Auto Retro Barcelona's Universal Language of Cars

Guest Bloggers

Guest Bloggers | Mar 23, 2016

There’s a certain amount of non-verbal communication that goes on when gearheads get together for a local show. And sometimes the non-verbal part is all you get. Lots of guys just don’t talk much.

Nod and smile- Car Talk's tips for making it at a foreign auto show. (Betty Ming Liu)

If the owner is sprawled in a lawn chair, there maybe might be an exchange of nods, or even a conversation that goes something like this:


And it’s on to the next car.

Most of the surviving MGBs in Spain seemed to turn out for Auto Retro, although the December weather was far from top-down worthy. (Betty Ming Liu)

It’s this level of conversation that makes it so easy to attend a similar show in another country, one where people speak a language you don’t. The language of grunts and nods is universal.

With close to 300 exhibitors from ten countries, Auto Retro in Barcelona showcased more than 600 cars and motorcycles, drawing some 55,000 visitors over four days. (Jim Travers)

On a recent trip to Spain, we stumbled across the Auto Retro show in Barcelona. It’s a giant of an event, encompassing everything from new models to dealer displays of their entire inventory. But what really caught our eye was a closed off street in front of the main exhibition hall, where local club members were showing off their classic rides. We nodded and smiled our way through, speaking the universal language.

A good time was had by all. Or at least by us.

Catalonian flags fly all over the Barcelona, and on the occasional Citroen 2CV. Many residents would just as soon secede, but generally set politics aside in the car corral.(Jim Travers)
"There's an engine in here somewhere! Just keep looking." (Betty Ming Liu)
Lowered VW buses and pickups were quite the thing at Auto Retro, and the more patina the better. (Jim Travers)
Even the mud is superior in Catalonia, and worn proudly on this Ford Fiesta. (Betty Ming Liu)
The truth in advertising award goes to this VW Camper Bus, whose owner would just as soon not become a hood ornament somewhere on the Autopista. (Jim Travers)
We take it back, heavy metal is the universal language. (Betty Ming Liu)
The good news is, there was only one of these at the show. Hopefully, it’s the only one in Spain if not all of Europe. (Betty Ming Liu)
Yet another VW camper, either modified with lowered suspension or just sagging under the weight of all those window stickers. (Betty Ming Liu)
One of the few American cars present was this Plymouth Volare wagon, which was parked next to the Port-O-Let. Coincidence? You be the judge. (Betty Ming Liu)

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