Jacques: I would be interested as to why you are asking the question. The query (and especially the poll) without any context is, in my opinion, not particularly useful because eveyone's interpretation of the simple question could vary widely. An in reply to your second paragraph question - I would rather turn up to see a wide range of cars - some rubbish - with some really special cars in amongst them, than turn up and only find three or five cars because eveyone thought the organisers may be too strict.
This is not an either or. Depends on the event or occasion of course.
Casual meet at a road house, non-themed days at places like Piston Ring. AMC meet ups, show and shine events - bring what you have. Why exclude someone because the don't have a car or their car is not to your taste or their appropiate car is not running (or is in a different country)?
More formal events and shows - like an event at Franschhoek Motor Museum or Goodwood Revival (pre-66 or park in the modern car park) or Capri 40th Anniversary or Ferrari Club - be as strict as you like.
I'd rather see people, with or without interesting cars, than not see them
The most important thing is people's love and interest in cars. You or I may not be personally into rods or ricers or bog standard concours cars, but many of these cars and their owners are interesting and often surprising (in a good way) in one way or another.
If an organiser wants their event to be strictly themed, by age, or style, or other criteria then they should specify the criteria clearly, well in advance. If it really important then have a formal sign-up entry system BEFORE the event - no booking, no entry.
If you want to have a 'turn up on the day' type event AND you want to stick rigidly to your theme you need several things:
- * Specify your criteria well in advance and publicise them widely
* Invite people to check by phone or email before the event if their car will get in
* Make it clear that the organisers' decision is final
* Make sure your selectors at the gate have a clue, are unbiased, prepared for the unexpected but great car, etc. etc.
* Provide an alternative parking, gathering point for cars that are not accepted into the main show area, accessible from the main gate and viewable by the public who have come to see. People may have driven miles to the event. The last thing they want after being 'rejected' is to be give the run around. Also you then get a field of alternative cars. If you are smart you will go and see which of these cars get attention - might be useful for your selectors at the next meet/show
Another thing that works very well with 'turn up on the day' events (or any event for that matter) is to simply group the cars. A lineup of sports cars with a few Escorts amongst them doesn't work. Park the Escorts together in one place and the exotics together in another and it suddenly it works a whole lot better. Be creative - for example group cars by date rather than make or type. It is a random mish mash of cars that tends to spoil things. I have been to several 'turn up' events here in the UK where cars have been carefully grouped and they have worked really well.