While it’s not quite the same as seeing a car show in person, a virtual car show is good for a few reasons, namely, the ability to showcase a TON of vehicles and bring together a larger community of car, truck and motorcycle lovers. When the show supports a good cause, that’s just the cherry on top.
Recently, the National Auto Body Council (NABC) announced its 2021 Rides for a Reason Virtual Car Show presented by United Recyclers Group. The show, which is open to anyone looking to show off their car, truck or motorcycle, can be registered for now through October 29, 2021 (https://nationalautobodycouncil.org/2021ridesforareason/). For a nominal $25 donation, entrants support the NABC and several of the council’s initiatives.
Winners in each of the car show categories will take home bragging rights, plus a $100 cash prize, and the best in show winner will take home $250. The judging panel includes some of the best-known and most-loved stars of the automotive world, including:
Best of Show – Jeff Gordon
Antiques/Vintage – Jeff Hammond
Hot Rods, Rat Rods and Customs – Charley Hutton
Classics: Best of the 50s, 60s and 70s – to be announced
Old School Muscle Cars: 60s and 70s – Bill Elliott
Modern Muscle: 1980s to Today – Lauren Fix
Modern Era/Vintage Trucks – Mark Oja
Motorcycles – Kyle Morley
Wild Card Presented by Allstate – Clint Marlow
Best Paint Presented by Axalta – Keith Bell
Last year, the 2020 virtual Rides for a Reason Car Show, which also marked the NABC’s 25th anniversary, brought in $20,000! As mentioned, the NABC does several good things with this money.
The National Autobody Council is made up of all the constituents from the collision repair industry – the OEM manufacturers, the insurers, the product manufacturers (paint companies and equipment companies), and then the collision repair shops themselves. NABC raises funds for three initiatives – Recycled Rides, First Responder Emergency Extraction (F.R.E.E.), and Drive Out Distraction.
Recycled Rides is an initiative where insurers will donate a totaled vehicle. The NABC will find a shop that wants to donate their time to do the repairs. Then, other manufacturers will donate paint and materials to help get the car like new. The NABC then finds deserving people who need reliable transportation. This program supplies around 200 cars a year to deserving people, and more than 2,700 cars have been donated since the inception of Recycled Rides in 2007.
First Responder Emergency Extraction is a program the NABC sets up for firefighters and first responders to practice and hone their skills specifically on late-model vehicles with lighter-weight, high-strength steels, sophisticated electronics and multiple airbag systems. Advances in technology have made today’s vehicles much safer for passengers, but first responders often face challenges preventing further injuries to accident victims or themselves due to the complexities of the new technology.
Knowing specifically where and how to efficiently cut and extricate can make the difference in saving precious minutes and lives as well as the safety of the first responders. F.R.E.E. is a collaborative effort by collision repair facilities, insurance companies and NABC rescue partners, which provide expert instructors and equipment to facilitate the event.
The third program, Drive Out Distraction, helps increase awareness around distracted driving and encouraging people not to text and drive. The Rides for a Reason virtual car show is one way the NABC raises funds to supplement these programs.
Among the many notable judges is a guy the motorcycle crowd would enjoy learning more about, and that’s Kyle Morley, who will be placing a close eye on the motorcycle entries this year. He served as a judge during last year’s Rides for a Reason show and is back again this year.
Morley is the owner of XecutionStyle Kustom Paint in Elmer, NJ, a custom paint shop that does the occasional custom bike build. Kyle began his journey in this industry close to 20 years ago.
“I grew up in the collision industry as an automotive painter, but I always dabbled with BMX bikes, dirt bikes, ATVs, things like that, in my spare time,” Morley says. “About seven years ago, I left the body shop industry and opened my own custom motorcycle shop, which does custom paint work. We do some custom bike builds, but 90% of our work is custom paint work on motorcycles. For the most part they’re Harley-Davidsons – that just seems to be the crowd that I have here as customers – but we do a little bit of everything.”
Dale Ross introduced Morley to the NABC Rides for a Reason Car Show last year and he had such a good time doing it, he couldn’t say no to a second opportunity.
“It’s a little different to judge any type of automotive show, whether it be motorcycle or cars or trucks virtually,” Morley admits. “Looking at the pictures online is certainly a lot different than kneeling down next to a motorcycle in person and looking over the details. Virtually, I look at the overall bike, the overall build, and I look for the most modifications and modifications done correctly. Not necessarily tastes because that is to each his own. I can’t necessarily use my taste. It’s more of using my trained eye over the years of working with motorcycles to see which one stands out the most and which ones you can tell somebody poured their passion into it and took the time to do the modifications correctly. You want to be able to tell it was done with certain passion. That’s what I’m looking for more than the little, tiny details, because they’re really tough to see virtually.”
The beauty of any motorcycle show is you never know what kinds of bikes will be showcased, so there’s no preconceived notions as to what kind of bike could win.
“I couldn’t even put that out there and say what probably should win or what will win, and that’s actually the beauty of it,” Morley says. “When you go to a custom show, you don’t know what’s going to be there. Even if you think you have a really nice, really beautiful build, you might show up and somebody has something better.
“I know last year, the entries were very, very diverse. There were some Enduro motorcycles, some street, some foreign bikes, some Harleys – there was a handful of different things, and the toughest part is to judge them because you’re kind of comparing apples to oranges. You have to be fair in seeing how they came about their project and what modifications they did to each motorcycle because you could be comparing a dirt bike to a Harley-Davidson. You can’t judge them in a manner where they’re all the same because they’re certainly not.
“If I look at a bike for a few minutes, I can see what they did and what they didn’t do, what they may have skipped, and where they maybe should have done something. It’s not a taste thing, it’s more seeing a custom bike and what stands out.”
If you think you have a car, truck or motorcycle that would stand out amongst the crowd, visit www.NationalautoBodyCouncil.org to learn more.