HomeCar Culture'Car People' ruin another car show

‘Car People’ ruin another car show

If you are going to be a wanker, do us all a favor and stay home


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.

car show, ‘Car People’ ruin another car show, ClassicCars.com Journal
With Super Cars comes great responsibility | Rob Mains/Scuderia Southwest

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.

car show, ‘Car People’ ruin another car show, ClassicCars.com Journal
Spin and we all lose | Scuderia Southwest

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.

VIDEO: 370Z driver runs out of talent

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.

Ok? Cool?

Tom Stahler
Tom Stahler
Tom Stahler is the Managing Editor of the ClassicCars.com Journal. Tom has a lifelong love of cars and motor racing – beginning with the 1968 USRRC race at Road America, in a stroller, at eight months of age. His words, photos and broadcasts can can be found on a myriad of media. He has won the Motor Press Guild’s Dean Batchelor Award and a Gold Medal in the International Automotive Media Awards.


  1. Great article, and important! I’ve attended this event several times, often bringing a car to show. I think this behavior is unacceptable in public places and it’s sad that men with little to no self control feel the need to show-off while leaving, putting everyone at risk. This is indeed the type of activity that kills these great car gatherings. I hope the crowd and participants realize that they need to change a bit in order for gatherings like this to continue. Also, how exactly do you spin-out an AWD GTR?!?

    • Appreciate the comments and kind words, Jeff. As for ‘running out of talent’ in an AWD GTR? A guy who is way over his head in a car that will bite you is capable of anything.

  2. South OC Cars and Coffee in San Clemente, CA has it right in that they monitor behavior coming in and exiting the event and work with local law enforcement to manage it. Part of what they do is name and shame folks on social media that violate common courtesy and ruin it for all. It takes folks volunteers though to do this and they cant be afraid to put their foot down so that part of is arguably difficult.

    • Thanks for the comment and great suggestion Dean. A gent from our sales department and I have contacted Scuderia Southwest — and volunteered to do just that. Except the boy-racers who pull this crap on the 7th will be put to shame in front of our 500,000 readers. The San Clemente show has done a great job of taking over for the lost Irvine event. But for many from Northern OC and LA who used to go to Irvine, San Clemente is a much longer drive.

  3. The internet is full of people wrecking their cars and other cars stunting after a car show. Put a big sign at the exits stating any stunting will cost you a $$$$ fine and not allowed next year with their car. The police should be at the exits to enforce this.

  4. Speed is relative to the degree of control you have over it. Losing control of a race car is one thing that is a given risk of racing; not everyone can or should try it. Showing off behind the wheel is for those who know nothing about going fast; i.e. Speed.


    • Absolutely Ivan… However this event is 12 times per year. Woodward is once per year — and a great event no less! Car events seem even more special on that strip of pavement. With your event, don’t you have to pay the police department for the additional patrols? Certainly we have discussed this around the office, but we are also not the organizers. We shall see what develops next week. It’s just too bad that a few bad apples cause a problem for the rest.

  6. I’ve been to a couple of large car cruise events with large numbers of cars
    At one event everybody that is involved get a paper with instructions to report any type of burnout, high speed or horse play it has the license plate number and description of the vehicle. This can be turned in to the police and they can issue the appropriate citation.
    This works because if you act out you don’t know who is reporting or how many. At first it didn’t stop them all , but after a couple people got busted it made people think! We’ve been going for years and 99.9% use there manors( there is always a moron in the crowd and you can stop stupid but this will help

  7. Our Cruise Down Memory Lane in Vineland New Jersey suffered the same fate. After 26 years of static display and cruising in a loop around a 2 mile stretch a burn out ended the cruise. We’re limited to a static display of about 1500 vehicles in good weather. Might I add we haf/have a large police presence but one under powered car driven by an inconsiderate participant ruined it all for cruise participants and spectators that were cruising or separating. We still have the “cruise” in name only with a static display the 2nd weekend in June every year.


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