Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

How I learned to appreciate car shows, Part I May 31, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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A TIME EXISTED WHEN I WANTED nothing to do with a car show. “Go and look at old cars?” I scoffed. “Nope, not interested.”





But then I accompanied Randy to a show once and discovered that these were more than just old cars lined up for display. These vehicles represent love, devotion, passion, pride, art, memories, stories. And, yes, a form of transportation, although really that seems secondary.



What changed my mind about car shows like the recent Drag-On’s Car Club Show in Faribault? Photography. My view of an event is often shaped through the lens of my Canon DSLR. Through photography, I notice details and strive to tell a story with my images.



I am often drawn to the unusual. A plastic Jesus on the dashboard.



A plastic rat atop a rat rod.



Elvis crooning in a car.



A shiny bumper,



a unique color,



an emblem or hood ornament,



tail fins,


even rust draws my interest.




Art more than automotive focuses my attention.





I love, also, to people-watch. While I couldn’t sit for hours in a lawn chair next to a car at a car show, many do. Entire families embrace these events.



I observe genuine enthusiasm for motors, the rev of an engine, the careful restoration of a vintage vehicle.



Trophies aplenty are handed out at these shows. How do you even begin to judge the hundreds of vehicles? It seems a subjective process to me. I’d look at the artsy side with no interest in what’s under the hood. Randy, an automotive machinist who has worked on plenty of vintage vehicles, would, however, peer at engines and restoration details.





Despite our differing perspectives, Randy and I each enjoy car shows. Who would have thought I’d come full circle on this? Not me.


Please check back for more photos from the Faribo Drag-On’s annual show.

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


25 Responses to “How I learned to appreciate car shows, Part I”

  1. Thank you for the photos! American history! Does Randy have a car to show?

  2. I am right there with you in going for the photography. There is such detail and ornamentation. My first car was a 1984 Buick Regal and it had the mother of pearl emblem hubcaps. I like the muscle cars too. Loving the photography – thanks so much for sharing! Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

  3. Murphy's Law Says:

    Omigosh Audrey, I always viewed car shows like you did….yeah, yeah, nice color, nicely restored, ho-hum. But as I study these terrific photos and look at the details through your eyes, these cars stop being ‘a bunch of old cars’ and become ‘vintage beauties!’

    Do I have to tell you that my husband, who wants no part of any blog I follow, actually enjoyed your photo gallery!! Lol.
    🔹 Ginger 🔹

    • Oh, Ginger, what a fine compliment you gave me this morning in sharing that your husband enjoyed the gallery of car images. Tell him to check back tomorrow for Part II from the car show.

      I’m happy to have a kindred spirit in viewing car shows from an artistic perspective.

  4. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    I like the old rusty cars the best! I love how many young ones you captured. Apparently that generation can go outdoors.

  5. Caryl Larson Says:

    Have you ever gone to the Back to the 50’s Car show at the Minnesota State Fair grounds? 10,000 cars. I used to go with my husband, but now I let him go by himself.

  6. Almost Iowa Says:

    Sadly, the writer Tom Wolfe died a few weeks ago. The title of his collection of essays on the car culture of the 50’s and 60’s says it all, The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby

  7. valeriebollinger Says:

    I look forward to someday visiting Faribault when a car show is there. Keep us posted.

    • We would love to have you, and other Northfielders, here for a car show. Next downtown Faribault Car Cruise Night is Friday, June 15. There’s a car show this Saturday in Morristown also. See details in tomorrow’s blog post.

  8. Marilyn Donnell Says:

    Last year finally sold the beautiful vintage Cadillac that had been owned by only 3 owners all within our family. Uncle sold to his brother, who sold it to his son. Son (my DH) was going to make a mint on restoration. That didn’t happen (make a mint) but it did bring great satisfaction to see it restored. Now the next two generations are all a bit sorry it has left the family. Sorry, boys.

  9. Audrey — great pictures (as always) there’s a car show going on in Marshall this weekend – Shades of the Past – some awesome cars there also! The rat rods are fun to check out as they seem to have something funny on them — haven’t seen one with an actual rubber rat and trap thought! Not a fan of rodents! Real or plastic. Looking forward to tomorrow’s post!

  10. Jackie Says:

    I think it’s great that you and Randy share an interest in old cars and car shows. I’ve been to a few with my Dad when he shows his vintage Mustang. Love all the photo’s, especially the one of the ship in the red glass, was that just a decoration on the hood? It’s hard to tell in the photo! I also noticed the “Daisy Duck” decal on that light blue car 🙂

  11. Littlesundog Says:

    Forrest and I love car shows. We don’t often manage time to pursue them, but if we happen to be in the area of one, we partake. We have been to a few antique and specialty car museums too.

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