The official name of the event was 'StreetRod and Muscle Car Nationals' but it doesn't matter what you call it, on a rating scale of meh to in-freaking-sane, it was on the lower end of the scale. I know I get to a lot of car shows and events so I may be a little spoiled with what I get to see but I honestly expected better. With the word 'Nationals' in the title I fully expected to see cars from all over the country being shown off, but that wasn't the case. Sure, there were a few guys that had travelled far to be there but not nearly enough to call it a national event. Another thing that pops up in my mind when I hear 'Nationals' in an event title is that I'm about to see the best of the best that the country has to offer. I expect to see cars that have won shows in their respective regions and as a result were extended an invite to attend a national event to compete for an even bigger honour. Instead, anyone who wanted to show off their car could pay for an entry and do so. This left me feeling rather disappointed...
Don't get me wrong, there were some really nice cars to be seen that I'd love to call my own but many cars on display were not show car quality, not by a long shot. I know it's not easy to get a car to show level, but small things like untidy wiring and rust spots under the paint (on cars that aren't purposefully ratted or showing off an original patina) are things that should stop you from having your car on display. Bigger things also bugged me too; many cars had a poor wheel choice and everyone (car guys) knows that the wheels can make or break the look of a car. Old school muscle should never have wheels fitted that you can choose off the rack at any of the local wheel chainstores. Ok, never is too harsh, it's acceptable but then don't leave the wheels stock. Widen them, change the finish - modification is the name of this game. If you're not going to do that rather refurbish the original wheels and keep them on the car or if the car only came from the factory with steelies you can widen them or even step up their size and make them 100% unique.
There were also many cars that I thought would be on display at the show from both privateers and tuning shops that deal in all things American but they were all conspicuously absent. I really thought there would be more industry related stalls too. Yeah, it does sound like I'm having a bitching session but when an annual charity event like Angela's Picnic pulls in more cars of a higher quality than a "national" event you can't really blame me. I'm not alone in this thinking either, I chatted to quite a few familiar faces and they all echoed my sentiments.
In amongst all the old cars there were some great modern cars, a few Mustangs, a Camaro or two and even a pair of Vipers could be seen on display. While they attracted attention as you'd expect, the two cars that I battled to get pics of thanks to being constantly crowded with people were the flat green Rage hotrod an the mental rat-style tow truck. I eventually got usable pics but not before a long wait and giving a few people the serious hairy eyeball. The Indian Motorcycles stand also had it's fair share of people but I'm not sure if they were there for the bikes or the ladies.
I'm probably gonna have a few people who don't like my thoughts on this event and I'm ok with that. I'm sure loads of people who attended loved every minute of it and were wowed by lots of the cars and that's great, I'm really happy for them. From my side, I'll only make the trek to this event next year if I have absolutely nothing to do or if I find out that the well-known shops and builders from around SA will have some sort of representation there. See you next year then.
Author: Chris Wall
A slightly tattooed motoring fanatic, photography nut and avid collector of knowledge. Use the search bar to navigate through the archives.