The New Guy by Chris Collier
by Chris Collier
June 16th, 2021

The New Guy—A Different Kind of Car Show

Welcome back to The New Guy, a weekly blog where I—recently-hired assistant editor and newcomer to the window film industry—share my experiences, lightbulb moments and personal opinions. This week, I want to talk about how a WFCT experience converged and paralleled with one of my favorite childhood memories—the Atlanta International Auto Show.

As a kid, recess was rarely about football or basketball. Instead, my friends and I would create booklets packed with drawings of outlandish, Hot Wheels-esque vehicle designs that no adult could think up, even if they tried. And it always extended into class and the carpool line. Carpool chatter never contained the slightest mention of homework but my teachers would be hard-pressed not to hear about cars from me and my group. Every spring, vehicular chatter and excitement would reverberate even louder throughout the carpool line. I was going to the Atlanta International Auto Show at the Georgia World Congress Center.

Buckets of Hot Wheels cars, shelves of die cast models and cabinets full of racing video games—it was all nothing to this show. It was a 500,000 square foot experience that fueled my passion for vehicles. From concept cars to Lamborghinis to your everyday sedan, I made sure to sit and scan every single ride.

As I set foot into the show floor at WFCT, I was greeted by Tint Wiz’s glowing Tesla, Huper Optik USA’s sun-yellow Mercedes AMG GT and XPEL’s snow-white Jaguar F-Type. I felt that childlike magic engulf me for the first time in years. But this time, I wasn’t the wide-eyed kid roaming the show floor and dreaming of the cars I’d buy someday. I was the 24-year-old journalist that had the privilege to write about them for a living. For that brief moment, I got to re-live my childhood in one powerful rush.

Jeremiah Bienko, 813-tinting, showed off a wrapped Lamborghini at WFCT.

Today, a car isn’t my brightest memory. Instead, it’s my dad who took me to the shows. I remember doing homework in the back seat of my dad’s truck on the way to the show. I remember us discussing all of the cars that caught our attention. I remember us stopping by The Varsity for burgers and hot dogs. Most of all, I remember the ride home

Just a few days removed, the same can be said for WFCT. The Lamborghini, Mercedes, and the Jaguar shined brightest at first. But as I sit back and reflect on my first trade show as a journalist, the people are what stick out—they are what drive this industry, not the cars. From friendly introductions, to insightful conversations, to educational explanation, to casual conversation, every booth gifted me something unique and valuable to take with me on my new journey. And for that, I’m thankful.

Connect with me on LinkedIn or email me at ccollier@glass.com.

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