Eye Candy: Nicole’s all-day automotive adventure

Photos by Nicole James and Matthew Fink

One of the things I love about living in Scottsdale, Arizona — especially at this time of year — is that there’s so much going on with classic, collector and exotic cars.

Take last Saturday as an example. Car enthusiasts in the Phoenix area had probably a dozen events they could attend, and in wonderful sunny weather. Somehow, I found a way to get to four of those shows.

I started with the Scottsdale Motorsports Gathering at 6 a.m., then cruised over to the Concours in the Hills in Fountain Hills, found my way to the Lowlife Line-Up at the Four-peaks Tasting Room in Tempe, and finished the day at the Pavillions, the huge weekly cruise-in at the parking lot of a Scottsdale shopping center.

The Scottsdale Motorsports Gathering (formerly known as Cars and Coffee) takes place the first Saturday of each month. This show is known for having all sorts of rare cars and high-end exotic. It’s not every day the average automotive enthusiast will be able to see 10-15 McLarens in one spot along with 10 Vipers dominating an entire row of a parking lot, as well as what seems like an endless amount of Ferraris and Lamborghinis. While the show is primarily focused around exotics, high-end classics are mixed in.

What appeals to my generation about such an event is that it gives us something to dream about. At one point or another we have all dreamed of owning an exotic. Here we can see the cars up close and personal in a non-sales environment, as well as interact with the owners to learn more about their cars.

What caught my eye this time was an early ‘90s Dodge Viper. Some pre-teens were taking each other’s photos in front of the car and the owner went over and asked if they wanted to take pictures sitting inside the car. Of course the kids jumped at the opportunity. The driver even used the kids’ cell phones to take their photos.

Some may not appreciate getting up so early for a car show, but one good thing about the timing is that everyone was invited to cruise from there to the Concours in the Hills, a few miles to the east of Scottsdale on the lawn around the huge water fountain that gives Fountain Hills its name.

This was the second year for the event. What made it most interesting to me was the wide variety of cars. I saw an old  ’60s Ford Mustang next to a new Nissan GTR. Old Porsches were next to new modern ones. It was an amazing mix of old school and new school, domestics and imports, as well as exotics and everything else. With well over 400 cars and 10,000 spectators, drivers were encouraged to rev their cars all at once during the show. The sound was glorious and defining.

The Lowlife Line-Up also had diversity, but on a different scale. Immaculately restored Packard’s were next to Rat Rods which were next to Hot Rods mixed in with a few VW Beetles and buses. This local event boasted a very eclectic mix with an undertone of low-riders. The pin striping was on point and the cars were predominantly classic. I was taken back and in awe of the low-riders on bags and hydraulics doing all sorts of unnatural movements.

Around 4 p.m., I headed over to the Pavilions, the longest running local car show around. After a day of seeing seamless blending of the automotive generations and genres, at Pavilions I saw a lot of tension between the generations. The parking lot is notoriously segregated, the classics in the front half of the parking lot and new or imported stuff in the back.

Maybe it was the beautiful weather, maybe it was the abundance of car shows during the day, whatever, Pavs was jam packed. As the night got later and the classics began leaving, instead of letting the new cars fill in empty spots the event staff tells them to move or leave altogether. The result is that the younger generation then spills over to other surrounding areas of the parking lot.

Over the past few years, security had begun kicking the younger crowd out around 10 p.m., but slowly it has gotten earlier and earlier.

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