After hearing the decision Tuesday to shrink the event from four to two nights, one of the show's organizers murmured angry threats to call the event off completely.
"I really don't know whether we can successfully pull off two shows," said David Miller, another organizer.
Several local business owners attended Tuesday's council meeting to voice concerns. They said the show's large and rowdy crowds make it impossible for them to do business during those nights, which deals a significant financial blow.
The two nights freed up by the cancelled shows would be used to host a new event called Shop Local, meant to promote local businesses.
"It would be great if we could open up the other nights for people who really live and shop in Danville," said Tina Wong, owner of Molly's Pup-Purr-Ee on Hartz Avenue.
Hot Summer Nights was started 13 years ago to boost business downtown. But some argue that as it's grown over the years it's had the opposite effect. Though restaurants see a boom, most retail shops are forced to close during those nights.
At the meeting Councilman Mike Doyle said even though Danville is in good financial shape now, it's important to be careful, especially during an economic slump.
"Each car show costs the town a significant amount of money," he said. "You can't wait until a roof is leaking until you fix it. You have to be prepared."
But supporters of the show say the 60,000 or so people it attracts to Danville each summer is a great benefit to the town.
The debate wasn't just business owners vs. car enthusiasts - the council itself was split 3-2 on whether or not to scale back the event. Councilwoman Karen Stepper spoke in favor of keeping all four shows, saying the costs to the town are negligible and outweighed by the benefits. Councilman Mike Shimansky also voted to keep four.
Council members advocating to shrink the event said it would not only help retailers but also assuage residents' concerns about vandalism, underage drinking, traffic and parking.
Miller plans to take a 60-day grace period to meet with the third organizer, Tony Carnemolla, to see if it's possible to keep the event intact with only two shows.
"Personally I prefer two shows vs. no shows, but we need to explore that possibility," Miller said Wednesday.