I used to love going to Cars and Coffee in Irvine, California. The operative words are “USED TO.” Before his death a few years ago, my friend, Formula 5000, IMSA and Trans-Am champion Tony ‘a2z’ Adamowicz and I would go together and hang out – running into guys like Dan Gurney, Jay Leno and so many other notables who wanted to soak in some automotive kinship. Ford executive John Clinard started the long-running legendary show – only to have it ruined by “poorly executed exits.”
I plan to go to the Scottsdale Motorsports Gathering on March 7 – mainly because it most likely will be the last one.
Thanks morons… You know who you are.
An email from Scuderia Southwest, that puts on the monthly show and the annual Concours in the Hills, is circulating:
We need your help.
In order to continue having an event like our monthly Scottsdale Motorsports Gathering, we need to immediately fix a significant issue. We need to address the problem at the exit of our venue. The crowd of people that gathers on the sidewalks and median to take video of cars exiting the parking lot is a problem. The exiting cars that feel compelled to show off for that crowd is a problem.
The mall has informed us that our contract will be terminated, and the event WILL BE CANCELLED if this problem isn’t fixed immediately.
It’s dangerous to the crowd as well as other people that live and shop in the area.
We welcome spectators to come into the monthly event and walk up to the cars, take pictures and talk to the owners. If you would like to continue to have this event each month, we need your help in clearing off the sidewalks and taming the exit. Don’t congregate on the outside sidewalks of the mall and pass the word on to your friends. If you are one of the drivers that can’t control yourself when exiting, then we don’t want you at the event.
The email goes on to post a picture of a talentless goofball spinning his GTR on the street outside the mall. An attached video also shows another schmuck completely losing control of his 370Z and almost taking out another three cars.
At many car shows, part of the spectacle is the “exit.” People line the street outside the venue to see the cars in motion. Traditionally, testosterone-laden man-children that have more money than driving talent proceed to do burnouts, hit the rev-limiter, and in several cases, lose control and throw the car into the crowd. They don’t have to exit the show in a dangerous way, but so many get caught up in the moment of having a cheering crowd that they just have to show off. Scuderia Southwest suggests that no one should be outside the venue to see the cars pull out, therefore quashing this type of behavior.
New-money jerks in Lamborghinis don’t need a crowd, though, they will do it anyway. One of these days, some self-absorbed narcissist in a Huracan will take out a family of four in a mini-van. Then not only will one car show go down the tubes – the government will get involved and it will ruin all of them.
Legislators in several states and at the federal level are already taking 50mm shots at the car culture. Thank goodness for SEMA, which lobbies on behalf of the specialty automotive world – and even has a major bill on the Hill called the RPM ACT.
According to SEMA: “The ‘Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act’ clarifies that it is legal under federal law to modify the emissions system of a motor vehicle that is converted for race-use-only. If passed, the legislation will protect Americans’ right to modify street vehicles into dedicated racecars and industry’s right to sell the parts that enable racers to compete.
The problem exists that in 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asserted that it is illegal to convert a motor vehicle into a racecar if the vehicle’s emissions system no longer remains in its certified configuration. The agency alleges that the Clean Air Act exemption only applies to purpose-built race vehicles (NASCAR, Formula One, sprint cars, etc.). EPA is also claiming authority over any emissions-related parts produced, sold, and installed on motor vehicles converted for racing.”
Some self-important twit exiting a car show could ruin serious progress – to which I would say “throat-punch authorized.”
The scenario reminds me of the 1950s when racing on public roads, with only hay-bales and snow fence separated the speeding cars from massive crowds. Many spectators came to such resort towns as Elkhart Lake, Watkins Glen, Pebble Beach and many others, boosting local economies as they watched Allards, Ferraris, Jaguars, Kurtises and so many more high-powered cars race on the town’s roads. That is, until a car crashed through the hay-bales and snow fence – killing a 7-year-old boy. In combination of the negative attention that Le Mans received in 1955 due to a Mercedes flying into the crowd, killing nearly 100 people, needless to say, the US government reached in and made it very difficult for organizers.
Thanks to General Curtis LeMay, head of the US Strategic Air Command, racing events moved to military airports while those racing towns constructed purpose-built racing circuits – which saved the racing hobby in the United States. Unfortunately, Curtis LeMay is dead, so he is not going to find alternative venues when dumb asses ruin cool car shows for the rest of us.
Car culture is open wide for enthusiasts. It always has been. It’s a kinship amongst people from all walks of life that come together in passion. But one fragile-ego bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. Look, we get it. You have a wicked supercar. You know it’s fast. We know it’s fast. But the bottom line is that one needs to choose his/her battles.
Go to a track day, go get a racing license, go turn yourself into a greasy spot on a lonesome desert highway – stop having a detrimental effect on the rest of us.
For you spectators: don’t encourage this type of behavior. Cars are always cooler in motion… But if you want to see them go fast, check the club calendars and go see them run a track day – or better yet, volunteer to help. You get to meet interesting people. Who knows? Getting involved could create many adventurous opportunities.
These shows are subject to a much larger majority of the population that is increasingly less tolerant of “toxic-masculinity,” hates combustion engines and cheers “cancel-culture.” Let’s think things through and preserve our hobby.