For the last five years or so we have been regular attendees to the Hot Rod & Restoration trade show (www.hotrodshow.com) held annually in late March in Indianapolis. The show is aimed at introducing professional car builders to new products and the companies that make them.
The old-car industry is very much in need of a trade organization that covers the entire classic car field and understands that there is a difference between restoring a car to original and fixing one up with hot rod parts.
SEMA does a good job as an umbrella group for the overall specialty car business, but have you ever seen a restored British sports car at the SEMA Show? SEMA’s council for the old-car trade is called ARMO (Automotive Restorers Market Assoc,) ARMO knocks itself out to protect our hobby, but I think it’s safe to say that 75 percent of the vendors at old-car swap meets do not belong to SEMA or ARMO. Those trade groups (as well as others such as the British Motor Trade Assoc.) are trying hard to be a voice for the hobby, but in some real sense they are not convincing the hobby that it needs them.
The new owners of the Hot Rod & Restoration Show seem to have recognized this fact.
Through working with Matt Augusta and his crew at Steele Rubber Products (www.steelerubber.com) , the trade show is growing its Featured Vehicle Program larger and larger and is specifically adding antique, Classic, special-interest and European classic vehicles that have been restored to factory condition to its car show section.
This year there were 60 vehicles on exhibit in the Indianapolis Convention Center and they included an Auburn, a 1934 Plymouth coupe, a 1936 Buick Sport Coupe, an Isotta-Fraschini, an Austrian-built Steyr, an Avanti and a Buick Riviera that were totally stock.
This made the car show more enjoyable to us, but in addition, it also showed the companies vending at the show that the interest in original cars is still going strong. We need companies who can manufacture parts to see that there are many cars being restored and many customers in the hobby that they can serve.
The Hot Rod & Restoration Show is doing old-car hobbyists a big favor by increasing its “restoration representation” at this wonderful event.