The traditional car show is under threat. In a world where social media reveals and ‘accidental’ leaks are the method by which brand manage expectations around their new models, a static car show has very little relevance.
But that does not mean that automotive enthusiasts don’t want to get out and see some new (or old) metal in person.
Those events and motoring festivals which have innovated and combined dynamic elements with their static displays, are thriving.
With the 2019 SA Festival of Motoring taking place in August, we look at some of the world’s best motoring festivals.
Goodwood Festival of Speed
It all started rather innocuously, back in 1993. when the Earl of March thought it would be a jolly good idea to have people race up his rather long driveway, in all manner of fantastic and fast cars.
Since then, the Goodwood FOS has grown immensely in size and stature. It is very well supported by most premium and exotic vehicle brands and what makes it work, is a terrific blend between old English lawn lifestyle and manners, contrasted with the dynamic elements – provided by cars racing up the 1.86km Hillclimb.
The surroundings are serene, but you are always within earshot or sight of something very special speeding up the hill to Goodwood estate’s fountain. This motoring event has proved so popular, that organisers have been forced to cap attendance at 150 000 – which is a very nice problem to have.
Since 1981, this has been the pilgrimage for true VW and Audi enthusiasts. On the shores of Austria’s idyllic lake Wörthersee, all things VW are displayed and discussed. The event has grown to such an extent, that VW commissions a special edition concept car or reveal for each year, to ensure that fans of the brand are not disappointed.
The most memorable VW Golf performance concepts were mostly revealed at Wörthersee, including the legendary W12 powered Golf 650 concept, shown at the 2007 events.
Monterey car week (including the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance)
Anther northern hemisphere summer automotive event, this is where the world’s wealthiest collectors gather to trade cars. The elite enclave of Monterey plays hosts to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and many brands reveal new limited-edition models at this event.
The cars are parked on grass, mostly at the iconic Pebble Beach golf course, and although there aren’t many dynamic displays, the sheer gravity of what can be traded here (for hundreds of millions of Rands) makes it quite the occasion. Many classic auction records at set during this event.
This is perhaps the most important vehicle show in South Africa. Each year Bothaville becomes the busiest temporary airport in the country, as influential farmers fly in to see the newest agricultural vehicles available. Beyond the tractors and combined harvesters, there are bakkies – because as we all know, bakkies are the single most important vehicle category in South Africa.
Image: Janine Van Der Post
If you do bakkie business in South Africa, and you don’t have something on display at Nampo – you probably won’t be in business much longer. Amazingly, no brand has ever seized on the opportunity to do a Nampo edition bakkie.
Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este
The elite gather of people who love cars, and want to show them off, in northern Italy. Hosted on the shores of Lake Como, the elaborately named Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este allows some of Europe’s rarest classic cars to come out and be admired.
It is also a popular event for exotic brands, wishing to reveal limited-edition vehicles. Aston Martin, in particular, has shown some memorable cars at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este over the years, including the public debut of its One-77.
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