I’ve often intended to visit the Leongatha Show & Shine, but for whatever reason I have always missed it. So this year I made sure that I wouldn’t be doing anything else or forget that it was on. I had no idea what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised at the size of the event and the quality of vehicles that were on show. I remember going to a show & shine event in Townsville many years ago and the what was on display was, to put it mildly, somewhat amateurish. Not a lot of effort had been put into any of the vehicles to make them show worthy, with wiring in many looking like a rat’s nest, as well as hoses and the like looking old and manky. Even though it was a long time ago, people had been doing show cars for much longer and doing so a lot better.
The show & shine started off at 9:00 am and appeared to be fairly unimposing, but the cars started trickling in and by around 10:00 am the velodrome was filling up significantly. By the time that I left, there wasn’t much space left on the grassed area. I’ve said before that I enjoy these sorts of events because it brings together a history of cars which, in this case dated back from the 1920s to today, with some very famous cars like the Peter Brock Commodore 05. It’s how so many look after their old cars and bring new life to old that makes such an impression. While these cars aren’t always the ‘socially acceptable’ vehicles of today’s world, they all have a unique character that I keep feeling will be lost when many of today’s cars reach a similar vintage. Honestly, I can’t ever see many of today’s cars being held in the same regard in future as pretty much every car on display this day.
What makes many or these older cars so different, memorable and enduring is the fact that it’s possible to modify them in ways that are simply not allowed nowadays. Everything today is driven by ever more inflexible rules about modifications, that it becomes discouraging to all and sundry to often even attempt doing so. Those that undertake such modifications as were on show, spend thousands of dollars and expend thousands of hours on meticulous work and are highly unlikely to do shoddy work as a result. I’m always amazed when I look at videos from the US, where there is far more flexibility to modify vehicles and do things that would have your car impounded, big fines issued and probably a court appearance if you did similar in Australia. Given my own example with 4WDrives, what you can do in Australia is almost nothing compared to the US. It’s all in the name of saving lives, yet none of this has ever been proven to be any more hazardous to life than any other car; it’s always the nut behind the wheel that’s the danger.
I guess this is one reason why these types of shows attract so many and, talking to a few attendees, they all participate in more than one of these events each year. I can see why they do so, as they get to see not only familiar faces, but what new things have been done to cars they know and see new cars as well. Some take comfort that old cars are being looked after and others gain inspiration to attempt new things themselves. I guess that’s another reason why I like such shows, as they reflect my views on doing things yourself, or as I wrote some years ago, Make Something, Anything.
And as I noted, the cars ranged from those made early in the last century, to more modern ones as well. But by far the most were from the mid to later part of last century. It’s quite interesting referring to cars made before the year 2000 as ‘last century’, but that’s what it is. On display there was almost a history of Holden in various guises, including an original Peter Brock Commodore that he raced in his day. And next year the Show & Shine will be a tribute to Holden, so it will be most interesting to see what range of vehicles turn up next year. But whatever the range and numbers, it should be interesting. Given that it will be a Holden tribute, I’m guessing that attendees will be coming from much further afield than on this day.
I have to say that I’m glad that I did get to attend the Leongatha Show & Shine, as it turned out to be a much bigger and better event that I’d predicted. And, as I’ve always found at these events, the attendees are a very friendly bunch of people and more than happy to talk about their pride and joys. The swap meet was also quite massive, but as I’d dressed for Mirboo North weather, I was pretty hot after several hours and decided to pass on the swap meet.