Photographer: Cesar Soto/Bloomberg
Cars & Bikes

The 2018 Car Calendar for True Fans and Cool Kids

These lesser-known car and motorcycle events are where you need to be this year.

With the annual auto show circuit kicking off this weekend in Detroit, it got us thinking: What else is out there for 2018? Sure, you have such big shows as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and Goodwood festivals. We’ve all been there, done that.

So here is our list of the cool U.S. car and motorcycle events that are slightly off the beaten path. These aren’t SEMA or CES, they’re not the Monaco Grand Prix, the Mille Miglia, the L.A. Auto Show or an RM Sotheby’s auction—though you should attend all those, too.

Instead, these gatherings are a little less known, maybe even a bit down ’n’ dirty. But if you fancy yourself a true gearhead, they’re exactly where you need to be. Mark your calendar now.

DRT 2018

DRT2017 in Sunset Strip, Miami.
Source: Das Renn Treffen

When:  Feb. 11
Where: The Shops at Sunset Place, Miami
What: DRT is short for das Renn Treffen (“the Race Meet”). DRT is Florida’s largest Porsche gathering, hosting more than 450 vehicles and 10,000 spectators, who come to celebrate everything Porsche and raise money to benefit the City of South Miami. This year is sure to be big: In 2018 comes Porsche’s 70th anniversary, and the Stuttgart, Germany-based brand has planned celebrations around the world.

 

Amelia Island

Attendees drive two 1956 Jaguar D-Type XKD race vehicles during the 2017 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, on March 11, 2017. 
Photographer: Mark Elias/Bloomberg

When: March 9–11
Where: The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Fla.
What: Think of it as the upstart sibling to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance: more laid back (as much as you can be at this price point), but with many vehicles just as prestigious and rare. Expect Cars & Coffee gatherings, auctions by all the big houses, and the main Concours event on Sunday.

 

 The Handbuilt Show

The wall of death at the 2016 Handbuilt Show.
Photographer: Steve West

When:  April 20–22
Where: Austin
What: The Handbuilt Show is an invitational event for custom bike builders from all over the nation to show off their hand-crafted work. It’s organized by Revival Cycles, the bespoke builder shop in Austin; reflecting Revival’s ecumenical philosophy about working on all types of bikes, there’s no theme to the motorcycle brands shown. Spectators are as likely to see Triumphs, Harley-Davidsons, and Hondas as they are Nortons and Ducatis. The show is held during the same weekend as the Moto GP races at the Formula 1 racetrack close by. Better yet, it’s free and open to the public.

 

Luftgekühlt

When: April 22
Where: Southern California, exact location to be announced
What:  The term Luftgekühlt refers to all the air-cooled cars Porsche made, from the Pre-A 356 through the 993 model line that ended in 1998. The namesake event was started by the two-time Le Mans champion Patrick Long and indie designer Howie Idelson. This year will bring the fifth annual gathering to celebrate those cars, with hundreds parked near food, music, and other design booths for thousands to oggle.

 

Babes Ride Out

Babes Ride Out, Joshua Tree, Calif., 2017.
Photographer: Lindsay Lohden

When: April 27–29 (California); June 1–3 (New York); Oct. 18–21 (California)
Where: Gorman, Calif.; Narrowsburg, N.Y.; Joshua Tree, Calif.
What: At this all-women motorcycle ride and camping/glamping trip, all types of bikes and riding styles are welcome. The list of what not to bring sums it up: “Please do not bring people who did not buy a ticket, boyfriends, husbands, animals, kids, weapons of any kind (firearms, hatchets, bow and arrows, slingshots, BB guns, or anything that can be used as a weapon), no signs/banners, no eazy ups (sorry! it obstructs the natural beauty of the camp and it is far too windy), no fireworks.” Everything else is fair game. See also: Babes in the Dirt.

 

Malibu Cars and Coffee

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When: 7–9 a.m. on the second and fourth Sunday of every month
Where: Malibu Bluffs Park, Pacific Coast Highway, Calif.
What: Car enthusiasts, owners, and hangers-on meet to guzzle joe and oggle everything from vintage Porsches, customized Alfa Romeos, and brand-new Ferraris. The participants are nearly as interesting to meet as the cars are.

 

Pomona Swap Meet

When: 5 a.m.–2 p.m. on various dates in January, March, April, June, and August
Where: Pomona, Calif.
What:  You’ll find everything here, from old trucks and Volkswagen Beetles to beat-up Jaguars and Jeeps. Even if you’re not in the market to buy, browsing is just as fun. 

 

The Race of Gentlemen

Race of Gentlemen 2017.
Photographer: Hannah Elliott/Bloomberg

When: June 8–10
Where: Wildwood, N.J.
What: Called T.R.O.G for short, this is a wild celebration of old cars and motorcycles, with purpose-built prewar and postwar vehicles racing on the sandy beaches of Wildwood, N.J. Spectators watch from close range, set up on sand dunes with beer and sunscreen equally applied; racers wear vintage motorbike and racing gear. Before and after races, the time is filled with bonfires and chopper parties. Come prepared to go hard.

 

Wheels and Waves

When: June 14–17
Where: Biarritz, France, and Big Sur, Calif. (likely in August)
What: “Four days of motorcycling, surf, skate, music and friendship.” The secret’s out on this ultra-cool gathering that was started several years ago by wealthy and creative Frenchmen with a love for vintage vehicles. The California edition was a hit; this year it’ll be even bigger.

 

Formula E

Formula E in Red Hook, Brooklyn, N.Y., 2017.
Photographer: Cesar Soto/Bloomberg

When: July 14–15
Where: Brooklyn, N.Y.
What: This is your zig-while-others-zag move on the racing front. Sure, it’s slower than Formula 1, but the passing is exciting to watch and the event is cleaner and easier on your nerves. There’s no ringing in your ears from loud engines when you leave, because the motors here run by electrification and emit only a futuristic, whirring hum. There’s real money behind Formula E: Audi AG, Porsche AG, and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG are all sponsors. Races are held worldwide throughout the year, but you’ll have to be in the Big Apple to see the one in the States. It’s set right in Brooklyn, so spectating is prime and easy

 

Bonneville Salt Flats Speed Week

When: Aug. 11–17
Where: Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah
What:  At this hotbed of time trials and racing held on 60 square miles of an ancient dried-up lake bed, spectators may peruse the pits and talk with the drivers and the crews before partying with them at night. The famous racing meet is the Southern California Timing Association Speed Week in August, but the SCTA also runs a race in Oct. called “The World Finals.” Motorcycle and Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) record-setting meets are held throughout the season.

 

Rennsport Reunion IV

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When: Sept. 27–30
Where: Laguna Seca Raceway, Calif.
What: This is the stateside culmination of multiple events around the globe as Porsche celebrates its 70 years of existence with tens of thousands of car enthusiasts and Porsches of all types racing on the famous track. Drivers, designers, engineers, and company executives will all be there, too, in the ultimate who’s who of the German-car universe. If you go to only one Porsche event this year, make it this one.

 

Brooklyn Invitational

When: September, to be announced
Where: Brooklyn, N.Y.
What: At this East Coast gathering of hand-built bikes, the real show is on the street, where bikers from all over line up their prized possessions near the renowned Indian Larry bike shop. It’s smaller than other motorcycle shows during the year, but if you’re in the area, it’s worth a stop for an hour to have a beer and admire the designs. 

 

Moto Beach Classic

Source: Moto Beach Classic

When: October, to be announced
Where: Bolsa Chica State Beach, Calif.
What: Roland Sands, a motorcycle designer and builder with cult status among serious riders nationwide, hosts this beachfront festival of riding and racing. It includes super-hooligan flat-track and motorcycle drag racing, plus a West Coast Board Riders Surf Comp, art show, demo rides, and vendors. Dates for 2018 await confirmation, but based on last year’s extravaganza, it’s worth a calendar placeholder now.

 

The Twist-Off

The Twist Off 2017.
Source: Revival Cycles

When: November, to be announced
Where: Austin
What: There’s motorcycle racing on vintage and new bikes, plus general rowdiness and live music long into the night. Events include dirt sprints, asphalt drags, and barrel racing. Exact dates have yet to be set, but this is worth earmarking.

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