Drive-In Theaters: The Return of An American Classic

With warm summer months rapidly approaching and vacation plans filling up, there is one classic summer outing that is often forgotten: drive-in movie theaters.

The Backstory

In the ‘50’s and ‘60’s, drive-in theaters cemented themselves as an important part of American culture. It’s a picture of classic Americana: a family of four pulling up in their Chevy Bel Air to a seven o’clock showing of “Singin’ in the Rain.”Drive-in image 2

A night at the drive-in was an ideal evening for young families, teenage couples and anyone who wanted to enjoy an inexpensive movie from the comfort and privacy of their own car. At their peak in the late 1950’s, some 4,000 drive-ins spread across the United States. Now, only 348 of these treasures are left.

Drive-In Downfall

As home entertainment became more accessible, gas more expensive and newly adopted daylight saving time pushed screenings into later hours, it became harder for drive-in theaters to operate successfully. These theaters were limited to only a few films per night, and many to only a few months per year.

CARCHEX Drive-In Theater 1Drive-in theaters are expansive and require a large budget and high volume to be maintained, so many were forced to close. The recent transition from film to digital projection in the industry has also left a lot of drive-in theaters in the dust; it costs a drive-in theater roughly $80,000 per screen to make the transition, while it costs an indoor theater nearly half that.

Modern Revival

It is undeniable that the presence of drive-in theaters across the US has been declining in recent decades. Despite this trend, there has been a recent push to support these small businesses.

The movement to enjoy cinema in the comfort of one’s own car is gaining traction, and new drive-in theaters are opening every year. Retro-themed burger chain Johnny Rockets and theater chain USA Drive-Ins teamed up in a audacious plan to open 200 new drive-in theaters in the next two years.Drive-in image 3

Drive-ins provide a romantic and nostalgic alternative to traditional theater environments, and many drive-in theaters continue to thrive across the country. Regular theaters typically have smaller screens, cost more and have a sterile environment that all start to feel the same. Not only do drive-ins provide a superior cinema experience, but they also give a nostalgic, community feeling that indoor theaters can’t provide.

Visit one this summer! To find a drive-in theater near you, visit

Top Car Apps for Every Kind of Driver

No matter if you have an hour daily commute, or won’t go anywhere without your favorite album, apps can help you save time and score the best deals. Whatever kind of driver you are, here are a few of our must-have car apps:

For the Commuter

Between work and running around town, you spend a lot of time on the road. Waze is great for real time updates on accidents, traffic jams and other hiccups with crowd-sourced information. Accident along your normal route? Waze will automatically reroute you. Late to dinner? Waze will send your friends an ETA. New to the area? Explore restaurants and attractions along the way with Waze’s recommendations.

For the Saver

GasBuddy is your new best friend. This nifty app will help you find the cheapest gas wherever you’re traveling. Found a great deal, or think you were ripped off? GasBuddy offers rewards for submitting your own gas prices. Who couldn’t use $100 of gas rewards?car appsFor the Techie

Instead of monitoring your tire pressure, fuel efficiency, engine lights and braking habits, let Automatic do it for you. Real-time feedback provides updates on all your vehicle’s vitals and how to save money while keeping it healthy.

For the Groupie

You spent all afternoon crafting the best playlist for your weekend road trip. Download Spotify. The free version lets you create playlists and custom radio stations based on your favorite artists or genre.

For the Newbie

Never overpay a mechanic again. New driver? New to the area? Not sure what an idle air bypass kit is? RepairPal is really helpful. This app not only provides free estimates, but also connects you to their certified auto repair shops and dealers. Our favorite feature is their encyclopedia of all the car terms you’ve never heard of. Take it from us: ten minutes on here will save you a pretty penny.

Looking for other apps to help you stay safe on the road? Check out our list of the top apps that will actually help you avoid distracted driving.


Cars that Make Us GREEN with Envy

St. Patrick’s Day is less than a week away, which means green everything. But, after seeing pics from the recent auto shows, we’re mostly just green with envy.

Below are a few new cars that most of us can’t afford, but can still lust over. And who knows, maybe one of us will find the gold at the end of the rainbow and end up in the driver’s seat of one of these babies.


2016 BMW M2

Race enthusiasts, feast your eyes. This blue beauty has many race-inspired features that help it out on the track. We’re most impressed that it will run 0-60mph in just 4.2 seconds. Emme Hall of CNET had the chance to take the car out for a test drive and tells us how it performs well on both the track and the road.

2017 Porsche 911 Turbo

Meet the king of the Porsche Turbos. The 2017 Porsche 911 Turbo comes with a new fuel injection system, re-engineered PDK transmission and updated infotainment package. It also features new sleek exterior elements like reshaped mirrors, new door handles, updated engine covers and more. Get the full rundown on Porsche’s website.

Nissan TITAN Warrior Concept

There’s something about a truck. Especially this one. Take a look at this video, and you’ll have the sudden urge to go off-roading. Nissan debuted its TITAN Warrior at the 2016 North American Auto Show. It stresses that the car was built to be tough like a warrior with its armor-like exterior. This truck reflects Nissan’s history of off-road racing and adventuring vehicles. We’re happy to oblige.

VLF Force 1 V10

The Force 1 is just the second product to come out of VLF Automotive. The joint automotive venture consists of former GM Chairman Bob Lutz, manufacturer Gilbert Villarreal and designer Henrik Fisker. The engine on the Force 1 is massive; the V10 engine boasts 745 horsepower and 638 pound-feet torque. But this impressive beast does not come without a price. VLF will only produce 50 Force 1’s and they’ll sell at $268,500 each.


Remember that if you see a rainbow in the next week, CHASE IT! Then cash in that gold for one of these impressive new vehicles.

CARCHEX 5×5 Workout

The 5×5 Workout at CARCHEX ( keeps our employees active throughout the workday. These quick workplace exercises are one reason why employees have voted CARCHEX a Top Workplaces in Baltimore. Our workplace wellness program is designed to motivate employees to live healthy lifestyles.

Valentine’s Day: Ditch the Date – Treat Your Car

Love is in the air for Valentine’s Day. If you don’t have a date you probably aren’t thrilled about the holiday.

So forget human companionship. Ditch the chocolates, candlelit dinner and oversized teddy bear. You can have an even better time with the real love of your life: your car.

Enjoy a Massage

Pick up some wax and treat your car to a nice rubdown. Don’t go cheap. Splurge a bit. Pick up one of the nicer brands. We suggest Liquid Glass, Mothers or Meguiar’s.

If you want to treat yourself too, go ahead and schedule an appointment with your local auto detailer. Sit back and relax while you watch your sweetheart get pampered.

Valentine's Day Car Wash

Take a Bubble Bath

Nix the candlelit bathtub and head to the carwash. If you’d rather bathe at home, pick up one of the top rated car wash soaps. You can also pick up some fancy tools like a wash mop stick kit, foaming sprayer or professional water hose. You can get some ideas here.

Dinner and a Movie

What’s better than an old-school night at the drive-in? Pick a flick and park your baby right under the screen. On the way there, grab a meal from your favorite drive-thru restaurant. Perfect date night!valentine

Present Her with a Single Rose

Like on The Bachelor, present your love with a single rose to tell her she’s the one. Purchase an auto vase, which clips to your vent and holds a live flower. Place a rose inside for Valentine’s Day and then switch out new flowers according to the season!

Spend Some Alone Time

Take your sweetheart out for a spin on an open country road. Crack the windows, crank some Marvin Gaye and enjoy quality time together. Plan ahead so you can pull over and enjoy a beautiful winter sunset.

As always, we encourage you to use protection. To learn more about our vehicle protection plans, give us a ring at 1-877-CARCHEX.

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