Wheels of the World 2016


This past weekend in the Seaport of Boston, a small selection of speciality built, highly customized cars and trucks gathered for the 42nd annual Wheels of the World Car Show.  Being the Boston resident I am, I worried that the looming forecast would deter exhibitors and show-goers alike, but to my surprise hundreds of New Englanders donned their Bruins' jerseys, hoodies, camouflage, and work boots, forged their way into 200 Seaport Blvd. with large ice-Dunkin coffees in hand.

Five minutes and eighteen dollars later, I was in.  This is what I saw...

Jason Flis' took first place this year with "Illusions", a 1962 Corvette with custom 1957 front end.

On Sunday, I gave myself three (3) hours to stroll the showroom floor and given how crowded it was for the last day, I made my preliminary pass, cutting right down the center aisle with little shoulder-rubbing.  For me, this helped keep the vibe positive and focused on the shiny paint, and not the Bruins who were in the process of losing.  

To be honest, I'm not quite sure what I expected walking into the show for the first time.  I guess I half expected sexy wheel reps selling people on the latest CNC-machined spinners, but I was wrong.  Having attended dozens of local and regional car shows as well as SEMA last year, I was seriously impressed with the build quality found right in my own backyard, from local builders.  

Not one wrapped car in sight!  I couldn't believe it.  And maybe I still don't believe it, but I didn't notice any...

What I did notice was the plethora of; "Please Do Not Touch" signs, big-tire drag cars, SEMA-grade builds, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers with their children, teenage friends, old-timers, and some young couples.  In fact, my biggest take-away from the show was that people of all-walks-of-life were in attendance, the only commonality being their passion for cars.  Seeing the variety of people walking the aisles taking pictures and buying goods reassured me that the custom car business and aftermarket parts industries would survive its latest assault by regulators.

The second biggest take-away: the majority of the vehicles on display were guarded behind velvet ropes or caution tape.  I started to wonder; did owners drive these cars here or were they securely fastened in rolling refrigerators?  The build quality of the majority of these vehicles was great, if not spectacular, but even at SEMA where cars cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and where 75% of the cars don't even run, there were not nearly as many roped-off vehicles or "Please Do Not Touch" signs.  In fact, I overheard a teenager say to his friend, "now that's a car you wouldn't want to drive on the road", in reference to the above Corvette.

Wait, what?! ...

Where was I?...

This wasn't a museum nor an art museum and yet, I couldn't touch anything...

But the fact is, this is normal.  Car companies and builders alike have long built vehicles just for 'show'.  These vehicles help move the industry forward while some preserve history.  The Wheels of World show was not your average car meet, but rather a high-quality show that drew exhibitors and celebrities from near and far.  Even Chevrolet Performance was in attendance with a large variety of display motors, transmissions, and vehicles.  

I continued to capture some nice photos around the venue to some success.  Given the crowds, it was a bit difficult to get all the angles auto enthusiasts ache for, but none the less, I was there, soaking in the good vibes and meeting some fantastic builders.  If you didn't get a chance to go this year, be sure to keep an eye out next year.