It’s hard to believe that six months ago we were still ringing in the New Year. Early winter showcased, as usual, the two largest and most public car shows in the world: Detroit’s North American International Auto Show and the Chicago Auto Show. Cars and car tech are getting faster, sleeker, safer and debatably more gorgeous every year.
In case you missed the Midwest’s winter tale of two car shows, or you just love to get out and explore the world while you talk shop, we’ve compiled a guide to eight more car shows happening through December 2016, six of which are completely open to the public. Only the Las Vegas SEMA Show and Indianapolis Performance Racing Industry show are held specifically for aftermarket trade specialists, so if your business qualifies, both shows offer excellent opportunities to network around the auto business.
Gatebil—Norway, July 7th – July 10th
If you live in Europe or feel like rounding out your post-Fourth of July celebrations with a little international visit to our friends up in Northern Europe, Gatebil is perhaps the liveliest event on this roster. By day you will enjoy races, booth exhibitions, aftermarket / auto-related innovations and more. After sundown, Gatebil sort of turns into the world’s sexiest auto event. Enjoy concerts, dancing and all the fanfare of an intoxicated party atmosphere.
Kids under 12 are free to attend, so you can believe that this is as much a family racing and auto event by day as it is a youthful celebration of… well, partying… by night. If this event sounds like your scene, Gatebil also features a community of campers who stay at one of five sanctioned campsites or a number of local hotel options. There are enough lots and spaces such that you don’t have to engage, hear, or mix in with the party-goers, even if you camp out, so the choice is yours to make whatever you want out of this trip.
Lemans Classic—France, July 8th – July 10th
The Lemans Classic take “classic” very seriously: races and exhibitions feature classic racing cars that are brought back into the fold for three days of fast-paced competition. Only vehicles that raced before 1979 are allowed to participate; cars are divided into six racing categories, and drivers must be FIA-licensed professional racers. It’s fun, competitive action, the likes of which is not seen anywhere else in the world. If you’re a race fan and want the sights and experience of a early/mid-20th century event, the Lemans Classic is exactly what you need. There will be plenty of booths and exhibitions to enjoy between races, so you’re sure to get your fill during your visit.
And since it’s France, where fashion and dress is emphasized a bit more than back here in the states, there is a dress code. They call appropriate attire for this event “smart casual.” For men, this means slacks and shirts with a collar.
Hot August Nights—Reno, NV, August 2nd – August 7th
Hot August Nights is a little like Gatebil in the sense that it combines a day of auto exhibitions with nightly entertainment and live concerts. This is much more family-oriented in the entertainment department; classic rock acts like the surviving members of the Monkees, America, a Beatles tribute band and many more headline the experience. The heart and soul of this show is the drag racing, which draws thousands spectators and features some ridiculously fast racers speeding down blocked-off neighborhood roads. If you love fast cars, professional street racing, aftermarket exhibitions and live music, Hot August Nights is the perfect summer family getaway or professional networking opportunity.
Corvettes at Carlisle Show—Carlisle, PA, August 25th – August 28th
Corvette lovers need no introduction to this event. This coveted annual show is the largest Corvette-centric show in the world. Special guests include Richard Petty, “Daisy Duke” Catherine Bach, “Cletus Hoggs” Rick Hurst and Rachel Debarros of All Girls Garage. This show is more about showcasing awesome cars than it is racing, but automotive booths will be featured alongside thousands upon thousands of Corvettes, representing virtually every model and production year. If you can make it to the East Coast this summer, there’s no other Corvette program quite like this one.
Automechanika—Frankfurt, Germany, Sept 13th – 17th
This event is the delight of auto enthusiasts worldwide. Unlike SEMA Show and PRI, which also showcase the latest in auto tech and innovation, this event is open to the public. It’s a great opportunity to see new technology, service upgrades and internal driving systems that could soon be implemented in vehicles worldwide. If you run a service shop or conduct home repairs, it’s a chance to see what the future will bring before everyone else. Those of us who make a living in the auto industry should look at this as a priceless opportunity to explore new auto technology. And if you’re an amateur enthusiast or home garage hobbyist, you have a full week (five days) to indulge is all the new car tech and gadgetry you can handle.
KOAA Show—Seoul, Korea, October 19th – 21st
As the first Korean car show, KOAA is looking to make a major splash in the industry. With exhibitions featuring every aspect of automotive construction, from new parts/materials to innovative telematics/infotainment, this car show promises to offer a cutting-edge look into the future of auto production and aftermarket innovation. Their exhibition list looks like a complete rundown of every single auto component. We expect companies to unveil sophisticated technologies in unlikely places: carpets/mats, screws, tiny motor parts, etc. So far, it seems like Korea is going to be a new player in the car show realm. If you want to be a part of history, the new KOAA is sure to offer a unique experience you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
SEMA Show—Las Vegas, Nov 1st – Nov 4th (Closed to Public)
The SEMA Show is the world’s auto convention of largest industry insiders. Only qualified business professionals who can verify their work/business status are granted entry. When it comes to car tech knowledge sharing and networking, SEMA is the ultimate means to getting ultimate exposure. Attendees aren’t here to party or lounge around with the family—the thousands of serious, like-minded car enthusiasts found at SEMA are here to keep up with the times, improve their businesses and stay hands-on in an active and exciting community of professional gearheads. Booths will be offering products, discounts and services in just about every capacity imaginable. Be prepared to see the auto aftermarket industry in a whole new light and close out 2016 with clear insight into the future.
Performance Racing Industry—Indianapolis, IN, Dec 8th – Dec 10th (Closed to Public)
With several thousand booths’ worth of auto tech, racing equipment and friendly business insiders to occupy your time, the PRI is an exclusive opportunity held only for those credentialed in racing and aftermarket retail/manufacturing. Like SEMA, PRI is all about the new, but with more focus on the racing end of the industry. Three days is hardly enough to see everything, but you’ll know exactly what’s out there to keep your car and driver safer, faster and more competitive in 2017 and beyond. You’ll see live pit crew demonstrations, tour the inner workings of exciting automotive repair technology and crack beers with just about everyone you meet. PRI is a lively atmosphere filled with thousands of dedicated automotive race professionals. If it ain’t racing, you won’t find it at PRI.