Arizona Instagram Meet (#azigmeet), April 25th, 2015
While organized shows are great, I find that some of the more informal meets are the greatest. That’s not to say that they weren’t planned by someone, so much as the scale and genre of cars aren’t really predetermined. You know if you go to a Goodguys show that you’ll be seeing plenty of American hot rods. But I prefer the more chaotic nature of meets.
One of my favorites have been the Arizona Instagram meets. The entire event is organized and promoted through social media, and using Instagram is the best way to connect while you’re there. Every couple of months everyone shows up at a local In-N-Out and takes over the parking lot. And then they take over the entire shopping center. Because despite a little bit of rain, some 1000+ cars still showed up to the meet.
I’m definitely a big fan of looking at show cars that have had hours of polishing done to them just before the event. But sometimes it’s great to see the daily drivers and projects too. Personally speaking, I don’t care if the car has flawless paint, or if it’s missing body panels entirely. The fact that it was taken out to a meet, and is being enjoyed by the owner is all that matters. Being able to appreciate these cars is important. We all go through different stages on our own cars, and being able to see a cars progress each meet is fascinating.
Of course, I like to hammer on the diversity of car shows quite a bit. It seems like I have been fortunate to go to plenty of shows and meets that have a broad spectrum of car subcultures. With this many cars in one place, it seemed like every possible style was represented. The PBR themed Super Beetle definitely caught my eye, and reminded me that I want to buy an air-cooled Bug someday. No matter how ratty a Bug gets, it still retains character that not many other cars can manage. This example seemed to have a very honest patina though. I hope the car stays in this guise, it just looks so good this way.
The widebody Mk2 Golf rolled in just as I got to the show. It immediately pulled a good amount of attention, and it’s not hard to see why. I didn’t get a chance to see what’s lurking underneath the hood, but I’m willing to bet this car is a bit of a monster on the track. That is, if the intercooler is any indication. Where the Golf embodied a more functional build, the Jetta wagon was the very definition of form. What impressed me the most, was the art on the car was done entirely in Sharpie. I can’t even begin to imagine the hours of work that went into finishing the car.
While wandering around I eventually came across this classic Mini. I had a chance to meet the owner, who told me that this car just finished it’s restoration and is set to make a cross country trip very soon. I’m looking forward to seeing pictures from that trip, it’s bound to be an amazing story. It’s little things like this that make meets worth going to. You never know who will show up, and what stories they’ll bring with them. Best of luck to him, and Carlton.
Shortly after that, I ran into this Cressida, which I believe is the first one I have ever seen in person. The vintage models ooze a certain JDM cool, that you just can’t get with anything else. Plus, I’m willing to admit, I have a weakness for wing mirrors. They look so right on this car. Later on I spotted a slammed LS400, and couldn’t help but think that it probably has some Cressida DNA in there somewhere. Both are Toyota made obviously. They both have origins in being comfortable family cars that the car community has made their own. But if I had to pick one, I’d probably go vintage.
If you arrive early, or stick around late, you’ll get a chance to watch the cars come and go. It’s an opportunity to not only take in the visual impact of a car, but get to hear it as well. There’s something about listening to a pack of Mustangs roll in, or hearing a Subie burble down the road that just makes a meet like this feel welcoming. You can hear it for miles around the meet, it’s something of a beacon to draw everyone in.
Arizona is lucky, our weather allows for meets year round. But this sort of event isn’t unique to Arizona, car guys all over the world organize meets like this. The trick is, you have to find them. It’s worth the effort though, no where else are you going to find such an honest group of cars. For the most part these are the cars of the people. These are the daily drivers, the projects, the road warriors of the everyday gear head. If your friends are sick of hearing about your car, just go to a meet like this. I guarantee there will be quite a few people who will be more than happy to talk about cars all night. You just have to show up.
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