ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT

At the car shows: Uncool cars are becoming cool

Oct 20, 2023, 7:30 PM | Updated: Oct 23, 2023, 11:19 am

Attendees look at cars at the Kulture Krash Car Show....

Attendees look at cars at the Kulture Krash Car Show in Copperton, Utah on Oct. 7, 2023. (Brian Champagne/Special to KSL NewsRadio)

(Brian Champagne/Special to KSL NewsRadio)

COPPERTON, Utah — Car Show season is wrapping up in Utah, and attendees are starting to see a shift. 

Rides that weren’t cool are starting to get a lot of love — and money. You might have one in your garage.

Car shows: Uncool cars are becoming cool…
5 minutes

Cars shows are typically hosted from April to October. They feature classic, antique, and cool cars and they’re all over the state. At the Kulture Krash Car Show in Copperton earlier this month, there was a 1956 Chevrolet.

But, car show-goers are starting to see a change. The late 80s to early 90s Chevrolet pickups are getting restored and starting to show up at car shows.

A 1976 Ford Pickup just sold at auction for $134,000, and Hagerty Classic Car Insurance projects the 1955 Studebaker President to go up 78% in value.

High prices make room for other cars

“A lot of cars are coming out now that weren’t the most popular cars when we were in high school,” JC Hackett said.

Hackett plays music and hosts more than 170 car shows a year in Utah and neighboring states. Now that the big-time icons, like a 1955 Chevrolet or 1932 Ford seen in the movie American Graffiti, are too expensive for modest car show fun, Hackett has some other favorites.

“I’m really getting a kick out of the Studebakers and some of the Oldsmobiles that that you’ve never seen anywhere but they’re coming out now.”

Tyler Walton, a car show attendee, said he’ll stay a fan of the icons, but not an owner.

“I haven’t been able to touch a ’56 Chevy all my life,” he said. “You’re talking six figures for a decent one.”

The 1956 Ford Thunderbird, also seen in American Graffiti was always cool. The ’58 to ’60s were ungainly. But they’re what’s left, and younger hot rodders are hopping them up.

“Cars have gotten so expensive, they’re finding cars and making a cool car out of them,” Gene Chamber said.

He’s an automotive artist at Brigham City’s Peach Days car show. He saw a Ford Pinto drive by.

“They were an economy car,” he said.

So were old Volkswagens. But at the September VW classic in Riverton, they weren’t economy cars anymore. The 1960s buses can now clear $300,000, and now the 70s buses are coming up.

“The rising tide has kind of lifted all ships,” Eric Shea said. He rebuilds Porsche 914s.

“NARPS they call them, ‘Not a Real Porsche,’ and that’s what it was for the longest time,” he said.

But now the old 356s and 911s are all bought up.

“We’ve seen four-cylinder cars go as high as $85-, $95-, $100,000 for really good example cars. And then sixes are $100,000 on up,” Shea said.

Appreciating newer models

Greg Bentley owns a Cadillac. He wanted the more iconic 1959, but when the prices started heading for $300,000 he came to appreciate the upper and lower tailfins on his 1961.

“The ’61 and ’62 are kind of a hidden gem because the price hasn’t skyrocketed yet,” Bentley said.

Andy Kawahara only paints custom, high-dollar jobs. Lately, he’s painting cars from the 80s that the mainstream used to consider foolish investments.

“If you like it don’t let anyone dissuade you,” Kawahara said. “If it’s cool it’s cool.”

Related: GM recalls nearly 900 vehicles with Takata air bag inflators, blames manufacturing problem

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At the car shows: Uncool cars are becoming cool