Every year in early September, the historic downtown square in Denton, Texas fills with every kind of classic, modern and collectible vehicle you can imagine. From show-ready hot rods to motorcycles, rock crawlers, delivery trucks and a few oddities, this car show never disappoints.  

This past weekend was probably the fifth time I have attended, and the turnout was by far the best I have ever seen, both in cars, crowd and vendors. September weather is typically perfect for events such as this, and with bluebird skies and a high of 85, mid morning was an absolute delight. Folks came from all over North Texas to show their cars. 

The Denton County historical courthouse is iconic, and the lawn surrounding it plays host to live music and community events, so it’s always great to see it crawling with art, music and people. All streets around the square were blocked off, along with one block each direction off the square, so you could roam around freely and safely. 

This particular event is put on by the Denton Main Street Association, not by a car club – I think that’s an important detail, because it leads to a really fun and casual atmosphere. Nobody is looking down their nose at anyone else’s car, it’s just a lighthearted gathering of gear heads. 

Denton is a music town, and there was live music playing on the lawn all morning. It was nice to be able to take a break in the shade and listen to some music, and then hit the street again and work through another block of cars. The show went from 9am to 3pm, but I only visited for the first half – that was enough to check out all of the sights and sounds. 

As for the stars of the show, the vehicles themselves, the format is pretty wide open and welcoming of every vehicle. The arrangement is based on the order the drivers arrive, so you will see a 1930’s rat rod next to a VW van, next to a six-figure resto-mod, next to a lowrider, next to a bone-stock Vista Cruiser station wagon (complete with rear-facing seat). For a guy like me who can find something to like in pretty much any vehicle, it was absolute heaven. 

I’m a Chevy guy at heart, and it was great to see a huge turnout of classic Camaros and Chevelles. 1967-1970 are my favorite years for both models, and there were plenty of fine examples of each. If Mopar is your style, I even saw a convertible Dodge Challenger, which I didn’t even know they made – along with a sweet ‘Cuda and a few cool Chargers as well. 

There are a few things I like about a car show, besides just taking in the eye candy (which I do love). It’s a gathering of people who have a passion for transportation. We all use modes of transportation, and I like to think of it the way Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-Fil-A, thinks about food: “Food is essential to life, so it might as well be good.” The level of detail and character that goes into a car that someone brings to a car show tells a story about their own life, what they like and what they’re passionate about. 

One owner I talked to was showing an old-school delivery truck that he built to tow his drag racing car… if you have to have a tow vehicle, it might as well be a good one! 

Another owner I talked to bought a cool old van for work just a few weeks ago, and hasn’t even done the restoration yet – just wanted to be a part of the show. He could have had any number of new leased vans that would work just as well, but if you have to have a van, it might as well be a good one!

I have always loved cars. I like wrenching on them, reading about them, watching them race, building model cars, and I had a fantastic time enjoying this car show. If you find yourself up Denton way in early September, be sure to check it out!

Simon Trask
Author: Simon Trask

Simon loves Texas and the Great Outdoors. From East Texas pines to West Texas mountains, he calls North Texas home but is always ready to float a river in Hill Country or go fishing on the Gulf Coast. Simon loves camping and road trips as well, whether it's cruising Highway 287, 82, 69 or 281, that's the true way to see what Texas is all about!

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