The Team Nostalgic BBQ has been going on for six years running now, but to experience it, you’d think it’s been around for as long as vintage cars that it features. This is not your ordinary car show as I discovered last year. Sure, people register to show their cars, there’s swag packs for entrants, and prizes are won, but there is a different feeling from your typical car show. The vibe is what I can only describe as feeling like a family reunion. The bond that brings this family together in Schiller Park’s huge forest preserve, is vintage rides of all flavors, but predominantly Japanese makes. When I say family vibe, that’s not to suggest it’s an exclusive thing. Even as someone showing for the first time; pull up in your vintage Datsun, Toyota, Mazda, Honda, or Volvo and you will be greeted with a smile, a wave, a handshake, a hug or any combination of those things. You don’t have to know anyone here to be greeted like a friend, and chances are you’ll make one or two new ones while you’re here. Once ushered to your parking spot, after a compliment or two on your car, you’ll be offered to make yourself a plate of some food. If you’ve brought your family along, which you should, a jumpy castle and tons of open green space is on site to keep the little ones happy. If you are a fan of cars from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s and especially those from Japan, there are few finer ways to spend your weekend, than setting up your pop up tent, plopping down a beverage packed cooler, and taking in the sights of the Team Nostalgic BBQ.
The BBQ is held once every year, so sadly if you missed it this year, you’ll have to wait until next spring. (Although, they do have a one-make Toyota show coming in October to look out for!) Consider this your advanced notice, plan for next year, yes it’s worth it! The show has grown considerably, even in just the last two years. I mention the family vibe, but there’s something deeper too, and it has to do with the cars on display. At Team Nostalgic’s show, you get the sense that many of these cars have been, or will be, with the current owner for the long haul. Ownership here can sometimes be measured in decades rather than months or years, and it’s easy to get the feeling that they will be with those owners for years and decades more. The cars, much like the people attending, are as much a part of the family taking part in this reunion, and some of the cars on hand really are like family treasures being passed on to each generation. There’s a feeling that comes with this long term commitment that isn’t often replicated at other shows, where some cars feel like a fad. A fashionable new car with a trendy body kit that impresses the judges and crowds today, only to be cast aside for the next new shiny toy in a year or two’s time. Those cars can be amazing too, and while there’s no doubt owners of those cars love and take pride in what they drive too, the feeling is different here, you really have to be at this show to understand. Typically this is the spot where I go into my highlights of the show, but just like last year I break from that tradition. The show itself is the highlight, and all these cars stand out for being so clean, or how they are modified, or even just for surviving all these decades as you see them today.
A final word not necessarily related to the show, but I felt compelled to mention. You may notice in some of the photos, the presence of the Puerto Rican flags and references. At least for me, seeing those symbols, I could not help but be reminded of the current state of affairs on the beautiful little U.S. island in the Caribbean. The island is still in trouble, the headlines from hurricane Maria have long passed, but many people are still in need of help. If you have the means, and want to help the people of Puerto Rico on the long road to recovery, consider donating to ConPRmetidos or Unidos por Puerto Rico. Thanks again as always for reading, plenty more photos below to scroll through, enjoy!
-photos and writing: Robert Sixto