Prix. Watching open wheel cars negotiate the streets of LB, along with the support races from ALMS, is always fun.
    Now that I live in the Motor City, there are plenty of events to choose from. NAIAS, Woodward Dream Cruise (along with all the other cruises like the Down River Cruise, Michigan Ave. Cruise, Telegraph Cruise, etc.), and little car shows popping up at almost every shopping center on any given Friday or Saturday during the summer. However, for the broad timeline of cars represented, and the rarity of many of the cars, I am going to have to go with the Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance. I went for the first time this year, and am now a devotee. You can find me there next year, though it won't be at Meadowbrook. Instead, it's moving to the Inn at St. John's.

  8. LTDScott Avatar

    Show wise it's the Fabulous Fords Forever show in Buena Park, CA. Biggest Ford show on the west coast and I have taken my LTD every year for probably 11 years now.
    I look forward to all LeMons races that we participate in. Generally we do two a year but next year may be just one.
    This year I am very much looking forward to SEMA because I will have a car on display there.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      What car will you have a SEMA?

      1. LTDScott Avatar

        A certain BMW.

        1. name_too_long Avatar

          Pictures of random booth professionals in the trunk would be so full of win…

  9. lilwillie Avatar

    Any Racing event at Road America. I can get up there about twice a year. June Sprints sometimes but at least once a year for one of the Vintage festivals.
    The crowds are small, you can drive all over the grounds and watch from every corner all weekend long without being in anyones way. Beer is cheap, or bring your own. Food the same. The cars are fun to watch and even more fun to walk through the paddock and talk to their owners.
    One of the few events I don't feel rushed at when I go. Always a smile on my face no matter the weather.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      Road America…oh, hell yeah.

    2. lilwillie Avatar

      You'll enjoy yourself. This was last years event I went too.
      It was the first time I talked my wife into going to a all day event with me. She had gone to races before where you show up, sit in your seat and go home after watching. This, this turned her to the dark side of the force. She really enjoyed it and now understands why I call RA my "mistress".

  10. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    <img src="http://www.tanshanomi.com/temp/IMG_0420_web.jpg"&gt;
    The car show I've emceed and help organize for the past 7 years at my church. We get an extremely wide variety of cars for a local show, and a really, really great group of people. Plus, all my closest friends are involved (real world friends, that is…).
    <img src="http://www.worthpoint.com/pmimages/images1/1/0108/01/1_46c122fa160b57c5f51da3fb5f4b3bb0.jpg"&gt;
    That being said, R.I.P. Steamboat Bike Week, (1981-1998). That was my annual vacation destination as a single guy for years, and quite likely the coolest motorcycle gathering that will ever be.

    1. engineerd Avatar

      I gave you a +1 for organizing your own car show. That is truly showing the spirit of the Hoon.

    2. Goingincirclez Avatar

      Dang, that's pretty impressive for a church show! And is that a tractor I see, possibly even a 520 at that? Good on ya mate!

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
        Peter Tanshanomi

        There are actually 2 there, a '46 "B" and a mid-50s "A." Get this — they were DRIVEN to the event from 8 miles away…at 10 MPH.

    3. Alff Avatar

      When is your church's next show? I'd like to come check out the rides and listen to Tanshanomi's velvet pipes.

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
        Peter Tanshanomi

        Saturday, August 06, 2011.
        (You just missed it last Saturday.)

        1. Alff Avatar

          Ah, well, wouldn't have been able to come out had I known. I packed up the tribe in the family truckster for a trip to the Grand Canyon.

    4. CptSevere Avatar

      I saw the road races when they moved Bike Week to Park City in 1999. Possibly the most exciting Saturday afternoon I've ever had (maybe it was Sunday). Never seen anything like it before or since. I rode my GT550 up there from SLC, and actually found a whole row of other two stroke street bikes to park it next to, not to mention Bultacos, Manxes, Ducatis, etc. being raced on municipal streets. Amazing.

  11. retro Avatar

    Goodwood Festival Of Speed
    <img src="http://ploader.net/files/c0aa872666ef368fb90b3088f9305912.jpg"&gt;

  12. Feds_II Avatar

    Every year on Christmas day, after the family dinner, I load as many family members as possible into whatever RWD vehicle happens to be handy, and we go for Christmas Doughnuts.
    Usually half an hour of sliding around an icy parking lot will have us all ready to give back our dinners, and the local PD arriving to chase us off.

    1. joshuman Avatar

      This is a wonderful tradition.

    2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      A good friend is an Aussie. My wife and I took him out during his first snowstorm and taught him what donuts were.

      1. dr zero Avatar
        dr zero

        We already know about doughnuts. We just do them in utes on gravel instead of in the snow.

    3. Mr_Biggles Avatar

      That really is fantastic.

    4. engineerd Avatar

      I prefer to call them "Toroidal Maneuvers". Since I'm an engineer, and spend a lot of time on government projects, a Christmas Toroidal Maneuver would be shortened to the acronym CTM.

      1. Feds_II Avatar

        Makes me long for my GM days… Engine fires? What engine fires? We'd prefer it if you called them "thermal events".

  13. mdharrell Avatar

    Pinewood Derby and LeMons are not mutually exclusive answers to this question:
    [youtube GkPCBMNEy4g http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkPCBMNEy4g youtube]

  14. Syrax Avatar

    Easy, the only one I've been regularly since I was little.
    <img src="http://www.botecodesign.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/f1-gp-brasil-1980.jpg"/&gt;

  15. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    August Bank Holiday Banger Racing at Foxhall Stadium, Ipswich.
    <img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3422/3878821780_7fee8ddfbe.jpg&quot; size="500>
    Offering a lethal concoction of sand, open headers, 95RON, sunburn and alcohol, ending with the Car and Caravan Demolition Derby
    Finishes my summer off quite nicely.

  16. omg_grip Avatar

    Top Gear USA!
    *runs for cover*

  17. SSurfer321 Avatar

    Demolition Night at Toledo Speedway.
    Trailer races, Figure 8's, Rollover contest, Plywood Race**, Chain Race* and capped off with Schoolbus Figure 8's!
    * Two compact cars chained together nose to tail. Lead car has motor, rear car has brakes.
    **Driver must hold full sheet of plywood to the roof of the car. Game over if you lose the sheet.

  18. joshuman Avatar

    I never have a certain day in June completely clear to watch the 24-hours of Le Mans so I end up seeing it piecemeal for the next month or so. I do enjoy it though.
    The Dakar Rally comes at a time of year that is typically slow on the racing calendar. Its daily TV coverage is sometimes lacking in substance but I enjoy reading the updates on the website anyway. There is something spectacular about seeing those race trucks.
    <img src="http://visualrian.com/storage/PreviewWM/3689/40/368940.jpg"&gt;

  19. Jo_Schmo Avatar

    I really hope someone is attending this: http://clunkbucket.com/crapcans-and-minivans-to-i

    1. Alff Avatar

      The perfect venue for the ride I just spent the last 10 days cruising the southwest in. This may be the rare crowd that would appreciate the plywood mods.
      <img src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/_fVEg3I8ek1A/TGQlVRrKS7I/AAAAAAAAALg/SPbWS_JPYNc/s512/2010-08-10%2017.02.00.jpg"&gt;

  20. Hopman Avatar

    After attending LeMons New England (known known as the Boston Tow Party & Overhead Cam Bake), I say Lemons. Period.
    I had a wicked blast walking the pits, meeting the teams, and laughing my head off. It's like Burning Man for gearheads!
    My second favorite is the assortment of local cruise nights in my area. I've seen everything from WWII GMC's to brand new Vipers, and EVERYTHING in between! There's even a guy who goes to one occasionally who drives a King Midget!

  21. name_too_long Avatar

    <img src="http://www.kittitascarshow.com/images/carshowsign_jfoc.jpg&quot; width="600">
    I will be there Saturday… hopefully with a camera.
    Not the biggest car show, not the best car show, but it's the only car show I know of with a fully sanctioned rolling burnout competition down Main Street, and therefore, it is the most Hoonerific car show.

  22. Smells_Homeless Avatar

    The first day of the year that it's warm enough to comfortably drive with the windows down and the stereo blasting. Hands down.

  23. ZomBee Racer Avatar

    While not an annual event anymore, I used to really look forward to the 24 Hours of Lemons every year. Then twice a year. Then, well, it became damn near every weekend *somewhere*.
    Sooo…. now we are back to the annual sale at Pick & Pull. Oh wait. They all closed down. Crap. Motoring J-style? AWOL.JCCS? Too far. Hmmm.. Goodguys? Meh. Dude, I got nothin. Mele?!? Maybe, maybe not.
    AHA! New registration sticker day… yeah baby….

  24. CEMan Avatar

    Le Mans for my dreaming side.
    New England Forest Rally and Mount Washington Hill Climb for the reality side.

  25. Frick Avatar

    I’m a native of Indiana so I have to say the Indianapolis 500.
    Although when the stars align correctly it’s the greatest racing day of the year. Wake up to the Monaco GP, Indy 500 and fall asleep to the dulcet drone of NASCAR.