- Car meet of the past. Will it survive?

Is the Future of Car Shows Virtual?

Will Traditional Car Shows Withstand the Pandemic?

3w ago


While car shows may not be on the top of everyone’s mind right now, it is still interesting for us car enthusiasts to think about, especially as lockdowns continue to get pushed out. For those of us who typically enjoy spending a good Saturday or Sunday out and about around a bunch of strangers and their cars, the future may look very different. Given all the uncertainty around when we will be able to go back out en-masse, is the future of car shows virtual?

The pandemic has sent a ripple across the car enthusiast community by halting essentially all car shows and local meets across the country and world. Given the uncertainty in how these events will unfold, it is still a very likely possibility that large venues won’t be allowed to return to normal until a vaccine is found - which could take more than a year.

This leaves car shows, where thousands of attendees, exhibitors, and staff mingle in halls with no hope of social distancing, in a no man’s land – especially when planning for next year is already underway. GIMS, which is supposed to begin on 4 March, could be cancelled again, while the first IAA in Munich during September may also be in doubt. Across the world many other medium to large gatherings for the rest of the year have been pre-emptively cancelled, leaving little hope of things returning to normal quickly.

The positive I see is that many organizations are turning to the internet to solve their problem. With everyone stuck at home, it’s natural to look to virtual car shows as an alternative.


Radwood already held a virtual car show on Instagram where contestants could use certain hashtags to post their vehicles. The judges were then able to review the hashtag lists and decide on winners. The turnout indicates that there may be a strong demand for this type of event in the future.

While that seems to have worked ok, using Instagram as the platform for a virtual car show leaves a lot to be desired. The drive for most car enthusiasts to enjoy shows is the interaction and social-club nature of the events, which is difficult when all the people and submissions are on disparate profiles. That’s why Topmarq is working to build a platform that’s specifically designed to handle the virtual car shows in a way that preserves the social camaraderie that you might find at your local meet.


I think there’s a good chance solution that virtual shows may be a permanent fixture of the future if there’s a solution that focuses on the experience for both the contestants and the viewers. The great thing about cars, though, is they’re so much better in person where you can see, hear, and enjoy them much more vividly. As such, I have little doubt that, once allowed, car enthusiasts will find their way back to the shows quickly.

Quinn Osha

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Comments (10)

  • I think we will see more virtual implementations yes. But they will not replace physical presence. Humans are social creatures.

      26 days ago
    • Totally agree! I think people will definitely go back to the shows, but we may end up with a mix of the two worlds. Such as more digitally focused car shows where you can explore the event both physically and online.

        26 days ago
  • Personally, I think, with time (1 to 3, or 4years) normal physical car shows will return. I'd like to think so at least.

      22 days ago
    • I certainly hope so too. I grew up going to shows and auctions and would be bummed to see them go.

        22 days ago
  • I don't know, in reality it's just better.

      22 days ago
    • Indeedily, I concur. Locally, there is only one decent sized classic car show per year. (We used to have a New Car show here, but that died off for some reason. Probably about money.)

      Nothing beats walking about a field, eating a burger,...

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        22 days ago
    • Exactly, I couldn't agree more. I have only checked out one virtual show and it's cool, but only if you want to waste time and have nothing better to do.

        22 days ago
  • I hope not, half the joy of being a car nut is that you get the opportunity to see the cars in the metal. If not it’ll be like buying a washing machine.

      21 days ago
  • We need to touch, feel and drive before we buy cars. Even when I’m buying clothes, I may repeat buy an item online, but there’s no chance I’l do my first purchase online. No a chance. I made that mistake again last month, and the size 30” jeans I ordered online we’re actually size 32”.

      22 days ago