Car shows are time capsules, which teleport attendees back into the 1950’s. In a grassy field, women are adorned in tall heels, hair pinned in beautiful victory rolls and sporting retro chic attire—a throwback to pin-up girls. The men also bring back an authentic style but in a relaxed way—black shirts, jeans with rolled cuffs, Converse and beards. Among them are hundreds of vintage cars…like a science fair for adults.
Since 2002, Austin has been home to one of the biggest car shows in Texas, the Lonestar Round Up. The event lasts an entire weekend and draws in a crowd of hundreds for loud music and even louder cars. Rows of venders and an auditorium-size swap meet provided attendees plenty of booths to shop from and bands to play late into the night.
Booming, upbeat music can be heard in between hundreds of revving engines. As the event proceeds, many bands, which reflect the antiquated era, take the stage. Rockabilly and swing music fill the air and inspire audience members to show off their dance moves.
The subculture surrounding car restoration creates an environment conducive to creating strong bonds. Groups called “car clubs” are formed throughout the country where members can work together to bring broken down or seemingly destroyed automobiles back to life. Each participant has unique skills to bring to the table.
These clubs often have creative and obscure names such as the Kontinentals, Hardknocks, Meatheads and Thunderbolts. These groups collaborate to sponsor car shows and swap meets.
“I’ve been to big car shows before, but had to pick through hundreds of so-so cars to find the gems,” Keith Charvonia of Speed Hunters wrote. “Lonestar Round Up was different–the quality was high, the cars were (mostly) traditional. As a bonus, I got to see cars from all over the country.”
The subculture surrounding retro cars is not all fun and games. Danny Verinder, , deemed the hardest part of rebuilding cars has always having to learn something new. He has helped build a network of skilled people in his group.
“If you don’t know you have to learn a lot about it and ask a lot of questions through friends said are in the car hobby,” Danny Verinder said. “We help each other, some of us are better at certain things than others so we help each other with our strong points.”
Demons Car Club has been running strong since its creation in 1957. Richard Seibert, Verinder’s father-in-law, founded the club in Maplewood, Illinois while attending high school. Verinder became interested in the club after marrying Seibert’s daughter, Audra.
With 21 and a new chapter starting in Las Vegas, the Verinders find great importance in continuing Seibert’s legacy and work hard to keep the club growing strong. Although numbers are important, they prefer an intimacy which can only come with a tight-knit group.
Hobbies are incredibly important to forming lasting bonds, and automobile restoration is an amazing way to do so. Braving the Texas weather to bring beautiful old cars back to life is commendable and requires an incredible amount of skill. Without people in this hobby, one may only see retro cars in the back of junk yards all rested and dilapidated.