Re: Sacramento International Auto Show, Again
Some highlights from the weekend:
The Belvedere was clearly the crowd favorite for young and old. Early on Friday I noticed a young woman standing back a few yards, staring at it, mouth open. I reassured her it was not infectious. She wasn't worried about that. She was in awe.
Sunday morning Amanda put a helmet on a happy little kid who got even happier and started dancing around with it rocking back and forth on his head. When he climbed into Scrubby and put on a blue with yellow fringe Scrubby helmet his parents got their Christmas card photo for the year.
Adrian was letting visitors get in and start and rev the Belvedere. One pair, brothers, early teens, got to do this, and both got out with a face that seemed to say "So that's what sex is like." They had never started a car before. The Belvedere was their first. They walked away, grinning, virgins no more.
Alan had fun demonstrating how the hand crank on a Super Snipe worked.
Chris may have found a buyer for the class C-winning Wambulance.
Every time I take the Tinyvette out in public I hear tales of first car, wanted that car, rode in the back of that car when I was a kid, my aunt had one until it caught fire. I heard many more of these stories, along with one "I had a Kadett and it was a POS".
Flipping the headlights on the Opel proved to be a crowd pleaser.
Following one of the regular Belvedere's engine revving performances one of the guys in the vintage motorcycle exhibit rolled his bike out and answered to the call. I talked to him later and he said he knew that his single-cylinder '58 Harley would be no match for a cammed Plymouth 360 cid V8, but he just had to respond.
Gene and I took the Tinyvette out on the coned course for a couple of laps. The Toyota guys wouldn't let us near their course but the Dodge guys were happy to let us come and play. It was a tight course but the Tinyvette is a small car and it got around it OK. Well, Gene went off in T1, so a BF should be awaiting him in Dec. Later, when Adrian arrived, we took the Belvedere out. Big car, tight course, but still, he could smoke some tires and make that glorious engine sound for real.
A dad and three kids came by. They saw our exhibit last year and because of that went to watch Arse-Freeze. For about ten minutes they were telling me about what they saw and what they did, that they came to this show specifically to see our cars again, and that they planned to be at Arse-Freeze again this year.
At times I'd tell a visitor that it might look like most of these cars would have trouble getting home on their own power, but in fact would cover 800 miles in a typical race, and each of them had done just that three weeks earlier, and would be doing it again in the first week of December, along with another 150-180 like cars. Reactions varied from surprise at the length of our races to , "No, they look pretty stout to me."
A young, mod, mixed race couple came by. I recognized them from last year. They came specifically to see the Lemons cars. Last year, while seated in the Tinyvette, she said she and her companion wanted to be drifters. He is now into drifting but she has gone into rallying instead.
April had a visitor who was a friend and whose young son and daughter were pointing across the courtyard, saying they wanted to sit in the Tinyvette. I took them over and strapped them in. They were much calmer than other kids who had sat in cars all weekend. It turned out they race carts competitively. We talked about that, being fellow racers and all. Both said emphatically that they don't do any other sports. They race. That's what they do. We all three agreed that once you race, your life changes. Also, their home track was Blue Max, in Davis. I told them I've turned laps there. They went back to April's display telling their mom home good it felt to meet and talk to fellow racers, especially one who knew Blue Max. I guess I was a suitable stand in for Jeff Gordon and Danika Patrick, both who have raced at Blue Max.
More than one visitor commented on how much fun we must be having racing these cars, about the creativity in the series, about how ours was their favorite exhibit in the whole show. Balancing that somewhat, I watched a number of people walk right through the middle of our menagerie, making a beeline to the Vanagan. That's all they were interested in. Then there were some guys whole told me they were not into racing. I didn't understand. I mean, they were guys.
Nearly every woman over the age of about 20 was too shy or otherwise reluctant/resistant to getting in any of the cars. Most of the girls under 20 couldn't wait to get in them. Occasionally you could sense a little gender-role hesitation, even some "girls don't race cars" moments, and for those I'd point across the courtyard to April and tell the boys and girls alike that she's the fastest driver here.
Late Sunday, after dark, after packing up. The Belvedere was the only car still here. One of the guys who worked at Sac Expo came up and said he wanted that car, that if it was for sale and he could buy it, he would, and he would not change a thing.
Others will no doubt have similar stories to add, but suffice to say, our was not a typical car show.