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Author Topic: Are good car shows a dying breed?  (Read 4002 times)

Offline Eldorado James

  • 1971-76 Eldorado/Cadillac Specialist
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  • Name: P James
Are good car shows a dying breed?
« on: May 09, 2018, 05:54:45 PM »
Hello everyone,

As the car show / swap meet season kicks in, I can't help but feel that the days of good events are rapidly declining.  Here in Illinois, one of our best shows (Skip's) shuttered after the fall event last year.  I admit, the last 5-10 years they lost a lot of traffic...smaller car lots, less vendors, etc.  My perception after visiting some other regional shows have a similar vibe......mostly silver haired gents and ladies with 1950's/1960's cars, and a complete lack of kids/teens for the most part.

I'd like you to examine what is going on in your part of the country, and reply to my question (dying breed).  If this is happening there too, what is your speculation?  We have excellent communication forums in the Internet, to tell us where/when every show is.  Did we miss the boat somewhere educating our kids on the values of car collecting / appreciation?  Did the bland 1980's and early 1990's give the youth nothing exciting to ever want to buy (like we do, recalling our parent's great cars)?   Why are the car shows now 90% Chevrolet Camaro/Corvette/Truck related items....and can you ever find anything "Cadillac"?  I saw a hat guy a few weeks ago at a car show....he had 80 different hats...not a single Cadillac one.

I could keep speculating but I'd love to hear your thoughts on the Car Show/Swap Meet culture and what future it might have.  Tell me the pros and cons of your local shows.

Thanks!

Eldorado James
~Eldorado James~

Currently:
1972 Eldorado Convertible
1975 Eldorado Convertible

Past Cadillacs:  Too many to remember.

Offline StevenTuck

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  • Name: Steven M. Tuck
Re: Are good car shows a dying breed?
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2018, 06:06:09 PM »
Here in Florida there are about as many shows as ever. It just seems that there are less and less actual classic cars and more modern cars. Who wants to see a new car when you can go down to a dealership and see them. But it seems those of our generation are buying them and the shows are accepting them to keep the shows going.
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Offline Eldorado James

  • 1971-76 Eldorado/Cadillac Specialist
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  • Name: P James
Re: Are good car shows a dying breed?
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2018, 06:21:07 PM »
I agree....though most shows have some sort of rule for the years, I guess "25" years and older is a minimal line.  And though we can blur our minds to think a 1993 Brougham or Caprice is "new" (relative to our 1950's-1970's classics), they technically meet the requirement.  But something seems very lost in that translation.....part of my theory is the "gap" of collectible cars from 1977-1993.  It's nearly a total blank spot, IMO.  Are some shows waiving that rule in order to bring in a more youthful market?

I speculate more smaller and medium shows might eventually become unprofitable and shutter soon...and leaving our experiences just for the big players in the show market.  That would be quite a loss.....


Eldorado James
~Eldorado James~

Currently:
1972 Eldorado Convertible
1975 Eldorado Convertible

Past Cadillacs:  Too many to remember.

Offline 35-709

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Re: Are good car shows a dying breed?
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2018, 07:37:20 PM »
Assuming good weather, the shows I attend here in Florida get larger every year --- our local AACA show, the Turkey Rod Run, River Ranch are all enjoying increased car attendance.  Maybe because all the Yankees are retiring down here and bringing their old cars with them.
1935 Cadillac Sedan resto-mod "Big Red"
1973 Cadillac Caribou - Sold - but still in the family
1950 Jaguar Mark V Saloon resto-mod - Sold
1942 Cadillac 6269 - Sold
1968 Pontiac Bonneville Convertible
1935 Glenn Pray - Auburn Boattail Speedster, Gen. 2

Offline Uhegej

  • Posts: 71
  • Name: John Hegedus
Re: Are good car shows a dying breed?
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2018, 08:14:13 PM »
I agree with James, the gap in '77 to 93' cars makes things difficult.  I am 41 year old and so cars of the period are ones of my memories.  My Cadillac is an '88 the same year as my Dad's Cadillac I took my driving test in at 16.  Most cars of the 80's 90's have been crushed.  Last year I attended 2 local car shows and i was one of the youngest guys at it; with the newest car.  Right now I am searching for parts and not having good luck. I think most 87-88 caddys ended up crushed.  Also many young people don't stress and work as hard to get a license at 16, they don't care about driving, therefore cars are not as exciting,  cars are just not as important in the age of smartphones and streaming tv.
John Hegedus

1979 Fleetwood Brougham

Offline 64\/54Cadillacking

  • Posts: 798
  • Name: C.Asaro
Re: Are good car shows a dying breed?
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2018, 09:14:50 PM »
Everything John just said is so true. The car culture is changing and from my personal experience at attending local car shows, it’s the same ole thing, all you have is your typical muscle cars and hot rods and random classics at the majority of these shows. It’s annoying and downright disappointing to be the only classic Caddy owner in sight. :'(

Young people and kids are few and far in between lately , old guys are dominant at all the shows I’ve been to, and quite a bit of them are former military.

Teenagers aren’t caring to drive either, and owning a vehicle simply isn’t a top priority anymore when it comes to independence for kids today. As the popularity of rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft increases, you have less of need for vehicle ownership among younger generations and that is definitely having a negative effect in the car industry and it’s culture especially in regards to the classics.
1964 Sedan Deville (Own)
1987 Brougham D’Elegance (Sold)
1954 Cadillac Fleetwood 60 Special
1994 Fleetwood Bro (Sold)
1972 Sedan Deville (Sold)
1968 Coupe Deville (Sold)
1978 Lincoln Continental (Own)
1979 Lincoln Mark V Cartier (Own)

Offline Big Apple Caddy

  • Posts: 1332
  • Name: R. Langley
Re: Are good car shows a dying breed?
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2018, 10:02:29 PM »
I agree....though most shows have some sort of rule for the years, I guess "25" years and older is a minimal line.  And though we can blur our minds to think a 1993 Brougham or Caprice is "new" (relative to our 1950's-1970's classics), they technically meet the requirement.  But something seems very lost in that translation.....part of my theory is the "gap" of collectible cars from 1977-1993.  It's nearly a total blank spot, IMO.  Are some shows waiving that rule in order to bring in a more youthful market?

While there are always exceptions, I've generally felt at least in recent decades that most collectors don't get really serious about the hobby until they are in their mid-50s or so after kids are out of the house, out of college, etc and they have more free time and disposable income.  This peak activity/interest then continues to around age 75 or so.  Given that nostalgia can play an important part in the collectibility of cars means that cars from the youth (when they were around 10-15 y/o) of people in this 55-75 age range today would be those new or popular between 1953 and 1978.  This would help explain why 1960s-70s muscle cars are currently so hot, and would also explain a collector "gap" for 1977-93 models as it is still years to over a decade before 1980s or 90s cars would start to gain appeal among serious, active collectors.

Offline Greg Powers

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Re: Are good car shows a dying breed?
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2018, 10:51:41 PM »
As far as good car shows that included swap meets and vendors, the internet has really lessened the need for folks to haul stuff all over the country when they can sell it from a comfortable office or even their dining room table. Buyers can search a large number of vendors and request exactly what they need with delivery to their doorstep. It takes away the excitement of those treasured finds in the field but it makes perfect business sense. As to the actual car show side of things I think many have said what is true in I think all regions, there is a void from the mid-seventies to the mid-nineties of cars being shown with the exception of muscle cars. And I have to say that I am one of the guilty parties because I'm not going to take the time and the trouble to prepare a 1950's car to take to a show full of modern Chevys, Fords and Dodges. I have even lost interest in some of the local cruise ins here in North Carolina because there are so few older original cars and the field is full of modified "old car shells with new cars driven under them" or new muscle cars that still have factory warranty. In our area, local AACA sponsored events seem to be some of the best and still have older cars participating. I'm not sure what the answer is but I have seen cases where the 25 year rule has helped. Another reason for missing years could also be the fact that during past gas crisis programs lots of big gas guzzlers were crushed. Just try to find parts in a salvage yard for some of the Cadillacs and Lincolns. There also were also some problematic decisions made in the 1980's at Cadillac - HT4100, V-8-6-4, Diesel (Converted gas engine), lots didn't survive.
G.L. Powers>1954 Series 62 Sedan/1958 Fleetwood 60 Special-sold/1963 Series 62 Convertible-sold/1970 Fleetwood Brougham-sold/1994 Fleetwood Brougham/1971 Sedan Deville-sold/2000 Deville-sold/2001 DTS-sold/1976 Eldorado Convertible-sold/1983 Coupe Deville-sold/1990 Allante-sold/1990 and 1991 Brougham deElegance-sold/1992 Brougham-sold/Always looking!

Offline D.Smith

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Re: Are good car shows a dying breed?
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2018, 11:56:35 PM »
I agree that things are changing.   More and more new muscle cars and trucks being shown.   Rice burners and factory stock imports with coffee can exhaust pipes.   Most of the under 30 crowd if they have a classic car has giant crazy wheels on the car.   

Swap meets are getting smaller too.  More and more non auto related vendors too.  The good parts go on Ebay.  What's left for the swap meets seem more like tag sale left overs.   Hershey being the exception.   But the good stuff at Hershey is priced high for the European crowd who come over in droves for the event. 

What can we do?    Reach out to the younger people.  When you see one with an old car encourage them.  Teach them how to find the right parts.    There are some younger guys who like stock cars.   I have met a few over the past few years.   A few are like Sons to me now.   If we take the time to talk to them and help them cultivate their enthusiasm for the hobby we all win.   

What is the long term situation look like for the hobby?   Only time will tell.  The 80s and 90s brought so much crappy electronics into new cars that it will be tough for future generations to get parts.   But I think there will always be people interested in 50s and 60s cars.   70s cars are gaining favor every year. 

The biggest problem right now is the number of dealers and flippers who are snapping up every cheap or reasonably priced old car they can find and asking for 200% book value for them.    It is pricing young people right out of the hobby.   

Offline Dan LeBlanc

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Re: Are good car shows a dying breed?
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2018, 07:29:36 AM »
I don't think there is a gap in the 77-93 years.  If you check out the Facebook group Malaise Motors, there's nearly 6600 members and is a very active group of enthusiasts passionate about 1973-early 90's vehicles and their preservation.  I believe they recently had a Malaise show in California that drew huge crowds.  The thing I note about the group is they're more about driving the cars and enjoying them than parking them in a static display at a traditional show.

I think you'll see a lot of these malaise era cars get more popular in the coming years as people of my generation (just turned 40 this year) start looking for older cars from their youth.  Heck, a lot of these folks in the group will drool over a Dodge Omni or an Aries.

The hobby isn't dead, it's just the format is changing.
Dan LeBlanc
1977 Lincoln Continental Town Car

Offline 64\/54Cadillacking

  • Posts: 798
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Re: Are good car shows a dying breed?
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2018, 08:53:00 AM »
Well the high cost of owning a classic, and the challenges of working on them (which many young people today don’t know how to do) is a key factor on why less and less younsters in their 20’s and 30’s aren’t bothering to own one.

Unless one has a mentor, reads up a lot and has accumulated many tools either from by personal choice, or inheritance, it’s very difficult just to get started working on old cars if you don’t have the right tools for the job.

Maybe the interest is different depending on what part of the country you live in. But I know for a fact, In CA there’s less young people attending car shows, and next to 0 of any youngings owning a classic.

I really don’t understand the craze and excitement over muscle cars as they are so played out and extraordinaryly expensive to restore. Plus who’s honestly doing a double take on a 68 Stang or a 69 Camaro compared to if a 30’s-70’s Cadillac came rolling down the street??

Cadillacs downright will gather all the attention due to their superior styling and bigness.

It doesn’t help that modern cars look so similar and don’t stand out like the classics do, so it’s very hard for any young person to be enthusiastic about cars at all since it’s all they see. More exposure to classics will help, but the desire to own one also needs to be there if we expect the hobby to survive and thrive.
1964 Sedan Deville (Own)
1987 Brougham D’Elegance (Sold)
1954 Cadillac Fleetwood 60 Special
1994 Fleetwood Bro (Sold)
1972 Sedan Deville (Sold)
1968 Coupe Deville (Sold)
1978 Lincoln Continental (Own)
1979 Lincoln Mark V Cartier (Own)

Offline wrench

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Re: Are good car shows a dying breed?
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2018, 08:56:30 AM »
My opinion is that the management of these car shows and cruise nights is the issue.

I went to a local cruise night last Sat and the music was blaring so loud I got back in the car after I opened the door, didn't even get out.

It's a cruise night I have been going to for years and I know a few folks and we can't even have a conversation because the music is so loud.

Don't even get me started on the choice in music because if I hear The Beach Boys 'Shut Down' one more time I am gonna lose my mind...

Also, at larger car shows, they have started charging for spectators...$8 at one. The same day that a huge and very popular one is Free. 'The Good Guys' show they charge almost $20 for a spectator. Lol, I walked away. I was talking to a regular vendor there (PPG Paint) and the guy was like 'We have to pay, but a lot of vendors are not coming because of the fees.

This is not a good policy to get family's and young people into the hobby.

I have to laugh at the Chevelle and Camaro thing, but also the Chevy 350 or LT1 in every darn car thing...

The same thing about lack of Cadillac can be said about Ford FE motors and other curiousities...

I have a lot more respect and admiration for folks who do the hard work of keeping a car more or less original, especially the motor. That displays knowledge and skill way beyond dropping a 350 in a 30's coupe.


I just go depending on the weather and my schedule and feel that if there is at least 1 unique vehicle then it was worth it.

One huge local weekly car show has been taken over by tuner culture cars and that pretty much ended the classic car thing. Especially when they do that backfiring nonsense.

Even when I was a Motorhead and hanging out with hard core bikers, the whole loud exhaust burnout thing never appealed to me because as a mechanic all I can think about is the damage being done to the vehicle.

Whatever...
« Last Edit: May 10, 2018, 09:07:50 AM by wrench »
1951 Series 62 Sedan
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Offline Scot Minesinger

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Re: Are good car shows a dying breed?
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2018, 09:07:31 AM »
Swap meets to me are completely dead.  If I need a part, the internet never lets me down.  The idea of picking through parts that have been loaded and unloaded hundreds of times and unorganized is very unappealing to me.  Further, there is generally not much organization of the swap meets - you don't know who has the Cadillac parts.  I think the vendors at specific cars shows, such as GN are great because they are all Cadillac parts.

A car show consumes a day of my time between the clean up and all.  I'm 57 still working a demanding career.  Just do not have time to devote a day to every car show available every weekend of the summer.  If there was a way to reduce time, that would be better.  Then at car shows you need to watch your car carefully, or lock it up unfortunately.  I drive to the show with top down, raise it for the show and lock car, then lower it to drive home.  It is bad that people disrespect our cars.

I think the hobby is on the wane a little lately because the younger generation is not too into our classics.
Fairfax Station, VA  22039 (Washington DC Sub)
1970 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
1970 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1970 four door Convertible w/Cadillac Warranty

Offline EAM 17806

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Re: Are good car shows a dying breed?
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2018, 09:58:06 AM »
P.JAMES:  I don't know what's happening up your way but here around
Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut the shows are in good shape and Cadillacs are in there with prominence in most shows.  EAM
« Last Edit: May 10, 2018, 10:00:39 AM by EAM 17806 »
Ev Marabian

1976 Cadillac Coupe DeVille, 1989 Chevrolet Caprice Classic, 1990 Pontiac Bonneville and 1996 Buick Skylark

Offline gatech1956

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Re: Are good car shows a dying breed?
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2018, 11:15:38 AM »
I think it depends where you go. There’s these smaller car shows that I go to in GA that’s organized by a club I am part of and it is mainly older people who own cars from the 50-70s. Then there’s caffeine and octane in GA which is a complete cluster of car. The modern stuff definitely outnumbers the classics, or at least what I consider classic. Though I will say that the classic cars get more attention there than the modern stuff because you can just go to a dealership to see those. However, kids are always gravitating towards the exotics and modern muscle cars that have been molded with exhaust and body kits. But there have been some that enjoy seeing my 56. I like seeing their faces when I tell them it has all power options and auto dimming headlight feature. Anyway, as young owner I’m proud to have a Cadillac over any other classic.

Offline David Greenburg

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Re: Are good car shows a dying breed?
« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2018, 02:25:09 PM »
Most of the local shows I attend are way heavy on muscle cars, (mostly modified) ‘55-‘57 Chevys and hot rods, even though they are often billed as “classic” car shows. But my cars get a good bit of attention, in part because they are different from the standard fare at a lot of these shows.  Seems like a lot of parents enjoy explaining to their kids about the days when cars had fins. I’m doing a show/parade this weekend, and have a 10 year old neighbor who is very intrigued by my garage.  I’ve offered to have him and his dad ride in my car for the parade, which has apparently made his week.  So there may be hope for the younger generation.  Although I must admit the buddies I have cultivated at these shows tend to be the over-70 crowd.
David Greenburg
'60 Eldorado Seville
'61 Fleetwood Sixty Special

PiscataquisCadillac

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Re: Are good car shows a dying breed?
« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2018, 04:45:58 PM »
Hello everyone,

As the car show / swap meet season kicks in, I can't help but feel that the days of good events are rapidly declining.  Here in Illinois, one of our best shows (Skip's) shuttered after the fall event last year.  I admit, the last 5-10 years they lost a lot of traffic...smaller car lots, less vendors, etc.  My perception after visiting some other regional shows have a similar vibe......mostly silver haired gents and ladies with 1950's/1960's cars, and a complete lack of kids/teens for the most part.

I'd like you to examine what is going on in your part of the country, and reply to my question (dying breed).  If this is happening there too, what is your speculation?  We have excellent communication forums in the Internet, to tell us where/when every show is.  Did we miss the boat somewhere educating our kids on the values of car collecting / appreciation?  Did the bland 1980's and early 1990's give the youth nothing exciting to ever want to buy (like we do, recalling our parent's great cars)?   Why are the car shows now 90% Chevrolet Camaro/Corvette/Truck related items....and can you ever find anything "Cadillac"?  I saw a hat guy a few weeks ago at a car show....he had 80 different hats...not a single Cadillac one.

I could keep speculating but I'd love to hear your thoughts on the Car Show/Swap Meet culture and what future it might have.  Tell me the pros and cons of your local shows.

Thanks!

Eldorado James

I think that there are a lot of reasons why the under 30 (or even under 40) crowd isn't involved in Cadillacs or older cars:

Hangover from the Great Recession.  The house I bought in December was the first house I've owned with a garage.  Consider the finances of many of the under 35 crowd, especially those with student loans, and the answer is right there... no house, no garage, no car.  Not to mention, it's not a cheap hobby to get involved with.  I know that getting my Eldorado to where I want it to be is going to cost quite a bit of money.

There's more variety to choose from.  My brother in law is into Saabs, another one of my friends is into BMWs. 

Real world vs fake world... Consider the massive time that people spend playing video games and on things like minecraft. 


Offline Maynard Krebs

  • Posts: 266
  • Name: Gerald F. Chase
Re: Are good car shows a dying breed?
« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2018, 07:00:45 PM »
My opinion is that the management of these car shows and cruise nights is the issue.

I went to a local cruise night last Sat and the music was blaring so loud I got back in the car after I opened the door, didn't even get out.

It's a cruise night I have been going to for years and I know a few folks and we can't even have a conversation because the music is so loud.

Don't even get me started on the choice in music because if I hear The Beach Boys 'Shut Down' one more time I am gonna lose my mind...

Also, at larger car shows, they have started charging for spectators...$8 at one. The same day that a huge and very popular one is Free. 'The Good Guys' show they charge almost $20 for a spectator. Lol, I walked away. I was talking to a regular vendor there (PPG Paint) and the guy was like 'We have to pay, but a lot of vendors are not coming because of the fees.

This is not a good policy to get family's and young people into the hobby.

I have to laugh at the Chevelle and Camaro thing, but also the Chevy 350 or LT1 in every darn car thing...

The same thing about lack of Cadillac can be said about Ford FE motors and other curiousities...

I have a lot more respect and admiration for folks who do the hard work of keeping a car more or less original, especially the motor. That displays knowledge and skill way beyond dropping a 350 in a 30's coupe.


I just go depending on the weather and my schedule and feel that if there is at least 1 unique vehicle then it was worth it.

One huge local weekly car show has been taken over by tuner culture cars and that pretty much ended the classic car thing. Especially when they do that backfiring nonsense.

Even when I was a Motorhead and hanging out with hard core bikers, the whole loud exhaust burnout thing never appealed to me because as a mechanic all I can think about is the damage being done to the vehicle.

Whatever...

This writer makes far more sense on this subject than most any that I've read heretofore.   He is absolutely correct:  the MAIN problem are the show owners, promoters, and management.   In large measure, these folks are not car people:  they're business people....... and, as such, they really don't know or understand real car people:  those that love cars older than their owners, antiques, classics, etc..

The second greatest problem is the @&%$! sound systems, P.A. systems (and their abuse by incessant promotions of 50/50 raffles---I am so SICK of that abuse of a 'captive audience'), and MUSAK: far too loud.   I honestly think that real, good old car shows would be better withOUT such noise, musak, and incessant 'yap' on p. a. systems!   My philosophy is that if you can't or won't go to an old CAR show without all the noise, stay home.   All we need for a good show.. is good older cars.. and good 'car people'.   Nothing else is needed.

I say the 25-year-rule needs to be increased:  make it at least thirty or thirty-five.

There's also not any doubt over the dreadful CONFORMITY at shows today:  it's all Chevy engine whatevers, a few Fords, a few Mopars, seemingly ALL high-performance oriented.   Boring, IMO.
Look at how few luxury classics are owned by folks who realize that they exist to be as QUIET as possible when running.   I'll bet that a lot of you have seen yo-yos showing up with Cadillacs and other luxury makes.. with loud exhausts, even headers.   Pitiful ignorance, if you ask me.   How many old car people TODAY even know what a Studebaker is... or a Hudson... or even a Rambler!

One of the nicest shows in Newport County Rhode Island used to be a VMCCA-sponsored show.... on grass.. with a live, classical orchestra / band.   Now it's sponsored by the local Rotary club, and it's just like all the other shows:  with MUSAK... and too many DOGS!   And how many Pre-War cars do you see there anymore (other than Model As)???

Maybe it was inevitable that good shows would die.   I wished that I had bought lots of high-quality ignition point sets for GMs, FoMoCos, and Mopars... (along with headlight switches).  I'm told that the ignition contact points made today.. are JUNK in terms of quality.

Mercy... what a sad state of affairs.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2018, 12:20:46 AM by Maynard Krebs »

Offline cadillacmike68

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Re: Are good car shows a dying breed?
« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2018, 11:43:58 PM »
Muscle cars.

You all Do realize that our older Cadillacs, especially 68-70 model years have MORE power than Most of the so called muscle cars at these shows, unless its a big block or one of the modern uber-expensive engine options...

Regards,
"Cadillac" Mike

Offline Big Apple Caddy

  • Posts: 1332
  • Name: R. Langley
Re: Are good car shows a dying breed?
« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2018, 09:19:21 AM »
Muscle cars.

You all Do realize that our older Cadillacs, especially 68-70 model years have MORE power than Most of the so called muscle cars at these shows, unless its a big block or one of the modern uber-expensive engine options...

The muscle car appeal is also about the sportier look and more youthful image especially with 60-somethings trying to relive their teens or twenties.  Besides, Cadillacs were heavier and needed more hp compared to lighter sports cars.   A lighter sports car with less hp could still "outperform" a heavier luxury car.

Also, horsepower numbers from back then may not be as impressive as some may think anyway when you consider the changeover from the reporting of the higher gross hp to lower net hp numbers starting in the early 1970s through today.

On top of all of this, there is that belief or reality that manufacturers underreported the horsepower ratings on their higher insurance rate muscle cars.

 

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