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Lowering Average Age of Members


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My name is Bill, I am a student at Polk State College located in Winter Haven, Florida and my professor is a long time member of your club. He has assigned me a case analysis of AACA with the problem of "Lowering the average age of members from 60 to 50."

I have done alot of research on your club including getting a few questions answered via your club's email address already. I do not want you to do my homework, I am just interested in getting your opinions on a few issues just like a good manager would like to get feedback down the chain of command at your job. I apologize if it offends you as it was not meant that way.

1) What do you consider your club's "Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Threats?"

2) Why do you think the average member's age is 60 and would you like to see it lowered to 50 or lower?"

3) If you would like to see the average member's age lowered, what would you do to lower it?

4) The yearly membership base is rising slightly every year, do you prefer quantity or quality of members?

5) Any other feedback that you feel is relevant?

I want to thank you personally in advance for your help, again it is not my intention for you to do my work, if you feel that way, please do not reply.

Edited by bubbafla
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Welcome to the AACA Discussion Forum.

Before trying to answer your question, I would ask where does your professor get his data that the average age is 60 from? That seems like a nice even number which immediately makes me think it was plucked out of the thin air instead of from any actual data.

1. The club's strength is primarily the people and the club's activities. I don't really perceive weaknesses, opportunities or threats in the context of AACA. Membership in AACA is not going to be attractive to everybody. Only some people are interested in antique cars. We are not like a for profit company that needs to worry about building market share.

2. I question what it actually is, and I don't see the need to worry about manipulating it.

3. N/A

4. The quality of the club's programs will continue to attract members. I don't think you can discuss members in the context of quantity or quality, i.e. (What do you mean by "quality of members"?

5. The financial cost of owning antique cars and the cost of attending events is going to tend to attract older members who are more likely to be able to afford this hobby. I have been a member of the club, locally, regionally, and nationally since I was in my 30's. I am now 52 and can afford to take part in more club activities than I could when I was younger. Being retired also helps members have the time to participate in club activities much more than when they are in the prime working and child rearing years.

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Bill, What is your point? I'm almost 62 and got into the Hobby when I was 10 years old, I was always the "Kid" in the car club. if you don't have an interest in Old cars no matter how old you are you are not going to join a club. Just what makes you think joining a club will make the hobby more interesting? I was far more active in club things in the 1990's, paid my dues, worked all the jobs, totaly burned out now. All I want is my club magazine and my Hershey swap meet spaces. Bob

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1) What do you consider your club's "Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Threats?"

Strengths: Library of Car information, Web sites, Club Magazine, Shows, Tours, and the most

knowledgeable people with similar

interests

Weaknesses: It's spread over 50 States and the whole world and becomes distant to some members.

Opportunities: Car facts, advice, restoration validation, meet the nicest people, Tour with antique cars.

Threats: That the old car guys get older and the younger people don't like our old cars for fun.

2) Why do you think the average member's age is 60 and would you like to see it lowered to 50 or lower?"

Because many of us started with old cars when a 10 year old car was old, not we don't consider anything

less than 25 years old to be an antique. We aged with our cars. We need to remember that a 85 year

old likes cars from the 1930's and 40's. A guy 65, like cars form the 50's & 60's anf a guy 45, lie cars

from the 70's and 80's. There is room for all of us.

3) If you would like to see the average member's age lowered, what would you do to lower it? If I was a pre-

WWII car guy, I'd take an interest in some post WWII cars and people and right up the car time line.

4) The yearly membership base is rising slightly every year, do you prefer quantity or quality of members?

I'd like to see people participate without feeling they had to have the best car in the world to do it. There's

a lot more to then hobby than a trophy.

5) Any other feedback that you feel is relevant? For us, driving the antique cars on tours is the highlight of

membership. Our 78 year old car is a great pleasure seeing America on the back roads along with other

cars of similar vintage. Even the occasional Show with people of a similar interest is a fun & educational

hobby.

Some of our members forget that we often bought these pieces of automotive history for a fraction of their

todays worth. We can't expect a lot of young folks to afford exactly what we like,

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I'll take a stab at this...

I'm guessing the average age of 60 was a theoretical statement for the sake of the project, and the age of 50 is likewise a theoretical goal, I'll answer with that in mind.

1) What do you consider your club's "Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Threats?"

Strengths primarily include fellowship among like-minded individuals, male and female, who have a common yet broad passion that allows us all to contribute to the knowledge base. Weakness, I couldn't presume to know. Opportunities would be the real world opportunity to gather, convive and drive together. Threats, will go out on a limb and say that the biggest threat to membership is closed-mindedness. Not just in this club but any and all clubs that rely on a predominately older base, as those individuals, by nature, tend to be more conservative in thinking and perhaps less accepting of the ways and culture of younger members. To grow, one must be tolerant, open and accepting, even if some opinions go against our own.

2) Why do you think the average member's age is 60 and would you like to see it lowered to 50 or lower?"

I believe the age is a direct correlation to the subject matter, antique automobiles. People tend to buy the items later in life that they could not afford to indulge in as youths. The younger set may very well be active in other similar clubs but those focused on muscle cars, Japanese customs, etc. I would like to see it lowered to 50, but not by ridding the club of older members in any way but simply by adding enough younger members on the other extreme end of the range that the average works itself out. The hobby will only survive if we nurture the next generation.

3) If you would like to see the average member's age lowered, what would you do to lower it?

I think the broad reach of this forum is the greatest resource for finding, accepting and maintaining younger members. Outreach at local cars shows is important too, maybe with something more "hands on" since younger people tend to prefer short but informative pitches. Offering rides at a local event, maybe for fee or for low cost, a couple of bucks, will put a younger person in the seat of something he may have never otherwise had the opportunity to even sit inside of. These moments leave lasting impressions and we probably all have our own similar stories from our youth that helped usher our interest in these cars.

4) The yearly membership base is rising slightly every year, do you prefer quantity or quality of members?

Quantity is necessary to fund the efforts of the club through membership, but clearly quality is the goal. I have faith, however, that most people who seek out the club for membership are likely already quality individuals that would be welcome at any event.

5) Any other feedback that you feel is relevant?

I feel membership drives can best be achieved by direct interaction so members could try to think of family members or relatives who may not necessarily enjoy cars, but someone they may enjoy spending time with. Take them to a show that you don't mind leaving early so they don't get bored, try for events with other things going on like live music, food, games or racing. I've gotten at least two of my friends interested in cars simply by inviting them to a car show with me. The first one is usually a bit harrowing or intimidating for someone that's never been, then they start to see all the cool chrome, fins, little details like clocks and odd steering wheels and cool interiors. Next show, they meet some of the characters behind the cars, maybe hear a few start up and drive, and maybe sit in one that catches their eye. Those two friends, who were previously quite happy with a Toyota Matrix and a Chrysler Sebring have between them already bought a Porsche and are considering purchases as varied as a Volvo P1800, a BMW 635csi, and an MG. While it took a good deal of effort, that's success in my book.

I'm in my 30's for the record, so I'm already lowering the average age around here. :P

Edited by MarrsCars (see edit history)
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1) What do you consider your club's "Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Threats?"

Strength; Size of membership, inclusive of all makes, like minded people.

Weaknesses: sensitive of calling a spade a spade. Allowing more deviation in principals on the local level.

Opportunities: Most all big events are on the east coast, so there is little opportunities for someone out west.

Threats? Government intrusion, Will we have the type of fuel and fuel supply we need to keep our cars running and at a affordable cost? I will say the fuel is already unsuitable. Interest for a younger generation, and how can you spark interest when kids are taught in school that cars are bad necessities in life that we would be better off without cars.

2) Why do you think the average member's age is 60 and would you like to see it lowered to 50 or lower?"

People have more time and disposable income when they are older. Doesn't really matter what age.

3) If you would like to see the average member's age lowered, what would you do to lower it?

Good question so refer back to question 1 and how to you change a changing society??? Overwhelming odds of not being able to change the course of this Titanic.

4. The quality of the club's programs will continue to attract members. I don't think you can discuss members in the context of quantity or quality, i.e. (What do you mean by "quality of members"?

For myself quality of members means people who I can talk car talk with and not just a social tea party club. I'm certainly more interested in someone who painted his own car, rebuilt his transmission, overhauled his brakes, suspension and what were the cam specifications on the engine he just rebuilt himself than the guy that PAID to have it done.

So quality over quantity for sure I mean were here because we like cars aren't we.

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Mc Hinson, I don't know if the age was made up or not but an example of my research (by RW Burgess Administrator)

http://forums.aaca.org/f127/youth-membership-203699.html

Despite our best efforts, we're not reaching enough young people to increase our membership. I have just returned from the Syracuse Nationals observing the "other" side....and participating. I met up with my Oneita Lake counterpart, Paul Beyer, and had dinner one evening. Naturally the club membership problem came up. His region has about 75 members, and Paul is the youngest at 65 (?) years of age.

Welcome to the AACA Discussion Forum.

Before trying to answer your question, I would ask where does your professor get his data that the average age is 60 from? That seems like a nice even number which immediately makes me think it was plucked out of the thin air instead of from any actual data.

1. The club's strength is primarily the people and the club's activities. I don't really perceive weaknesses, opportunities or threats in the context of AACA. Membership in AACA is not going to be attractive to everybody. Only some people are interested in antique cars. We are not like a for profit company that needs to worry about building market share.

2. I question what it actually is, and I don't see the need to worry about manipulating it.

3. N/A

4. The quality of the club's programs will continue to attract members. I don't think you can discuss members in the context of quantity or quality, i.e. (What do you mean by "quality of members"?

5. The financial cost of owning antique cars and the cost of attending events is going to tend to attract older members who are more likely to be able to afford this hobby. I have been a member of the club, locally, regionally, and nationally since I was in my 30's. I am now 52 and can afford to take part in more club activities than I could when I was younger. Being retired also helps members have the time to participate in club activities much more than when they are in the prime working and child rearing years.

Edited by bubbafla (see edit history)
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1) Interest for a younger generation, and how can you spark interest when kids are taught in school that cars are bad necessities in life that we would be better off without cars.

What are you talking about? I am a high school teacher, and while I agree that younger kids today largely could care less about old cars, I have never once heard of any teacher in my schools bad mouthing them. Unfortunately, state curriculums have left no room for students to learn a trade, which is 100% sad and stupid, but to say that my coworkers and I are actively promoting the death of the old car hobby is flat wrong. I promote it every chance I get.

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The other guys have already touched on a lot. My 2 cents:

Thanks to reality TV most people have become convinced that an old car has to be modified and have a modern drivetrain to be desirable or even driveable. Those shows have done immense damage to the car hobby.

Another thing is the auctions- they have priced a lot of fun cars out of reach of the younger hobbyist who has a house payment and family to manage, and have created an investment and financial mindset to the point people can't enjoy a car anymore for obsessing over its value. They have done irreparable damage to the car hobby.

Finally, a mindset has taken hold that old cars are inherently unsafe because they don't have modern safety equipment, and younger hobbyists (and the wives tend to be more guilty of this) refuse to allow their families to ride in one.

True old car people are a limited and special breed of people who can appreciate their old iron for what it is. Younger generation often cannot do that, simply because of the technology overload they've been exposed to since they were born.

But, for a young person who is mechanically minded and likes to tinker and see how things work, and who prizes simplicity, an old car is the perfect hobby. Unfortunately, available time and money affect that, same as in any other hobby or pastime.

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Interesting, that is why we have a glut of college educated unemployed with parents that have a bill they rarely outlive. Bob

What are you talking about? I am a high school teacher, and while I agree that younger kids today largely could care less about old cars, I have never once heard of any teacher in my schools bad mouthing them. Unfortunately, state curriculums have left no room for students to learn a trade, which is 100% sad and stupid, but to say that my coworkers and I are actively promoting the death of the old car hobby is flat wrong. I promote it every chance I get.

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OK, Here's my two cents worth too.

1) What do you consider your club's "Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Threats?"

The biggest strength I see in the AACA is its numbers, and quality of membership of similar minded people who like to keep the older cars original and unmodified. I don't know very many young people who do not appreciate or like an antique car when they see one. I live in a college area and I know over the years I've gotten many a thumbs up when I drove my cars by the younger crowd. I would say sometime the weekness is our lack of welcoming to the younger generation. At meetings we tend to stick to our similar age friends and fail to bridge the gap to make the younger person feel at home. They already have an age gap, and they feel they have nothing in common with the older crowd. Been that way for years and probably will be for years. How many of your Dad's liked your music or friends, the length of your hair etc. The AACA is tackling the opportunities by many members taking younger people on rides and teaching them to drive the older cars, having Junior Judging classes etc. The threat to the club is that it will begin to die in say 20 years when all the median age people get to their 80's or so. This is not a unique situation to the AACA. I belong to several clubs and have been involved in several activities for years. My other hobby is Civil War reenacting and there too we've seen a major drop in younger people participating. 1990's we could field 30,000 or more for some big events, some military companies had 160 plus people, not many of the bigger ones have dropped to 30 or less. The younger people would rather play a Nintendo game or party with friends than roll their sleeves up and get dirty and sweaty. Why kids don't even go out and play outside much anymore.

2) Why do you think the average member's age is 60 and would you like to see it lowered to 50 or lower?"

Like others have said, I think that the membership is older because we now have the time and money to spend on these cars. Most younger people are just trying to keep their heads above water, establish a career, do the family thing like soccer practice and dance class etc and really don't have the time or money to spend on the hobby. When they get home after a day at work and running around they just want to crash in front of their TV.

3) If you would like to see the average member's age lowered, what would you do to lower it?

The only way to bring the younger people in is through education. We members need to let them drive our cars, show up at car shows, take some interest in them and try to teach them the value of preserving history. Has anyone ever contacted the local High School that has a shop class and offered to take in their car to show the students. You now have all these trade schools like Devry Teck, and others that teach motorcycle and car mechanics. I bet if you contacted the teacher he would welcome you for a day so the class could look over your car. Who knows the seed might be placed in one of them.

4) The yearly membership base is rising slightly every year, do you prefer quantity or quality of members?

I think quality is better than quantity.

5) Any other feedback that you feel is relevant?

Your fortunate being in the Lakeland, Florida area as you have a great chapter of the AACA there that is very active and have often put on Regional events. Maybe at the next show local schools could be contacted and offered a field trip to expose younger people to the cars and shows. Also, I don't think we should lower our standards or criteria just to bring in the young. That's one of the strong points of the AACA.

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bubbafla,

I don't know how to help you. You are quoting something that my good friend Wayne Burgess wrote in 2005 on this discussion forum as an example of your "research". It seems to indicate declining membership, but AACA membership is growing these days. I suggest you probably need to do some better research. Perhaps you can contact our Executive Director for some facts and figures. Anybody can type about anything on this or any similar discussion forum. That does not make it fact, and if it is correct, the facts can later change. AACA needs to continue to be the best antique car club in the world and the members will be those who wish to be members. Your case study seems seriously flawed from the initial question. The demographics of the hobby will be dictated by those who are interested in the hobby. Good luck.

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What are you talking about? I am a high school teacher, and while I agree that younger kids today largely could care less about old cars, I have never once heard of any teacher in my schools bad mouthing them. Unfortunately, state curriculums have left no room for students to learn a trade, which is 100% sad and stupid, but to say that my coworkers and I are actively promoting the death of the old car hobby is flat wrong. I promote it every chance I get.

Just come out to the left coast and see for yourself. We hear what the grand kids are saying to us and we hear it from their parents too. We hear it in the media all the time and the sentiment has become woven into the fabric of everyday life. It has become the norm. It's not just old cars, but industry too. I was on the community advisory board for a major oil refiner in my city. The public perception( young and older) of that company was amazing even though through taxes and generous contributions to the city, schools in particular. Some of us advisers suggested that the refinery had better get into the schools just like the environmental groups do to show their side of the story. Yes environmental groups volunteer their time. Just remember what shows up here usually shows up eventually in the rest of the country. Next year we get California Cap and Trade, our utilities are going to triple and what do you think gas prices will do, groceries? Not to mention that many companies have left the state ( the one I retired from too) which will leave the rest of the property owners holding the bag. There is talk if the state can't meet it's carbon offset that it will bring back into the state emission test program cars that have been exempt ( 1966-1975 ) and BTW by law those cars MUST have ALL the emission equipment they came with new-testing or no. The collector market here in this state is about zero for cars built after 1975 because 1976 and newer will never get a exemption by law..think about what would happen if 1966-1975 cars were pulled back in. So membership dies if you do this, and even if we don't pull those cars back into testing the 1976 and newer cars will never become collectible and those cars because of their entry level low prices are where new members come from.

D.

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Interesting, that is why we have a glut of college educated unemployed with parents that have a bill they rarely outlive. Bob

I totally agree about this...we need skilled trades right now, and it's not happening. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that these tradesmen and women have to come from somewhere, and if we don't foster that interest at a young age, we're sunk. Therefore, we're sinking. I can say that this is not coming from the classroom teacher, but from state curriculum guides that make ALL kids take certain classes that won't do them much good unless they're college-bound.

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Just come out to the left coast and see for yourself. We hear what the grand kids are saying to us and we hear it from their parents too. We hear it in the media all the time and the sentiment has become woven into the fabric of everyday life. It has become the norm. It's not just old cars, but industry too. I was on the community advisory board for a major oil refiner in my city. The public perception( young and older) of that company was amazing even though through taxes and generous contributions to the city, schools in particular. Some of us advisers suggested that the refinery had better get into the schools just like the environmental groups do to show their side of the story. Yes environmental groups volunteer their time. Just remember what shows up here usually shows up eventually in the rest of the country. Next year we get California Cap and Trade, our utilities are going to triple and what do you think gas prices will do, groceries? Not to mention that many companies have left the state ( the one I retired from too) which will leave the rest of the property owners holding the bag. There is talk if the state can't meet it's carbon offset that it will bring back into the state emission test program cars that have been exempt ( 1966-1975 ) and BTW by law those cars MUST have ALL the emission equipment they came with new-testing or no. The collector market here in this state is about zero for cars built after 1975 because 1976 and newer will never get a exemption by law..think about what would happen if 1966-1975 cars were pulled back in. So membership dies if you do this, and even if we don't pull those cars back into testing the 1976 and newer cars will never become collectible and those cars because of their entry level low prices are where new members come from.

D.

It may be our geography here. I know in Michigan, at least where I'm from, there's an old car on just about every block. The city where I teach hosts a HUGE car show, and the car is a lifestyle. But that's going to change, for the reasons many have eloquently mentioned above.

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Kids today are taught that cars are no more than a basic transportation necessity that are destroying the environment because they are not sufficiently "Green". This attitude has been promoted by special interest groups such as ethanol/corn prometers. There are states, not only California, as mentioned above, that have enacted regulations that make antique car ownership prohibitive. With this atmosphere why would anybody under 25 or 30 have any interest in environmentally unsafe old cars?

The US is no longer the worlds major industrial power with a strong industrial base. It seems as though todays kids are taught that industry is not politically correct and that they should concentrate on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. It's more fun to play computer games and send hundreds of texts a day than it is to mees around with some dirt oldy piece of machinery !

It is too bad that todays schools teach nothing about how automobile manufacturing accouinted for a large percentage of our GDP and employment in the 20th Century. More disturbing is the lack of knowlrdge about how the automobile shaped the culture and history of our country. Take a look at high school text books and you will be amazed at the dribble that is called history or social studies. Again, under these circumstances, why would there be any interest in old cars.

In spite of the above scenario, it is truly gratifying and encouraging to see places like the REVS Institute, McPherson, and others offering such great programs.

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Guys,

The heartbeat of future auto enthusiasts is very very strong. It just that their interest in cars is different than ours. Check out this cruise night video from my neck of the woods.. Hundreds of cars, lots of folks and not a gray hair in the bunch!!!

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Kids today are taught that cars are no more than a basic transportation necessity that are destroying the environment because they are not sufficiently "Green". This attitude has been promoted by special interest groups such as ethanol/corn prometers. There are states, not only California, as mentioned above, that have enacted regulations that make antique car ownership prohibitive. With this atmosphere why would anybody under 25 or 30 have any interest in environmentally unsafe old cars?

The US is no longer the worlds major industrial power with a strong industrial base. It seems as though todays kids are taught that industry is not politically correct and that they should concentrate on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. It's more fun to play computer games and send hundreds of texts a day than it is to mees around with some dirt oldy piece of machinery !

It is too bad that todays schools teach nothing about how automobile manufacturing accouinted for a large percentage of our GDP and employment in the 20th Century. More disturbing is the lack of knowlrdge about how the automobile shaped the culture and history of our country. Take a look at high school text books and you will be amazed at the dribble that is called history or social studies. Again, under these circumstances, why would there be any interest in old cars.

In spite of the above scenario, it is truly gratifying and encouraging to see places like the REVS Institute, McPherson, and others offering such great programs.

This is a example of what the kids come home from school with;

[TABLE=class: cms_table, width: 100%]

<tbody>[TR]

[TD]choking_earth.gif

[/TD]

[/TR]

</tbody>[/TABLE]

[TABLE=width: 100%]

[TR]

[TD=width: 10%]dot.gif[/TD]

[TD=width: 90%, align: left]Smoke and stuff from factories, cars and trucks

This is the tikitiny.gifpollution everybody sees and knows about. You can't miss it, can you? Every time you go anywhere in a car or walk in the street, you smell the stink of exhaust fumes. Sometimes the exhaust fumes get so thick they form a sort of fog. People call this 'photo.pnggrills (you know,restaurants and fast food places) and lawnmowers is also pretty bad and makes smogs even worse.cars_city.gifWhat you don't see in this sort of pollution are the poisonous but invisible gaseslike carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and ozone. Ozone is a poisonous form of the gas we animals all breathe: oxygen. CO, SO2and NOx are also poisonous. CO2 is a special problem all of its own. This is the gas which is mostly responsible for what people call the 'tikitiny.gifgreenhouse effect'. It is mostly this gas that is making our planetheat up (see my guide to global warming).

no_swimming.gifAnother thing you don't see so easily which comes out of factories, farms and cities is the liquid pollution. This is the stuff that

gets

dumped

into streams,

into rivers,

into lakes and

into the seas.

Here's the sort of stuff I mean:

[*]sewage (phew!)

[*]waste chemicals from factories

[*]waste oils from industry, cars, road run-off, service stations

[*]toxic heavy metals21.gifWhat are heavy metals? Two well known examples of heavy metals are mercury and cadmium. They are extremely toxic - even in tiny amounts

[*]spills and run-off from

at sea

[*]oil

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Lou, thank you so much for reinforcing the exact point that I was making. Looking briefly at your video showed a very small handful of AACA eligible cars but quite a lot of street rod type modifications. Makes me wonder if there were prizes for who had the highest wattage stereo. Looks like a high end cruise night where people gather to compare (brag) about all the expensive modifications they have made. I'm sure that these owners are all fine people but they couldn't be further removed from an antique/classic/collecto car organization. If you think that this is representative of the future of the hobby, then the future is pretty dismal.

Sorry if these comments offend anyone.

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I have read, reread, and read again this thread. I thought about not posting, as I am no longer a member; but then thought possibly I might add some imput.

As far as lowering the average age of the club membership, this appears to me as possibly a bogus but well thought-out question to elicit debate. I don't know if such a goal is desirable, and don't really care.

But to address some of the other points:

The strengths of the old car hobby (thus the club) are people. Those of us that are older, and probably have more experience (do not read this as wiser, it wasn't thought to be or written to be) need to share this experience with those that have less experience, regardless of their age. This forum is an excellent tool accomplishing this issue. Right now, I believe that a lot of less experienced individuals are entering the old car hobby. I base this belief on the fact I have done mail order sales since 1974, and some of the questions asked today indicate individuals which have not grown up with older cars. When questions of this type arise, I feel it important (not just from a business customer service standpoint) to guide the individual to material that will help them gain information, which often is to recommend this forum.

As to weaknesses of the AACA; it is my opinion (others will certainly differ) that the major weakness is the fact it is headquartered in Pennsylvania. My membership in AACA was from 1971 through 1992, and was primarily because of membership requirement to vend at the Hershey Fall Show. I won't go into all of the difficulties experienced during this time period other than to relate a true story. I was fairly new to AACA about 1973 or 1974, and set up in the Blue Field. One customer came by and was complaining to all that would listen about the "Hershey Gestapo" and the general issues with transient vendors, etc. in Pennsylvania. Trying to calm him down, I reminded him of the caption on the state license plate "you have a friend in Pennsylvania". He looked me square in the eye, and replied "Thats right, but just one, and I have been looking for the *&^%$#@ for the last 25 years!".

The reason I dropped my membership was two-fold. In 1992, the Blue Field was discontinued, and Hershey Region refused to help us get spaces for 1993 although we had been in our then current spaces since 1973. And the subsequent hassles from the state of Pennsylvania as long as five years after we discontinued our transient vendor license.

But overall, I believe the hobby, and probably AACA to be in good health.

Jon.

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Don, it really is sad that the public schools are being used to indoctrinate kids with that greenie propaganda. Try setting up an historical program (in my case a Civil War show-and-tell) and see how quickly you're shown the door along with being scolded for your intent. Perceived intent I might add- unless we were willing to promote that slavery was the only cause of that war, our program was not welcome. So, I took it out on the schools in a lengthy letter to the editor in the local paper, in which I excoriated the schools' central office for failure to promote accurate history.

But- back to topic- when things like that are force-fed to young and impressionable minds, it is no wonder they never develop an appreciation of old cars or stuff and consequently never think of joining an organization dedicated to them.

And then along comes a kid like Koby in the young and eager to learn thread, and you realise all is not lost.

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I feel compelled to address one of your questions specifically:

2) Why do you think the average member's age is 60?

It's as much about money as anything. A few other users have mentioned this and I completely agree. This is (generally speaking) not an inexpensive hobby, but rather is one that requires (let's be honest here...) "disposable income." Age factors in because most young people have not been in the workforce long enough to accumulate enough wealth to be able to realistically afford the "buy in" it takes to be in the hobby.

Instead they are pinching pennies trying to find a job, get married, have children, buy a house / pay the rent, pay the bills, pay back school loans, and keep their daily driver running so that they can get to work and pick the kids up from school. By the time all of those things are behind them and they've got a little money to play with, boom, they're 60+ years old.

It has NOTHING to do with a lack of interest that seems to be brought up every time the "new generation" or "younger generation" gets mentioned. Every young person I know recognizes old vehicles and gets excited about seeing them. So what if they also get excited about seeing a modern Ferrari or Lamborghini on the road, too, or even a Honda or Toyota. They're car guys to the extent they are able to be and there's nothing wrong with that. The cars are getting older and older and the incoming crowd is getting, of course, younger and younger. It just means their connection to the machines will be different. That's not necessarily bad...it's just different. Maybe instead of saying "my dad had one of those," they'll be saying "my great grandpa had one of those" and that's ok.

The membership needs to get past the doom and gloom outlook about younger folks and quit being paranoid that they just don't care and that they hobby will die. It's a huge turn off to the younger guys to be looked down upon with disdain by the older crowd fearful that they will scrap their precious cars when they're gone. "They" said that about Model T and Model A enthusiasts...that nobody would be interested in them anymore because all of the people that had them when new are dead and that the "young" people were only into hot rodding and their "modern" cars and muscle machines. This was in the 50's, 60's and 70's guys! And look...there are plenty of people still interested in Model T's and Model A's.

Edited by Scooter Guy (see edit history)
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Your point about disposable income and the fact that it is not an inexpensive hobby are well taken; however, this aspect is not somethig new. I know this first hand due to several family situations that happened over 60 years ago. My point is that the money aspect is a definite consideration but one that has been around many decades.

Today, we not only have the monetary problem but we also have something new - a cultural and legislative mindset that acts to discourage the younger generation from getting interested in our hobby. As mentioned in previous posts, especially the video of a cruise night, there seems to be less interest in AACA eligible cars. Look again at the video in post 18 and tell me that there is a lack of money for the younger generation entering the hobby. I bet the majority of those cars and their modifications are more expensive than many nice AACA eligible cars. Some will respond that those cars are everyday drivers and not collectibles. If this is the case than these are not the people who will be part of the hobby in the future.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been a member for over 40 years. The thing about money always comes up. That is true in any thing we do and not just now . I played with cars when money was hard and a growing family . But with that said, I don't think we should worry about the future of the club as much as we should think about now . I have work on national tours and meets .The clubs should watch the cost & profits made on these we are pricing out the middle income familys . If this keeps going whos going to go on tours and meets. The national does alot about youth but most locals don't they are to BUSY rising money for tresary that way to big for a NONPROFIT club. Help out the young ones that want to belong. I have two grenarations in my family that love the cars but they were loved more then the cars.

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Interesting, Helfen's examples of what pass for education are a bit different then reading about the Industrial Revolution and modern industry/technology when I was in school, seems like the 70s was not that long ago... Even then we were introduced to environmental concerns, but it did not dominate the conversation - what you are seeing today is propaganda, not education.

That said, I think declining membership/interest is a bit overblown. This is not a cheap hobby and many cannot get involved until a little later in life. In any event, a certain percentage of those kids with modern special interest cars will likely become collectors. Collectors, to me, look beyond cars of thier youth, and some will embrace many different eras as we are seeing now with the resurgance of brass car interest.

Simple answer to lowering the average age of membership (which I do not see as a big issue) is for all members to take time to chat with interested parties of any age. A ride in your collector car can't hurt, either. :)

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT
Clarity (see edit history)
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BTW - it has been said 1,000 times but a lot of younger enthusiasts, collectors and hobbyists don't have time or maybe as much interest in clubs (although AACA is still growing as has been stated) - since the Model A was referenced I will state one example I know I have on this forum before but it is germain to the conversation.

I am 48, had my stock model A from around age 38 to 45 and may yet buy another one. I know of 6 within a 2 - 3 mile radius of my semi-rural neighborhood. 1 guy is younger than me, two around the same age, three older, only one of them, I think, is past 70. My point is these remain popular cars that span a few generations, and two of those guys as well as I have sons with some level of interest - these are all 100% stock cars, BTW. I think I happen to be the most involved in clubs but most of these guys belong to something (AACA, MAFCA, MARC, etc.), for whatever that is worth. Many are happy to just get the magazines.

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I totally agree about this...we need skilled trades right now, and it's not happening. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that these tradesmen and women have to come from somewhere, and if we don't foster that interest at a young age, we're sunk. Therefore, we're sinking. I can say that this is not coming from the classroom teacher, but from state curriculum guides that make ALL kids take certain classes that won't do them much good unless they're college-bound.

On the contrary, these types of classes are offered in the state of MD:

Click the link and then programs offered.

CATN | Home

CATN is part of the public school system. It teaches trades from HVAC to collision repair. Not all kids want to go to college. They want to learn a trade instead. It is available to them if they want it.

Anyway, I'm 47 and had the opportunity to fulfill a dream of mine. That is owning a car from the 50's. The opportunity was....$$$$$ in hand to buy one. I think it all boils down to cash. Let's face it, restored is big dollars. Buying a beater to restore is...big dollars.

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)
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Chris, good link. Those who do enter the trades will be laughing all the way to the bank in a few years, I think... :)

Were you "active" in the hobby prior to getting your car? If not, I bet interest was there, just a question of money and time. I believe there will always be a number of people who have the interest - I wonder if the Professor who gave this assignment has stopped to ask why this is so important?

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This club (as well as most National car clubs) schedules most of its national activities during week days when most people in their 50s or younger are working. A great example is any of the national tours which are typically a Monday through Friday affair and even Hershey which is basically Tuesday through Friday (with the exception of the show on Saturday). Even the National meets typically require a person to take a couple days off from work unless he or she is near where the National meet is located. In order for a younger member to partake in these activities, he or she would likely need to take a vacation not only from work but from other weekly family obligations as well. While I have never had a problem with this, I am self employed and single which, however, is not the case for 95% of the world!

Edited by motoringicons (see edit history)
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Chris, good link. Those who do enter the trades will be laughing all the way to the bank in a few years, I think... :)

Were you "active" in the hobby prior to getting your car? If not, I bet interest was there, just a question of money and time. I believe there will always be a number of people who have the interest - I wonder if the Professor who gave this assignment has stopped to ask why this is so important?

There will always be a need for the trades. We need warmth and cool air(HVAC). We will need technicians to repair cars(mechanical gas or electric driven). Structures need to be built, etc. This trade school offered by the county is for kids who have the idea that they want a trade of some sort. For some, the daily rigors of a full HS schedule is sometimes not their cup of tea. This provides a skill that they can use.

As for me, I was always a car enthusiast since a wee lad. At the age of 15 I had seen a 1959 Buick Invicta sitting in a junkyard. She was complete. $600.00 on the windshield. Needed a lot of love. My mother would not let me buy the car. She did sell me her 1978 Buick Regal. That car was one that I learned the mechanics, etc. Kept it stock, etc. As time went by, college, marriage, kids. Attention was turned to family. It did not mean I was not keeping up with cars. I participated in forums for cars that I have owned. VW Passat, KIA, Mountaineer, etc. Now that I own a 54 Buick, this is the place to join and participate. So yes, I was active in the hobby all be it with the car(daily driver) I owned at the time. But his is site specific concerning classic cars. I would not have ventured here if I did not have a classic car. Times are changing, so are the cars. Perhaps the organization should look to encompass all cars? New name? Sub forums?

This particular forum covers quite a few cars, years of manufacture and manufacturers.

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Well. Apologies to all for using the I-word and attracting a spammer.

Before someone reports it and asks that it to be removed, I would like for it to remain for a few days. It is proof positive of the mindset that has taken hold in everything- not only old cars. Even though investment casting is much different from financial investment (maybe not so much really), we see how opportunists latch onto any discussion in an effort to make money off something, which generally drives up prices and hampers peoples' ability to get into a hobby such as ours.

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Bob, click the tiny black triangle icon with an exclamation point inside it on the bottom left side of the post you want to report. Then type into the box why you are reporting the post (in this case SPAM) and click "Send Report" button on the lower right side. You can report a post every 60 seconds.

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I think it would be fun to flood the spammer's inbox with strange requests for antique auto parts - "I have been looking high and low for original cowl lights for my doodlebug, I understand they came with them, do you have any?" or "I need wooden wheels for my XKE, can you help"? etc.

thoughts? I know, probably would not be a good reflection on the site, and I guess you would not want the spammer to get your URL, but he definately deserves it...

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I'll throw in my $.015 cents in. I'm 40 and not currently a member, however I enjoy reading the forum. I've been obsessed with cars since I was a little kid. As a kid I used to spend a lot of weekends at my grandparents house. My grandfather was born in 1914 (he has long since passed), so he grew up in the 20's-40's. I used to ask him endless questions about the first car he had, what the car world was like, etc... I love old classics, in their stock original form. I also love "resto-mods", and of course cars from the '80s and early 90's as that's what I grew up with. Heck, my favorite car I have right now is my '90 Miata. I will say I'm not at all into the Japanese tuner scene...not a fan of Civics with stickers. But a car like my Miata isn't old enough to qualify yet since it's only 22.

At the same time, I'm married with 3 young children. As others have said, this leaves me with very little disposable income for this hobby. What little disposable income I have I chose to spend on my more "modern" cars and racing. So whatever the median age is of the AACA members, there is definitely a reason for it being a bit older. Maybe it won't change much, and there's nothing wrong with that. Just a guess, but I'd suspect that as a member gets into their 70s or whatever and retires from being active, a new member joins who is now in their late 40's or 50's, so the median age stays the same.

And yes, I'll admit that for me, safety is a part of it. I was raised with seatbelts, and I'd feel very, very uncomfortable in a car without them. No, I don't need 8 airbags, ABS, traction control, etc...and I don't drive, or even like, a Prius. I give my '90 Miata as an example. It's a very tiny car with only one airbag and seatbelts. However, an old car with no seatbelts just makes me nervous to have my family in. I'd bet a lot of my generation and younger feels the same way.

More of a question than a statement, but I wonder if 10 or 15 years from now, as cars from the '80's become antiques the membership will change some?

Edited by Klayfish (see edit history)
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Hi Bill that’s an interesting project you were given. I'll give you my 2cents:

1. Although I've only been a member for a few months, after reading through the forums and archives I believe that a true strength of this club is its size, resources, and knowledgeable members. There is literally nothing that hasn't been asked on these forums, and no question that isn't answerable from the knowledgeable members of this club who are on-line daily. The only weaknesses that I have noticed is that not all local clubs are required to have websites which makes it difficult to find out information about joining at a local level as well as that there are not many young car enthusiasts to carry on the hobby!

2. Personally, I am lowering the age as it is being only 16 years old and being a member on my own. I would like to see the clubs average member age to be lowered so I may have more people to speak with about partnering in setting up some "youngster" friendly activities. I think the reason why the average member age is around 60 is because many of the older members grew up around these classic cars and learned about them when they were kids. Nowadays classic cars are described to youth as noisy, polluting, gas guzzling, and dangerous. Also, the classic car hobby requires a lot of time, money, and dedication which younger people don't always have a substantial amount of nor do they have the desire to put effort into obtaining these things.

3. I actually have asked myself this question before and have some ideas that I have been doing locally but would love to do on a more grand level. First off I think it’s a great idea that AACA national club has a reduced member fee for students, and I think that local clubs should think about adding one as well. Second, I think that the use of social media pages (Facebook in particular) should be taken advantage of to increase awareness about the hobby of classic autos. The fact of the matter is nowadays kids sit inside all day playing video games and on the computer. If you advertise using the computer they'll notice it and be interested about learning more about how they can get involved. I know AACA has a page but I strongly believe that pages like this should be run by a younger person in order to use more up to date language to attract more youth. More scholarship options would be nice as well, possibly one for help funding a restoration project of a member in his or her youth, in addition to reward a younger person for putting in effort to try and bring more attraction to the club/hobby in general.

4. I think both quality and quantity is important. It's great to have a high member total in order to increase club awareness, spirit, and activity. And it's also important to have quality members who are intelligent and able to answer questions that newer members may have as well as guide curious people into the ways of the AACA.

Hope I helped and good luck with your project!

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Many younger people I meet driving my cars..are intrigued by both original or modified old cars. I have had and done many of both. My son and I are doing something that seems to get some younger folks into the hobby.

Not many young people can afford a true classic or classic sports car..but maybe something "cool" they can learn on and still have a money for life and family.

We have recently started buying some inexpensive "under the radar" cars.. doing some minor repairs and selling cars that seem to have drawn some younger people in.

The current car is a 1976 Nova Concours.. We did the usual..Alternator..water pump..radiator. It is an Arizona clean car. We sell it for less than a "go to work" used Corolla or Civic..keep the price reasonable. The last two cars sold are now a year and the owners friends are now regulars at a local car show. The guys would rather have an old Nova..a Maverick..something "cool" to go to work in..and spend those extra hours dreaming about what to do or what's next.

I think often guys our age (63 here) may forget..a paint job is big money..repairs if you are learning are difficult as there is few places to learn about carbs..distributors..points etc..

I spend a little time giving some basic instruction..pointing out valuable forums (wish we had these in the DAY.!) The light goes on..and a new car guy is born.

I think a lot of younger guys just don't realize that a "cool" ride can be affordable..cheap to maintain and even get decent enough gas mileage and it introduces them to our disease..er hobby..

Next up..we are looking for another clean early 70s car.. Two door..something reliable after some minor work. This has brought my son into the hobby..never did much except wonder why Dad was in the garage all those nights and weekends..when not coaching baseball..playing with the kids..or being a dad..and husband..

He has a small business..learned how to buy and sell and always first make it reliable..

Well see..

maybe this brings them to more antique and classics..or just gets more young folks to share the joy of what we do..

Edited by Docc (see edit history)
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