Most reliable car I had was an 84 Chevy Celebrity with the 2.5L 4banger. My great grandparents bought it, my grandparents, my parents and I all owned it at one time or another. I digress; telling my grandkids about my 1984 celebrity in High School is not nearly as cool as you guys discussing 55-57 chevys in High School.
Regarding the Pre-48 I had one guy tell me the 'reason' was lack of IFS; which is crap because 1950 Fords don't have IFS. I replied to the dunderhead making this comment "Doesn't your car have a M-II front suspension?"
Personally; I don't like the PT nuts and the guys with the 2002 Tbirds etc that show up, but I look at the money we donate at a lot of our cruise-in's and I say 'At least the PT guys SHOW UP, which is more than I can say for a lot of groups.' The best thing I think you can do, is have an area for Pre 48, '49-74, Late Model and 'Specialty Cars' (PT Cruisers, Prowlers, VW kit car, whatever). If people are proud of their car, and they're polite to the other car owners and the crowd, I say let them share. If you don't like it, walk on by.
I prefer the poker/rod runs to the big shows honestly; although I love the Make A Wish kids that come out; I think a lot of newer rodders forgot, or never learned, that going to a show is as much showing off your talent (or checkbook), as it is giving other people a chance to relive their childhood, or to teach younger people about our hobby. The NSRA and GoodGuys events aren't what I remembered as a kid, it seems like the circle is getting smaller, and excluding others, not striving to bring them into the fold.
I know where Brian is coming from; I remember going to the big rod shows when I was a kid; I think the climate of the rodder is changing though. My grandads favorite car was a Deuce Coupe; My Dad was a Muscle Car guy 1st, but he did love really nice or unconventional rods; I love just about everything. Put a rotary engine in a Vega Stationwagon and I'll go look at it over a black 66 chevelle with a smallblock. I think the shows have had to expand as the younger rodders want what was cool when they were in highschool - LS1 Camaros, 5L Mustangs and import cars.
Thanks for sharing your pics and memories!