Part of the joy of classic car ownership is sharing your hobby with like-minded enthusiasts. It’s one thing having a gorgeous 2002 tucked away in your garage under a blanket, hibernating for the winter. But the real fun is parking it up alongside others at a classic car show where other enthusiasts can admire it and share stories and memories.
There are car shows all year round and all over the country – and, of course, special BMW-specific events in Germany. If you happen to own a 1974 model, what better way to celebrate its 50th birthday than a trip back to its homeland? Whether you are travelling on a trans-European adventure or taking it half a mile up the road to the village show, here are some tips for showing your BMW and enjoying the experience to the full.
Half the fun is getting there
You can always tell you are getting close to the showground when a look at the surrounding vehicles suggests you have slipped back a few decades through a time portal. Yes, you’ll usually pass a couple by the side of the road with the bonnet raised, but it’s all part of the adventure – if you’re handy with the spanners, stop and offer help. After all, there but for the grace of God goes any classic car driver! Make sure you’ve some basic consumables with you, too. A broken fan belt or a faulty plug lead takes five minutes to replace – but only if you’ve got a spare one handy!
Of course, not every classic can be driven to every event. If you’re serious about a trip to Germany, you might prefer to get it professionally transported for the international leg. And if your car is in concourse condition, it’s understandable that you might prefer a trailer to driving it on salted winter roads. But in general, we’d strongly recommend driving it to the show when possible, as the journey should be as fun as the destination.
Open to all
Your car doesn’t have to be immaculate to attend a show. The truth is, if you stop to watch for half an hour, you will notice that unrestored classics with patina and a few battle scars get at least as much attention as beautifully restored examples – sometimes more. After all, these are the cars with a story to tell.
So don’t worry too much about trying to polish a shine out of flat paint or covering worn seats with aftermarket covers. What matters more is removing modern-day distractions, so make sure the car is free from coffee cups and other junk.
Provide some background information
Whether your 2002 has had a nut and bolt restoration or is a rough and ready workhorse that’s still in daily use, any car that has been around for 50 years or more has a story to tell. A photo board is a great way to share that story with other enthusiasts.
Any old images you can find of your car can be includes, whether they show it stripped down in the workshop ready for a respray or being used on a long ago family holiday when the kids were small.
No need to stand guard
Don’t feel you have to stand over your car all day. Most owners get equal pleasure from looking at other cars as showing off their own. So take some time to stroll around and check out what else is on display.
Join a club
Most shows have a mixture of private exhibitors and club stands. There is a lot to be said for joining a club, whether it is marque-specific or just an association of classic car lovers from your local area.
Showing your car on a club stand guarantees some like-minded company on the day. It also gives you freedom to relax and have a good look around the other stands, knowing there are always at least one or two people minding the stand and keeping an eye on your precious cars.