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Few Young Members: Parallels in Model-Railroad Hobby


John_S_in_Penna
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The antique-car hobby is not alone.

 

An article last week in The Wall Street Journal focused on

the toy-train hobby.  It said that overwhelmingly, the active

members were all of retirement age, and that even a 

40- or 50-year-old railroad hobbyist was unusual.

Decades ago, younger adults were interested in model railroading,

the article said.

 

Railroad hobbyists gave their opinions that children today are

tied into their electronic devices and have little interest in

building model railroads.  The members were concerned,

and hoped to attract younger people.

 

They could have been quoting our hobby:  It sounded

word-for-word what the AACA has been saying for a long time.

 

Of course all is not hopeless.  But are there OTHER hobbies,

besides cars and trains, where younger people are no longer 

to be seen, where once they were common?  Is this a wide trend?

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I am a train hobbyist.  The internet has killed local train stores, and hence, a lot of real human interaction for the hobby.  Not saying it hasn't happened in a lot of other areas too, but every town used to have a local train/hobby store.  I work in a city of 350,000 now that doesn't even have a full time store other than a chain Hobbytown store that's really dedicated to RC.  Kids don't enjoy them because it's not on a screen.  I have really tried to get my oldest into model railroading, with moderate success. 

 

Plus, people don't see trains as part of their life anymore.  People still "need" cars, but not trains.

 

Railroad tracks, whether in your house on a table or built onto mother earth, are disappearing in much the same way old highways and small towns are.

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I'm with both of you. I still have my Lionel trains from 1954, and they still run great! I wish I had room to build a layout, but my basement is consumed with my shop. I set the trains up every Christmas for my grand kids and they love them. I still marvel at the workmanship of the engine and cars. I honestly feel they helped me to learn how things work. If they stopped running I had to fix it. If kids today can't play it on TV or a computer, they don't want it.

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The younger generation may have left Model Railways behind but they are BIG in the quadcopter / drone hobby.  There are even Apps that let them control them from their hand held device.  A couple of the younger guys I work with are involved. They fly the things , shoot the video, and play the video all from their "I" whatevers. I understand it is a hobby that is growing by leaps and bounds.

 

Greg in Canada

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The fact that model railroad doesn't offer much for the beginning hobbyist doesn't do much to help it grow. You don't give $200 engines or $40 boxcars to kids as toys. It's become a specialty market. Kids do like to build Legos and the Lego trains were a nice way to attract kids to the hobby.

Terry

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I've thought that teenagers aren't interested as much in cars

because the cars today are mostly 4-door sedans painted

gray and other blase colors.  My 12th-grade cousin is interested

in exotic sports cars, which are 'way out of his price range,

whereas I was interested in production cars when I was his age.

 

Maybe trains today are like cars:  less attention-getting than years ago,

when families interacted with trains, traveled by rail, and fabled names

like the Super Chief were prevalent in our culture.

 

There is always hope, though:  Boys have probably liked cars

since cars first existed, and they should be liking them 100 years from now

if there are good cars (in colors other than gray) to catch their attention!  

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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Trains were never really fun for us kids. I still have my 1953 Lionel in the brown cardboard box it came in. If it has been out 10 times in the 60 years that's a lot. Before PIA was a computer term those trains were. We'd connect the tracks together on the living room or bedroom floor and the sections would side apart. We'd have tarnished areas where the engine wouldn't run. Siding switches went nowhere. Getting it to run long enough to get the smoke pill hot enough to puff was a big event. I think our goal was to create a little fantasy world, not a lot of fusing around and work.

 

A few years later, for me, the $20 car in the back yard was about equal. We always needed a battery or were marching up the street with the gas can from the mower. When I did get an old car running I could drive it in an oval around the back yard that moved the odometer 1/20th of a mile per lap. Today the village code officer would be waving tickets all over a kid doing that, if the kid got away from the gas station with a can that wasn't red.

 

Our fantasies ended up sitting in the car with the radio on talking about where we'd go if we had a license. Not much different than a kid with electronics today. They just don't have to wait for the tubes to warm up.

Bernie

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I did not get to hear it all but this morning on one of the early morning shows they were telling about old toys coming back again and trains were part of the discussion.  They showed trains running in a layout and even a car toy showing cars zooming a windy road layout. Sorry I did not have time to pay attention but interesting in the light of the article.  I think it was NBC

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I agree with the comments about how things have changed . I think when you were given a toy in the 1950's . It was given by someone who went thru the Great depression . You cherished it as you were lucky to get it . I was at garbage dump recently and a fellow was throwing his son's Hot Wheel cars in a 20 yard dumpster . I was filling with junk . I asked what he was doing and he said his son does not play with these toys anymore . I said to him give them to the Salvation Army for some poor kid or save them for his son . He just kept tossing them around in the dumpster so I could not get my hands on them .

 

On a light note about model trains look at this .http://www.miniatur-wunderland.com/

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I understand that stamp collecting is 'way down

in popularity from what it was decades ago.

Coin collecting, on the other hand, has been doing

well and even interesting some young people.

 

Surely some kids have hobbies other than electronic games!

(My 12th grade cousin who likes cars was intentionally raised with

near ZERO exposure to television and electronic games.)

But what attracts kids to hobbies these days?  Do many 

even have hobbies?

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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Guest j.Illeney

I was selling a vast array of stuff at a good flea/antique market- I had 2 books of stamps from all over the world from the 50's and early 60's  3 different young kids were the only ones looking at them and were eventually purchased byone of them a 12 year old girl, who really seemed excited by the find - go figure

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I received an N-gauge train set as a kid for Christmas (late 1960s) and was thrilled. Both of my brothers had either trains (HO scale) or slot cars. My dad gave each of us a 4x8 sheet of plywood and a corner in the basement to build our cities. When I turned 15 and my first car (1951 DeSoto) landed in the garage, the trains languished as also happened with my brothers' sets. Cars (and girls) became more important. I still have every bit of that original set plus much more and it will be coming out as I enter retirement age (as the OP stated). My daughters showed no interest in the great Hot Wheels  track I set up from my childhood for them and my matchboxes were "neat," but that was it. There interests: sports and theatre in school.

 

High school culture dictates what's "cool" to be interested in. My beat up 1956 Olds 88 was a hit where the other guys' new cars were boring. Now, as we've said before, cars for kids are pretty much just appliances and not much more. The competition is in the newest gadget and latest tech.

 

I sound a bit like my Dad, but him and I shared the car interest where I had a harder time finding that connection with my daughters' interests. Oh well, times change...

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I still have electric trains. I became involved because my grandfather worked for Southern Pacific and my dad and I would go down with him to the shops on a Saturday morning on his day off and watch them being repaired and serviced. Ever stand on the footplate of a living breathing Southern Pacific Daylight and you know where the romance comes from. Ever been in the cab while a steam engine is at speed. How did the other kids in the neighborhood become interested in trains? There was all kinds of marketing tools used from TV to almost every department store having a train display. There were train clubs. In England trains are still very important, people over there are still train spotting. On a regular basis engines are pulled out of the National Railway Museum and hooked up to period coaches and train enthusiast excursions are run on the main lines. People come out of the woodwork to either ride or watch. There are quite a few private railway lines as well, same as Switzerland and Germany. And electric trains are still sold in shops.

But it started with my grandfather.

My love of surfing, cars and gardening came from my dad. There weren't many kids who's dad surfed or drove a 13 second "A" stock automatic. We kept all of that as part of family life. Mom and sister surfed too.

I think many kids aren't interested because their parents aren't interested in things or their kids. Kids need motivated parents to get the ball rolling. Don't you think kids for the most part reflect their parents and what they do or don't do?

I had a laugh last year when our son's step kids ( 11 & 13) came to stay with us for two weeks in summer. The first thing my wife said to them was " Life as you have known has ENDED". Days of surfing, swimming, hiking, couple of car shows and CHORES around the house filled their time. They had never washed a car or helped cut the lawn before. But accomplishments with positive reinforcement give them or anyone a sense of pride and worth.

Edited by helfen (see edit history)
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Guess I'm different from most.

I still have my first HO train set from 1960 (now expanded to fill a room 11x17).

In the last decade graduated to a Plymouth narrow gage (3 ft) engine of 1920's vintage and a home built motor car.

post-80315-0-39898800-1455595811_thumb.j post-80315-0-85897200-1455595864_thumb.j

Still have my first two cars.

post-80315-0-41030600-1455595980_thumb.j

 

And running 50% with having two sons and one that has his 1st car, one 1991 Mustang 5L. 

Think about it, that car is already 25 years old  :o and my '58 Buick was only 14 years old when I got it.

 

So there's some hope my small collection of cars will carry on in the family and enjoy the hobby.

Edited by dei (see edit history)
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But what attracts kids to hobbies these days?  Do many 

even have hobbies?

 

Good question.

I live in a fairly rural area where boys, at least, still love their cars.......er......trucks now days. 

As for bona fide hobbies every youngster I see is so wrapped in their smart phones I think they are oblivious to everything around them.......  :wacko:

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...I had a laugh last year when our son's step kids ( 11 & 13) came to stay with us for two weeks in summer. The first thing my wife said to them was " Life as you have known has ENDED". Days of surfing, swimming, hiking, couple of car shows and CHORES around the house filled their time. They had never washed a car or helped cut the lawn before. But accomplishments with positive reinforcement give them or anyone a sense of pride and worth.

 

Way to go, Helfen!

If a child doesn't learn something from his family--

how to change a tire, wash a car, develop a great lawn--

he might never learn it.

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Gentleman;

   It truly worries me about what the future will be like after we've all gone. The things that we have collected and hold dear will probably end up at the trash dump and be forgotten, and that is really a sad sad thing. I, like many of you have several hobbies. I have my cars that I've restored and are restoring, I'm a Civil War Reenactor, Ham Radio person and yes every now and then get back out my stamp collection that I started when I was twelve and over the years have occasionally got back into off and on. All of these hobbies just like our car hobbies are all showing their age. I just got back from a Civil War Reenactment this past weekend and the numbers are getting very very gray, and I don't mean the Southern soldiers. Young people do not have any interest in any of our countries history or anything but what's happening today electronically. Even in my own family my son's show no interest in any of my hobbies and have never ever came over to help me "turn a wrench" on any of my vehicles. Many of the heritage groups and military groups are all fading. Sons of the American Revolution, DAR, Sons of Union Veterans, Sons of Confederate Veterans, American Legion, VFW etc are all seeing declining numbers. It's a sad state of affairs. Of the several organizations I belong to, there are very very few members under 50 years old and most are 60 plus. I don't seem to remember it being as bad when I was younger. I might not have picked up a saw or wood tool with my Dad, but I did respect and appreciate his efforts. Even in the antique business, none of the young people want the antique furniture or items such as glassware etc. I respected our countries history and my heritage and was proud of my ancestors and their efforts. It is something that worries me tremendously. What will happen to my cars that I've spent so much time restoring and caring for as well as my other items of interest to me. I guess sold for cash or just tossed out. I know some say, "hey what do you care, you'll be gone", but you do worry on where it all is heading.

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A side affect of keeping my kids grounded is in the way I choose our family vacations.  They certainly have their ipods and video games at home, I mean, I wouldn't want to suppress their childhood friendship and peer group mental growth and make them hate me too much, but we don't vacation at resorts on the beach like 99% of the other people I know do.

 

Last year we went to Colonial Williamsburg (and my youngest wants to go back)

in 2014 we travelled Route 66

 

This year we are travelling to New England and Fort Ticonderoga/Boston/Maine/etc

 

a constant attempt to travel to all National Parks is made, so far I have taken them to Mammoth Cave, The Grand Canyon, Arches, all the parks in Southern Ca, all the Parks near Route 66, Monument Valley, and this year we are going to Niagara Falls, Acadia, and Cuyahoga Valley. 

 

We have a pop-up-camper that we also use several times per year.

 

I like to live slower than the times want me to.  I think that makes a person show interest, respect, and appreciation.  Doing these things, while letting the kids live their own lives too, will hopefully instill some sort of balance for them.  Life is not just a giant pissing contest like society and the media want to make it out to be.

 

Even if I do play with Will's train more than he does.

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Yes society is changing... as it has always done. Do we all tend to get concerned that the younger generation does not value the same things that we value? Probably so, but this has been the case for most of the history of the human race.

 

I have two children, a 27 year old son and a 17 year old daughter. My son is now a working adult and living on his own. He is an AACA Judge and enjoys the hobby, but has yet to purchase his first antique automobile. He is hoping to soon be in a position to buy his own house with a garage big enough for his first collector car. My daughter will soon graduate from high school and is busy preparing for her move away from home for College. She is also an AACA Judge. She is interested in the hobby, but she is also busy with her Robotics Team and School. She plans to be more active in the hobby, but realizes that the hobby has to take a back seat for her at this stage of her life.

 

As I have said many times in the past, this hobby is naturally going to attract an older crowd. Few young people have the time or money to be active in this hobby. In 2008 I participated in my first National AACA tour. I won the youngest driver award  and was driving one of the oldest cars on the tour.  I was 47 years old at the time. Generally this hobby requires disposable income and time. Both of these are in short supply for young people. As we get older, especially after retirement, these two commodities tend to become more readily available.

 

In our local AACA Chapter, we have recently added several young members. These have included teens and even a pre-teen. One of the student members is the proud owner of a Model T Ford.

 

In our local area there is a monthly "cars and coffee" event that attracts several hundred cars each month. It is coordinated through a facebook page. I have to admit that I was skeptical at first but I started attending the event each month. There are teenagers, as well as people in their 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, and probably 80's there on a regular basis. These events include all types of cars. There are cars there that I don't care for as well as cars that I really like. The people are all "car guys" and "car girls". Many of the young people like to stop by and chat about the older cars that they are not familiar with. I have had many good conversations with young marines from Camp LeJeune. These guys and girls drive about an hour to attend the event. Most of them drive small loud imported cars, but they like learning about my 1937 Buick and other Antique cars that my fellow AACA Chapter members bring to the event. We are planting the seeds for the hobby to continue with these folks as they get older and can more easily afford the time and money required to be active in the antique car hobby.

 

Not every young person is going to be interested in the antique car hobby, just like not everybody my age is interested in the antique car hobby.  Reports of the death of the hobby have been over hyped. As long as we continue to reach out to other potential hobbyists young and old, I have faith that the hobby will continue.   

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My 14 year old twin sons have Lionel trains, attend Hershey when we can, ride bikes, go camping, play music, shoot guns and both just won the youth award from our local AACA region for the second time! They also have ipads and an X-box. We attend the monthly events our car clubs put on when our busy Boy Scout schedule permits.

I'm not bragging, though I am very proud of them. Familes are busier now! I don't think anyone is intentionally losing interest or that anything is necessarily wrong with the hobby, any hobby.

 

It is difficult to make time for everything you want to do along with what you have to do, work, school, etc. Same goes for the financial end. There are always bills to pay, mom and dad work in many cases and what is left over has to be spent carefully.

 

They called me 'new blood' when I joined AACA 29 years ago! Since then I've been President of two different Regions and worked on a variety of projects, shows & tours on the local and national level. I am truly thankful for the many friends I made and experiences I had. Again not bragging - there have been many stories like mine over AACA's 80 years.

Deep breath - it's built - they will come!

 

Now cheer up darn it!

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My 14 year old twin sons have Lionel trains, attend Hershey when we can, ride bikes, go camping, play music, shoot guns and both just won the youth award from our local AACA region for the second time! They also have ipads and an X-box. We attend the monthly events our car clubs put on when our busy Boy Scout schedule permits.

I'm not bragging, though I am very proud of them. Familes are busier now! I don't think anyone is intentionally losing interest or that anything is necessarily wrong with the hobby, any hobby.

 

It is difficult to make time for everything you want to do along with what you have to do, work, school, etc. Same goes for the financial end. There are always bills to pay, mom and dad work in many cases and what is left over has to be spent carefully.

 

They called me 'new blood' when I joined AACA 29 years ago! Since then I've been President of two different Regions and worked on a variety of projects, shows & tours on the local and national level. I am truly thankful for the many friends I made and experiences I had. Again not bragging - there have been many stories like mine over AACA's 80 years.

Deep breath - it's built - they will come!

 

Now cheer up darn it!

I think you should be very proud of what you have done. If you want them to turn into productive good citizens it takes input from you and your values. Leading by example shows you care to them.

Edited by helfen (see edit history)
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Not to deviate from the model train topic, but when is the last time you saw a kid build a model car. This winter we went to a hobby shop and I let my two grand daughters pick out a car each and the spray paint color of their choice. We had a great time putting them together.  They learned that you can't rush the paint and glue process and how to follow the instructions. They both can't wait for the next model car.

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Gentleman;

   It truly worries me about what the future will be like after we've all gone. The things that we have collected and hold dear will probably end up at the trash dump and be forgotten, and that is really a sad sad thing. I, like many of you have several hobbies. I have my cars that I've restored and are restoring, I'm a Civil War Reenactor, Ham Radio person and yes every now and then get back out my stamp collection that I started when I was twelve and over the years have occasionally got back into off and on. All of these hobbies just like our car hobbies are all showing their age. I just got back from a Civil War Reenactment this past weekend and the numbers are getting very very gray, and I don't mean the Southern soldiers. Young people do not have any interest in any of our countries history or anything but what's happening today electronically. Even in my own family my son's show no interest in any of my hobbies and have never ever came over to help me "turn a wrench" on any of my vehicles. Many of the heritage groups and military groups are all fading. Sons of the American Revolution, DAR, Sons of Union Veterans, Sons of Confederate Veterans, American Legion, VFW etc are all seeing declining numbers. It's a sad state of affairs. Of the several organizations I belong to, there are very very few members under 50 years old and most are 60 plus. I don't seem to remember it being as bad when I was younger. I might not have picked up a saw or wood tool with my Dad, but I did respect and appreciate his efforts. Even in the antique business, none of the young people want the antique furniture or items such as glassware etc. I respected our countries history and my heritage and was proud of my ancestors and their efforts. It is something that worries me tremendously. What will happen to my cars that I've spent so much time restoring and caring for as well as my other items of interest to me. I guess sold for cash or just tossed out. I know some say, "hey what do you care, you'll be gone", but you do worry on where it all is heading.

It sounds kinda bad, but I'm hoping that sometime in the next 30-40 years I'll be able to get some really great deals on those cars your grandkids don't appreciate!

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Four years ago, a friend of mine attended the 
Power Big Meet in Vasteras, Sweden.  Its show is

MANY TIMES the size of Hershey, though it is not

organized in classes, and most people don't bother

with having their cars judged.

 

The pictures he took show many younger adults involved

with antique cars.  They love American culture, even historic

American culture.  The picture shown shows a line-up of

1950's cars, laden with younger people, about to embark on

a cruise.

 

Are these 20- to 30-year-olds buying antique cars, or just

appreciating them?  The 1950's cars they love,

especially the convertibles, can be a bit pricy.

Maybe someone has more insights.

post-91841-0-12818200-1455642222_thumb.j

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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I also read the Wall Street Journal article last week. It was interesting that it was on the front page.  Readers of the WSJ would probably fall in the same demographic.  The article stated that the average train collector is 64 years old.  With the oldest passing on, one of the questions is what is going to be the value for what could be a glut of trains?  Great question.

 

I still have my original train set that was given to me from my Grandpa Schramm. Unlike other that may have only played with it on occasion and have trouble making it run, I almost wore the rollers on the pick up on the engine out.  They are both "apple cored" from all of the many times around the track.  I have a lot of great memories with that train and my friends at the time. 

 

When my son was younger he was allowed to play with just about any engine or car that he wanted to play with, and I have a fairly large train collection. Only exceptions were engines that were over $500.00 or so and cars that were rare.  Everything else was eligible for play entertainment.   And he and his friends did play with them a lot. 

 

My philosophy is that it is tough to get the younger set interested in the car or train hobby when the major concern is just judging and DON"T TOUCH, stay 5 feet back from my vehicle, etc, etc, etc,.....

 

I let the kids ( with supervision) get up on our truck, get their pictures taken, and have given so many rides that I have lost count.

 

Video games engage the kids today and in years past in other activities to be engaged and if we rope them off from the hobby they will go elsewhere.

 

Just my thoughts and my philosophy that I practice.

Edited by Larry Schramm (see edit history)
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Indeed this is an important topic for all of us to try to understand. I am an older Gen Xer and joke that when I got interested in old cars in 1980 I was the youngest person at the meet and now at 48 I still am.  There are many other factors but what is the common thread between any collecting activities?  That they all require space, money and time and some sort of social motivation:

 

SPACE for proper old car or antique storage or room for a train layout, etc.  Wouldn't we say our core group is mostly 50-70+ year olds with rural or suburban homes with garages, sheds, basements, etc.  How many 20-30 year olds you know have that kind of space?  And even those that do are now more likely to be renters and in smaller homes and more dense neighborhoods.  A possibility of having to move will limit how much stuff a person wants to acquire.  I read an article recently about baby boomer parents being very upset that their millennial children do not want their antique furniture or other collectibles.  It was correctly stated that in the 1970s and 1980s the goal was to buy the 3000 sq ft house and fill it with stuff and the twentysomething of today is just not interested in that burden and usually can’t afford it anyway.  I think if a hobbyist is really motivated he can make something work, but his motivation is also likely affected by:

 

MONEY AND TIME again, our core group at 50-70+ is probably the most affluent middle age/older generation ever.  And you baby boomers should know that as a group your Gen X and Millennial children have or will have a lower standard of living than you.  Yes, they have fancy coffee and phones and the old car guys of my dad’s age and time did not but they had 40 hour a week industrial blue/white collar jobs with solid salaries, pensions, suburban houses, paid medical insurance and weekends off.  Those younger than I don’t have most of those things and in most cases never will.  Some will have some disposable income and, again, could make it work if they really wanted to, but the last factor is:

 

SOCIAL MOTIVATION in having peers interested in being in a social group.  The baby boomer car collector has baby boomer peers that he can show off to and visit with, and this leads him to buy and collect to be part of the group.  A few 20-40 year olds may have space and disposable income, but unless they also have a peer group they will likely not make the commitment in a vacuum IMO.  Let’s say a single 25 year old or an affluent 40 year old decides he would like, say, a 1970s Corvette.  He will seek out the local car club and find 65 year old graybeards who all know each other and have a little old man’s club.  They will probably puff up and tell him they think 1970s cars are junk not nearly as rare or fast or interesting as their 1960s models.  So the new guy understandably writes them off and decides committing to an old car is not worth the money or trouble if that is the kind of attitude you get.  I have to think the crowds into baseball cards, model railroading and antiques and collectibles probably work similarly, and all should be wondering who will buy their valuable stuff now?  IMO it is a confluence of lifestyle factors all resulting in less interest in collecting hobbies of all kinds, sorry to say.  Hope someone else can prove me wrong, Todd C

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I am 32 years old and love the collector car hobby. I have loved old cars ever since I was young. Granted I owe everything to my father, keeping my interest, and spending the time to teach me about working/restoring cars and trucks. I by far do not know everything and will never claim too, but I also will never give up when my cars really frustrate me with their 90 year old problems. My father enjoys all cars, but he was born and grew up in the muscle car era, which I feel where he gravitates more too. I however, always had a love and passion for 20s and 30s cars/trucks. Like many young kids these days, they start out with the newer vehicles and are more into customizing, which I followed in the same foot steps when I was young. I had a 1989 Jeep Wrangler, lifted with 35" tall tires, but then I purchased my 1928 Chrysler, went a few more years, bought a 1933 Plymouth Streetrod, went a few more years, and purchased my 1925 Rickenbacker. I recently sold the streetrod and I am moving forward with sole interest in the antique collector car hobby. What I am trying to get at, is the collector car and train hobby will never diminish. Will it have its up and downs with popularity, absolutely, but as long as the kids are into cars, some will always gravitate over to the antique cars.

 

I do agree with what some have to say about the "Don't Touch" and the general grumpy old men. I always try to take my two boys to car shows, I have taught them not to touch, so that is not an issue. However, when you have a 1.5 year old crying or screaming, and old people tell you to shut the kid up, do they not realize you need to start them young, or do they not realize they were once a kid. As a previous person stated, most people are very gracious and welcoming to children, as they should be. I still remember a gentleman complaining about not taking his truck to a show because the general public was all over the vehicle and the kids always want to touch and look inside, but the next topic he talks about is the diminishing population of the car hobby! Yes, scratches suck from careless people touching your car, and it requires more time to buff out, but keep in mind, that one child may be hooked for life on antique cars and be willing and able to carry the hobby!

 

Just my two cents.

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I'm 41 Have been into old Cars since I could roll one on the floor.  I have had old cars ever since I could drive and actually a couple of years before.  Dad liked them and I'm sure influenced me some but never had one.  I went through my hot rodding era and still have a couple from that.  I bought my 36 Cord when I was 38.  My 36 Chrysler a couple years before that.  When I was in my early 20's I drove around town in a 36 Plymouth coupe (stock) and then a 36 Chrysler Coupe (again Stock) .  Loved polishing up the old lady in towns 35 Ford Woody. I would wonder through the woods for hours if there was the promise of finding an old car.  Druelled over every old car I saw resting in the weeds on my bus ride to school.  I even collected every abandoned old car part I could find to decorate my room.  My first trip to Hershey when I was in my early 20's was like going to Willy Wonkas world of candy.  I think there are alot of kids into old cars but as mentioned space and especially disposable income are hard to come by.  I have had quite a few stand in amazement at the Cord when they stop at my shop with their parents or young folks in their early 20's do the same even when stopping to ask for directions.  

Let the economy turn around and I think you might see a surge in activity among the youth as they find a little disposable income especially once they finally get all those student loans they were shammed into paid off.  

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Wouldn't we say our core group is mostly 50-70+ year olds with rural or suburban homes with garages, sheds, basements, etc.  How many 20-30 year olds you know have that kind of space?  And even those that do are now more likely to be renters and in smaller homes and more dense neighborhoods. 

 

I think our core group is 70- to 90-year-olds,

and they're as friendly and encouraging as they could be. 

Poci, like you, I got my first old car in the 1980's.

It was within a month of graduation!  I didn't own a 

home, but I rented a garage out in the country for my

newly purchased antique 1957 Buick 4-door hardtop.

 

In organizations' search for younger members,

isn't it funny that a 40- or 50-year-old may be an executive

in some company and in his prime earning years.  He's

likely the head of a household and may have children in college;

but in some circles he is among the desired "youth"!

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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I had a really nice set of  1950-60s American Flyer trains that I had built up over the years. Layer on when I was older and didn't play with them anymore my mother threw them out. I didn't find out until years later. Same thing happened to my brother's impressive baseball card collection. It was all just clutter in the attic to her.

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I had a really nice set of  1950-60s American Flyer trains that I had built up over the years. Layer on when I was older and didn't play with them anymore my mother threw them out. I didn't find out until years later. Same thing happened to my brother's impressive baseball card collection. It was all just clutter in the attic to her.

 

I have lost count the number of times that I have heard this story.  Very sad to have some great memories thrown out. 

 

As has been said a lot of times, one mans trash is another mans treasure.  Or in this case one kids treasure is Moms trash.

Edited by Larry Schramm (see edit history)
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I have lost count the number of times that I have heard this story.  Very sad to have some great memories thrown out. 

 

As has been said a lot of times, one mans trash is another mans treasure.  Or in this case one kids treasure is Moms trash.

On the brighter side of that story my Brother fished a set of MARX trains out of a Dumpster at an Apartment complex back in the early 90's and took them to an antique store.  The owner wasn't really interested but said they were probably worth 100.00   I gave him the 100.00 and have them in my display cabinet in my office.  There was a nice NYC passenger train and a freight train as well as a station and light tower along with a few other smaller accessories.  Not pristine as it looks to have been plaid with but not really beat up either.  They display quite well and did run but took alot of coaxing to get going.

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Syncros, I agree with you about being friendly to kid's at car shows. I had my '32 Ford roadster at a show a couple of years ago. I was sitting behind the car and watched a father and four little boys come up to the car. The father told his kid's "don't touch" but I saw the smaller child trying to see the interior by jumping up and down. I walked over and opened the door and told the kids "get In". Their father said, "no that's OK", but I insisted. Well it must have taken all week to remove the smiles from those kid's faces. Hopefully one day, one of those kids will aspire to own an antique car and keep our hobby alive! After they walked away, a car owner from across the row came over and chastised  me for allowing "those brats" to get in my car. He said "now they think everybody will allow that". Needless to say, I explained to him "very nicely" that it is my car and really don't care what he thinks. Now, I'm not saying we should allow kids just to get in our vehicles, but I don't think growling at people to "keep away from my car", help's our hobby.

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I'm with you 46,

I always let the kids (young and old) sit in the rat rod.

Even moms will get in there once in awhile.

A family will take turns getting their pictures, who knows how many bedroom walls my car is on but I will guess many.

I am 6' 2" and the car is built for me.

My most often heard comment from the parents is about how comfortable it is.

 

Even Elvis got to sit in it.

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My grand kids love to play in my cars.  Pull on the wheel, blow the horn. Other kids in the neighborhood often stop to talk when I am out in the garage and I almost always let them get in and look around. It's a car, not the Hope Diamond. None have ever been anything but careful. And I live in an area full of Minority kids.

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Two weeks ago over a hundred Gettysburg Region members attended a "Sunday at the Movies" Ice cream social. Door prizes were given out to the youngest man and woman in attendance. John S. was also there. John would not give any age other than "timeless" so I was the winner at age 58! Yes there are younger members in the Region, but they were not there. This was the week before the Super Bowl, so no game time interference with the event. The core group were there, as always. Karl

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Yes there are younger members in the Region, but they were not there. ...

 

Yes, very occasionally we'll have babies at events--

typically the grandchildren or great-grandchildren of members!

 

Maybe in a decade or so, one will earn a "youngest driver"

award on a car tour.

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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