The Popular Vote Car Show has been part of SAAC conventions ever since the second one, in 1977.
While the judged concours car show is the benchmark for Cobra and Shelby standards of excellence, the popular vote show is just the opposite. There are no standards, and that’s what makes it so enjoyable. It is open to every car. And while concours entrants strive to improve their cars by a half a point at a time, competition in the pop vote show is as low-key as it can get. There is no advanced registration: Show up, park your car, and step back so everyone else can enjoy seeing it.
The Popular Vote show is typically scheduled for the morning of the final day of the convention, to allow for the largest number of cars. Envelopes are placed on the windshield of each car showing that car’s class, and perforated ballot sheets are given to everyone who wishes to participate. Owners and spectators separate individual ballots and “vote” for the car of their choice by placing a ballot in the envelope.
There are no specific standards to guide voting. If someone likes something about a particular car, that’s all it takes to get their vote. Often a unique option or accessory (a Weber induction system or competition options) will be enough. In other cases originality, low mileage, or the patina of long term storage will induce someone to vote for a particular car. There is no “right” or “wrong” and, as a result, it is impossible to predict the voting outcomes. Winners are a surprise to everyone.
A window for voting (usually between 10 a.m. and 12 noon) permits participation without dragging things out all day. Once the voting window closes the envelopes are quickly collected and delivered to the Vote Counting Committee. It is not necessary to count the ballots in every envelope; only the ones in each class that obviously have the most in them. By 2 p.m. ballots have been counted and everyone gathers around the car show control point where winners are announced and awards presented.
Popular Vote Car Show classes are adjusted from year to year. Since there are no advanced registrations, there is no way of knowing how many cars to expect. So the classes are based on the number of cars that were entered in the show the previous year. Entry fee is $20 per car. A list of typical classes looks like this:
260-289 Cobra CSX2000
260-289 Cobra Competition
427 Cobra CSX3000
427 Cobra Competition
1965 GT350 R-Model
1966 GT350 Hertz
1970 GT500 Tiger
2006-2007 Ford GT
1969-1971 Boss 302/351/429
2007-Present Shelby GT500/GT500KR
2010-Present Shelby GT/GT H/GT350
1992-Present Mustang Special Edition
Special Interest Competition