SEMA Member News—November/December 2012
Collector Car Appreciation Day 2013
It’s Not Too Early to Begin Preparations!
SEMA celebrates Collector Car Appreciation Day with an enthusiastic gathering at its Diamond Bar, California, headquarters.
Collector Car Appreciation Day 2013 is still several months away, but there may be no better time to remind everyone in the restoration and other automotive specialty-equipment segments of this important celebration. In this issue of SEMA Member News, two Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) members explain in their own words how they use Collector Car Appreciation Day to not only celebrate with other enthusiasts, but also educate the non-enthusiast public about the importance of preserving our automotive heritage.
Matt Agosta, Steele Rubber Products
This was our third year of celebrating our hobby through this event. Each year, our industry and hobbyists have have made it a bigger and better event.
The first year, we at Steele Rubber held an employee car show with trophies and prizes. The next year, we put together a cruise-in, inviting our local customers and car clubs, which filled our parking lot with 50 antiques and hot rods for most of the day. We thought this was great for a Friday in July.
We sponsored a mini poker run (without the cards) this year in conjunction with a local restoration shop (Klassic Rides) and a hot-rod retailer (Hot Rod Express). The idea was for participants to visit each of the businesses for facility tours, receive discounts on purchases and benefit from some giveaways. We sent press releases to the local media and postcard invitations to our customers, and we invited the general public through local newspaper ads and Chamber of Commerce postings. We also invited our local lawmakers, North Carolina State Senator Chris Carney and State Representative Jason Saine.
Both legislators came and contributed toward making our celebration extra special for all participants. Not only did they learn more about our hobby and about the U.S. Senate’s Collector Car Appreciation Day proclamation, but they were also able to tour our facility and talk with our employees and customers, and they took the time to ask us what we needed from our government. That was refreshing. I was surprised at how approachable they were and how genuinely concerned they were about our issues. We were even able to recruit them into the SEMA-supported State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus (www.semasan.com).
Without a great deal of effort, we put together a pretty neat event. We had fun, the community had fun, we were able to showcase our hobby and industry to our legislators—and the cost was minimal. The idea is to let those who have not experienced our passion for these cars have an opportunity to do so. After all, that’s why we pushed to have a day of recognition for our hobby in the first place.
With a better understanding of the role cars play in our history, a look at the innovations that now are everyday features and the nostalgic memories our cars bring, maybe we can change a lot of minds about our hobby and transform them into ambassadors for us.
We need to continue to celebrate Collector Car Appreciation Day. We need to make it go viral to where everyone will look forward to the community activities that will go on year after year. An announcement marking the date for the 2013 celebration will be issued shortly. We are already planning for it. Are you?
Laura Packard, American Collectors Insurance
We feel strongly that Collector Car Appreciation Day is a way to show off our hobby to those who might not know so much about collector cars, so inviting the general public is an important component of our plan each year. We invite our customers but also local car clubs and our residential and business neighbors within the community.
We do pre-event public relations, and local radio stations, TV news shows and newspapers have picked up our releases and interviewed us for stories over the last three years. So in addition to helping raise our company’s awareness in the local media, we are raising the awareness of the hobby in the area.
At our car show, we make sure to give our employees ample time to enjoy the event—getting to see the cars, talk to the participants and get to know the passion behind the hobby. Many of our employees invite their families and friends to enjoy the event as well.
We give out three awards just for fun: Employees’ Choice, Founders’ Choice and Kids’ Choice. We give the kids and employees ribbons, and they get to informally present an award to their favorite collector car/truck/bike. To see the kids, in particular, giving the car owners the award creates a great opportunity for the owners to tell the kids a little about their cars. I even saw many inviting the kids to sit in their cars just to get a feel for them. Normally, that could be considered blasphemy at a car show! But those are exactly the kinds of opportunities we need to create in this hobby—making it seem fun and accessible, not stuffy and “hands off.” It was very endearing to watch.