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Is hobby interest in pre-WWII cars Dying?


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We have thirteen 100+ year old cars registered for the annual HCCA KISS one & two cylinder car tour next week in McMinnville OR.  

Many of the KISS Tour participants are also registered for the Modoc CA tour the following week.

 

So, I would say that interest is definitely not fading. 

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48 minutes ago, edinmass said:

Is interest in pre war cars fading? Here are fifty Pierce Arrows on tour this week in the mid west. 

A4792D89-2966-41B2-A4B2-8B474F3B7F3B.jpeg

 

Man o Man, if one only had the resources to be a part of that.....auto nirvana ! And I bet the surrounding roads are old car friendly as well !  We can all dream. Down to the lotto store for me.

 

Greg in Canada

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2 hours ago, John348 said:

In 1982 I was 24 years old  and remember showing up to local AACA region event with a 59 Impala, and one of the active voices in the club told me " you got yourself nice used car."

I heard that "used car" thing many times with my 39 Buick sedan back in the 1960's in Baltimore, it almost regurgitated me.  When I was elected President of AACA in 2004 I had to make a speech in Philadelphia at the Annual Convention.  In that speech I declared the term "used car" as an dirty word in AACA, but I don't think enough people were listening. 😀

Edited by Dynaflash8 (see edit history)
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56 minutes ago, edinmass said:

Is interest in pre war cars fading? Here are fifty Pierce Arrows on tour this week in the mid west. 

A4792D89-2966-41B2-A4B2-8B474F3B7F3B.jpeg

 

Thanks for the glorious pic, Ed.

I just wish I could be out there with my PAS family enjoying the friendship, the cars, the tours and food.  :)

 

 

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1 hour ago, Dynaflash8 said:

I heard that "used car" thing many times with my 39 Buick sedan back in the 1960's in Baltimore, it almost regurgitated me.  When I was elected President of AACA in 2004 I had to make a speech in Philadelphia at the Annual Convention.  In that speech I declared the term "used car" as an dirty word in AACA, but I don't think enough people were listening. 😀

 

I recall the speech,  I was there that year

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2 hours ago, edinmass said:

Is interest in pre-war cars fading?  Here are fifty Pierce Arrows on tour this week in the mid west. 

 

It's encouraging that clubs like that remain active, and the

old cars are getting out on the road.  However, to answer

whether interest in pre-war cars remains strong, we have

to consider the bigger picture.  I hope the answer is positive:

 

---Is the Pierce Arrow Society bigger than it was 20 and 30 years ago?

---Do more Pierces get out to national meets?

---Are as many Pierces actively driven by members compared to then?

---Are other clubs, such as those for Stutz, Marmon, Packard, Elgin,

     Hudson-Essex-Terraplane, etc. growing and getting new, younger members?

 

I hear the brass-era contingent are holding their own.  Are there any

other encouraging signs to report?

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18 hours ago, mike6024 said:

 

Beauty is to the beholder.  Personally, I have thought my entire life (80 years) that the front styling of a 1939 Buick was the most beautiful on any car ever built

 

I concur. you have good taste.

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 I always thought the 39 Styling was a bit off (not quite 42 olds off but) and that's coming from a guy that had a 39 Special convertible and Dad still has a 39 sedan.  It's one of the noses I'll bet that is lesser liked of the 39 car line up.   If I could have bought any car new in 39, Buick wouldn't have been near the top of the list.  Love the 38 and back styling and the 41 and up.  Might be part of what's holding the car back. 

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3 hours ago, John348 said:

 

I recall the speech,  I was there that year

Wow!  That's pretty neat!  I had a lot of pent up emotion from those days in the 60's inside of me when I wrote that speech.

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39 minutes ago, mercer09 said:

Love the 38 and back styling and the 41 and up.

 

 

you guys have terrible taste!

 

need to send you  to art school

 

lol

The '38 grill reminds me of a mad dog with his teeth bared ready to attach.😀.  So there LOL.

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1 hour ago, auburnseeker said:

 I always thought the 39 Styling was a bit off (not quite 42 olds off but)...

Concur.  IMHO, 39 is a big step back from 38, and Buick didn't get their groove back until the mid-50s.

 

Design seems to work like that, though; it comes in waves.  It's just that not everyone agrees on when the peaks and troughs are. ;) 

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1 hour ago, auburnseeker said:

 I always thought the 39 Styling was a bit off (not quite 42 olds off but) and that's coming from a guy that had a 39 Special convertible and Dad still has a 39 sedan.  It's one of the noses I'll bet that is lesser liked of the 39 car line up.   If I could have bought any car new in 39, Buick wouldn't have been near the top of the list.  Love the 38 and back styling and the 41 and up.  Might be part of what's holding the car back. 

i dislike the back styling of both 37 and 38 with those two windows.  I like the '36 overall second best to the '39 and '41, but I think I like the '36 back styling even better than the '39 back styling.  Interestingly I don't like the look of the '39 Roadmaster and Limited.  It has a fat look to it all over....bigger front fenders and body is what I really am saying.  NOW!  STOP!  You're going to have all of the pre-War Buick guys down on me!  The best looking prewar Buick, overall, in my opinion was the 1941 Series 90 Limited with standard factory fender skirts.....they called it "the Parlor Car that Flies".  It outstyled, and out-powered every other car on the market in 1941.  Nobody could equal the 165 horsepower, except Packard with an optional aluminum head.  Nobody else had the advanced engineering that pre-empted the '50's with ram air induction, dual carburetors that acted like a 4-barrel carburetor, closed crankcase ventilation.................what a car it was!  I owned two of them back in the day, and I dearly wish I had one now instead of a '41 Roadmaster....it's good, but it doesn't have that longer than long look that makes the Limited look narrow instead of fat.  The Roadmaster has what they liked to call the "Torpedo" body back in the day.  Oh well, Kongo-Man, you'd never agree with anything I ever said if we both were standing the street with bombs falling and I said, "hey, bombs are falling!"

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26 minutes ago, 60FlatTop said:

I just went back and read the first post again. Much longer than the discussions we have when the guys get together for coffee on Saturday morning.

And this is only part of it.  It had about 160 during the first round. 😀

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8 hours ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

 

It's encouraging that clubs like that remain active, and the

old cars are getting out on the road.  However, to answer

whether interest in pre-war cars remains strong, we have

to consider the bigger picture.  I hope the answer is positive:

 

---Is the Pierce Arrow Society bigger than it was 20 and 30 years ago?

---Do more Pierces get out to national meets?

---Are as many Pierces actively driven by members compared to then?

---Are other clubs, such as those for Stutz, Marmon, Packard, Elgin,

     Hudson-Essex-Terraplane, etc. growing and getting new, younger members?

 

I hear the brass-era contingent are holding their own.  Are there any

other encouraging signs to report?

 

I'm not sure about overall numbers for the PAS, but I was not a member 20 years ago even though my Pierce has been in the family for over 50 years.

The Rickenbacker Car Club was very active back before the internet, then it waned quite a bit but has picked up membership in the last few years.

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8 hours ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

 

It's encouraging that clubs like that remain active, and the

old cars are getting out on the road.  However, to answer

whether interest in pre-war cars remains strong, we have

to consider the bigger picture.  I hope the answer is positive:

 

---Is the Pierce Arrow Society bigger than it was 20 and 30 years ago?

---Do more Pierces get out to national meets?

---Are as many Pierces actively driven by members compared to then?

---Are other clubs, such as those for Stutz, Marmon, Packard, Elgin,

     Hudson-Essex-Terraplane, etc. growing and getting new, younger members?

 

I hear the brass-era contingent are holding their own.  Are there any

other encouraging signs to report?

 

Two encouraging recent signs I have witnessed and been a part of

 

1. On May 17th at the Gilmore Car museum pre 1942 one day tour there were over 70 cars participating!  It was quite a site and had over 20 that were pre 15.  This was the largest amount of touring cars that they have had.

 

2. Myself and my 18 year old son relaunched the Cole motor car registry and club last fall complete with a modern website and on May 18th at the Gilmore pre 42 event we had 10 Coles show up!  This is a larger gathering of Coles  than the previous Cole Motor Car Club of America which was active from 1980 until 2010 was able to put together.  

 

We have seen several Coles shift ownership from people in their 80s to people in their 40s and 50s and I have had contact from people in their 20s interested but they need to build up the funds and build the connections.  I know five Coles that have shifted ownership over the last year and none were public or advertised sales.  More with help from the registry making connections between the old caretaker and the new enthusiastic caretaker.  

 

I am learning what works and what doesn’t in the modern world and you need to make the information source very accessible and easy to be found.  There is a lot more to learn as well!

 

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7 hours ago, kfle said:

Myself and my 18 year old son relaunched the Cole motor car registry and club last fall complete with a modern website and on May 18th at the Gilmore pre 42 event we had 10 Coles show up!  This is a larger gathering of Coles  than the previous Cole Motor Car Club of America which was active from 1980 until 2010 was able to put together.  

 

We have seen several Coles shift ownership from people in their 80s to people in their 40s and 50s and I have had contact from people in their 20s interested but they need to build up the funds and build the connections.  I know five Coles that have shifted ownership over the last year and none were public or advertised sales.  More with help from the registry making connections between the old caretaker and the new enthusiastic caretaker.  

 

I am learning what works and what doesn’t in the modern world and you need to make the information source very accessible and easy to be found.  There is a lot more to learn as well!

Wow, now that's what I like to hear.  You need to spread your recipe for such success to other clubs that specialize or are active in the collection of pre-WWII vehicles.  As a person 80 I really like to hear  you say that more people in their 40s and 50s are showing interest in these vehicles.  Obviously the Coles are older than those of the 30s and 40s that interest me, but the idea can spread from even a little seed to other aspects of the hobby and other vehicles.

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7 hours ago, mike6024 said:

Thanks!  Its a start and there are improvements that need to be done.  Eventually we will have scans of Cole documentation and material on the site.  It has to be quick to find, easy to use, and something that someone can find and access on their phone.   

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The recent pre war tour and show at the Gilmore Museum does renew ones faith in the hobby.  There were many fine examples of 1941 and earlier vehicles like a '31 Buick cabriolet, '39 Packard, electric powered Autocar, 4 Stanley steam cars, as well as the impressive Cole exhibit.  My wife and I entered one of the pre '16 cars mentioned above, a Buick touring.

 

We are attending an HCCA tour in July with 65 other brass era cars.  Many young folks including seconds and third generation tourists have been going to this once a year joint event between the Southern Ontario region and the North Jersey since the 1970's.

 

The Old Car Festival, in Michigan, attracts 800 pre 1933 cars, that is enough reason to get a pre war car, so, the pre war part of the hobby always has a place.  We need to make sure there are places get them out and drive or show them.

 

In the photo is a young lady piloting her grandfather's Columbus electric.  When you see smiles like hers you must feel good about the future.

 

Regards, Gary

 

 

DSC_5121.JPG

Edited by cxgvd (see edit history)
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37 minutes ago, Dynaflash8 said:

Wow, now that's what I like to hear.  You need to spread your recipe for such success to other clubs that specialize or are active in the collection of pre-WWII vehicles.  As a person 80 I really like to hear  you say that more people in their 40s and 50s are showing interest in these vehicles.  Obviously the Coles are older than those of the 30s and 40s that interest me, but the idea can spread from even a little seed to other aspects of the hobby and other vehicles.

Thanks and I am in my 40's and got started in this Coles less than two years ago when myself and my son were at an auction and we ran across a 1913 Cole.  We had never heard of it, didn't know anything about it, but fell in love with it.  We tried to do searches on our phone for information and there was a Wikipedia page (later to find out that it had many inaccuracies), links to forum posts, and that was about it.  Later we ran across the gentleman Leroy Cole, no relation to the Cole car family, who ran the former Cole club for three decades and he was gracious with information and knowledge.  So we decided to relaunch the registry last fall using the learnings of the past and the present.

 

Some things that we have learned so far

 

1. Easy to find information.  You have to have an information source that is easy to find and completely accessible.  Think about the person at an auction, a car show, a parking lot where they see a car, or just anywhere and they see a car such as Cole and say hmmm that is interesting I wonder what it is?  They pull out their phone and do a search.  If connections to quick information and a community do not come up you have lost them as they move on to something else.  If they find what they are looking for and the story is interesting with available connections then you have the start of engagement.  

2.  Awareness is key.  The cars need to be seen, the history needs to be shared, and stories need to be heard.  In my opinion, Coles are very nice cars with a great look and technology, though no one ever saw them.  We have been getting our Coles out at more events and encouraging other Cole owners to as well.  We are also letting people know where they will be so that people can see them.  Most people are not aware that Coles from 1916 on up are Full Classics in the CCCA and have been since 2012.  Well, they had two Coles registered and they had only been two a total of two events over the years.  I let other owners know about this and now CCCA membership for Cole owners is up to 6 active owners this year who are getting involved with their local region.  Also we became an affiliated region with the HCCA this Spring and they had two great articles in their recent issue of the Gazette in May.  My son and I also helped the Gilmore Car Museum launch a special Cole exhibit that opened earlier this month and is running through October.  It includes seven cars from 1909 - 1925, lots of Cole artifacts, pictures, and documents, and even has the Cole Sheet music song playing in the background.  It isn't just a single car of the brand sitting there on display, it tells the story of the company and the evolution of the auto industry from High Wheeler to the start of the Classic era through the lens of one company.  All of this activity generates interest in the brand and gets the knowledge out there.  Now it is not creating a lot of future Cole owners or active users, but you don't need a lot when there are only 77 known Coles that still exist right now.  We are also active in the various social media circles as well.  

3. Make it easy to participate.  We are just a historical auto site and registry and not an official club and it makes things streamlined and easier for something like Cole where it is more global with a limited set of participants, however I think there are things that apply to other groups as well.  We charge no membership fees and do everything electronically.   We do have a periodic 'newsletter' but it is sent out through email.  We did have an event in May, but we organized that through the website and other avenues.   I do not share any personal information on the Cole registry though the members get to know each other through connections and we are able to easily facilitate these connections.  For example a newer Cole owner of a 1916 Touring car sent me a Facebook message on last Friday about some issues he was having.  I then messaged another Cole owner who had something similar in the past and got the answer.  Within an hour the owner had an answer and was good to go on how to address it.  We are gathering up lots of information as well and creating a simple library that we will scan soon and put on the website(i.e. we have just about every owners manual, almost all dealer books, and lots of other info) that will make it easier for owners to get what they need.  By doing all this we are trying to lower the barrier to owning and maintaining a Cole as it can be scary for someone to jump right in to something like this.  We also make it easy to participate in the group with no fees that you have to worry about (most times it is not the $25 that you pay for a club, it is the hassle of the administration of dealing with all of that), no club hierarchy or politics to deal with, and a central information source that everyone can access.

4. Manage the pipeline.   The other need I saw was managing the pipeline of car caretakers.  Typically Cole owners love their cars and when they get up there in age they want to see their Cole go to the next care taker who will love it and cherish it as much as they did.  Of course they want a fair price as well!  Also through connections we have made with the registry, you have new Cole enthusiasts who have been interested in  Coles from before for some reason or they saw a Cole at a show and did research and are curious about owning one.  Some people are ready buyers, some people are developing where they are learning what it takes and building funds or other necessary things to one day become an owner.  I just facilitate the connection between these parties and if it works out great, and if it doesn't then so be it.  This type of thing probably works better with a marquee that has a more limited supply, but it is working.  Also, you have a support structure for the new owner which is important.  

5. Make it fun.  Finally, the biggest one is to make it fun!  I have learned that it is about the cars, the connections, and the history.  The more you can center around that and make things fun for the owner the better.  People disassociate from car clubs when they feel they are or are going to be 'judged', when there is politics, or when they are not having fun.  We stay away from all of that and is why we didn't put a heavy car club structure in place.  It is just an information source that facilitates connections between people that own and are passionate about Coles.  

 

Some people will probably wonder about cost, since there are no fees or anything.  I pay $10 per month for the website hosting, so $120 per year is my investment back into the hobby.  My son and I create all the web pages and maintain it, though with modern web tools that is super easy.  Newsletters we write and compile from others as well, and since it is all electronic it is published by clicking a button.  So far we have had an amazing time sharing our passion, meeting others, and making an impact!    We are not perfect by any means but this is a journey that we will continue and we have a good start.  

 

I will leave you with a few pictures from May.  One is my son with his 1923 Cole Coupe.  Whenever, he is out he always lets people see and get in the car and in the first picture he is sitting in the drivers seat showing some younger people the car and how it worked.  In the second and third picture you can see how he was giving people rides in his car throughout the day.  The other owners were doing the same and here is a great pic of a young kid who came along whos name was 'Cole' in the 1909 Cole High Wheeler that someone brought.  

 

 

 

Ben in his 1922 Cole showing others.jpg

IMG_2264.jpg

IMG_0054.jpg

1909 High Wheeler.jpg

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On 6/13/2019 at 1:46 PM, John_S_in_Penna said:

 

It's encouraging that clubs like that remain active, and the

old cars are getting out on the road.  However, to answer

whether interest in pre-war cars remains strong, we have

to consider the bigger picture.  I hope the answer is positive:

 

---Is the Pierce Arrow Society bigger than it was 20 and 30 years ago?

---Do more Pierces get out to national meets?

---Are as many Pierces actively driven by members compared to then?

---Are other clubs, such as those for Stutz, Marmon, Packard, Elgin,

     Hudson-Essex-Terraplane, etc. growing and getting new, younger members?

 

I hear the brass-era contingent are holding their own.  Are there any

other encouraging signs to report?

 

There are lots of changes going on in the hobby right now. The only certainty is the hobby will be different than how I grew up in it. No one is going to throw cars away, but the values will fluctuate with supply and demand. Also, I belong to “two” clubs that only have an email chain.........no dues, no magazine, nothing.......just a quick email that goes out with an idea.......let’s meet at a hotel in Cape Cod for three days. Several spots are chosen to visit. It’s all done on the fly. Do as you please when you arrive, drive as much or as little as you like. That’s the way some people are now enjoying the hobby. In some ways I like it, in other ways I don’t. I expect there will be more of this and other things we have yet to see. Time will tell. 

 

Best guess that there will be fewer clubs, with more diverse membership and interests. There will be tours, shows, and events.......I am quite sure they will be done and organized differently.  Look at this site we are on now..............it’s only 20 years old...........Ed

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Demographics, attrition ( both human and hardware ), and just plain change will dictate contraction of the "hobby". The automobile does not generate interest the way it did in years past. For the VAST majority of the population the automobile is seen as little more than an appliance and no one, that I'm aware of, collects  or shows appliances. As the automobile interested people die off so will  participation in the hobby. That will be followed by the decline in upkeep of existing cars which will mean fewer cars in the hobby.  Fewer cars means means fewer suppliers of support and services at ever increasing costs. This all will mean fewer people chasing fewer cars and a general, over time,  spiral of atrophy.

This will take years and I'm guessing there will always be car collectors but they will eventually become a small niche group supported by a very few specialty concerns.

This is not a growth industry.................Bob

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Afraid to say my limited personal observations support this idea. All the events I have attended in the last few years ; 80% swap meets , show a very heavily weighted towards the "gray" participant.  That's not to say swap meets are a geriatric ward...……..yet. But it is sure trending that way.

 I realize there are definitely auto events with more of a youthful orientation but swap meets are the wellspring of the old car hobby. Catalogs full of offshore junk and the U.P.S. man may feed the street rod segment, but not nearly so much the vintage car arena.

 And ebay seems to have shrunk significantly in importance to the vintage car hobby as well. Several years ago there were a huge amount of listings of "real" old car parts ; as opposed to todays huge listings of "will fit" offshore do dads. And these days I rarely find anything I am even interested in let alone willing to bid on.

 

Just a personal observation. Yes there are many people out there with extremely nice old cars. But in general I get the impression the average age is creeping up year  by year.

Yes there are young people involved, but as far as I can see not even close to the number of replacement stock required as the current old car people become obsolete.

 

 But the lifeblood of the hobby in my humble opinion; people actively engaged with the nuts and bolts of all things old car related, fall in numbers every year.

 

It's one thing to have the interest and means to BUY a nicely restored old car and take it to a few events each year. It is another thing altogether to spend your life learning every aspect of old car design, engineering, construction, mechanics, finishing techniques, troubleshooting , maintenance, and so on. Buying tools and equipment, building back yard shops, all with hard earned and with each passing year , rare dollars .

 It's those "all in " people who are an endangered species. We all know  modern times have put tremendous wealth in the hands of a substantial minority. And human nature dictates that at least some of those individuals will develop an interest in old cars.

 But the people willing to devote a large part of their lives to the understanding of many as possible of the numerous aspects of old cars are a truly threatened group.  They are often not part of that top 20% or so whose affluence increases each year.

Usually not wealthy enough to belong to the "arrive and drive"  group, and increasingly not wealthy enough to make the uphill, lifelong journey worthwhile or practical.

 

Greg in Canada

 

 

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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back in the 60's there was one or two Coles that belonged to members of the Chesapeake Region AACA out of Baltimore.  One was in Southern Maryland as I recall.  BigDog paints a pretty dire picture above.  I think there is some validity to what he is saying, or I wouldn't have started this thread.  However, I think he has approached the subject with overkill.  There will always be people interested in mechanics and who enjoy making things work that no longer work, even to literally manufacturing non-available parts.  Not every single soul will go to college, hunker down over a computer, teach or write books, etc.  Some guys just restore cars, never show them, drive them a little and then sell them because the mechanical challenge is all that matters to them.  IF YOU WANT TO FIND ALL OF THE AVAILABLE INFORMATION KNOWN TO BE OUT THERE STILL, CONTACT THE AACA LIBRARY IN HERSHEY, PA.

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I have mentioned my Wife and I have discussed what to do with my cars if she is left with them. The cars and all the "stuff" that is associated with them. She says she will go first but you never know. But we do have an informal succession plan. Even informal it is good to outline.

 

I think creating a succession plan is much more telling about the state of the hobby than some anecdotes on the Forum. You have to be really pragmatic about where any collector car might go, early, late, restored, modified- whatever you got. It is a very good plan for a single person or boards of organizations. If one does their due diligence the result will be great insight on not only your car, but the general hobby as well. Then, verify with the recipients what your plan is.

 

There are social movements gaining moment that focus on parity in a big way. Could be a situation of, sure you can have old cars for toys, but you might wish you didn't.

 

Make the plan, even if you don't implement it.

Bernie

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10 hours ago, cxgvd said:

We need to make sure there are places get them out and drive or show them.

My part in that was when I designed and sold the AACA National Sentimental Tour to the AACA Board of Directors when I was on the Board.  They are every other year, cover 1928-1958, and the next one in 2020 with be the 10th and located in middle West Virginia.  Yes, I know, it goes to 1958, but I had to do that to sell the Tour.  The 1932-1948 cars were becoming so scarce at shows they needed the support of the Model A's and the 1955-58 Chevrolet contingent to swell the ranks.  We try for a minimum of 100 cars on each tour.   This last one in Mississippi totaled a little less, 69 cars.  One recently in Virginia's Shenandoah country had 140 cars and trucks (2014 I think).  The idea of this tour was to give collectors a reason to have at least one car in the middle years for the tour.  Also, very few of the eligible cars are equipped with A/C, power steering, power brakes or AM/FM radios and players so many people seem to need.

Edited by Dynaflash8 (see edit history)
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16 hours ago, kfle said:

Thanks and I am in my 40's and got started in this Coles less than two years ago when myself and my son were at an auction and we ran across a 1913 Cole.  We had never heard of it, didn't know anything about it, but fell in love with it.  We tried to do searches on our phone for information and there was a Wikipedia page (later to find out that it had many inaccuracies), links to forum posts, and that was about it.  Later we ran across the gentleman Leroy Cole, no relation to the Cole car family, who ran the former Cole club for three decades and he was gracious with information and knowledge.  So we decided to relaunch the registry last fall using the learnings of the past and the present.

 

Some things that we have learned so far

 

1. Easy to find information.  You have to have an information source that is easy to find and completely accessible.  Think about the person at an auction, a car show, a parking lot where they see a car, or just anywhere and they see a car such as Cole and say hmmm that is interesting I wonder what it is?  They pull out their phone and do a search.  If connections to quick information and a community do not come up you have lost them as they move on to something else.  If they find what they are looking for and the story is interesting with available connections then you have the start of engagement.  

2.  Awareness is key.  The cars need to be seen, the history needs to be shared, and stories need to be heard.  In my opinion, Coles are very nice cars with a great look and technology, though no one ever saw them.  We have been getting our Coles out at more events and encouraging other Cole owners to as well.  We are also letting people know where they will be so that people can see them.  Most people are not aware that Coles from 1916 on up are Full Classics in the CCCA and have been since 2012.  Well, they had two Coles registered and they had only been two a total of two events over the years.  I let other owners know about this and now CCCA membership for Cole owners is up to 6 active owners this year who are getting involved with their local region.  Also we became an affiliated region with the HCCA this Spring and they had two great articles in their recent issue of the Gazette in May.  My son and I also helped the Gilmore Car Museum launch a special Cole exhibit that opened earlier this month and is running through October.  It includes seven cars from 1909 - 1925, lots of Cole artifacts, pictures, and documents, and even has the Cole Sheet music song playing in the background.  It isn't just a single car of the brand sitting there on display, it tells the story of the company and the evolution of the auto industry from High Wheeler to the start of the Classic era through the lens of one company.  All of this activity generates interest in the brand and gets the knowledge out there.  Now it is not creating a lot of future Cole owners or active users, but you don't need a lot when there are only 77 known Coles that still exist right now.  We are also active in the various social media circles as well.  

3. Make it easy to participate.  We are just a historical auto site and registry and not an official club and it makes things streamlined and easier for something like Cole where it is more global with a limited set of participants, however I think there are things that apply to other groups as well.  We charge no membership fees and do everything electronically.   We do have a periodic 'newsletter' but it is sent out through email.  We did have an event in May, but we organized that through the website and other avenues.   I do not share any personal information on the Cole registry though the members get to know each other through connections and we are able to easily facilitate these connections.  For example a newer Cole owner of a 1916 Touring car sent me a Facebook message on last Friday about some issues he was having.  I then messaged another Cole owner who had something similar in the past and got the answer.  Within an hour the owner had an answer and was good to go on how to address it.  We are gathering up lots of information as well and creating a simple library that we will scan soon and put on the website(i.e. we have just about every owners manual, almost all dealer books, and lots of other info) that will make it easier for owners to get what they need.  By doing all this we are trying to lower the barrier to owning and maintaining a Cole as it can be scary for someone to jump right in to something like this.  We also make it easy to participate in the group with no fees that you have to worry about (most times it is not the $25 that you pay for a club, it is the hassle of the administration of dealing with all of that), no club hierarchy or politics to deal with, and a central information source that everyone can access.

4. Manage the pipeline.   The other need I saw was managing the pipeline of car caretakers.  Typically Cole owners love their cars and when they get up there in age they want to see their Cole go to the next care taker who will love it and cherish it as much as they did.  Of course they want a fair price as well!  Also through connections we have made with the registry, you have new Cole enthusiasts who have been interested in  Coles from before for some reason or they saw a Cole at a show and did research and are curious about owning one.  Some people are ready buyers, some people are developing where they are learning what it takes and building funds or other necessary things to one day become an owner.  I just facilitate the connection between these parties and if it works out great, and if it doesn't then so be it.  This type of thing probably works better with a marquee that has a more limited supply, but it is working.  Also, you have a support structure for the new owner which is important.  

5. Make it fun.  Finally, the biggest one is to make it fun!  I have learned that it is about the cars, the connections, and the history.  The more you can center around that and make things fun for the owner the better.  People disassociate from car clubs when they feel they are or are going to be 'judged', when there is politics, or when they are not having fun.  We stay away from all of that and is why we didn't put a heavy car club structure in place.  It is just an information source that facilitates connections between people that own and are passionate about Coles.  

 

Some people will probably wonder about cost, since there are no fees or anything.  I pay $10 per month for the website hosting, so $120 per year is my investment back into the hobby.  My son and I create all the web pages and maintain it, though with modern web tools that is super easy.  Newsletters we write and compile from others as well, and since it is all electronic it is published by clicking a button.  So far we have had an amazing time sharing our passion, meeting others, and making an impact!    We are not perfect by any means but this is a journey that we will continue and we have a good start.  

 

 

 

Bravo, bravo, bravo!   I think this is exactly right -- just perfect.  And let me make explicit what is implicit in this, that a great online presence for the marque is key.   Every younger person interested in a car is going to start by googling it.  If they can easily find a website that has tons of information and seems to be a community, that is a huge draw for prospective owners.  

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I saw a gas engine powered Maytag washer, with ringer, at a 4-H chicken BBQ, along with some other antiques, and early Ford tractor, and I think an early Ford pickup, late 1930's I suppose. Didn't have my camera. The linkage to operate the washer agitator was interesting, and it had a shift lever to make the ringer work.

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7 hours ago, 1935Packard said:

 

 

Bravo, bravo, bravo!   I think this is exactly right -- just perfect.  And let me make explicit what is implicit in this, that a great online presence for the marque is key.   Every younger person interested in a car is going to start by googling it.  If they can easily find a website that has tons of information and seems to be a community, that is a huge draw for prospective owners.  

This is absolutely the most important thing.  We launched the website in October and I have been shocked by how many people visit and are searching for information.  With only 77 known cars to exist and a relatively obscure brand, it is easy to assume that you would have to be an owner to want to search for information or be interested in Cole.  Well, here are the stats for the site since launch in October as of this morning:

 

Total visitors:  758

Total pages viewed:  4188

Avg pages viewed per visitor:  5.52 (so most visitors are not just stumbling on to the site by accident or through a search where they were looking for something else)

Average visitors per week currently is about 26

The biggest challenge is to get your search engine optimization right with Google and others.  We have worked on this and have risen in the search rankings when someone searches for Cole motor car company or a specific year or make of a Cole car.  The site is not popping up when people search in Google and this started happening in probably March or so.  A good example of this is from October to the Dec 31 2018, our biggest referrer was Facebook with sending 109 visitors to the website and only 57 visitors coming from search engines.  In 2019 since about March we have 278 visitors coming from Search engines like Google and about 87 from Facebook and 22 from Wikipedia.  We are now averaging 3 visitors per day from search engines so it is picking up.  

 

I have attached some screenshots of the data.  Think about this data and what it means.  Even if you threw out half of the visitors as people going to the wrong site, that is still quite a good amount of people looking for information about the Cole Motor car Company and the cars.  If this site didn't exist, how do these people find information and stay engaged?  They may run across static sites like Wikipedia with some information, but what about a community aspect?  it would be completely missed.  

 

It will be interesting to track this over time and see if interest continues to increase or if it decreases over time.  This is just the data and the data tells the real story, not my opinion.  

 

This chart shows the stats year to date for 2019.  I do not have likes or comments enabled on the site.  

Colestats1.thumb.PNG.a4bf68a0f8ed3d31e7690b0aa388f4db.PNG

 

This chart shows where people are visiting from for 2019 Year to date.

Colestats2.thumb.PNG.e6178c31e4a43291e532813a9ab13d22.PNG

 

This is site data for May 18-21st.  We had the Cole Owner meetup the weekend of May 18 at the Gilmore Pre 42 event with 10 Coles there.  You can see typical traffic on May 19th, however the day of the show and the Monday and Tuesday after had pretty big increases of people looking at Cole information.  

Colestats3.PNG.290a3c35c8a40024db1b577ce314891e.PNG

 

Here is referrer stats for May.  As you can see 77 searches in May.  

Colestats4.jpg.49b2bcd4923890dedbc9b9dbc15d3813.jpg

 

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11 hours ago, Frank DuVal said:

 

People collect fans, radios, TVs, Marshmallow cookers, toasters, vacuum cleaners, record players, record makers, etc, etc. 

I am actually aware of the collector groups you mention. My son has few "collector" fans and I used to collect/restore old pin ball machines, Parker Vacuumatic fountain pens, have restored and use 1930's GE monitor top refrigerators ( I have a nice model CK for sale ), and treasure, and still use, my Sunbeam T-35 toaster ( a Raymond Loewy design ). But you make my point. The collectors, or people even vaguely interested, in such things are outliers and a miniscule segment of the population with not enough mass to support a meaningful parts/service sector.  Much the same as collectors of today's commodity type appliances, (automobiles), will be in the future...............Bob

Edited by Bhigdog (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, kfle said:

This is absolutely the most important thing.  We launched the website in October and I have been shocked by how many people visit and are searching for information.  With only 77 known cars to exist and a relatively obscure brand, it is easy to assume that you would have to be an owner to want to search for information or be interested in Cole.  Well, here are the stats for the site since launch in October as of this morning:

 

Total visitors:  758

Total pages viewed:  4188

Avg pages viewed per visitor:  5.52 (so most visitors are not just stumbling on to the site by accident or through a search where they were looking for something else)

Average visitors per week currently is about 26

The biggest challenge is to get your search engine optimization right with Google and others.  We have worked on this and have risen in the search rankings when someone searches for Cole motor car company or a specific year or make of a Cole car.  The site is not popping up when people search in Google and this started happening in probably March or so.  A good example of this is from October to the Dec 31 2018, our biggest referrer was Facebook with sending 109 visitors to the website and only 57 visitors coming from search engines.  In 2019 since about March we have 278 visitors coming from Search engines like Google and about 87 from Facebook and 22 from Wikipedia.  We are now averaging 3 visitors per day from search engines so it is picking up.  

 

I have attached some screenshots of the data.  Think about this data and what it means.  Even if you threw out half of the visitors as people going to the wrong site, that is still quite a good amount of people looking for information about the Cole Motor car Company and the cars.  If this site didn't exist, how do these people find information and stay engaged?  They may run across static sites like Wikipedia with some information, but what about a community aspect?  it would be completely missed.  

 

It will be interesting to track this over time and see if interest continues to increase or if it decreases over time.  This is just the data and the data tells the real story, not my opinion.  

 

This chart shows the stats year to date for 2019.  I do not have likes or comments enabled on the site.  

 

 

This chart shows where people are visiting from for 2019 Year to date.

 

 

This is site data for May 18-21st.  We had the Cole Owner meetup the weekend of May 18 at the Gilmore Pre 42 event with 10 Coles there.  You can see typical traffic on May 19th, however the day of the show and the Monday and Tuesday after had pretty big increases of people looking at Cole information.  

 

 

Here is referrer stats for May.  As you can see 77 searches in May.  

 

 

 

This is probably a good discussion that warrants its own topic rather than being buried in here. A week ago I wrote a long topic on this very subject but never hit post simply because I was afraid it would devolve into the usual discussion. Perhaps I was mistaken. There's a lot to do if we're going to engage young people and our biggest problem is that we're simply not speaking their language. It's more than just a website, it's figuring out how to operate on their level. There's much derision of young people using their phones and social media, but that is how they communicate and do business today. Ignoring them and their preferred methods of communication is probably a big turn off.

 

I've seen a lot of people on this forum who think young people are idiots who only care about Facebook and looking at their phones, and that's a mistake. Those same young people think you're an idiot for being willing to wait six days to get a piece of information that should be available in seconds. The problem isn't that young people aren't interested, they just aren't interested in doing it the way we used to do it. It isn't unreasonable for them to want instant access to information because that's how their entire world works and has since they were born. And I think theirs is a valid complaint that many clubs have yet to adequately address.

 

Anyway, this topic deserves its own thread with informed discussion. It's more than just a website and letting them know there's a club. Way more. It's changing how the clubs and the hobby operate that is key to attracting and keeping them involved. 

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Still think the hobby is more diluting than waning, there are just so many more choices. Take my current no-rush project (still in collecting parts stage & two in local yards). No rust or dents, all glass intact, runs and drives, some assembly required, under a grand (under $100 in 1960 and would have been a '40 then) invested.

passide800.jpg

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35 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

I've seen a lot of people on this forum who think young people are idiots who only care about Facebook and looking at their phones, and that's a mistake.

 

It is a mistake that has been around since the second generation of people. I still remember my early experiences in the hobby at 13 and 14 years old.

009.jpg.1345fc4a4ebcd168de2d94264aeb0f94.jpg

 

Nasty, surly old men that I just disassociated from. There were plenty of publications to enjoy and close friends my own age. I was in my early 30's before I got involved with the organized hobby. 70 now, and still don't care to associate with old men. They carry the badge of some self perceived Rite of Passage the was harder, tougher, and more enlightening than any future generation could comprehend. Better left alone.

 

Just last night I heard some grousing about a kid who bought a new truck and didn't go to the dealer his father always went to, a real scourge to the family. I asked how old the kid was; 50, the old guy told me.

Myopia is not limited to only a physical condition.

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