Classic Car

Get The Most Out of Car Shows

Updated December 5, 2018 . AmFam Team

Can’t get enough classic car shows? We’ve put together a list of our favorites, plus some tips for enjoying them to their fullest. Clear your weekend schedule, hop in your car and check them out!
If classic cars, car personalization or car rebuilds are your thing, you’ve got to check out these top-notch car shows. From hot rods to vintage rides, there’s at least one show that’s meant for you on this list! New to the classic car show game? Don’t sweat it! We’ve included some tips for making the most of your time at these events, too.

The Best of the Best Car Shows Around

During the spring, summer and fall months, car shows take place all over the country. We’ve picked out some of our favorites that we’re sure will be a hit with you:

The Woodward Dream Cruise. There’s no better place to attend a classic car event than in Motor City! This Detroit-based annual show is hard to beat. Held every third Saturday in August, the Woodward Dream Cruise (Opens in a new tab) is a one-day event that originated in 1995 as a fundraiser for a soccer field. Since then, it’s established its reputation as one of the best car shows in the United States, pulling in over 1.5 million visitors per year.

Charlotte AutoFair. With a reputation as the world’s largest automotive festival, it seriously doesn’t get bigger than this! Check out the annual four-day extravaganza held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina in April, or at the fall version of the event in September. The best part about the Charlotte AutoFair (Opens in a new tab)? It might just be the antique car show portion, which hosts vehicles 25 years or older for judging.

The Elegance at Hershey. Hershey, Pennsylvania has more to offer than just chocolate. Check out the Concours event that takes place every year around mid-June, and get a close-up look at beautiful vehicles from a long-ago era in a casual garden party environment. Those showing their cars at The Elegance (Opens in a new tab) spare no expense keeping these beautiful vehicles in pristine shape for their and your enjoyment.

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. You won’t want to miss this sophisticated seaside show. Watch as meticulously-cared-for collector cars are judged on how well their owners have respected the vehicle’s history in its restoration. Usually hosted in the late days of August, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance (Opens in a new tab) is the right event for you if you want to combine vintage cars with an almost unbeatable location.

The Texas Hoedown. If you’re not much into cars of the 50’s and 60’s cars and find those of the muscle variety are more your speed, you’ll love this parade of pre-1972 custom hot rods headquartered at the Waller County Fairgrounds in New Caney, Texas. Not to be confused with any sort of dance festival, The Texas Hoedown (Opens in a new tab) is a must-see event complete with custom cars, bands and contests.

Iola Old Car Show and Swap Meet. Take a trip to Wisconsin this summer and be a part of one of the oldest, biggest and best combination car show/swap meets in the country. Whether you’re there to admire classic cars, swap antique car parts or just enjoy the company of thousands of other car enthusiasts, the Iola Old Car Show and Swap Meet (Opens in a new tab) is one of the best the Badger State offers.

Telluride Festival of Cars and Colors. One of the newest car shows to the scene, this fall-time event in Telluride, Colorado celebrates old cars — and fall foliage! Cars from all eras rest against the backdrop of a beautiful mountain range, making Cars and Colors (Opens in a new tab) much more than your typical car show.

Street Rod Nationals. Head to a local NSRA (National Street Rod Association) event this year. Hosted all over the country, these events feature literally thousands of vintage automobiles. Vendors offer specialty auto equipment here, too, so grab a car-obsessed friend and take in everything a Street Rod Nationals event (Opens in a new tab) near you has to offer.

Tips for Attending a Classic Car Show

New to the car show game, or not sure if they’re the right kind of event for you? Check out our list for getting the most out of your trip to a showcase of automotive excellence.

Ask questions and learn about cars. If someone is showing their car at a car show, they’re not doing it for their own health — they probably want to share their knowledge and experience putting together their wheeled work of art. Ask questions and enjoy their expertise!

Respect the vehicles. Those showing their cars have put a lot of work into them — show the owners proper respect and refrain from touching or leaning on them.

Bring a friend or family member. Some people become car enthusiasts simply after attending a car show. Bring a family member, young or old, and introduce them into the exciting world of restoring and showing classic cars.

Prepare in advance. Plenty of car shows require tickets, and a lot of them sell out well in advance. Plan ahead and make sure you’ve got tickets before you try to buy at the door and are turned away.

Thinking about buying a car to restore, cruise around in or show at auto shows? Your American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab) can help you protect your classic car from the unexpected. Get in touch with them and give your passion project the protection it deserves.

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