A hot rod show is an exhibition of hot rods, many of which are classic cars that are restored to pristine condition. The show may be simply for exhibition, or it may include prizes for various categories. Sometimes a hot rod show will take place in a city or town, with streets or entire city blocks being shut down so the cars can be showcased safely. In other instances, the show may take place as part of a much larger event, such as a NASCAR race, fundraiser, carnival, and so on.
Sometimes there is no difference between a hot rod show and a classic car show; the hot rods are simply placed in a separate category. In other instances, however, the hot rod show may be set up exclusively for hot rods, which are heavily modified cars based off original models. These hot rods are modified for linear speed, which means the modifications are all aimed at making the car go fast in one direction. Steering is not a high priority, nor is good handling except in a forward direction. The engines are usually very powerful, and the cars themselves are usually stripped of excess weight to be light enough for high speeds. The axles of the car, as well as the frame, may be reinforced or upgraded to support the weight of the heavier engine.
The specific events and categories of a hot rod show can vary. Most shows simply showcase the visual appeal of the cars, while other, more elaborate shows may feature events that showcase the power and speed of the car. Many shows will have judges that will award prizes in various categories, including best in show, best restoration, best engine, and so on. Other shows may simply be viewing shows for the public, with the hot rod owners showing off their vehicles and talking with attendees about the car and the process of restoration.
Within the hot rod category, the hot rods can be broken down even further. Sometimes a hot rod show will feature reproductions, which are usually placed in a separate category from original models. Hot rod trucks will often be in a separate category, and the hot rods may be broken down even further by the decade in which the original car was produced. The hot rods can be broken down by other criteria such as engine size, car model, and so on.