The spirit of Milwaukee is one that is always expanding, shifting and growing in new directions with the changing times. It is an entirely versatile city, one whose history is long enough to have an effect on the locals and visitors, but still young enough to encompass new attempts at re-definition. There are things that are very contemporary to Milwaukee, and there are also things that are quite specific. Most auto fanatics, whether they’re collectors or mechanics or both, will find a certain soft spot here, and enjoy all there is to see and do in terms of local Milwaukee car culture.
It takes just a quick scan of the local listings to see that in terms of car shows , Milwaukee has an awful lot going on. There are the events like Rumble by the River that feature tractor pulls, speaking to a cultural currency as contemporary as it is classic, and there are also more specific shows for specific car tastes and interests. One might not see a lot of kumho tires at some of the classic car shows, but there are plenty of opportunities to see vehicles that sport the very latest in technology and style.
One of the most pleasing things about the center of the country is that there is not the same pressures of innovation as can exist on the coasts, and Milwaukee is, in so many respects, at the heart of things. This means little pretense, and a great respect and admiration for things that are well made. This might explain the popularity of Wisconsin Hot Rod Radio, where all things related to cars are discussed, celebrated, and made open for public comment and opinion. For outsiders, it might make sense that the city is one where car culture is visible. It’s close enough to Detroit that the newest models will come rolling through town at any time, and far enough away that mods and additions like weld racing wheels can find their way onto the most staid and everyday kinds of vehicles. It’s difference with a twist, taking the old and sending it cycling into the present with just enough of a hint of the new to make it so appealing and so familiar all at once. For insiders, having grown up here offers a constant immersion on the culture of the automobile. It’s part of a remarkable and humble history, and informs a present, making this city one of the liveliest, and the most livable.