Everyone knows what America's favorite sports car is. So it's only fitting that Corvettes are the most popular car at America's top-rated outdoor event, Hot August Nights in Reno, Nevada. Sure, there were plenty of other sights, both vehicular and scenic, but classic Corvettes seem to dominate this massive event, as the accompanying photos attest.
To Call Hot August Nights simply a "show" doesn't do it justice, since the entire city becomes one humongous collection of vehicles of all makes and models, from rods to classics to muscle cars to crazy customs. But best of all are the rows upon rows of mouthwatering Corvettes.
The numbers tell the story: a 10-day automotive extravaganza, with 6,000 cars, 800,000 visitors, and some $350 million in impact to the local economy. And that's not counting the millions of miles of smiles for all who rolled into Reno.
"It's a not a car show, but a car-culture event," noted one longtime attendee, Darryl Nance of D&P Chevy, who also introduced us to the owner of a two-tone split-window with a Z06 engine (which we plan to feature in a later issue).
There's only one basic requirement to be a participant: mechanical maturity. Just about any pre-'72 model qualifies, but what really struck us when we began to sift through all the conveyances cruising through town was the preponderance of America's favorite ride. No other single make or manufacturer was as visible as the Vette, in configurations ranging from classic C1s to customized C3s.
A number of later-model Corvettes showed up as well, driven by spectators who just wanted to join the party, bid on auction cars, and enjoy the free, world-class concerts by groups such as the Temptations and The Village People (and do the "YMCA" dance with gusto). The list of activities, from Twinkie-eating contests to hula-hoop competitions, was enough to give us indigestion, but it's all in good fun. And for those who wanted some high-revvin' action, the dragstrip at the Reno-Fernley Raceway was open to all comers.
But if you planned to cruise under the famous Reno arch, be eligible for a show award, or roll across the auction block, only early Corvettes needed apply. Which was fine with us, just so long as they keep on stealing the show at America's No. 1 outdoor event.