Today was a good day at the auto fair. It rained on and off but there was still a decent crowd, lots of people came to see the art cars. Overall the response was really positive, though I guess people who wouldn't dig art cars wouldn't have come over, so I was only talking to the people who were inclined to like it. We opened up the garage door and I was able to run the bubble machine for most of the day. The wind did blow a fair number of bubbles back in but Chris, the guy next to me, hung up a curtain between our two cars to keep the bubbles off his art. That seemed to work pretty well.
I was interviewed by a TV show. It's an NC-based car show called "Rev Me Up." They said that in Raleigh they're on digital cable channel 140. I gave the woman my email address, she said she'd let me know when the show is going to air. They interviewed me and Dave Major (Aerocar), and they also got lots of footage of the button car because he's from South Carolina. But unfortunately the Button King wasn't there at all today so they couldn't interview him.
When it stopped raining I walked around the track and checked out the cars for sale. It was a dizzying array of classic cars. I entertained myself by trying to figure out what makes one 1930's Ford worth $12,000, another worth $30,000, and another worth $80,000. To me each car looked perfect on the outside, all shiny chrome and new paint. But the prices varied wildly. Clearly the value is under the hood. Many of the cars had signs explaining the details, but that didn't help me at all. Because I know so little about cars that I generally couldn't understand the abbreviations on the signs.
Later on Dave told me that the really expensive cars are the ones that have been souped up with all the modern conveniences: a new, high-powered engine, power windows, power brakes, etc etc. To me it seems like that would ruin the value of the car as an antique. It would be like finding a gorgeous 300 year old cabinet, then stripping it down and putting some weird faux finish on it. Dave said that some collectors do view cars like that. They try to restore the car to its original condition, using only replacement parts from the correct year and so forth. But a lot of people turn their classic cars into "street rods," an antique body but a new car inside. I had no idea.
I was surprised to find that almost 100% of the cars for sale were American. Out of hundreds of cars I saw a couple of Beetles, one Porsche, and one Datsun. Everything else was American. I would think there would be a market for souped up and/or restored classic foreign cars too. Maybe this show skews towards US made cars. I wonder where people go to buy classic Minis or Mercedes or whatever?
I didn't really look at the dealer booths because I have no interest whatsoever in used car parts. But I understand that anything you could possibly hope to buy for an American car, you could find here. That is, if you can find it. It's like a gigantic swap meet, with people dragging around little wagons loaded with car parts. I guess if you were really into restoring your car, trying to find the booth that had the part you needed could be fun. Like an Easter egg hunt.
I also wanted to go outside the track and look at the car clubs, but I decided to save that for tomorrow so Georg and I could check them out together. Dave gave me a ride back to the hotel, but we got stuck in terrible traffic. Which actually wasn't so bad because it gave me a chance to talk with him. He's a great guy. Really nice and easy to talk to. He's the person everyone wishes was their grandfather. The Button King, on the other hand, is like your crochety kind of scary grandfather. He's the guy that would be threatening to take everybody out behind the woodshed, and you'd never know if he meant it or not.
But anyway I was talking about Dave. He's a big airplane enthusiast, his career was an electrician for small aircraft. Which sounds like a really high pressure job to me, like being a doctor except that a single mistake could kill a dozen people in one go. But he said it appealed to the perfectionist in him. He had been to Kitty Hawk for the recreation of the Wright Brothers' flight, which was apparently a really big deal. Bush was there and a bunch of astronauts and all kinds of important people. Dave mentioned how much he wanted an NC "First in Flight" license plate. Apparently NC plates are really hard to get. As it turns out, I still have my MOJOJOJO plate. I never turned it in after I got my MAHJONGG plate, because I thought Georg might want it for his car. He kept politely demurring, which I failed to understand because I just couldn't imagine how anyone could not want a MOJOJO license plate on their car. So I never turned in the tag, and it's been years. I think that if the DMV was going to get on my case about it, they would have by now. So I promised to send the plate to Dave. And I'm writing this down here so I will remember to do it.
Georg got here around 7, totally wiped out from a tough drive down. We walked to an Indian restaurant near the hotel that turned out to be really good. Better than anything I've had in the Triangle, and I think our Indian food is pretty darn good. Tomorrow we're going to head in to the show a little late as I hear there's a mad rush to get in when they first open. I know I had tons more to write about, but it's all gone from my head at the moment. Now time to upload my photos and go to bed. I haven't been sleeping well since I got here. I think it's from drinking tea with dinner, which I don't normally do. Tonight I had water and here's hoping I sleep better.