1935Packard

"Millennials Invade Classic Car Market"

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This is Interesting:

 

"Data tabulated by popular classic car insurer Hagerty illustrated Gen X and Millennial dominance based on their requests for vehicle valuations and classic car insurance quotes. The pair of younger generations accounted for 53 percent of requests, marking a major tipping point for the classic car market. Many older enthusiasts are entrenched in the market, and may already own a classic, or several classics. Meanwhile, Gen X and Millennials are just now getting to a position of career stability which now allows them to shop for their dream classic just like Dad used to have."

 

A story over at the Hagerty blog from July has more a lot more related information, including this chart on the age distribution of who is receiving quotes from Hagerty for insurance for classic cars.  It includes this chart:

 

 1464235073_ScreenShot2018-12-18at10_39_01PM.png.49f07d9c48cb651a39ebeedf00c4b391.png

 

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I am in my 40's and a Gen X'er and got into classic cars 2 years ago.  Since I bought my 1931 Model A at that time, I was bitten by the bug and purchased 3 more pre 1932 cars and a 50's car for my wife.  All are 'stock'.  Last year, my 22 year old daughter purchased a 1978 VW Westfalia bus that she pretty much daily drives.  

 

When people are younger, they buy what they can afford and what they know.  Then as you are more stable with your income and you build some confidence around cars people tend to expand their horizon and get into new things.  I started with newer specialty cars such as the Toyota FJ Cruiser, then a Dodge Challenger SRT launch edition, then a Porsche.  Over the years I didn't have any idea that old cars were really out there and were attainable.  When I made the transition to older cars it took support from another person in my neighborhood who owned a model A so that I could get some confidence with the car and working on it.  After that I discovered that it wasn't bad at all and a whole lot of fun!  Last summer I talked to people who were millennials at the car shows that had the 80's car or something newer and they were actually quite engaged learning about the older car and many mentioned that someday they wanted to get something like that.

 

I only started going to car shows over the last two years, so I have no idea what it was like before with old cars attending.  I would say though that most people who own the really old classics are getting up there in age and don't bring their cars to shows because it is some work, harder to maintain their cars, or just don't like the new crowd.  I honestly do not think that the lower amount of old cars at car shows has anything to do what people like at the shows, I think it has much more to do with the people that own the older cars do not like the current shows or just cant get to the shows anymore.  Whenever I bring one of the old cars to the local show or cruise night it typically has some of the bigger crowds and most engaging conversations (Except of course the common question of wow, how much is that worth?)

 

It looks like the Hagerty data is showing that the younger people are getting into cars and of course they are starting with what they know and can afford.  If the antique car clubs want to help more of the newer generations get into the older cars, then they have to find a way to connect with them and even make them aware.  Too much information about older cars is in paper form, in people's heads, and in a library some where.  We need that knowledge on the internet and searchable, we need sharing on social sites like Instagram, and we need parts swap meets online and not in a city somewhere.  If that support and awareness network was in place, then the interest by younger generations would increase.  

 

As they say - If you cant find it with Google, then it doesn't exist!

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Fellow gen x checking in, kfle gets it. I was lucky? to be born into this hobby. Sept 11th and the great recession put a decade long pause on my career so I havent been able to do anything with my car. Fortunately, the last six months have been fantastic for me and I am now in the job that I will retire from. This spring my car will start to get the attention and exercise that is so badly deserves. As for the younger generations not knowing how to work on cars, not true. They(myself included) do work on our cars. We just don't use a wrench on our daily drivers. We use a bluetooth dongle and an app on a cell phone. It all comes down to what you have been exposed to. How many other forum members know how to check canbus voltage? How many here know how to check generator cutout voltage? Both are important and both being incorrect will leave you stranded. I think this is a great time to get into the hobby, it all depends on what you like and what suites your needs. I've said it before, practical usable classics are where the real action is going to be right now. I think the market is starting to reflect that now, I have noticed that prewar prices are starting to come down. While not great for current owners, a softening in the market will bring in new owners.

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Kfle - you make some valid points in the third paragraph of your comments. I am of the baby boomer generation; have 2 pre war cars that get driven , one is a AACA 1st place winner ( 40 years ago and then placed in a heated garage to keep the condition from deteriorating, I bought it 2 years ago ) 

People who own cars , especially pre war cars, need to take them out, not necessarily wait for a show where they can have their car judged to possibly win and award. Go to a cruise night, talk to the other car owners and spectators who are there to look at the cars! At an event like that there is less intimidation for  the "lookers" who may think that the car owners won't talk to them at a regular car show to answer questions. Sure they will ask what it is worth, best way to deal with that I have found is to post a sign giving details of what the car cost new. If the question as to worth is asked point to that, if it is asked again then you just say "won't know until I sell it, and its not for sale, or that is not important to me". If you are nice and can inform people 99% of the time they are really interested to hear what you say. Tell them it took you so many hours to rub out the paint, etc. Whenever I answer questions I get a smile or a really sincere interested reaction. Today the emphasis is placed by the media , tv etc on "what is it worth" that can be answered by

you by stating "you can't put a price on the satisfaction and thrill I get by just driving it down the road". It sends a very positive message to all within ear shot as to why you own it, and like old :"used cars".

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We can't be surprised that young people are embracing the cars they grew up with. It's what the whole hobby is based on, right? Many of us collect the cars of our youth or the cars our parents had or something significant we remember from our past. But short of being born into the hobby like I was (which largely explains why I love '30s cars), a young person's point of reference is going to be different today. In short, you want what is familiar to you. A 16-year-old kid in 2002 might now be able to afford a modest hobby car. But if he's been going to car shows since 2002 and looking at the usual cars, he's going to see late-model muscle cars and Corvettes, lots of modified cars, lots of hot rods, lots of imports, and almost no pure antiques and Classics. How can you blame him for not wanting those if they're not even on his radar? And even if you do catch his attention at a show, it's going to be hard to change his mindset because it's still an anomaly and not "familiar." Most car guys are pretty conservative and they like what they like and don't want to go very far outside that comfort zone, and I'm sure young people are not much different. They are not interested in things they don't understand, and a 1930 Pontiac is something that they just don't understand. They don't understand how it works, they don't understand how to maintain it, they may not know how to drive it, and they certainly don't understand how it can be at all enjoyable at 41 MPH. It isn't their fault, it's just the environment through which they came into the hobby. We can't blame them for that.

 

I sell a lot of '70s cars. Right now, trans Ams are particularly popular because when I was 9 years old, "Smokey and the Bandit" with that black Trans Am was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. If I didn't have any other frame of reference but I was interested in cars and approaching 50 years old with some disposable income, why would I look for a 1933 Oldsmobile or a 1948 Nash or even a 1957 Chevy? I'd look for a 1978 Trans Am. Or a 1978 Lincoln Town Car like the one my dad might have had. Or a 1986 Buick like the one I drove in high school. This is all the same stuff that has been driving the hobby for decades, and time does keep moving forward.

 

It's nobody's fault, but it does illustrate how important it is to get the old cars out and among the crowds. Embrace any young person who shows interest, even if it's the kid with 22-inch wheels on his late-model Impala and a big stereo in the trunk. Broaden their horizons. Show them that there are alternatives they may not have considered. Let them see, touch, and ride so they understand that these aren't weird old artifacts but functional machines that are a lot of fun in their own right. At the moment, we in the AACA are the fringe. If we want the hobby as we know it (meaning antiques and the way most of you remember the hobby) to survive, then we have to mainstream these "antiques" once again (and no, I'm not talking about your 1993 Ford Taurus which is now AACA eligible--yes, yes, I know it's easy to drive and has A/C). Tall order, but that's the only way to do it. Tastes can certainly change with age, but exposure is really the only way to make that happen. 


Save the hobby, get out and drive!

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Could not agree more, take them out and show them, even to local restaurants etc. We do a drive in at a local bar-b-que joint every Tue. night, just show up. You will be amazed how many people come by to see the 40 to 50 cars that randomly show up each week. People love my 32 Packard and take photo's standing in front of it. No telling how many kids get the bug, or where. We are responsible for the future of this sport, even if it is a hot rod Honda Civic with a bumble bee muffler.  

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My good friend Matt stated this perfectly especially the last paragraph. Depending upon your age you are influenced by what you are exposed to - tv, movies, etc. My influence in the late 1950s early 1960s was the tv show "The Untouchables" and the movie "Some like it hot" . the plots and story  - well yeah ok to a 9 or 10 year old kid, BUT THE LOOK AND STYLE OF THE CARS , WOW. It made me want a car with running boards and headlamps on a bar between the fenders or mounted as part of the front fender like on a Pierce Arrow. I still continue to take extreme satisfaction in looking at cars of that era while appreciating the older and newer cars as well. After so many decades I still sit here thinking - "and I actually own one of those cars " Looking at them is great but driving or riding in one or seeing one in motion is the absolute best. We all own or like the cars we do for our own personal reasons, how much satisfaction have you received over the years because of an old car(s) , enjoy it while you can and try to see if you can get someone who is a novice with old cars to experience what you have. There comes a time in life when you will need to think about and cherish these fun times ( with the cars, and the friendships)  to get you through an experience you would not rather be in .

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Just imagine what additional and more specific data the insurance companies hold in their secret archives.  I've long advocated trying to get hold of some of that info for our own marketing purposes but I'm sure it's proprietary and a carefully guarded business tool for them.  While we continue to debate the fate of our hobby they know for certain what the true picture looks like - how many cars, what kind of cars, ages, locations, etc.etc.  In this age of mass-data and data mining, we're certainly behind the proverbial 8-ball on that score, while the insurers are able to focus.  I know we can tell you what year and kind of vehicles our members own but not much beyond that.  The big unknown is what are the non-members interested in?  Marketing 101 - understand your market!    I guess it's comforting to know they are at least doing great business, and are seemingly looking at a bright future in the collectable car markets.  That is encouraging but it sure might be interesting to know if there has been any gravitational shift in interest by age or type of car.  I know my Grandson (who just got his drivers license) has his eye on my  1967 Pontiac GTO,  but I wonder who will want the Model T.  Of course this all leads to the old discussion about how you define a "classic car."

I like Matt's comment - Save the hobby, get out and drive! 

Terry

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Well early this morning I am a grandfather today again and its a boy. When the ladies had a baby shower I sent along a gift all wrapped up consisting of vice grips and channel lock pliers that I bought at Hershey this year. The ladies got a chuckle out of it but you have to start them early. I will be out shopping for a toy antique car this afternoon.

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Millennial here. Age 29. Proudly own a 1926 Dodge and former owner of a 1959 Edsel. Can’t explain it as I was the first in my family to be interested in cars. I think it was my musical taste and fascination  for history. As a teenager I was listening to 1920s-1940s jazz as well as pre-1960 rockabilly music. 

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Gen X here also. Interestingly it seems once people get in the hobby, they expand their horizons and tend to move earlier. When people experience any well sorted pre war car they almost always have fun and with a bit of encouragement may take the big step. I have let hundreds of people drive my CCCA cars, from 100 point show cars to barn finds, they always smile when they are behind the wheel. 

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I’m a Gen X by label, but a pre-Baby Boomer in the way I approach life.  Maybe that explains why I tell people “the older the better” when they ask me what type of cars I like.

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1 hour ago, Joe in Canada said:

Well early this morning I am a grandfather today again and its a boy. When the ladies had a baby shower I sent along a gift all wrapped up consisting of vice grips and channel lock pliers that I bought at Hershey this year. The ladies got a chuckle out of it but you have to start them early. I will be out shopping for a toy antique car this afternoon. 

 Congratulations Joe - and when the occasion presents itself - throw a tool party instead of a baby shower.  When he gets married, it's also a good time to do a "Guys bridal shower."  We did that for our son and everybody brought tool gifts, we had some fun car games, etc.   Good luck finding a nice toy antique car these days.  Let us know what you come up with.

 

Sure would like to know what the most popular top ten cars are, according to the insurance industry.

Terry

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5 hours ago, kfle said:

I We need that knowledge on the internet and searchable, we need sharing on social sites like Instagram, and we need parts swap meets online and not in a city somewhere.  If that support and awareness network was in place, then the interest by younger generations would increase.  

 

As they say - If you cant find it with Google, then it doesn't exist!

 

While access to information is always a good thing, don't discount paper.  There are no electronic versions of most of this information.  That means that any electronic service manuals or other materials have been scanned from a paper original.  Details get lost in that process, particularly detail in tiny drawings such as wiring diagrams.  Most of the younger people I've met who lament about the lack of electronic materials are doing so because they want them for free.  Spend the money, buy a paper copy. Then, READ it.  The reason why a lot of us have this knowledge in our heads is exactly because we've invested the time and effort into actually reading the factory documentation and service manuals.  Not only does this increase your knowledge, but the older service manuals spend a lot of time describing the theory behind the design of the system in question.  Spend the time to digest that information and you can actually diagnose problems, as opposed to having to be spoon fed the info (right or wrong) from a youtube video. I realize this may be a shock to someone your age, but not everything on the interwebs is true or correct.

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I just turned 31 and am considered a millennial,  and have owned cars that were at least 30 yrs old for the last 8yrs, and bought my 1937 a little over a yr ago. There is a lot of truth to what Matt brings up of people buying what they are familiar with, and at least in my case, my first hobby car that I bought in my early 20s was an 80's chevy c10 squarebody, just like what was being driven when I was a child. my family wasn't really in to cars so I wasnt really exposed to them much, but fell in with a group of car guys in my early 20s, who were ranging from 10-20yrs older than myself, decided I wanted something to tinker with and bought what was cool when I was a youngin'. Working on that truck with those guys exposed me to a lot more, and I started working on their stuff which happened to be, aside from some muscle cars, some late 30's GM stuff, and that style really peaked my interest. A few years later, I'm finishing up some personal projects along with some car projects for other's, and I start looking for another car and pick up a 1937 Buick, a car I didn't know I wanted until I saw it. Along the way, I made a good friend who, while he liked older cars, didn't really consider buying one, but just like me, I rubbed off on him a bit, and ended up buying a 1958 Edsel Villager that we have been working on together. along with this, friends my age, generally having little to no interest in older cars, see stuff im working on, or see pictures from shows I go to, and while I don't think they will ever buy an older car, it at least puts those cars at a more familiar level to them when they see someone they know around them, than just the once a yr they happen to see one in a parade or at a fair, and gets them noticing the cars when they see them, sending me pictures, asking questions, etc and even my parents do it and will text me pictures asking what something is.

Edited by Stooge (see edit history)

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I just made the Baby boomers, but never felt like one.  Started looking for my Grandfather's 1933 Graham, found it and kept going.  I fell in love with the 1930 cars.  I like the prices falling, then I can afford them.  I have gotten great deals from the previous caretakers, on most of my old cars.  I plan on doing the same when I can not care for them any more.  I love to drive my pre war cars and give lots of rides to my 11 year old sons friends.  My 18 year old took my 1929 trap shooting last summer.  They are cars, I like to use them as cars, I just get board at shows.  We should have more car tours, the Model A guys do a great job, now if I can get them to let the orphans come along.... I picked up a 1972 Mach 1 for fun (my high school car), my 18 year old drives it more than I do.

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10 hours ago, mike6024 said:

I'm considered a baby boomer now. Geez.

 

 

 

If you were born between 1946 and 1964, you are a baby boomer.  

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I'm happy that people of any age like old cars,

but I take those generational labels with a grain of salt.

Marketing departments like to categorize all people

together:  

     "Baby boomers like to..."

     "Generation X is involved with..."

     "We need to appeal to Generation Y [now relabeled Millennials]..."

      And now they came up with "Silent Generation" for the older folks!

 

Actually, everyone is an individual, with backgrounds, abilities,

tastes, and loves different from everyone else's.  And a 

generation is more accurately considered as 30 years,

because women are typically between 20 and 40 when

they have children.

 

Let's take care of inquisitive newcomers, whether they're 5 or 15 or 75!

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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I'm a Gen-Xer with two Prewar cars. The point Matt makes is spot-on. My dad owned the '30 Buick I own and it served as a gateway to appreciating other Prewar cars. The more we take our cars to events, the more likely we are to help people understand the appeal.

 

I do think some people with Prewar cars need to consider how they interact with folks at these events. There is sentiment among some owners here that cars have only gotten worse and that their car stands as a symbol of what used to be right. In addition to telling people about your car, try spending some time learning about what they like.

 

A ) you will learn there are some very interesting things in the car culture that fall outside your area of interest.

B ) you will make a better connection with people which will help foster their interest.

 

When I bring my Buick to cruise nights, people are constantly thanking me for bringing  it. There is definitely a curiosity out there about antiques.  I can't say I've convinced anyone to buy a Prewar car, but I do think they gain a sense that these cars are more attainable then they thought.

IMG_8233.jpg

Edited by Buick64C (see edit history)
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I'm Generation X, too, and I have two pre-war Classics.   Just as Matt suggested, there's a family connection: My grandfather owned the Packard I now have, and I fell in love with 30s cars from the time I was 7 or 8 and played with that Packard in my grandfather's garage.    One of my favorite books when I was growing up was Cars of the 30s, by the editors of Consumer Guide.  I used to spend countless hours combing through that book, learning about each make and model, and comparing the pictures of model years.  I still have that very worn book, too.

 

I've found that the folks at cruise nights and local car shows are usually really enthusiastic about new people showing up with interesting new cars, of any era, Classics included.  Like Buick64C, I have no reason to think that bringing these cars to shows have helped persuade anyone to own one (at least yet).. But car people are car people. If you bring a car and create a memory that a car is really cool, you never know what seed you're planting.

 

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