May 22, 2010|By Steven Cole Smith, AUTOMOTIVE
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TAMPA — Jim Rowlett, business administrator of the National Street Rod Association, is abutting retirement age, appropriately acclaimed by his accountant, who brash him to activate putting abroad a little article for later.
The afterward year, Rowlett met with the accountant, who seemed disappointed. “Did you not apprehend what I told you about putting article abroad for retirement?” “But I did,” Rowlett told him. “I bought a 1937 Ford flat-back sedan, and I’m about to buy a 1982 Corvette …”
Such is the angel of dedicated, accomplished car admirers who would rather drive their investments than see them listed on account statements. Rowlett was one of the featured speakers at the Meguiar’s 2010 Media Summit, captivated aftermost anniversary in Tampa. The purpose: To get acknowledgment from account media associates who awning the automotive world, which should advice barometer the accompaniment of the hobby. Or the business. Or in best cases, both.
Barry Meguiar was the host for the summit, which additionally included seminars captivated by Tom duPont, administrator of the St. Petersburg-based duPont Registry, a big, glossy annual that appearance cartage with amount tags of six abstracts and up; Gary Meadors, architect of the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association; and Lance Miller, whose ancestors owns Carlisle Contest in Carlisle, Pa., home of several of the top auto shows in the country.
And again there’s Meguiar: His ancestors endemic the astronomic Meguiar’s band of affliction car products, mostly waxes and such, which was marketed alone to professionals until Barry stepped in and assertive his ancestors there were abundant hobbyists who would pay exceptional prices for exceptional products. The cast expanded, alike extensive the coveted shelf amplitude of Walmart. Meguiar is an actionable automotive ambassador, through his Speed TV appearance Car Crazy, and aggregation advocacy of added than 9,000 car shows anniversary year.
According to Meguiar and his panelists, the cars-as-a-hobby angel has never been stronger. Meguiar says his sales are up, duPont says his annual has hardly featured added high-end models, and Meadors, Miller and Rowlett say the car shows they authority are cartoon added cars and added admirers than ever.
All this, in a recession? The accord was that a recession is a absolute time for the amusement to grow. “We’re a bargain date,” Meadors said. A ancestors ability not be able to absorb a anniversary on vacation, but they can absolutely allow a day at the bounded hot rod show.
And as for participants, “Collectible cars are one of the aftermost accurate freedoms,” Meador said. “You can do what you appetite to your car, drive it wherever you appetite to go.” The numbers buck this out — the 41st Annual Street Rod Nationals in Louisville, Ky., this August should draw 11,000 hot rods.
The panelists did accept one axial concern: Cartoon adolescent bodies into the auto hobby. Organizations and acceptance bodies are adamantine at assignment to get adolescent people, who may accept had an absorption in cars-as-a-hobby as teenagers but don’t as adolescent adults, aback into it. The NSRA, for instance, has a “29 Below” program, accurately advised to advice hot rodders 29 and younger.
Bottom line, though: Nationally, in general, and in Florida in accurate — area we arguably accept added auto-related contest than any accompaniment — affluence of bodies abide to see their cartage as added than transportation. Abundant more.
Steve Mitchell, RIP
When you move to a new city, it’s binding to acquisition a acceptable barber, a acceptable doctor, dentist, veterinarian, plumber — and if you’re like me, the best important of all, a acceptable mechanic. I met Steve Mitchell, buyer of Mitchell’s Automotive, because he congenital a chase car I owned, so I started arrogant his little boutique off Orange Blossom Trail.
(Bad neighborhood: I’d accord admonition by saying, “Drive bottomward OBT, and about-face larboard at the third prostitute.”) But Steve was good, and excruciatingly principled. His admired line: “With so abundant honest assignment out there, I don’t apperceive why you charge to bluff folks.”
He died aftermost anniversary at 66. Fortunately, his son, Robert Kasper, carries on. Robert’s admired line: “Sure, I can alter that, but you don’t absolutely charge it, unless you aloof appetite to absorb the money.” That angel did not abatement far from the tree.
Sentinel Automotive Editor Steven Cole Smith can be accomplished at [email protected], or 407-420-5699.
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