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HOT AUGUST NIGHTS

Reno rolls out on Hot August Nights

Hot August Nights started in Reno, Nevada back in 1986, with a group of about 10,000 participants and spectators who had one thing in common: the love of rock music and classic cars from a bygone era. As time went on, the vintage rides became even more popular, the bands played louder, and the event swelled to hundreds of thousands of spectators along with tens of thousands of classics, hot rods, street rods, and virtually every type of automobile imaginable.

At the center of the August 8-13th extravaganza are the car shows and cruises. From the Grand Sierra Resort, Atlantis and Peppermill, to the Silver Legacy and Harrah’s in downtown Reno there were miles of pristine paint and chrome, as each area hosts its own spectacular shows. Downtown Reno and downtown Sparks also holds cruises, where spectators can line the streets and glimpse rolling art in motion.

… one thing in common: the love of rock music and classic cars from a bygone era.

Hot August Nights

Hot August Nights
From fully restored vintage corvettes to wild hearse-t-buckets, there was no shortage of diversity at Hot August Nights!

Hot August Nights

While the car shows and nightly cruises may be the main draw, there’s still many other activities for parts scouring crowd and racers. The Nugget in Sparks hosts 1/16th mile drag races where T-buckets and street rods battle it out with blown and nitrous-fed muscle cars for straight-line supremacy.

At the Reno Livestock Center there’s a yearly swap meet, where we saw everything from fully-restored beauties to someone’s latest project. Drifting and an autocross were also part of the festivities; as classic muscle cars raced side by side newer all-wheel-drive technological wonders.

Let’s not forget the music! Bands are everywhere jamming to the classic sounds of the ‘50s and ‘60s, and a number of live concerts featuring original rockers can be seen throughout the area.

If you’re in the market for anything from a ignition module to an engine, the Big Boy Toy store also had plenty of new products to drool over.

…  it’s nearly impossible to see everything.

Hot August Nights Hot August Nights

vintage Jeeps, Blazers, and other old iron 4x4s
Four-wheel drives are welcome at the show, which means a number of vintage Jeeps, Blazers, and other old iron 4x4s were in attendance.
Corvair
A Corvair? Yep! Now whether it was a V6, V8, or had a stock powerplant was anyone’s guess.

After nearly a week of racing around to nearly every venue we could find, we had to admit that at Hot August Nights, it’s nearly impossible to see everything. While we’ve all become accustomed to the current year 2017, for a while Reno was transformed into a wonderland where classic cars, music, dancing, and drag racing seemed to be the only thing that mattered.

With folks coming from as far away as Florida and Alaska with cars, it’s clear why the Hot August Nights event has enjoyed 31 years of success, and is prepped for decades more!

Drifting and autocross were also part of the festivities; as classic muscle cars raced side-by-side newer all-wheel-drive technological wonders.

street rods
Plenty of street rods made the show, many of which were geared for highway cruising. This sedan sported 2.73 gears in the rear, which would make it perfect for freeway trips.
‘55 Chevy
By far the loudest car on the cruise was this wild ‘55 Chevy, that was shortened and crammed with a blown and injected Big Block Chevy.
‘70s Cuda
Mopars were the rare birds of the show, but that didn’t keep us from finding Darts, Dusters, Road Runners, or even this bright orange ‘70s Cuda.

With a huge supercharger sticking through the non-existent hood, this tubbed, yellow ‘Stang got plenty of attention. To the surprise of many, it was also Ford-powered, with a supercharged FE-Series big block.
classic Camaro
George Diaz took on all comers at the autocross, and even beat the newer Nissan Skylines and Mitsubishi Evos, scoring a win for old iron in his classic Camaro

classic Camaro

… it’s clear why the Hot August Nights event has enjoyed 31 years of success…

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Nash Metropolitan
This little Nash Metropolitan was one of the cleanest we’ve ever seen. When the hood was popped, we got a surprise, as a newer Ford four-cylinder gave some extra oomph to the traditionally styled ride

Hot August Nights Hot August Nights


Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared in the November 2017 print issue of the Drive Magazine.