Hot August Nights
It’s funny how sometimes we can have a quality experience through ample planning and then sometimes life just surprises us with something amazing that was never on our radar. We try to do our homework, check Google for attractions and events in given areas and plan our travels with these in mind. We look for festivals, concerts, cook-offs, and local attractions.
Our next stop is a destination event that we found on Google in Reno, Nevada and didn’t know about it. Reno is directly on our way west and we’re right on time for Reno’s “Hot August Nights”. Touted as the largest Classic Car Show in America with over 3000 participant vehicles, Hot August Nights goes for a week with all kinds of events. The week builds in energy to a crescendo at the end of the week being the televised Barrett Jackson Auction. If you’re a car guy/gal, you already know that Barrett Jackson Auctions draw the finest and most expensive cars for sale. Because of the quality of the cars, the auction draws the quality buyers as well. It’s not uncommon to see cars sell for well north of a million dollars.
We found an RV Park as part of a Casino on the outskirts of town that provided security and nice accommodations. Considering the size of this event, we were lucky to find anyplace within a reasonable distance at a reasonable price. The park was full of transients seemingly in for the Hot August Nights event and some brought trailers with their special classic car and some were in, like us, as strictly spectators (however I did manage credentials for the auction). Next door was a couple in their beautiful Prevost Motorcoach, in for the auction. On the opening night was a cruise through the downtown of Reno and it was estimated that over 500 cars and trucks participated in the parade.
With the exception of Friday, which was when we were going to Barrett Jackson, we worked during the days and headed into Reno at night. Throughout the week we saw car shows every night, concerts of mostly 50’s and 60’s music, a bar-b-que cook-off and cruise nights. One night we went to the Nugget Casino where every year for this event they convert their parking lot into a small 1/16th mile Drag Strip and had races, complete with a burnout box and a Christmas Tree to start the races. It was a blast!
Rat Rods, Concours Cars, Resto Mods and Exotics filled the streets of Reno
On Friday we headed into the Civic Center for the Barrett Jackson Auction and the place was electric. We walked through 3 different auditoriums before we ever reached the stage with the auction. These rooms were filled with Auto Memorabilia, Cars On Display, High Performance Vendors, Driving Schools and on and on. We bought a couple shirts to commemorate the event and went in to the auction room. We managed to get VIP seating, just lucky I guess, and as I looked around I noticed quite a few celebrities. None of them asked me for my autograph, though. Friday is not the big day, typically the last day of the auction is the big day that the really expensive cars “cross the block”. We did see a couple of cars cross the stage for charity and they usually garner higher prices, for a good cause and all. We also saw several 6 digit cars get auctioned off. It’s a spectacle of excess, excessively beautiful cars selling for excessively high prices. One thing that surprised me was that the cars that sold were moved into another room that was open to the public for viewing. Now I would think that if I just purchased a car for several hundred thousand dollars, I wouldn’t want the general public walking around my new purchase…unsupervised!
Here are some of the cars I saw at the auction:
I personally love the classic cars. They can be a time capsule, personal expression, investment, or something that’s just plain fun. The rooms with the Americana and memorabilia, like restored old gas pumps and old neon signs, were just the thing to stay in keeping with our theme of finding America.