Mechanically Speaking: Springtime means arrival of car show season

"For many, spring is car show season. Many of us will attend a car show this season. Some of us will show our cars this season."

I think it is safe for me to declare spring has arrived. Admittedly it has been tenuous as always. I kept looking up at Granite Mountain thinking I could still be skiing if I was the skin and skis type. I am saving that for retirement, I think.

For many, spring is car show season. Many of us will attend a car show this season.

Some of us will show our cars this season.

For some of you who were intending to show cars this season procrastination, lack of funds or some other turn of events has gotten in the way of having your car ready to show.

I must admit I enjoy attending car shows especially local ones. It is interesting to see what cool vehicles occupy garages in our surrounding locales.

I am always amazed at some of the vehicles that people have that I did not even know about.

In my pre and early teenage years I was faithful to the Spokane “Auto Boat and Speed Show” lured by the fast talking advertising feed from our local cable channels. In my younger years I could easily peruse the myriad of strange show car concoctions on display and marvel at the shiny chrome.

Chrome was everywhere. Tires were wide and without tread. The bottom of the vehicles were centimetres from the ground.

My interests in mechanics and later engineering spoiled my intrigue with the Auto Boat and Speed Show.

Most of those show cars were just that “Show Cars” not go cars. Most of those cars actually would not even run and if they did they could not even drive down the road.

There was no practical engineering involved. They were simply designs with a wow factor.

I then turned to attending new car shows.

Every year in early spring the automobile manufacturers would gather together their new cars and show them.

Either Spokane or Vancouver were my venues depending on my current address. I could see the vehicles I was reading about in Car and Driver and Road and Track in the flesh. In particular I could hopefully sit in and look under the hood of the sports car I was going to buy when I got my first real job.

I could spend hours checking out the offerings of all the manufacturers.  More than likely the vehicles at the show would have the “full load” (salesman speak).

I was always there to see the high performance models.

Gradually, my work as an auto mechanic quenched my desire for the latest and greatest.

Many times the latest is far from the greatest.

Sometimes the engineering is flawed. Sometimes the implementation is flawed.

Now I look at show cars with a different approach. I like modified cars.

Those modifications have to be well engineered. In the end the modification must make something better, stronger or faster.

Just better looking won’t cut it in my book.

Trail’s Ron Nutini is a licensed automotive technician and graduate of mechanical engineering from UBC. E-mail:


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