Great car culture can be found anywhere car lovers and enthusiasts hang their hats. From classics to drift, there’s genre and sub genre for every lifestyle around. And every city or locale typically puts a unique spin on their own car culture mast like they would food, or music. Depending on where we are, we could find ourselves pouring over hotrods, European sports cars, rare or modded vintage rides, jacked-up trucks, or any other sub genre you can think of. Here, we explore a few cities with their own particular spin on car culture.
Motor City Detroit
You can’t argue with the birthplace of American rolling-iron when it comes to offering a distinct and impressive car culture. The Motor City is the epicenter for General Motors, Ford and Chrysler/Dodge, making it a Mecca for enthusiasts. Despite not having the good weather of most other car culture cities, Detroit offers up one of the most impressive assortment of All-American automobiles. Of course, there are the all-American muscle cars—old and new—tricked out, chromed out or factory mint. Choose your poison; there are also plenty of concept or special production cars driving around as well. Gearheads will point you to the Ford Museum for some car history and then to the Woodward Dream Cruise—held the third Saturday in August—for the drool-worthy eye candy.
Los Angeles encompasses a large amount of square footage and neighborhoods, and traffic is some of the worst in the world, but it has a few distinct points in its favor to make it a place with a great car culture: good weather and a lot of money going around. In short, residents have the money to put into their vehicles and are able to drive them year-round on some of the most scenic roadways anywhere.
L.A.’s car scene offers a little bit of everything: muscle cars, classic hot rods, supercars and exotics like Bugatti, Mercedes and Porsche; We’ve seen a cherry mint Volkswagen Beetle, an over-the-top stanced-out Honda and a beauty of a restored Cadillac all in gridlock traffic at the same time! Unfortunately, California is a stickler when it comes to modifications, so it can put a damper on doing custom stuff to your ride.
In terms of car shows, there are literally hundreds to attend, with one just about every day or night; I suggest you search online as the car clubs and cruise nights are endless. There are events happening weekly catering to every niche and interest all over L.A.—and we especially recommend visiting the Petersen Auto Museum on Wilshire Boulevard (closed through 2015 for remodeling) to see some really spectacular vehicles, and the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, where each year some of the most anticipated new vehicles are introduced to the public for the first time.
South Florida is another warm locale where money talks, but if the conversation is about cars, then it’s all good. There are many people in the southern tip of the Sunshine State from international lands, and the vehicles they drive reflect that, although other niches are well represented too.
Check out the Miami International Auto Show in November; it’s one of the biggest and most prestigious. Enjoy some true Miami class with niche events like ‘Topless in Miami,’ which offers a display of convertibles, or ogle at the Ferraris and Lamborghinis found parked at the Million Dollar Alley display. It’s also a chance for exhibitors to show off, so you’ll see everyone from Aston Martin to Volvo strutting their stuff. There are also car shows featuring classic cars and the like, such as The Acreage Community Park Music Jam & Classic Car Cruise In held in September or The Festival Holiday Car Show in December.
Texas is quickly sizing up to be one of the fastest-growing states in the Union in terms of jobs, population and cool cars. Since everyone is coming in from everywhere, expect to see a little bit of everything represented in the area’s car culture. But proving the adage “everything’s bigger in Texas” is their truck culture. We’ve seen similar jacked-up and tricked out trucks in other parts of the southern U.S., but trucks are about as near and dear to the hearts of Texans as their mommas. Try the Dallas Truck and Jeep Fest at the Dallas Market Center or the Classic Car and Truck Show in Lewisville, both held in May. They’re so serious about trucks that you can also attend The Great American Trucking Show—we’re talking tricked-out Semi trucks — in late August at the Convention Center on Griffin Street.
For weekly or monthly events, there is a Cars and Coffee event on the first Saturday of every month at 6800 Dallas Parkway in Plano, where car enthusiasts bring what they love to show off (and drink some coffee). We’ve seen a little bit of everything at these shows, from ‘50s Corvettes to new, cutting-edge European sports cars.
If you’re home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, as well as numerous NASCAR teams, it’s pretty hard to avoid your automotive birthright. What might be surprising is the variety of genres and sub genres that can be found on the streets of Charlotte. Everything from the retro-muscle and street rods that bring the stock car racing passion and styling to the streets, to incredibly tuned, supercharged European luxury sports cars. Even the slabs and low riders characterized by their pristine paint finishes, glimmering rims and amped out accessories.
But Charlotte is also host to one of our favorite semi-annual events held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. And we’re not talking about NASCAR this time. We’re talking about the Charlotte AutoFair with it’s spring and fall meets that happen on speedway grounds. The events, dubbed “The greatest collector car events in the Southeast,” include over 8,000 vendor spaces, a regional auto show highlighting local originals and customs, plus they host thousands of vehicles for show and for sale. It’s about as epic as a car show can get.