view-hulaBy Colin Date

It’s full-blown summertime just about everywhere– and that means car shows aplenty. By the time you’re reading this, I’ll have already attended 5 or 6 major events around the country. I just love this time of year!

Of course, every show is flush with incredible cars– that’s a given. What’s also a given is the vast array of knick-knacks that seem to go hand in hand with our classics. By “knick-knacks”, I’m lumping just about everything in– scale model cars replicating the original (usually perched atop an air cleaner, sometimes even on a rotating display stand!), fuzzy dice (always hanging from the rear view mirror), drive-in restaurant food trays (plastic burgers, fries and shakes), 2-foot high dolls resting their weary heads (usually against a tire or bumper) and dash “toppers” (typically hula dancers, wiggling their hips ceaselessly). I’m sure I’ve missed something here, please remind me if I have!

view-knick-knacksLast year, I attended the Truck Nationals in Carlisle, PA. In the special Vans section, they take “add-ons” to a whole new level. Here, they go all-out with themes– full-on displays and landscaping to support the van’s personality. Case in point: a Chevy Van thinly disguised as a log cabin! This ’70s-era truck was replete with a fireplace, a woodpile, black bears and lanterns, axes and throw rugs. It was so over-the-top that it actually looked pretty cool.

Personally, I’m not really into the knick-knacks– although I dig model cars (diecast and plastic), and even have a pretty fair collection of them at home. And although I’d rather just concentrate on the actual (real) cars themselves, I can see the allure of decorating your car at the shows. All those aforementioned add-ons really do help create an atmosphere of fun and light-heartedness. After all, that’s what most car shows are supposed to be all about!

view-car-show-displayWhat I can really appreciate however, are the “menu boards” (display signage), vintage literature, restoration documentation, and anything else that further authenticates a classic car. Even the strategically-placed mirrors that allow you to view the undercarriage are cool (they also make it easier on the knees, thank you).

Then of course, there are the gimmicks that the manufacturers (and even the dealerships) dreamt up back in the day. Sometimes you’ll see these cleverly staged at the shows. I’ve seen plenty of stuffed tigers lounging on GTO hoods, mountain lions perched atop Mercury Cougars, and fuzzy coyotes chasing mangy roadrunners. That kind of period-correct stuff falls more into the nostalgia category– not to be confused with knick-knacks!

I’d love to hear your views on the subject. Do you display your ride unadorned at the shows, or are you more of a “set the mood and create a display” type? Of course, there’s no right or wrong way here– it’s all in good fun. After all, that’s what hobbies are for!

Almost forgot– I have an opportunity to visit one of our member’s vast diecast car collections soon. I’ll be sure to take lots of photos, and will be sharing them with you in a future issue. Stay tuned!

Until next time, Colin