Story By Hannah Goldfinger
Photos Contributed By AU Car Meets
Looking for a way to show off that car of yours? Do you have a “project” to which you devote your free time?
AU Car Meets is the perfect opportunity to showcase your work and your cars.
“We started about five years ago and pretty much it’s been just kind of a conglomeration of people that enjoy the same passion, cars, automotive things in general,” said John Price, organizer of the meets. “My wife [Jessica Price] and I decided to start that back when we didn’t have a Cars and Coffee. So it was like, hey, let’s add this to Auburn and the mall kind of supported it a little bit and we started the process of making the meets and getting everybody together.”
AU Car Meets typically take place once a month, the third Saturday of each month, at the Auburn Mall.
“The attendance has changed,” Price said. “It’s up and down. We’ve had some really, really good turnouts. Overall I think we’ve had anywhere from sometimes 30 cars where it’s just kind of a cold day and nobody really wants to bring their cars out and then on the nice days you’ve got, well over 200 cars there sometimes. So, pretty big changes throughout the year.”
There are normally all types of cars in attendance, Price said.
“You could have a super car parked next to a Honda Civic,” he said. “… We have motorcycles, we have cars. We’ve had everything from like a shopping cart that was turned into a golf cart to a super car. So, we’ve had a little bit of everything.”
People come from all over, too.
“Oh, every Saturday we have people come from out of town just to come to the meet,” Price said. “We have people from Montgomery, Columbus, Atlanta, all the way from LaGrange. I’ve had people come from Alex City, all over the area just to come, come see our area and see what we got going on and then after the meet, sometimes we’ll go have a drink or grab something to eat right in the local areas … or over in Opelika. We’ll go downtown.”
AU Car Meets also tries to promote family activities.
“So it’s all just friends that wanna come out and anybody that wants to join, bring your kids or anything like that,” Price said. “We’ve done trunk or treats, we’ve done Christmas toy runs and stuff like that. So, it’s kind of free for everybody.”
The group also likes to support other car groups and organizations, Price said.
“We try to do different little runs to Pine Mountain and stuff like that,” he said. “It’s just as you go through it, everybody makes different friends and different groups and they all kind of merged on that Saturday. So it works for everybody.”
Price said that he and his wife will get up early in the morning to clean up their cars and make them ready to show off at the mall.
“We stay with the cars and hang out and everybody just talks about their different builds and what they’ve got going on with their cars, what future cars they have coming, you know, what their plans are and all that stuff and it could be any kind of car,” he said. “Just getting like-minded people together and networking, I think that’s the best part and being able to give back to the community. I think that is the best part of all of it, really.”
Price said cars are his passion — along with motorcycles. He even hopes to own a business one day.
“I’d like to have something at the mall that is an actual business there, a detail shop or something and then kind of make it work off of that and, that’s my future,” he said. “We’re in talks with [the mall] now to see about a location and kind of see what the financial side of it looks like and then maybe one day in the future. We don’t have a timeline right now. I would say it’s my five-year plan. So, you know, we’ll see, but you never know, it could come to fruition way quicker or way later.”
AU Car Meets typically communicates through its Facebook page, or Instagram page, giving updates on the meets and other events.
“The networking side of its grown tenfold just being able to meet people that are like-minded and kind of have the same interests as me,” Price said. “I feel like, you know, cars unite people. That’s kind of been my mindset on it all. It’s things that people unite with like food and cars. Everybody can tell you about their favorite car, you know … I think it’s a really good asset to the community.”