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Young people in hobby

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I know much has been written about the lack of young people in the hobby and how younger folks prefer customs or hot rods as we used to call them. This weekend I went to a local car show, not real big- abut 500 cars and I paid particular attention to the car owners. I was surprised to notice that most of the participants weren't particularly young. There was more grey hair than a retirement home and I saw three Walkers( the kind you push and hold on to to stay upright). It looks like the rod folks are in the same boat with the antique people, the only young ones were looking, not driving!!

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I'm 26 years old and have been involved in the hobby since I was a child. I have several collector cars/trucks and I enjoy them all. I have been showing a 1972 El Camino that my father and I restored since 1998 at various hot rod shows from Charlotte to Detroit to Allentown, Pa. I also have a 1959 Chevy Apache with a 402cu big block and I just finished some preservation efforts on a 1956 Mercedes 190SL that I'll be debuting at Hershey on Saturday.

The hobby, both modified and stock cars/trucks, is overwhelmingly dominated by older individuals however, I know several individuals who are my age that are interested in and own old cars.

I think a large problem is that the new cars are so readily availible that alot of the younger generations never had the opportunity or the desire to work on an older vehicle. Every year that this trend continues the less and less amount of "drivers" or "mechanics" we'll have for the older collector vehicles.

I love the hobby and am 100% devoted to it. With that said, I have met more terrific people through the hobby than any other way, hands down!

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Keep encouraging the young people. I got into this hobby when I was 25. My local AACA Chapter was made up of great older folks who encouraged me and my family. We still have a lot of nice older folks in the chapter. I am now 46 (so I am sort of the middle generation, some younger, some older).

While I have a lot of older friends now, I still try to encourage younger folks to join. Our chapter is still signing up young families. We are not growing super fast, but we are signing up more young people than we are losing to funerals.

As the younger generation reaches the point that they have a little bit more disposable income, they will buy some of those old cars that become available as the earlier owners get too old to enjoy them.

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I'm 29 and have a few cars as well as own a restoration shop restoring cars back to original. No Rods for me.. there's plenty of people who do that now.

In my area, there's very few in my age group that have old cars.

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I am 23 so we young guys are out there. I have found the biggest problem is money. We don't have as much disposable income and all the older guys with a ton of money drive the prices through the roof. This means that if you get an old car it is probably the only car you will have for a while. So instead of restoring it the focus is on making it drivable, reliable, comfortable or safe.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: caf</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I know much has been written about the lack of young people in the hobby and how younger folks prefer customs or hot rods as we used to call them. This weekend I went to a local car show, not real big- abut 500 cars and I paid particular attention to the car owners. I was surprised to notice that most of the participants weren't particularly young. There was more grey hair than a retirement home and I saw three Walkers( the kind you push and hold on to to stay upright). It looks like the rod folks are in the same boat with the antique people, the only young ones were looking, not driving!! </div></div>

I think the age of participants at some car shows depends greatly on the manufacturer of the vehicle.

I was at a brand specific show a couple of weekends ago.

There were about 1,000 cars on the show field and somewhere between 10,000-15,000 spectators.

The average age of the show car owners was in the low to mid 20's age group as were the spectators.

There were a couple of gray haired people on the staff and judging (I was one) and that was about it.

Certain brands of vehicles attract a young demographis and others not so young.

Unfortunately, sometimes those events with the younger demographic also attract less mature people which

can be a challenge when it comes to their conduct.

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I think that there is a lack of interest for a couple of reasons, First, the money or percieved cost of restoration, people automatically think that they have to dump 10 grand into a paint job second, the cost of a car, many common models are commanding rip off prices and finally the lack of disposable funds and the inability of some 'classic car owners' to inspire young people and encourage them instead of shunning them in the fear that there might be a fingerprint on their car! I am 19 and the cars of the 40's are my favorite, and they must be original! No hot rod crap or modified junk! (sorry!) Also, I own the cars in my sig. below the '21, '41 and the '78 I was in the right place at the right time as they belonged to family. But the '48 and the Mustang I had to buy at a higher cost and the benefits far outweigh the cost! I will never sell any of them because they have sentimental value, but, I always tell people that having my 5 old cars is cheaper than having one new one! And people always tell me that you must have money to have old cars and I reply that I DONT have money because I have old cars!

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I am 28, and have been into old american iron since I was a really young kid. My father used to take me to the drag strip when I was barely old enough to know what was going on around me.

I have a website (www.american-muscle.net) where we have about 80 members in the forums that are interested in old cars, and also fall into the same age bracket as myself. Most of them younger than myself.

Along with what has already been said, I think the main problems with getting the "younger" crowd into the old car hobby are 2 things:

1. Movies like "The Fast and The Furious". After seeing those movies, the kids think that they can slap a giant muffler on their mother's 1986 Nissan Sentra and outrun Vipers and Grand Nationals.

2. Barrett Jackson. Need I say more? Because of Barrett Jackson, some people think that rusty old Nova in their backyard is now worth 25 grand as it sits. This makes it hard for the younger crowd to get their hands on an older car.

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I'm a little older than most of the guys here (43) but I grew up in the antique car hobbby and never cared much for street rods but always appreciated the work that goes into building them. I dropped out of the hobby - (but always made it to Hershey - this year making it consecutive year number 35) after my kids were born but got back into it when they got excited seeing grandpa's old cars and wanting to ride in them. So I bought a '71 Buick GS with air and now enjoy going to local car shows and cruise nights with my wife and 2 girls. It is a nice presentable car that drives great and didn't cost a lot of money but is not a show car. So people can get into the hobbby if they buy right.

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Here's my view, but you won't like it!!

I'm 31. I have been working on my 57 Plymouth since I was 15. I am now at the point where I want it to be restored correct, not just a nice cruiser like it has been. Don't get me wrong, I'm going to continue to drive the wheels off it. I put 5-7000 miles per year on the car. But I am only now at the stage where I can afford to spend real money on it. So since I am now planning a frame off restoration for the car I am gathering information on what is right and wrong with the car as it sits. This is why I have been hangining out on this forum and why I joined the Plymouth Owner's Club. I want information on how to restore my car correctly.

With that in mind, I went to my first points judged style show. I have been to hundreds of local shows and have piles of trophies, but I have not gone to a points style show before this summer.

Since I didn't care about winning, I only wanted info, I asked a lot of questions of the judges about what is right and wrong. Most of the judges were very helpful and friendly. Some didn't know a lot of specifics about my particular year model, which is okay because I didn't expect all of the judges to know everything about every car. Some judges were out and out jerks. One told me that I "should already know what's wrong with the car, so go away," or "you are just a hot-rodder trying to ruin the car."

That attitude will likely run me out of the POC permanently. I want to enter the car in it's first AACA judged show in the spring at AutoFair. If that attitude is what I can expect to find, I will not join the AACA or show there. I know I am just one man, but I have friends that I will tell.

If the attitude is that the judges are holy men that are not to be spoken to, young guys will not want to participate. It is much harder to restore a car than modify one. If a younger man is interested in restoring a car, the management of the AACA should want to help out, not chastize.

Think about this; it has already been stated here that most people with restored cars are older. When the older men are dead, who will be the next to have the cars? If there is no knowledge base on what is correct, that information is gone forever. So, any younger guy interested in restoring a car should be taught as much as he can absorb so future generations can see restored cars instead of only modified cars.

Also, Barret Jackson is ruining the hobby. Shill buyers running up prices on a few cars is running up prices on every rusty old heap in the back yard. Trust me, I have seen this personally. I have made offers and been told "did you see that auction on TV? This car is worth a lot of money." Sure, your rusted to death four door 57 Plymouth is worth $10K just because a restored 57 Fury in immacualte condition sold for $20K. Right, whatever you say.

Like it or not, attitude will kill this hobby. The older generation must be willing to help the younger generation learn. Arrogant judges, stand-offish owners, and greedy sellers will put a lot of good cars in junkyards over time.

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After reading a lot of discussions like this I wondered what it would be like bringing my 38 to school spring of senior year, as it would be roadworthy in time for that.

Everyone went nuts. A friend orchestrated a "senior skip day party/barbecue" at a local town park one day and I brought it there and everyone wanted to sit inside and check out the car. It seems like being exposed to it up close like that really generates at least some kind of interest. Hell I was 13 years olf when the Fast and The Furious came out. A year earlier my dad brought the '79 Triumph Spitfire home from his parents house where it sat since I was born, and got it back running again. I was sitting in class drawing up ideas of how to "rice out" that thing!!!!! The movie influenced me too. Then fast forward a few years and I work on this thing, the novelty of how different everything is with this car yanked me away from the import-tuner stuff quick (not that I ever was too interested in it in the first place).

But I guess it goes along with whats been said here, if owners are too tightly wound with protecting their vehicle at public shows and dont give people an up-close look, then the interest won't hit them.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: 57plymouth</div><div class="ubbcode-body">With that in mind, I went to my first points judged style show. I have been to hundreds of local shows and have piles of trophies, but I have not gone to a points style show before this summer.

Since I didn't care about winning, I only wanted info, I asked a lot of questions of the judges about what is right and wrong. Most of the judges were very helpful and friendly. Some didn't know a lot of specifics about my particular year model, which is okay because I didn't expect all of the judges to know everything about every car. Some judges were out and out jerks. One told me that I "should already know what's wrong with the car, so go away," or "you are just a hot-rodder trying to ruin the car."

That attitude will likely run me out of the POC permanently. I want to enter the car in it's first AACA judged show in the spring at AutoFair. If that attitude is what I can expect to find, I will not join the AACA or show there. I know I am just one man, but I have friends that I will tell.

If the attitude is that the judges are holy men that are not to be spoken to, young guys will not want to participate. It is much harder to restore a car than modify one. If a younger man is interested in restoring a car, the management of the AACA should want to help out, not chastize.</div></div>

Try applying to Concours events. Many think that a car has to be perfect to be in the events. That's not true at all. As a recruiter and organizer we strive to give the public a good show. That means diversity.

For the very reasons you state, I refuse to participate in a point's judged show. I like people telling me what they like about my car, not what's "wrong" with it.

I quoted "wrong" because what's "wrong" in one show is likely correct in another. Most "experts" really don't know precise answers.

Concours are simply beauty contests. At Eyes on Design a couple of years ago a Riviera won best of class even though it had visible rust bubbles on the doors and front fenders.

I'll state this once again, blaming the "rich guys" for the escalating price of cars is misplaced. How about the poor guy that sat on that Hemi for 20 years? Shouldn't the responsibility be on the seller, not the buyer? I've never heard of a buyer that would say, "I'll give you $200,000 more than your car is worth". Have you?

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57 Plymouth, you should join AACA, go to Autofair, attend the judging school, and get active in the hobby as both a judge, and as an exhibitor. To best get started, go ahead and read the judging manual, which is available right here on this site.

I look forward to meeting you and your car at Autofair next year.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: MCHinson</div><div class="ubbcode-body">57 Plymouth, you should join AACA, go to Autofair, attend the judging school, and get active in the hobby as both a judge, and as an exhibitor. To best get started, go ahead and read the judging manual, which is available right here on this site.

I look forward to meeting you and your car at Autofair next year. </div></div>

Does this school teach more about correct restoration? Is there an online course? What does it entail? What would I learn about proper restoration? I've read the judging manual, and it is quite nebulous as to what's right and wrong in my opinion.

I can't get to Hershey. It's too far away, and my wife only has so much vacation time every year. I have to choose my vacation time carefully. Right now, I would be more inclined to go to the Mopar Carlisle show and the Camaro shows near Atlanta than to Hershey.

If I were to join the only AACA event around here is Autofair, which is just now becoming a points show. Problem is that I am the co-ordinator for the Piedmont Performance All American Car Club for Autofair, so I show with them. Does the AACA judge cars showing with other clubs if they are AACA members?

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There are AACA Judging schools held at locations throughout the country in conjunction with AACA Shows. You don't have to go to Hershey for the judging school.

There is going to be a National AACA show at next year's April Charlotte AutoFair. If you can figure out the timing, you should consider entering your car in that event as well as attending a Judging School.

Where is it that you live? Hornets Nest Region's AutoFair is a very busy event. Depending on where you live, You might also want to consider checking out the NC Region or some other Regions of AACA that are near you. Some of the smaller AACA Region Shows might be a good start for you.

If you are interested PM me with a phone number and I can give you a call and answer some of your questions better verbally than trying to explain them at the keyboard.

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I never thought that the fast and furious thing was 'cool' I thought that they were all pieces of junk. I have always been a fan of the 40's and before when they built great long lasting cars that were made from steel not plastic like cars of today, also because they are unique and have those big pontoon fenders! Case and point, today I was in Math class and for our attendance one of us a week gets to think of a question of the day (this is college remember!) so, mine was what is your favorite car and why? I put down the 40-48 Lincoln Continental, because it was luxury and technology far ahead of the time, and only one other person in the class put down a classic car-a '69 vette. Others put down things like BMW's, Scions (junk!), and Hummers (what is wrong with them!). I think that young people have not been inspired in the hobby and are just stuck into what is new and the 'in' thing, text messaging and talking on the phone as long as my grandma does! and that you have to go fast in the fast paced world, no one cares about the oldies any more.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: MCHinson</div><div class="ubbcode-body">There are AACA Judging schools held at locations throughout the country in conjunction with AACA Shows. You don't have to go to Hershey for the judging school.

There is going to be a National AACA show at next year's April Charlotte AutoFair. If you can figure out the timing, you should consider entering your car in that event as well as attending a Judging School. </div></div>

What is the advantage of Judging School? What does it teach? What is the cirriculum, the rule book?

When I go to AF, I go for the show and the swap meet. It's only two days, so how long is this class? Couldn't it be taught online?

Maybe I want too much...

After dealing with those two arrogant a$$holes that judged the interior of my car and refused to talk to me, I wonder if this whole points thing is even for me. I don't want to associate with people that refuse to talk with me when they are looking at my car.

What exactly happens when my car is judged? If judges are looking at my car, I WILL ask them questions. If they will not answer they don't need to be judging my car. I would rather know now what will happen before I spend all the money to join the AACA, register for a show that I could be at for free with my current club, and drive the car up for the show and rent a hotel room.

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Your quote of "spend all the money to join the AACA" puzzles me. It is $35 per year and includes a magazine worth much more than that by itself.

So, why not join the club, enjoy the magazine, participate in a local Region or Chapter, attend local shows, and don't worry about national shows unless you reach a point to where you are interested in that portion of the hobby. I was a member for over 20 years before I attended my first National Meet, and have enjoyed the club on different levels for all of those years.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: 1948Lincoln</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Others put down things like BMW's, Scions (junk!), and Hummers (what is wrong with them!).</div></div>

Scion's and Hummers? Yuck!

Honestly, in 20 years do they see themselves wanting a classic Scion?

*Hey guys, check out this barn find I just got. It's an all original Scion Xb complete with Ipod hookup! I'm going to restore this classic beauty and put it in shows*

Pass....

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*sigh* Yeah I cant imagine that either. I just cant. Obviously someday it WILL be very old and stuff like that but it just lacks so much character compared to the stuff from the earlier part of last century.

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I can appreciate some of the frustration 57 Plymouth is trying to express. I am 39 and have been involved with the hobby for over 25 years now and am not especially happy with it myself. I think by it's very nature of requiring disposable time and money the old car hobby naturally skews older--a teenager may have the time and passion but not the $$$ and a twenty or thirtysomething has other demands on his resources. But mostly, as 57 Plymouth points out, ours is often not a welcoming bunch.

Why is that? It has always been that way and I really do not know why. As a teenager in the early 1980's prewar oriented old timers were often a bit cool to me, maybe they assumed a kid must be into street rods and not appreciate their history and authenticity, or so I thought. But as I approach 40 nothing has changed, the gray hairs are still cool, I guess because I am still not old enough.

Further, speaking for myself in central IL, there are lots of local cruises and such and nobody else into improving authenticity or skills, as 57 Plymouth wishes. To him I will encourage spending the $35 to join the AACA to discover that you are not alone or stuck with annoying old timers in the Plymouth club. Join the judging program (you will be welcomed) and you can both learn, network, and be nice to the car owners. Good luck, 57 Pontiac

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What I find is interesting is that people will buy cars that they had or wanted in their youth, that is why you see so many 50's-70's cars years ago, like my grandpa's generation were into the 40's and before because, those were the cars that they had or wanted when they were young. Back then those cars commanded high prices (for the time) now, it is the 50's-70's cars.

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Was at Chicashaw PreWar Swap my first time this year... lots of folks buying and selling Wed/Thurs/Fri. By Friday evening 70% or so of the vendors were packed and back on the road.

On Saturday the locals showed up with their kids. I counted at least a dozen families ( with wide eyes kids ) wandering around with VERY little to look at.

I know that Chicashaw is just a swap meet and not a showing... but it was very obvious that the vendors were there for the money, or at least that's my humble opinion. Bummer the day will be when those kids grow up and go out and buy a Honda Accord with their vendor monies and go nuts with a first class frame off restoration.

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The more things change, the more they stay the same. My father started out in the hobby as a teenager in the late 1950s. He had cars of the 30s because he thought they were neat. His first car was a 1934 Buick that he got with a blown engine, that he was going to make a hot rod out of because that was what all the kids at school were doing. Luckily he met a man only a few years older than himself that helped him to get the car running and taught him about antique cars.

He joined AACA around 1959 and has been a member ever since.

When I was a youth, and wanted to get my own car, the only thing I could afford at the time was a Corvair. This was in 1988. I thought they were interesting because they were air-cooled just like Dad's Franklin. Dad thought of it as just a used car. Today, the newest Corvair is older than the 1934 Buick was when my dad got it.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I can appreciate some of the frustration 57 Plymouth is trying to express. </div></div>

Gentlemen, I think you are narrowing your scope too much in what the AACA can do for you. The "expense" of joining the AACA can not be measured in money alone. Car shows and judging is a very small part of our hobby. You must remember that joining a small local AACA region can open up avenues of new friendships, touring places you've never seen before, in your own backyard. These new friends can put you onto car deals you never thought possible before. People/friends is where it's at. smile.gif

Belonging to AACA National has many new rewards as listed on the front page of this web site. Why, just one trip a year to the now free AACA Museum is certainly worth a lot to just see the ever changing format. Researching the library for those small details you couldn't find before is now free up to a point.

May I also mention that you'll even learn something new in life if you particapate in the club. Education has no price tag. Just ask me! The AACA has taught me that any poor old farm boy can learn how to write and publish an interesting newsletter, something I wouldn't have thought possible 15 years ago. Seriously, I can not put a value on that.

You see, the more you put into a club, the more you'll get out of it! smile.gif

Wayne

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