Muscle Cars

Look Mom, A New Car!

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By Mark Weisseg

I love this photo. In the old days we all got excited when the new model year cars arrived. When I was in grade school there was a very large parking lot next door to the school. It was a holding area for all the local car dealers. Car carrier trucks would roll in there and they would unload the cars there until the dealer wanted the inventory. More times than once I was caught looking out the window staring at the new arrivals. As a matter of fact on one of my report cards a teacher wrote I was not paying attention enough due to starring out the window. Little did she know I was paying attention. To the cars that is.

But, this photo is really special. The dealers, plus some neighborhood people watching the arrival of the new model year. Today, that does not happen.
The car companies release cars way in advance today. It used to be in September of every year when the cars started to arrive. Today you start to see a car being introduced as a 2017 model as early as June. There is no more Big Bang.

Nobody cares like they did. The cars are just at the dealer lot when you desire. You go to and plug in your make and model and within seconds the web site tells you what dealers have what.
I know that is cool so you do not waste time but I just miss the big introductions. Sure we get them at the Detroit, Chicago, LA and Japan auto shows but that is just for the few thousand that make the trip. Years ago it was a TV event. Drive the USA in a Chevrolet.

Remember Dinah Shore and her spots for GM? Or the guy that would fall out of the sky and fall right into a convertible and keep driving? The new cars of the year at one time were a big deal. Now, it’s flat. The sales people all want a new and exciting product to sell. Yet, you drive by a car dealership and you see the sales people standing out front smoking there paycheck away.

I remember when the car dealers would do big search lights, tents, a famous athlete and make a big production of having the latest product in stock. Now, pfffftt.
I read recently that the average custom car show in your hometown draws more people in a day that will ever set foot in a dealership for a year. Let’s examine that.

At the show I participate in we have about 1500 cars and we are told the head count for the four hour event – providing good weather could be three thousand people. Give or take a few hundred. So, if a dealer is open say 360 days a year do you think in that 360 days they get three thousand shoppers in the door? I don’t know.
Too many variables to calculate but if I ran a dealership it would not be business as usual. Unlock the door at 9am and relock it at 9pm and in those twelve hours we will have six sales people standing around rotating turns for a customer. And during the down time tell stories and complain.

Nope. Not me. I want the excitement that used to be at a dealership. New models, new products and features. Today, all those cars that I would stare out the window at are either gone and crushed, or rebuilt and restored to a new car. And, we in the fast muscle car world are more excited and more pumped up about our 45 plus year old cars than the guys and gals selling the brand new 2017 models that all look the same and have nearly the same features. How weird is that?

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