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The Appeal of Car Shows

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Andrew Glaudini, Staff Writer

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This story was originally composed in May 2017 as the writer’s final project of the academic year.  

The showroom at Lamborghini Newport Beach is filled with every man’s dream car, and maybe even more.

In the corner is a Lamborghini Aventador SV Roadster, brand new and clean. Near the owner’s lounge, there is a line of Lamborghinis. And in the middle, there is a candy apple red Saleen S7 Twin Turbo with a price tag of $845,000.

People are walking around, taking pictures and gawking at the cars. Outside, a Ferrari peels away from the dealer, only to be pulled over by a cop. In the front and rear lots, exotic cars fill every space, and there are more people than you can count.

This event is the Supercar Show that Lamborghini Newport Beach holds the on first Saturday of every month. But why are there so many people? Why do they care about cars that they most likely will never be able to afford? Why do people enjoy car shows so much?

My uncle and Servite grad Mark Glaudini ‘83 enjoys attending car-related events, from small car shows to large auto shows. “[I like] seeing the classics that are customized and just seeing the creativity that can be done to vehicles by different people,” he says.“It’s neat to see the technology that’s out there now and to be connected with everything that’s in the car.”

The term “car show” can be used universally to describe either a small show or a huge event, like the Los Angeles Auto Show. However, they are two completely different types of events.

Auto shows focus on consumers and potential buyers, and they give potential customers the chance to compare, contrast, and browse their options for a new ride. With all the mainstream brands like Ford, Chevrolet, Honda, and Mazda in attendance, a buyer can choose his or her dream crossover, SUV, sedan, hatchback, coupe, or truck at an affordable price. The luxury companies like Maserati, Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz offer high-end sports cars, SUVs, coupes, and convertibles with price tags the average person usually cannot afford.

The L.A. Auto Show offers something that not all public auto shows offer: an aftermarket parts section, named “The Garage.” For the car owner, The Garage offers hundreds of aftermarket options for many vehicles. This ranges from custom stereos, lighting, and interior comfort accessories to aggressive body kits, spoilers, headlights, exhaust systems, wraps, and more. Big auto shows like this are mostly for advertising, as well as displaying new technologies. However, car shows are different.

Car shows do not focus on advertising and displaying new technologies. They are more geared towards two types of people: car owners and car enthusiasts. The owners are allowed to bring their cars to the shows, hang out with other car owners, and bask in the attention people are giving to their cars. The enthusiasts get to immerse themselves in classic, rare, or modern cars, experience their favorite rides, and chat with the owners of the cars.

Auto shows have a diversity of brands; car shows have a variety of car types. At a cars and coffee show, you can see a classic hot rod next to a brand new supercar. Car shows are not usually meant for buyers as much as their purpose is for enthusiasts, so diversity is welcome. Some shows, however, require a particular genre of car, like Lamborghini Newport Beach’s Supercar Show does: exotics only. Despite the requirements, people still enjoy and attend the show; its distinct style reaches out to a specific audience, meeting their needs. They are also usually one-day-only events; auto shows can span for a week, or maybe even more.

Sophomore Ivan Mendoza ‘19 enjoys cars and attending car shows in general. “When you go to a car show, you get that one feeling…it’s that thrill you get when you see a nice car like a Lamborghini or Bugatti,” says Mendoza. “It’s just that awesome feeling in your stomach. You want to go and keep doing it.”

I can say that I’ve felt a similar feeling like this after I attended Lamborghini Newport Beach’s Supercar Show for the first time. I was first introduced to the car show back in July of last year. My mom and I met someone at Walmart who happened to be shopping for Hot Wheels. He brought up the show, talking about how it is the first Saturday of every month. He also showed us pictures of cars from the show, and they were insane. From that moment, I wanted to go.

When the chance came up on a Saturday morning, I did not hesitate to take the opportunity. My family and I drove to Lamborghini of Newport Beach, and from the windows of our car, I could see some impressive, rare cars that I had never seen in person before. I was itching to get out of the car and see what was in the front lot. When we finally parked, my family and I crossed the street and walked on the grounds of the dealership. Everything I knew about car shows immediately went to waste.

I saw my first extremely rare car as soon as I walked in the front lot. It was a million-dollar Swedish hypercar called the Koenigsegg CCX. Next to it was a black LaFerrari with a gray roof and a red heritage stripe across the middle of the hood. Next to that was a Porsche 918 Spyder wrapped in a Martini livery. Next to that was a burnt-orange McLaren P1, a limited production British hypercar. Next to that, three other McLaren P1s. The list goes on, but it is too extensive to list. My mind took a big hit after seeing all of those cars together. It was my first time seeing all of those cars in person, and they were all bunched together in one row. And that was just one row of cars, out of about five others, plus the inside of the dealership.

The rest of the show was also unbelievable. There was a red-chrome-wrapped Lamborghini Gallardo with exhaust pipes big enough to stick your hand through. There was a McLaren 650S Can-Am Edition, which is one of only fifty in the world. There was a Lamborghini Huracan wrapped with one million Facebook thumbs-ups, to celebrate one million likes on Lamborghini Newport Beach’s Facebook page. Despite all of these foreign cars, one could find American pride in a matte black Ford GT. I was so distracted by all of the rare cars in the front lot that as a result, I did not realize that there was a whole back section of the show until after I left.

I have attended the Supercar Show many times after I attended this particular one. I am at the point where I can recognize a car from a previous show. My parents tell me to back off from the show every once in awhile for this reason. However, I still always want to go if I can get the chance. It is not just the cars that make the experience meaningful; it’s who you are enjoying the cars with.  Case in point: the last show I attended, a couple of months ago, was with my grandpa. When we were driving home, I asked him what he thought of the show. He said he enjoyed it and would want to go again.

Car shows are crowded with people because they all share a common love of cars. It’s that love of cars that brings people together, to admire those cars that they may not ever be able to afford. The experience, the cars, and being able to hang out with friends and family to share the experience makes car shows a popular activity in Southern California.

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