Could ‘Pop-Up’ events become the next big thing?

Our weekly roundup of car show news and notes

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British Motor Show
British Motor Show will use 'pop-up' mini shows to create interest in its big show scheduled for August 2021 | Show photo

Not only have concours d’elegance and other major collector car events been smacked by the coronavirus pandemic, so have the major new-car auto shows. They’ve been canceled and rescheduled, and pretty much shaken to their very foundations. 

Just one example is the North American International Auto Show in downtown Detroit. Postponed, and then canceled, and then moved, and recently rescheduled, this time because of a calendar conflict with the LA show, which has become more popular because while Detroit is the Motor City, Los Angeles is, well, SoCal and Hollywood and glitz and glamor, and weather.

And it’s not just in the US that auto shows are scrambling for attention and viability. The British Motor Show has announced a series of Pop-Up shows to whet interest in its main event, scheduled for August 19-22, 2021.

The first of the Pop-Up events is taking place at Festival Place, a huge shopping mall and entertainment center in Basingstoke, an hour’s drive southwest of London, and runs into December 2020.  Featured are new cars, classic cars, “retro electric” and the latest in EVs.

The showcase covers 6,000 square feet and includes driving simulators, a slot-car racing track, and a rotating display of vehicles. There also are experts on hand to answer questions about car buying and maintenance, and help for buying holiday gifts for the car enthusiasts on your shopping list.

The pop-ups are being presented as family focused, operating with social distancing and other precautions, and are free of admission charges.

“2020 has been a tough year for many people thanks to the unprecedented changes it has brought to their daily lives,” said Andy Entwistle, chief executive of the British Motor Show. “For car fans, all of the major automotive events were cancelled, including The British Motor Show 2020.

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“But the show must go on, and with our first Pop-Up Motor Show we’ve developed a way in which people can still go to a car show, experience a great selection of cars both new and old, buy essential Christmas gifts for the car fan in their life and meet likeminded enthusiasts in a responsible manner as we build up to the big event next summer, when hopefully car shows will be back with a bang.”

The motor show plans a series of such pop-up events across the UK in 2021.

Which brings up the question: Might such pop-up events also be a way to promote the collector car hobby? Why not consider such events as a way to create interest in upcoming concours d’elegance or other automotive festivals? 

This is Goodwood SpeedWeek

Running October 16-18 is the inaugural and reportedly once-in-a-lifetime Goodwood SpeedWeek, an event that promises to feature the best of the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Goodwood Revival, both canceled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, while adding in some new activities and attractions.

Because of ongoing health concerns, events will be offered via free internet live streaming on two Goodwood channels, one focused on the track and the other on entertainment. You can sign up for notifications on the Goodwood website.

F1 champ takes a spin in the ID.R

Nico Rosberg takes the record-setting Volkswagen ID.R around the Nurburging stadium circuit | VW Motorsports photos

One of the highlights of Goodwood’s SpeedWeek will be attempts to set break the lap record at the Goodwood racing circuit. Among the cars ready to try is the Volkswagen ID.R, the electric sports prototype that already has set a series of records around the world.

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As the car was being readied for Goodwood, it was handed over to 2016 Formula 1 champion Nico Rosberg for a few laps around the Grand Prix circuit on a rainy day at the Nurburgring. Since retiring from F1, Rosberg, 35, has become a champion of electric vehicles and is the founder of the sustainability-promoting Greentech Festival.

“It is a while since I have driven a real race car in the rain, but I immediately felt like a fish in water again in the ID.R.” Rosberg told VW. 

“It feels fantastic to drive. The traction, the acceleration, the downforce – it was all very familiar,” added the racer who won 23 Grands Prix. “Compliments to the engineers at Volkswagen, who have done important pioneering work in the field of electromobility with the ID.R. 

“Motorsport’s job is to change mobility as a whole,” he said. “It should be the test and development platform, in order to transport technology into production. That is exactly what has happened with the ID.R and the ID.3 (VW’s new electric family-sized vehicle). I could even imagine getting an ID.3 for my family.”

“We are delighted that Nico wanted to test our ID.R,” said Sven Smeets, VW’s motorsports director. “The fact that our electric racer put a smile on the face of a Formula 1 world champion is great feedback and underlines the fact that electromobility can create a lot of fascination and emotion.”

Goodguys announce 2021 schedule

Goodguys visit WestWorld of Scottsdale twice each year | Goodguys photo

The Goodguys Rod & Custom Association has announced its 2021 car show calendar, which includes a new fall event at Del Mar, California. The inaugural So-Cal Nationals are scheduled for October 1-3 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds near San Diego and will feature a Volkswagen showcase, classic 4×4 off-road vehicles, a vintage-trailer exhibit and a SoCal-themed automotive art gallery.

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The other major change to the schedule is the Nashville Nationals moving from mid-June to May 28-30. 

Here is the Goodguys’ 2021 schedule:

March 12-14 — Lone Star Nationals, Fort Worth TX

March 19-21 — Spring Nationals, Scottsdale AZ

March 27-28 — All American Get-Together, Pleasanton CA

April 9-11 — Del Mar Nationals, Del Mar CA

April 23-25 — North Carolina Nationals, Raleigh NC

Mary 21-23 — Salt Lake Nationals, Salt Lake City UT

May 28-30 — Nashville Nationals, Nashville TN

June 5-6 — Summer Get-Together, Pleasanton CA

July 2-4 — Heartland Nationals, Des Moines IA

July 9-11 — Goodguys Nationals, Columbus OH

July7 23-25 — Pacific Northwest Nationals, Puyallup WA

August 13-15 — Great Northwest Nationals, Spokane WA

August 20-22 — Great American Nationals, York PA

August 27-29 — West Coast Nationals, Pleasanton CA

September 10-12 — Colorado Nationals, Loveland CO

September 24-26 — Lone Star Nationals, Fort Worth TX 

October 1-3 — So-Cal Nationals, Del Mar CA

November 13-14 — Autumn Get-Together, Pleasanton CA 

November 19-21 — Southwest Nationals, Scottsdale AZ

Fall car show calendar

October 16-18 — Goodwood SpeedWeek, Keels & Wheels, Lake Mirror Concours d’Elegance (Florida), Mid-American Street Rod Nationals (Missouri), Astin Mansion (Texas), Off-Road Expo and Sand Sports (Arizona)

October 19-23 — AACA Central Divisional Tour (Oklahoma) 

October 23-25 — Charlotte Auto Fair

October 30-November 1 — Copperstate 1000 vintage rally car show, Western Street Rod Nationals (Bakersfield, California), Rennsport Collective (England)

To share news of your local car shows and cruises, email larrye@classiccars.com

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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