Car Expo GTO is not your everyday car show. It’s huge, for one thing – even the parking lot is the size of a New England state.
Once past the row of smiling ticket-takers in matching shirts, the shining state expo center showcases acres of vehicles of every enthusiast stripe gleaming in the high mountain air.
The first things American car show buffs will notice is the complete lack of of ropes and “Do Not Touch!” signs surrounding the cars. Car Expo is truly a family affair, and the presenters seems to expect a few sticky kid prints on the paint.
The second thing to see is the food park, a cornucopia of street food classics: tacos al pastor, gorditas, aguas fresca, and dorilokos, a bag of Doritos covered in grated carrots, jicama, peppers, chilies, pickled pig rinds, lime, fruity and sour chamoy sauce, chili completely different from the previous chilies, gummi worms, and just about anything and everything else.
The show is a two-day affair and held in the heart of Mexico’s booming auto industry. Nearly every global manufacturer or supplier has a plant here in Guanajuato (GTO) or nearby: GM, Honda, Volkswagen, Ford, Mazda, Toyota, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz . . . the list is endless.
The car show reflects the intense passion of the region for all things automotive. Most cars on display are American, either built in Mexico or imported from the States at some point, but all are restored, modified, and find their homes here.
Next year’s show is already being planned. Visitors can stay in the nearby cities of Silao or Leon (which is home to an international airport), but far more charming is Guanajuato City, a bustling college town and colorful 500 year-old UNESCO World Heritage site just minutes up the road.
In pictures: Car Expo GTO 2017