john2dameron

Young people and old cars

Recommended Posts

I've been enjoying reading the thread about the popularity of newer antique cars and got to thinking about all the people lamenting the lack of interest in old cars by the younger generation. I wonder what percentage of the over 40 crowd actually have a strong interest in some aspect of the old car hobby. I would guess it is less than 1%. If that is so, or close to being so, why do we expect all young people to like old cars.

I have many young friends that enjoy old cars and most of them itch to own one. Of course, what they call old cars varies greatly. One 17 year old friend has a yearning for a Ford AA truck which is 60 some years older than he is. Another friend nearing 30 just restored the 1970 Mustang Mach 1 that his dad bought new. A neighbor graduated from high school in June and has three '48 Chevrolets plus two '62 Chevrolet wagons. The wagons are rough but he enjoys showing one of them and he commuted to high school in the other one. The '48's are awaiting restoration. Another young friend, 17 I think, likes rods but he would love to have a '49-50 fastback Buick or Oldsmobile. Koby, the young man that wants a Ford AA is an AACA member, collects license plates, and will graduate from high school this coming June. He asked me to meet him at Hershey last year to tour the show field but I was recovering from knee surgery and could not do it. However, we did connect at Hershey this year and spent about 3 hours together viewing the cars. He was thrilled to learn that I also like old trucks very much. Another 17 year old came looking for me at the truck show at Colfax, NC November 2nd and we had a nice visit there. I also have young friends who like the imports. I don't care a lot for them but I am happy that they like some kind of car. I have gained many teenage friends who have discovered my photos from car shows that I show on Facebook.

My point is, I bet that many of you also know kids who have an interest in old cars; now it is up to you to nurture that interest. There's strength in numbers.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Young and early middle age adults do not seem to have the interest in old cars that many of us grew up with. I think they see cars as disposable transportation items. My son likes old cars and takes many photos of them but his interest is in foreign makes, a category that has not been very strong in US the old car hobby. The foreign car resto and show may be the fast growth area of the AACA in the future.

I am seeing a lot more VWs at car shows than ever before. Maybe they are today's version of the Model A?

Terry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't comment on whether kids are turned on to newer antique cars. But I have brass era cars, and I guarantee kids are turned on to them.

A couple of weeks ago our town put on a bluegrass party in a beautiful field. The occasion was the retirement of the loan the town had taken, several years before, to buy the field as permanent open land. There was a huge turnout, short speeches, good music, pony rides for kids. I drove over in my 1912 Buick, and was invited to park in the VIP area - because of the car, not because I have any clout in town. When I saw the pony rides, I drove over to where kids were waiting, and asked if anyone wanted a ride. There was initial reluctance - kids have, with good reason, been taught not to ride with strangers - but I talked to a couple of the waiting parents, and they let their kids ride. For the next two hours there was a serious line of kids, and a few parents, getting rides in my Buick. I drove in a big loop over the slightly bumpy grass field, doing a couple of S-turns so the kids got a thrill. They thought we were flying, although I doubt I ever got over 15 miles an hour. The pony rides were almost forgotten.

On Fathers Day, the town of Summit set aside three parking lots for a car show put on by Cars and Croissants, a group of mostly high-end modern cars, heavy emphasis on Italian, but anything interesting is welcome. I chugged over in a single-cylinder Cadillac. It drew some attention, especially whenever I cranked it up. One man asked if I'd mind if he took a picture of his little boy standing in front of the car. I said: "I absolutely would mind! I insist that you take his picture sitting behind the wheel!" The guy's jaw dropped. I helped the kid get up to the seat, let him blow the bulb horn and get his picture taken. When he got down, another child was looking longingly at the car, so I helped him get up into it, too. Pretty soon there was a line. Everyone was polite and appreciative. I didn't see any kids invited to sit in the matching Turbo-Bentley convertibles parked side by side, or the Ferrari Enzo, or - - - . I wonder which cars those kids remembered the next day, and told their mothers and teachers and friends about.

These kids are our future. Nurture them!

Gil Fitzhugh, Morristown, NJ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gil, you are doing a great service for the old car hobby. Heck, I would be in line for a ride or picture too! My thinking is that when kids get old enough to make their own money and choose how to spend it, they might be looking to invest it in a non US car brand for fix-up and driving. Most of them ride in non-US branded cars as their family car and there is a good chance that exposure will carry over to what they might want in an old car to fix up and enjoy.

I would be happy to see the car hobby grow with young blood no matter what age or brand of car they like.

Terry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All you guys have wonderfull comments and the correct attitudes but I'm afraid you will lose your battle. The younger generation

has absolutely no interest in old cars (and new cars for that matter). All they car about is to get from Pt.A to Pt.B. You can put

baseball cards, roller skateing, and electric trains all in the same category. These are things we grew up with. I just came back

from a electric train convention and I was one of the youngest there (64). If you see a young person there they where "forced"

to go. This is just my opinion. Larry

Edited by llskis (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The younger generation

has absolutely no interest in old cars (and new cars for that matter). You can put

baseball cards, roller skateing, and electric trains all in the same category. These are things we grew up with. his is just my opinion. Larry

Larry,

I can't see how you justify such a negative outlook.

My 25 year old son currently drives a 2005 Chevrolet Impala but is already talking about buying his first antique car after he finishes graduate school this year and starts his work career. He already has a job lined up and is already planning how to get more involved with the hobby as his career allows him more disposable income than his life as a college student does. He is already an AACA Judge and enjoys it.

My 15 year old daughter will be getting her license soon. I bought her a 2004 Impala similar to her brother's car. She got the youngest driver award at our last AACA local chapter show driving my HPOF 1984 Buick Riviera just a few weeks after she got her learner's permit. She too is planning on becoming an AACA Judge soon and really wants a 1967 Chevrolet Impala. I am sure we will eventually find her dream car and buy it.

I am not quite 53 years old. As far as baseball cards, roller skating and electric trains, I have little interest in those... maybe a little in electric trains. People have been complaining about the younger generation for over 2000 years and will continue to do so. Our local AACA Chapter has found a lot of younger people who are interested in old cars in our area. Not everybody in the younger generation is interested in our hobby, but not everybody in the older generation is either.

Edited by MCHinson
typo (see edit history)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

............My 25 year old son currently drives a 2005 Chevrolet Impala but is already talking about buying his first antique car after he finishes graduate school this year and starts his work career. He already has a job lined up and is already planning how to get more involved with the hobby as his career allows him more disposable income than his life as a college student does. He is already an AACA Judge and enjoys it.

My 15 year old daughter will be getting her license soon. I bought her a 2004 Impala similar to her brother's car. She got the youngest driver award at our last AACA local chapter show driving my HPOF 1984 Buick Riviera just a few weeks after she got her learner's permit. She too is planning on becoming an AACA Judge soon and really wants a 1969 Chevrolet Impala. I am sure we will eventually find her dream car and buy it.........

.

I think all of us can see that Matt is a steward of our hobby, one that promotes the hobby by sharing the love with his family and every other young person that he comes in contact with. We should all follow his example.;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Larry,

I can't see how you justify such a negative outlook.

My 25 year old son currently drives a 2005 Chevrolet Impala but is already talking about buying his first antique car after he finishes graduate school this year and starts his work career. He already has a job lined up and is already planning how to get more involved with the hobby as his career allows him more disposable income than his life as a college student does. He is already an AACA Judge and enjoys it.

My 15 year old daughter will be getting her license soon. I bought her a 2004 Impala similar to her brother's car. She got the youngest driver award at our last AACA local chapter show driving my HPOF 1984 Buick Riviera just a few weeks after she got her learner's permit. She too is planning on becoming an AACA Judge soon and really wants a 1969 Chevrolet Impala. I am sure we will eventually find her dream car and buy it.

I am not quite 53 years old. As far as baseball cards, roller skating and electric trains, I have little interest in those... maybe a little in electric trains. People have been complaining about the younger generation for over 2000 years and will continue to do so. Our local AACA Chapter has found a lot of younger people who are interested in old cars in our area. Not everybody in the younger generation is interested in our hobby, but not everybody in the older generation is either.

Matt and R W: Always so glad to hear from you guys. You guys are a great plus++ for AACA. I hope I'm wrong but from what I see there is simply different

interest for the younger generation. For every one young person that likes old cars there is many many more that are not. All we can do is hope--Larry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A lot of this is about your frame of reference. You tend to see what you expect to see. Look for the positive and you will probably find it. If you look for the negative, you will probably find that too.

I will defer to someone who has a lot of great quotes, some that he actually said, and some that he probably never actually uttered...

Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right. Henry Ford

Don't find fault, find a remedy. Henry Ford

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young. Henry Ford

If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself. Henry Ford

Edited by MCHinson (see edit history)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A lot of this is about your frame of reference. You tend to see what you expect to see. Look for the positive and you will probably find it. If you look for the negative, you will probably find that too.

Point well taken. As long as we are giving quotes he is one from someone who perhaps is a little smarter then H.Ford.

post-94010-143142277122_thumb.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tidewater Region elected one of our youngest members to our board of directors this past Thursday evening, Tyler Gimbert. Tyler received one of the AACA Scholarship awards at Philadelphia last Feb and enjoys his 1924 Model T Ford.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

McPherson is a great college for auto restoration. I attended there in 08, but didn't want it to be a career only a hobby. I am 25 and locally I am by far the youngest person in my local car club. I think a big reason many older folks don't think young guys are that much into classics is because of several misconceptions. First most people who have vintage cars aren't in a club of any kind (young guys in particular). Second is cost (most young guys are trying to pay for a house, family, etc and owning a vintage car is considered a luxury and therefore expensive and not necessary. Those in my opinion are the 2 main reasons for that. I am a fanatic about classics (bought my first car at 16 a 57 Chevy Bel Air), went through Packards, Pontiacs, Chevys, and Buicks. My 59 Buick project is a desire to finally restore a car. Its something to be proud of and to invest so much time, money, and patience the reward is not just to learn and improve skills but to see the product your hard work. Alot of young guys don't like commitment and to restore or buy a classic/antique car requires a great deal of it. lol

Cheers from the Heatland

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This thread is interesting and very much in line with what I did this weekend to promote our hobby to the younger generation. We have a friend who just turned 30 with three small daughters, has been very sick for the past three years and been through a lot since their marriage four years ago, most recently the death of his mother in law two weeks ago. He loves the old cars, is a crack professional mechanic with his own licensed shop as a side business he is just starting. His day job since age 24 is manager of the fleet repair shop where he works.

We have talked off and on about my cars, he as helped me with the Avanti and I love his lift and shop! Saturday he came over and we loaded the '38 Roadmaster and took it to his house. It has not been run since 1998 so it needs a little work to run and some TLC. He loves the car best of all of ours so we made a deal. He will keep the car at his house, return it to running condition and use it with his family as his own. I will own it, insure it, pay for all parts and have use of it when I want.

I am excited about this idea from a few perspectives. A big one is my hope that I am promoting a young person's long term interest in the hobby. By letting him use the car with his family I also hope his girls get excited. This is also a way for a young person to enter the hobby in an affordable manner at a time in life he could not do it otherwise and maybe get two generations hooked. For me it gets a car I have neglected for way too long back on the road, I get to use it again, the value goes up with it running and I may have created a buyer for it down the road. (He has already asked if that was in the cards in the far future). We will probably invite them along on some local club events furthering his and his families' interest.

We will have to see how this works out but he is a good friend, trustworthy person and I am comfortable in this adventure with him. It is a car I was not using since our interests have turned more to brass cars in recent years and he will love it like it deserves. I will probably fall in love with it again when I drive it next year too! Just getting it out in the daylight made me realize I still like the looks of it and I am not ready to get rid of it. It is still an impressive, rarely seen car with the dual sidemounts and is now even a CCCA recognized car.

All in all I see it as a win-win for both of us!

post-31066-143142277596_thumb.jpg

post-31066-143142277531_thumb.jpg

post-31066-143142277566_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Someone that was around their early driving life at the time when most of the new rwd v8 coupes were starting to disappear in the early to mid 80s is now pushing 50.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to side with Larry on this issue. I'm 64 and remember when I was near to getting my license and a car. We had to be 17 in NJ. I would spend every extra minute under a hood trying to get a car ready for the magic time. Go to junkyards, try to make two cars into one, not worrying how much tread was left on the tires but what cord it was down to, how to fix a flat, change oil, spark plugs, set points,and so on. I never see young people doing any of that. I rarely see youth engaging in neighborhood sports,little leagues and girls' softball are closing down. I joined the Garden State Region in 1977 at age 28. I was the youngest member and there were about 150 in the club. Now I'm still practically the youngest member and there are only 20 others. A lot of the older guys' fathers were in the club but their sons aren't. They insist that they're interested but they're too busy with their families, like we weren't busy with ours.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Been a member for 40 years . I keep hearing the same thing the young aren't interest in cars .You have to remember that the membership In the AACA to the pop . in this country . There are a lot of young one in the hobby . They are active . My daughter has been with it 35 years even a judge at the age of 17 , was pushed out by older members in the judging . Many years later she is back ,seats on the board in our region. Her daughter , has been a member since jr. membership started. She drove my car at Huntsville Founders tour this year. Has now got her own old car. She spents her Sat. at the library with Chris helping . As someone said go with the% Kings32

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a few more thoughts/comments on the subject. When I was in High School (Long time ago) you could ask all the boys in the

class a simple question. "Who makes the "327" C/I engine"" I would say 70-75% would know it was made by Chevy. Even the guys

who where not interested in cars still would know the answer. If you ask any modern day High School class (Boys) this: Who makes

the LS V8 engine. I doubt if you could get 5% to answer correctly. THE CURRENT YOUNGER GENERATION SIMPLY GOT DIFFERENT

INTEREST; THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT CURRENT CARS; LET ALONE OLD CARS. If you don't believe this you are in denial. As far as

all your nice example of younger people taking interest in cars it such a so small sample of the total younger people it not worth

reporting it.(In so far as the subject we are on) I don't believe I got a negative attitude; it is a realistic attitude. Sorry; JMHO Larry

P.S. Of course there are always exception to the rule; but in general I believe I am correct until proven that I am not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I still don't understand why some people want to just complain that young people are not interested in old cars. That is certainly not what I see in my area of the country. Maybe there are regional differences, but I suspect that it just depends on your point of view. I would suggest that you should all do something about it instead of just complaining about the younger generation. I was not able to participate due to a scheduling conflict but here is an example of the type of activity that our local chapter has done for a few years. Since I had recently decided to stop saving bookshelves full of car magazines, I donated a bunch of magazines towards this year's event. Each young person left with a copy or two of Antique Automobile.

This appeared in our chapter newsletter in October:

post-47089-143142277912_thumb.jpg

Wilmington Christian Academy Car Display by Jim McKernan

Fifteen members of the AACA Cape Fear Chapter traveled to Wilmington Christian Academy on Friday, September 20th to display 13 cars for about 60 5th grade students, teachers, administrators, and on-lookers. We arranged our cars in chronological order to show the transition and design changes from 100 years of automotive engineering. Total year span in our display was 57 years, 1912 to 1969. Here’s the list of autos on display:

1912 Rambler – Bob Lancaster

1922 Model T Ford – Bob Lancaster

1929 Model A Ford – Bob Godsey

1937 Buick coupe – Jack Price with David Ashley

1939 Chevy Master 85 – Jim McKernan

1946 Ford Super Deluxe coupe – Bob Plassman

1957 Ford Fairlane 2-dr. hardtop – Charlie Buis

1957 MGA coupe – Jennifer Lancaster

1961 Corvette roadster – John Allred

1963 Chrysler Imperial Le Baron – Bubba & Ruth Ann Grothe

1963 Ford Falcon convertible – John Raia

1966 Mustang convertible – Dick Steinkof

1969 Chrysler 300 convertible – Don Sorenson

At precisely 10:00 a.m., the three 5th grade classes, led by teacher Benjamin Neal, converged on the first car in line, the 1912 Rambler. Each car owner was introduced by Bob Lancaster and subsequently described some of the history and/or features on their particular automobile. That process repeated 13 times in approximately 1 hour total. After the completion of the 13th vehicle, all the owners raised their hoods and trunks for visual inspection by the crowd with more specific questions and requests such as ‘can I sit in the back seat?’ or ‘can I blow the horn?’ or ‘what’s that car worth?’ The most popular item on each car was the horn. The window crank was an unfamiliar handle on the inside door panel not seen on any newer cars. I did demonstrate rolling up and down the windows several times.

This display of automotive evolution from 100 years ago to present day is a most impressive way for these students to appreciate our love of antique and classic cars and to see how different their lives would be if they were living in 1912 or 1950 in terms of transportation in general.

After much appreciative comments from the staff and students, we closed up and loaded everything back in the cars and proceeded back to the garage waiting for another opportunity to bring out the ‘old iron’ again.

post-47089-143142277902_thumb.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I still don't understand why some people want to just complain that young people are not interested in old cars.

Matt: With all due respect you are missing the whole point on this subject. 1st we are not "COMPLAINING"; we are just stating the

facts. Nothing more; nothing less. I just can not see where you see the interest from the young people as a whole. Larry

P.S. I want to perserve the "old car thinking" probably more then you; but it is simply not there.

Edited by llskis (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your "facts" are not necessarily correct. In our local chapter and region we are adding new young members. I know quite a few people in their 20's and 30's who are participating in AACA events. I got into the hobby in my 30's and am now in my 50's. We are still adding members in their 20's and 30's. If you don't see this sort of activity, in your chapters or regions, maybe you should ask what the difference is in your area and mine.

The hobby is not exactly what it used to be. Many years ago, you could not discuss old cars on an internet based forum. You used to have to travel to swap meets to buy parts. Now the internet allows many people to participate in the hobby in ways that previously did not exist. Change happens but the hobby survives.

A bunch of people constantly complaining about how the younger generation is not interested in what they are interested in is unlikely to attract a lot of new members, young or old. Create a positive environment and an opportunity for young people to get involved and they will. Not every young person is interested in old cars, just like not every old person is interested in old cars. People have been lamenting problems with the younger generation for a long time. A lot of the generation that is now lamenting those problems used to be the younger generation that the older generation was complaining about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Your "facts" are not necessarily correct. In our local chapter and region we are adding new young members.

Matt: I truely hope you are correct; believe it or not I'm on your side. Thanks for a different"spirited" point of view discussion. Larry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A quick look at the numeical vesion of this conversation is interesting. At 65000 members AACA has grabbed a grand total of .018% of the U.S. population of 350 million. We are a very small, niche segment of today's society and to keep a similar percentage of young people coming in to the hobby should be achievable so we can keep the status quo. If you want growth of the young people participating that is another story with many variables/obstacles. I have seen many recent stories how young people are more urban, do not plan on having a car, only see them as utilities, etc. but for the small number we need to recruit I feel continuing the hobby is very doable as long as we accept some changes. There is always competition for which hobby interests, priorities in time and other factors but when I see every young person I give a ride to light right up I know I am on the right track! Also interests change as we go through life so keep smilin' at 'em and open that passenger door- best sales tool we ever have!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AACA membership has grown this past year, but has not got back to what was lost in the year before(2012). I think a big help in the on going discussion would be if everyone knew the median age of the new members. Can anyone in the club submit this info that possibly could put an end to this " discussion"? I know many don't care as long as their personal "needs" are served, and this goes on in all clubs. There are a few "doers" but by far, there are more floating members and the convenience of the internet (and the AACA forums) brings these "discussions" to our attention! Like all predictions, hopes, and playing with figures for the future, time will show the ultimate results. --Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now