Car Show Shines On During COVID-19


Automative Enthusiasts Club owned 1985 BMW 525e with a swapped 353i motor

The annual UW-Platteville Automotive Enthusiasts Club Car Show was held Saturday, Oct. 31 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is an event where Platteville students and residents show off their cars and compete in competitions such as best in show and loudest exhaust.
There were classic cars, modern sports cars, tuner cars and trucks, all ranging in years from around 1970 to current.
The Automotive Enthusiasts Club also brings their own project cars to the event so they can show the community what they are working on.
Approximately 20 vehicles were displayed as part of the car show. The club itself has 62 members and is open for Platteville students only.
Traditionally this is a well-attended event with numerous cars packed into the lot, but university COVID-19 restrictions altered attendance significantly.
The 2020-2021 AEC president, Nathan Arinta, said the club had to follow all the CDC and UW-Platteville COVID-19 guidelines at the car show this year.
“We had to require masks and make hand sanitizer stands all over,” Arinta said, in accordance with the common UW-Platteville guidelines for the show. The hand sanitizer stands were laid out conveniently for easy accesibility.
“In terms of parking the cars, we had to park each car a spot apart so it’s easier to maintain social distancing,” Arinta said when describing the differences of this year’s car show.
Likewise, Arinta described how they were required to monitor the number of spectators entering and exiting to limit the attendance at any given time.
They did this by putting up a barrier of tables by the entrance and scanning the visitors’ student IDs along with keeping track of the residents as they came in.
COVID-19 also influenced the overall attendance of the show, according to Arinta, who said, “Usually we get around 100 people, but today we got 50 max.”
Although the restrictions may have attenuated the show, AEC member John Viroglio believes the club is doing a good job of preventing the spread of COVID-19.
“Everybody’s wearing masks, it’s pretty socially distanced and there’s not like a ton of people in one area,” said Virogilio.
The pandemic has not just affected the car show. Arinta said that along with moving their weekly in-person meetings to Zoom, it has lessened the overall meeting attendance and the number of new members by approximately 70%.
If a student is interested in joining the Automotive Enthusiasts Club, they can sign up on UW-Platteville’s PioneerLink.
Arinta defined the club as “A group of car enthusiasts who hang out on the weekends at our shop off-campus and work on our two club cars, a club BMW and a club Firebird.”
They normally race the cars at events, but due to COVID-19, that has been put off.
New members are not required to know a lot about cars to join.
Viroglio said, “I’d recommend it to a new student; everybody’s really helpful and willing to teach you all you need to know about cars.”
Since masks and social distancing are required for the weekend work sessions, and the weekly meetings are on Zoom, anyone is welcome to attend a meeting to see if they are interested.