The 29th Annual Hot August Nights is in now in the history books. It’s hard to believe that it has been going on for 29 years. I didn’t make it to the first one or all of them every year but I’ve made many through the years. Things have changed in that time. This year had over 5500 registered participants.
A few years ago Barrett/Jackson came on board holding their auction at the Reno/Sparks Convention Center. I’ve made it to everyone of those. My Wife, Marsha and I love to go to this function. It’s usually quite a show. I liken it to a terrific car show even if you’re not there to buy a car. The Auction atmosphere is always exciting and fun.
One of my favorite parts of Hot August Nights is the swap meet. I don’t have the official tally but, it seemed bigger to me this year than last year. The Car Corral inside the arena was full of cars for sale. These are runner/drivers, not parts cars and non-running projects. Those are outside and there were a lot more of those apparent in 2015 than last year. It’s cool that there are still so many “barn finds,” if you will, out there. I bought some 327 heads for my friend Jeff in Idaho to go on his numbers matching 1962 327 we’ve been scrounging for. Jerry, my cousin, bought a factory service manual for his Plymouth Barracuda that he is working on. Coincidentally, he just picked up his freshly machined, balanced and cleaned 360 that he’ll put together this weekend to put back in his car. From the sounds of it that’s going to be a pretty cool ride when it’s done.
Hot August Nights is really a totally unique event. The entire area, Reno/Sparks and even surrounding area smaller towns, get into the nearly week long celebration of old cars, hot rods, race cars, with individual car shows, cruises, displays and so on.
In downtown Reno, Virginia Street is closed/blocked off and each day hundreds of cars were displayed in the quest for the Barrett/Jackson Cup. Barrett Jackson sponsored this show with prizes and big cash awards as well as what has become a very prestigious “CUP” that was award to the overall winner. The cars were judged by a panel of knowledgeable celebrity judges, who evaluated the many entries and paired them down to the top 25 semi-finalist. In looking at the cars this year, I don’t know if I could pick 25 not to mention just one. Some of these cars were built by the best of the best shops in America. Picking one seems like a monumental undertaking to me. Needless to say most all the cars in this competition were simply spectacular. At this writing, the “CUP” will likely be retired since Barrett/Jackson has decided to not renew their contract for 2016.
Each day in addition to downtown Reno’s display there are shows at the Grand Sierra, the Atlantis, the Peppermill, and the Nugget in Sparks. Each night there is a “Cruise” down Virginia Street from 7-10 and one in Sparks at the same time. It’s pretty cool to set up your folding chair and just watch the parade of great cars cruise by. I grew up in the 60’s and cruising was “Thee” thing to do on Friday and Saturday night. The cruise scene depicted in the movie “American Graffiti” was true to what I remember and it’s kinda duplicated each night for that ‘Hot August’ week.
I’ve probably already told you in another previous story about the “Big Boys Toys” mini trade show that was presented by the Silver Legacy Resort and the Eldorado Hotel Casino at the Reno Events Center in Downtown Reno. This is a must see for the car nuts I know. The manufacturers send their representatives with product displays, who can answer questions and help you figure out what you might need for your car or build. Summit Racing is set up right at the show with a huge order desk and special discounts to help you buy your needs and have them shipped to your home. I bought a Flaming River tilt steering column, a Wilwood adjustable proportioning valve and a Custom AutoSound, radio and speaker system for my 55 Barn Find. Yes, I’m still working on that project and more articles are in the works, I promise.
In addition to the many onsite shows just about all of the businesses in the area join together to sponsor tons of fun car related things to do. But wait, that’s not all! If you have been to Reno or Tahoe or Las Vegas, you might have seen a show or two and of course there are shows at most all of the Resorts/Casinos/Hotels. There are also bands performing on outdoor stages at most of the larger daily events.
Hot August Nights is a weeklong “Cruise” down ‘Nostalgia Lane’ for any car guy, car girl, or Rock ‘n Roll lover and its good clean fun for the whole family. If you love old cars like I do, I’m sure you’ll find plenty to enjoy next summer. Put Hot August Nights on your calendar for next year. The dates for 2016 are August 2nd – 7th. The web address is www.hotaugustnights.net. Participant registration for 2016 is available online right now. Hope to see you there.