A few weekends back, the Portland Art Museum hosted a little show called Cars in the Park. The event itself consisted of a few dozen cars and also marked the start of a 1,000-mile tour through the Pacific Northwest organized by Sports Car Market. While I didn’t attend the rally itself, I figured the gathering of cars would be a good time to go for a walk with my analog camera.
Actually, this was Sara’s idea, and I joined her for a stroll from our studio apartment to the casual affair hosted in the shut-down streets of Portland’s Park blocks.
I really enjoyed this little show because I feel it’s exactly what car culture needs more of right now. When you can curate a group of cars and integrate them into an artful surrounding — in this case the streets surrounding the Portland Art Museum itself — the understanding of the event extends beyond your average automotive enthusiast. Events like this are able to transcend the typical purpose of a car show and work their way into the public eye.
As small as Cars in the Park was, events like this are what can get the unassuming observer hooked on car culture. They bring out the artistic side of the automobile and highlight the classic design of these beautiful machines. Petrol-head or not, anyone can appreciate this if it’s presented in the right way.
Being held in the heart of Portland, Cars in the Park attracted a very Portland-esque crowd, many of whom were quite clearly not your average car enthusiast. This is just as well, because I feel these are the type of gatherings that reflect best on the automotive community. Whether this is your cup of tea or not, shows like this certainly aren’t hurting our collective image as car-lovers.
On the other hand, there are plenty of activities we can engage in that do drag down how car enthusiasts at large are perceived. While I’ve personally been involved in my fair share of automotive skullduggery, it’s important to remember that our actions have a trickle-down effect on the world around us. There is a time and a place for everything – just think of the collective groan when someone leaves a public car show by laying down two feeble stripes of rubber and nearly careens into the median.
Difficulties securing space for shows, speed bumps on our favorite back roads, increasing resistance against modifying our vehicles, and so on. These ideas are born from somewhere…
Yes, there was a heavy showing of Porsches at Cars in the Park, but again this is something that anyone can appreciate. Even the attendees who aren’t interested in cars understand to some extent the impact that Porsche has made on the world. Porsches throughout the decades have been a symbol of status, and as much as you may dislike this fact (or not), it helps to strengthen the public’s positive association with car culture when a group of them are gathered together.
Other awesome vintage machinery was on display too, and I had a hard time choosing between this Lamborghini 400 GT and that New Class BMW coupe. It’s a good thing I can’t afford either, I guess.
At any rate, I rather enjoyed this break in the monotony of what would otherwise be a routine Sunday afternoon. I’m sure the passersby enjoyed it as well, and here’s to hoping a few folks who didn’t care much for car culture might have had some second thoughts.
We aren’t all uncultured, but then again, a few donuts never hurt anyone… Or did they?
Trevor Yale Ryan