It’s been 12 years since the first Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show. In that time, the show has become the premiere place for members of the hot rod, street rod, classic truck and muscle car industries to get together, do business and get a sneak peak at the year to come.
With less than a month to go until show time, exhibitors and attendees alike are making plans to spend three days in Indianapolis focusing on their businesses and the industry in general. And there will be plenty to keep them busy! The show includes a full day of education and manufacturer’s training workshops, a New Products Showcase and the presentation of the prestigious Robert E. Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award. Above all, exhibitors and attendees come to the show to meet up with friends and business contacts and talk shop.
“We look forward to seeing new and old faces at the show,” said Zac Compton of Classic Instruments in Boyne City, Michigan. “It’s a great chance to kick off a new show season and we get to have a lot of one-on-one time with dealers that attend the show. There is a great opportunity to show attendees what’s new and what to promote through the upcoming year.”
Knowledge is Power
Every year, the Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show adds new and exciting features to the already-packed lineup of events. This year’s show will offer the first-ever Interior Fabrication Workshop, a specialized seminar for auto trimmers and interior fabricators that will teach skills such as vinyl embossing, detailed router work, hands-on logo branding and more.
“Technical know-how from the experts [doesn’t] come along very often, especially at no charge,” said S. Kellie Colf of Eaton Detroit Spring in Detroit. “There isn’t anyone who can’t benefit from some increased knowledge.”
In addition, 2010’s show will bring over 40 Manufacturers Seminars on Thursday, March 11, with topics ranging from fuel injection to insurance, and everything in between. Presented by HRIA, the Education & Training Day always proves to have great take-away value for the businesses of both exhibitors and attendees.
“The Education Day is such a value to the dealers,” said Michael Moore, co-owner of American Autowire of Bellmawr, New Jersey. “They get a chance for up-to-date information on new products, sales techniques and methodology as it relates to a specific product. Where else can you get all that knowledge concentrated in one place?
“First-time attendees should schedule the seminars that will represent major product lines that they carry,” advised Moore. “They should also attend those seminars for products that require the most technical selling background. They can then build their own question list that can be discussed with those vendors in that vendor’s booth.
“The nature of the show allows that time can be spent by the vendors in their booths. This can be a real win-win for all parties,” said Moore.
Compton of Classic Instruments, which is also putting on a seminar this year, offered some advice of his own for first-time Education Day attendees.
“Take a good look at the seminars prior to the show and decide which ones you want to attend,” he recommended. “It’s great to create a personalized schedule for yourself so that you know where to go to make the most out of the show.”
“Don’t skip the seminars,” said Colf. “In these niches, everyone knows it’s the old-timers who have all of the knowledge. This is how you can start gaining some of your own. And take a look at the seminar attendees: the old-timers are all there. They know this stuff is important.”
Compton added that the seminars also benefit the exhibitors putting them on.
“We like having the opportunity to talk directly to the customers that are installing our product,” he said. “The seminars also give us an opportunity to give technical advice.”
Saturday will bring more education for attendees. In addition to the Interior Fabrication Workshop, two panel discussions will be presented by ARMO, “Social Marketing” and “How to Read the Customer.”
The Breakfast will include the presentation of the Robert E. Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as the Innovation Awards.
Gearing Up for a Good Breakfast
Officially kicking off the start of the Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show days, the Grand Opening Breakfast has long been a favorite event of exhibitors and attendees alike, due to the presentation of the prestigious Robert E. Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award to a deserving industry icon. Past recipients of the award include such esteemed names such as Carroll Shelby, George Barris, the Ford Family, Alex Xydias and last year’s honoree, “Speedy” Bill Smith.
This year, the award will be presented to Jack Roush, chairman of Roush Enterprises, Inc. and CEO/co-owner of Roush Fenway Racing.
“The Petersen Automotive Museum has chosen Jack Roush as the 2010 recipient of the Robert E. Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award for his ongoing role as an automotive pioneer,” said Dick Messer, director of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. “From his early days as an engineer at Ford and then Chrysler, to his on-track successes, to his foray into the automotive aftermarket, both in products and complete vehicles, and his prototyping and product development services, he has been an industry innovator.
“While Jack is known best for his exploits in racing and automotive performance, he also develops alternative fuel technology, electronics, sports equipment, aviation technology and many other things that touch our lives every day.
“Robert E. Petersen was also a pioneer in the automotive world,” added Messer. “He gave the automobile hobby and industry national and international exposure. This award is for those pioneers like Petersen who not only are successful in their own creative endeavors, but who also bring success to others around them.”
Breakfast attendees will not only be treated to a filling meal, but will be invited to sit in and listen to stories from the Roush about his long-standing career and accomplishments.
“The breakfast is always a favorite,” said Compton of Classic Instruments. “You get to hear some amazing stories from individuals who pioneered the industry.”
“The breakfast is my favorite part of the show,” added Moore of American Autowire. “I get to see and interact with industry icons. I might not have that opportunity, as these people may never step into my booth. It is the history that makes this show unique.”
“The contact with others from our industry is great, but if you miss the breakfast you’ve missed the most priceless part of the show,” added Rod Tichenor of Rods and Restorations, who attended the breakfast in 2009. “These people are not only the pioneers of our industry, [but are also] our heroes. We have read about them all of our lives, and to have breakfast with them for a short two hours is a gift.”
The Next Great Idea
Also presented during the breakfast will be the all-new Innovation Awards. Hotrod & Restoration has revamped the New Product Showcase for 2010 and will now offer awards in seven specific categories: Engine Components; Transmission & Drivetrain; Chassis, Suspension & Brakes; Paint & Body; Interior; Electrical & Electronic Components; and Shop Tools & Equipment.
The judging of the New Product Showcase will take place on Thursday and will be done by a panel of industry experts, restorers and retailers.
“One of the reasons I go to the show is to meet up with some of the [retailers and restorers] because you can always find the time to chat as we’re walking up and down the aisles looking at all the new [products],” said Larry Brogdin of Dynacorn International in Oxnard, California.
“[It helps us to know] what we need to do on our end to make some of these new products jump off the shelves and jump onto the cars,” he added.
“For me, the best part of the show is the New Products display,” said Messer of the Petersen Automotive Museum. “It is where you can see the ‘next great idea,’ find inspiration for your next project vehicle or even find a solution for an automotive problem that you never knew you had.”
Time to Party
Every year when the exhibit hall closes Friday after the first trade show day, attendees and exhibitors look forward to heading upstairs to the Sagamore Ballroom for the Industry Reception. Party-goers can enjoy some food, drinks and music-” not to mention a great opportunity to mingle with colleagues, friends and the Bud Girls!
Last year’s Industry Reception brought an exceptionally large turnout, and 2010’s is gearing up to be even better with new music, dÃ©cor and menu options. It’s the perfect place to unwind after a long day on the trade show floor, and a good time to finalize plans for later that night or the next morning.
Maximize Your Trade Show Time
With over 100 companies exhibiting at this year’s show, it’s a good idea to map out a game plan before the show to ensure you see and meet with as many companies as possible. And because the exhibitors cater specifically to the hot rod, street rod, muscle car, classic truck and restoration industry, the show remains focused on those customers without other distractions.
“[This show] enables us to spend more time with existing and potential new dealers,” said Moore of American Autowire. “This is not always the case at other shows.”
“The HRR Show is unique in that it maintains a specific niche group of customers that are specifically interested in all the companies that are set up at the show,” added Compton of Classic Instruments.
The trade show officially begins at 10:30 a.m. on Friday morning, immediately following the Grand Opening Breakfast, and will run until 5 p.m. During this time, exhibitors and attendees will have a chance to meet up, discuss business plans and talk about new products with other members of the industry.
Colf, of long-time exhibitor Eaton Detroit Spring, offered attendees some advice to making the most out of this unique event.
“Don’t just buzz by a booth if you don’t recognize the name or if it doesn’t catch your eye at first,” she said. “This show is small enough that you can see all of it, and you should.
“Most exhibitors make more products than they have room to show in a booth. You may miss a new line that you need if you ignore them,” she said.
Another must-see feature of the show will be the numerous show cars on display around the show floor. From sleek muscle cars to dazzling lead sleds, this year’s lineup on display vehicles promises to “wow.”
Networking is also a vital part of having a successful experience.
The Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show offers a plethora of opportunities to network, whether it be on the show floor, at the Industry Reception on Friday night or after hours, the contacts you take away may be the most important reason to attend the show.
“I personally have established long-term relationships and friendships with many people in the industry [at this show],” said Moore. “There has always been a strong outcome of new contacts and I view this show as one in which the outcome yields more qualified dealers.”
“We as a company always come home having made good contacts and strengthened existing contacts,” added Colf.
From new product introductions, informative seminars and education opportunities and plenty of fun activities, the 2010 Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show has something for everyone.
For more information visit the show’s official website at www.hotrodshow.com.
To view a photo gallery of last year’s show, click here.