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Nostalgia Day Car Show
Sep. 28, 2008

Lynn with Bugsby
Lynn stands next to Bugsby at the show. (Photo by Andrew Kissel)

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Chopped Liver

2006 2007
Lynn's entries in the 2005, 2006 and 2007 Nostalgia Day Car Shows.

For the last three years, Lynn participates in the annual Nostalgia Day Car Show, held in late September in Livermore. In 2005 he brings Bugsby before he starts the serious freshening. In 2006 he brings only Bugsby's running chassis to the show as the body is still off the frame and in the body shop. In 2007, Lynn brings Penny. Each year Lynn feels that he is largely invisible to the judges, getting no recognition from the organizers as far as he can tell.

To be fair, Nostalgia Day is a big show. Last year 699 cars participated and Lynn hears that about 550 are pre-registered for today's show. Later in the day, Lynn hears that about 640 cars are on display for 2008.

Although not explicitly stated, Lynn feels that the interests of Altamont Cruisers, sponsors of the show, are weighted toward custom and rodded cars. Also they appear to be focused on Chevy and Ford cars. These two marquees represent over 85% of the cars owned by club members according to their website.

Lynn hopes that 2008 will bring Bugsby more recognition from the judges than his previous efforts. Bugsby is back on the road and the serious freshening is nearly complete. The car is running well and looking good. If Lynn is ever going to make an impression at the show he feels that 2008 will be his best opportunity to date.

A New Way of Telling the Story

information sign information sign
Lynn creates a new information sign for Bugsby.

Considering his past car shows with Bugsby, Lynn thinks that he needs a brief, summary information sign for display next to the car. He thinks that a sign may connect with people who don't want to get too involved; something short that they can read quickly then move on to look at the next display.

The sign holder needs to be compact for easy storage in Bugsby en route to the show. Lynn wants a sign holder that is clean and elegant. He makes multiple trips to the local hardware store in the week before the show, wandering the aisles looking at wood, metal and PVC material and considering many different designs.

After rejecting many more elaborate designs, Lynn finally settles on a simple metal and glass picture frame mounted to two aluminum rails. Hooks (made from pegboard hangers covered with shrink tubing) attached to the tops of the rails simply drape over the headlight tube of the car. The lower ends of the rails (also covered in shrink tubing) rest on the support for the front bumper.

The content and design of the sign goes through six revisions before Lynn is happy with the result. He selects a black and white factory photograph of the car and a type face (Adobe Jenson Pro) to convey a sense of age to the sign.

Lynn is very pleased to see how well people respond to his new sign. Almost everyone that looks at the car stops a moment to read the sign. He overhears small groups discussing information from the sign amongst themselves.

Catching a Worm

4 am
4 am
Lynn arrives at about 4 am to assure getting the parking spot of his choice.

In 2005, Lynn arrives at about 7 am for the show and is surprised to find that all the good display spots are taken. In 2006, he arrives about 6 am and still finds that he has to park at the outer edge of the show. In 2007, Lynn arrives at 3:30 am and finds he has access to all the best spots. Lynn notes that the good spots are all occupied by 5 am.

One week before the show, Lynn walks downtown Livermore and picks a primary and two backup spots to park for the show.

On show day, Lynn arrives at 4 am. To his delight he is able to park in his first choice spot, and his backup spots are available, too. But Lynn is not alone. A small army of people is busy setting up for the show. He also notes some people who have "staked out" territories, vanguards for car clubs that will occupy the space later in the day.

It appears to be true, as John Ray noted in 1670, that "the early bird catcheth the worm."

A Typical Day?

cars cars cars cars
Some of the 640 cars at the show. (Photos by Andrew Kissel)

As the day progresses, a large number of people stop to look at Bugsby and talk with Lynn. Lynn suspects that Bugsby is the oldest car at the show.

A large number of Bugsby brochures are given to spectators during the day. Lynn shares stories of Kissel cars, the history of Bugsby, the names of famous Kissel Speedster owners and tales of his own adventures with the car.

Shortly after noon, Lynn's wife Jeanne and son Andrew join him for lunch. They have a pleasant meal at Bruno's Italian restaurant which is directly next to Bugsby's display spot. They have fun enjoying their meal at an outdoor table on the sidewalk while watching people stop to view Bugsby.

street scene crowd The Maasai Maasai flyer
A typical downtown Livermore day: 600+ show cars; huge crowds; Maasai Warriors!

Later, a couple clad in bright red tribal attire stroll up First Street and stop to inspect Bugsby. Lynn asks and they consent to a photo in front of the car. Lynn and the obviously foreign visitors exchange pamphlets from which Lynn learns that they are Maasai from Kenya. They are visiting to raise funds for schools in Kenya and Tanzania. What a remarkable meeting!

Where's the Ribbon?

Willy and Jeanne
Lynn's wife Jeanne and friend Willy want to know where's the award ribbon.

In the early afternoon, the show announcer broadcasts that the first place winners of the show have been selected. Blue ribbons have been placed in the cars that have won along with instructions for joining a parade of champions. Lynn feels an unexpected twinge of disappointment when he realizes that Bugsby has not been selected.

A bit of salt is sprinkled on his bruised ego when Jeanne and Willy join Lynn and want to know where is his ribbon. It is a back-handed complement. On one hand they are tickling Lynn about another year without a Nostalgia Day award. On the other hand they are expressing some vote of confidence that it is at least plausible that Bugsby might receive an award. In any case, Lynn has to admit that he has not been selected for official recognition, again.

It has been a long day and Lynn is tired, but he has very little room for complaint. He got the parking spot he sought, had numerous people stop and talk with him about the car and may kind things were said to him. Lynn overhears one conversation in which it is asserted that Bugsby is the "classiest car at the show." Several people remember him from previous shows, another boost to his ego.

It was a glorious day. Lynn basked in the warm glow of family and friends. In the end, Lynn has to admit that it was in fact a winning day for him and Bugsby.

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Last updated: May 24, 2009