There are so many automotive events out there in the world today — ones that not even I have heard of myself. And notice that I carefully constructed this article to say “automotive” instead of just “car” to not leave out the trucks, SUVs and countless other variations of enthusiasts-driven classifications of machines that could only be described generally as “automobiles.”
Surely the motorcycle readers are currently wondering where they fit into this equation — to reassure you, bikes, trikes even unicycles could fit in anywhere. The last few car shows I have been to, even had bicycle categories — mixed in with all the other autos. SO this makes it easy to classify all of us that have a love for anything with wheels as “automobiles.”
There are literally thousands of variations of events out there for all the different kinds of automobiles throughout the world. Even locally, there are several variations of enthusiasts at all different levels and classes.
Lowriders, import tuners, European tuners, motorcycles (including dirt bikes), off-road trucks & buggies, drag racers, muscle cars, exotic cars, super cars, circuit racers, autocrossers, car show-ers.
There is even a literal cornucopia of everything automotive, right here in El Paso.
So why do so many of these different groups often not get along with one another? The answer: gross ignorance and misunderstanding.
I used to have a strong feeling that a true automotive enthusiast is only one that did the things I did — driving events, working on your own car, “built not bought,” performance driving, etc. It didn’t occur to me that I was dead wrong, until I became more engrossed into the car culture.
It all began to hit me when I attended a car show. I showed up early in my 911, as I was there to promote our business, and since my setup took all of 20 minutes to park the car and setup a few banners, I walked around and took a gander at the competing cars perform their setup routines.
For various reasons, I personally do not like car shows — I generally do not like seeing cars just sitting in a lot — unless they are about to embark on (or just finished) some kind of an amazing race/rally/drive in some fashion, complete with scars from their previous road and track battles. But of course, I always do my best to attend car shows that my close friends invite me to, or to benefit sponsors and charitable causes.
While I walked around this particular car show (which was put on by my dear friend Jerry Walker), I came upon the competing lowrider class entries in one area. These guys have clearly been setting up, polishing, shining for several hours before I woke up that morning. Looking inside the engine bays and seeing the intense custom work and body modifications was mind-numbing.
And the paint — it’s hard enough to get a basic black done locally — and these guys had some of the most intricate and detailed murals painted upon their show cars.
From chrome-plated differentials and accessorized interiors to the velvet carpets they sat upon, special lighting effects and smoke machines that gave a full dramatic appearance, I had only one thought: these are true automobile enthusiasts in their own right.
They probably, at one time or currently, think that the car stuff I do is a huge waste of time and money. It all kind of hit me at once that so many people in the car community don’t get along with others because of ignorance.
It isn’t about what you love being better than somebody else’s passion, it is about having a love for anything automotive.
It opened my eyes and helped me to appreciate and understand that within this small parking lot was a massive expanse of car knowledge and imported parts and paint from all over the world.
A literal melting pot of cultures, all piled in, for everyone’s viewing pleasure. Everyone was getting along, talking and learning from one another – from parts and performance to contact info for painters and upholstery experts.
What a great thing this is, packed full of enthusiasts — automobile enthusiasts, all speaking different languages but getting along.
The world could truly learn something from the car community that has a depth of understanding for one another.
Bottom line: The True Automotive Enthusiast has a deep love, understanding and appreciation for anything with wheels.