Are car shows that focus on classic rather than modern vehicles more successful? Are there advantages to having a cutoff year?
There are so many large car shows and conventions that focus on modern cars. In many cases, these cars attract a different crowd than the classic car shows. Some car show organizers have found that by focusing on the classics and setting a cutoff year, they’re able to hone in on a more targeted audience.
This has been the case for many shows, and The Ol’ Maris River Run Car Show is a good example. This particular show started off in 1986 with just 150 cars. Originally the show was open to cars from any year. In 2000, they set a cutoff year of 1972.
There are some very noticeable differences that started to occur between ’72 and ’73 cars. It was 1973 when the gas laws changed and the cars started to have detuned motors. The idea of a “car show thru ‘72” is popular in many places around the US. The car in the picture for this post is a 1972 Dodge Challenger and is indicative of the last round of cars that would be let into many of these car shows.
The other factor is that people with older vehicles who put a lot of work and sweat into their cars don’t enjoy sitting beside cars that haven’t needed much—or any—work. Car shows like Ol’ Maris found that their attendance really took off once they started to focus on classic cars rather than all cars.
There are many examples of car shows that have cutoff years. There are more extreme examples like the Old Car Show at the Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan (that operates alongside the Henry Ford Museum), which is the longest running car show in the world. That car show just took place this past weekend, and deals completely in antiques. The cutoff year for that particular car show is 1932! You won’t find any of our beloved muscle cars at that particular show, but the longevity and popularity of the show really demonstrates that people enjoy niche events.
There are also events with specific themes like the "Back to the 50's" Car Show that takes place in Herber City Park in Utah.
Have you attended car shows with a cutoff year? What do you enjoy more? Car shows that are just dedicated to classics or car shows that mix the old and the new? If you run a car show, have you had a conversation about whether or not to have a cutoff? How did you come to your decision?
Here at Wasatch, we love car shows and we find this to be a really interesting subject. If you have any thoughts or insights about cut of years for car shows, let us know! We’d be happy to hear your thoughts.