Silver Dollar Car Classic offers alternative to ‘mob scene’ of Hot August Nights |

Silver Dollar Car Classic offers alternative to ‘mob scene’ of Hot August Nights

Andrew Pridgen
Appeal Staff Writer
Shauna Thomas, right, and Layne Ortiz, left, from Las Vegas react while looking inside a 1951 Chevy Deluxe at the 2006 Silver Dollar Car Classic. File photo

The din from the revving of 5,500 classic car engines will echo through Washoe Valley over the next fortnight thanks to the juggernaut that is Hot August Nights.

Carson residents looking for a more intimate car show with a relaxed family atmosphere need look no further than their own backyard.

The 13th annual Silver Dollar Car Classic gears up Friday through Sunday with a “Kick-off Cruise Night” Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Plaza Hotel and Conference Center.

More than 300 classic cars and rods are scheduled to be shown by motorists from around the West.

For some classic car buffs, the Carson show is a great alternative to the “mob scene” that Hot August Nights has become.

“We’re driving right through Reno and not stopping,” said Sharon McDonald, a Milwaukie, Ore., resident who will show her dark blue 1960 Chevy Impala convertible at the Silver Dollar Car Classic this weekend in lieu of Hot August Nights, which also starts up this weekend. “We’ve done Hot August Nights before. But then the gangs and the problems with too many people around and cars crashing into each other; there are just too many cars, so we’re trying something new.”

McDonald said she’ll be “breathing a little easier” knowing her “Cinderella dream car,” which has 66,000 original miles, will not be “lost in the masses” this weekend.

“It’s a lady car,” she said. “The first owner was a woman who had it for two years. The second owner was a woman who operated a beauty shop out of her home and never drove it. When we bought it three summers ago, she just wanted enough to buy herself a little car to get around.”

That enthusiasts like McDonald are bypassing Reno is not a big concern to Hot August Nights organizers.

“It’s a great turnout for the area either way,” said Hot August Nights spokeswoman Nicole Maddox. “We have 5,500 registered car participants every year. We are at our maximum capacity and each year we’re able to take a couple from our waiting list.

“Hot August Nights represents $230 million coming into the community during the week.”

Indeed, Silver Dollar Car Classic organizers said their show is not positioned to compete with but rather to augment the larger show.

“We’ve got a few new events this year,” said Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau spokeswoman Candy Duncan. “It’s a fun time that people look forward to locally.”

Hot August Nights spokeswoman Helen Teglia said the more opportunities Northern Nevada residents and visitors have to see and showcase the classic cars, the better.

“There’s an increasing number of classic cars around town here the last couple weeks,” Teglia said. “Usually the locals start pulling their cars and dusting them off about four weeks before, so it’s great to see them driving around and going to the shows.”

Carson City resident Larry Smith, whose 1987 Chevy El Camino managed to garner him a few trophies for its class in previous years, will be sitting out this year with his car in the shop. But that won’t stop him from being a spectator.

“I like the show here,” he said. “I’ll probably go down to look at ’em all on Saturday. I think this year the show might do well and steal a little thunder from Hot August Nights.”

• Contact reporter Andrew Pridgen at or 881-1219.