Kfigel

Bringing Youth Into the Hobby

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I keep hearing the alarms about the lack of young people, boys and girls, becoming interested in our hobby of antique cars.  If so, I'd have to lay it at our own feet and not that of the younger generation.  Here's a picture of my 4-1/2 year old grandson helping me finish my restoration of my '57 Chevy Belair by installing new sill plates on the car.  He loved it!  It's up to us, guys, to instill this interest in our youth.  

Screen Shot 2019-09-20 at 9.07.43 PM.png

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My nephew is 29 now and I’ve tried getting him into older vehicles. He’s into 80’s and 90’s cars for kicks but really just likes modern fast cars. I’ve tried

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I have posted here before about the gigantic need to share the love of older cars. If you have yours out and even if it is sitting in the tip of your driveway and some people/kids come along it will make them curious and smile. Engage them in some questions, answer the questions , show them the engine, inside of the car, trunk etc. If they see you treating the car with respect and pride it sets a standard and teaches a lesson without words. I taught art to 5 to 12 year olds for 35-40 years, and know how kids react ; they are very receptive and curious that something "this old" can still function and be so beautiful. You may spark some enthusiasm that ignites in full even decades later. I have seen this as fact. I tape tv shows with a buddy on our village tv station that then eventually wind up on the internet ( go to 4 village studio - the antique road test ) they are all about sharing the love, not about value or inve$tment.

Spread the word everyone and the appreciation will follow.

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Not to start a rant, but the antique car insurance companies don’t allow drivers under the age of 25. My kids loved my cars; and if they could drive them at 16, providing the over 25 insured was in he car, the experience would have been better.

For several years, I had a son who was an officer on a nuclear submarine- when he came home he couldn’t drive my antiques.

Now he’s 27 and likes BMW’s. Go figure.

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I drive my 1937 Buick Century to lunch or dinner quite often. The secret to spreading the hobby is exposure to people of all ages on a regular basis. Talking to people when they show an interest plants seeds. Some of those seeds will mature over time into a new hobbyist. Last night after dinner, one middle school age young man was admiring the car in front of the restaurant when I came out. We made sure that he got a chance to sit in the driver's seat and had a family member get some photos of him in the car on their smartphone. I also give people who show any interest a business card and tell them to call me whenever that want to go for a ride or if  they have any questions about the hobby. This is how we spread the hobby on a regular basis. 

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Freshly turned 25 and insured wit J C Taylor.

002.thumb.jpg.b2aac252202bd07ea266859d778ed303.jpg

 

31 and with J C Taylor

0033.jpg.e2c1d0dc4511201ed20b83a7fefc486f.jpg

 

69-ish, J C Taylor in a couple of years.

1201966373_20180301_113719(3)2.jpg.73b2a931e450a5489089a664faf722fa.jpg

 

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31 minutes ago, MCHinson said:

I drive my 1937 Buick Century to lunch or dinner quite often. The secret to spreading the hobby is exposure to people of all ages on a regular basis. Talking to people when they show an interest plants seeds. Some of those seeds will mature over time into a new hobbyist. Last night after dinner, one middle school age young man was admiring the car in front of the restaurant when I came out. We made sure that he got a chance to sit in the driver's seat and had a family member get some photos of him in the car on their smartphone. I also give people who show any interest a business card and tell them to call me whenever that want to go for a ride or if  they have any questions about the hobby. This is how we spread the hobby on a regular basis. 

 

100% agree. The VERY BEST THING you can do to encourage future hobbyists is to simply let them see old cars just being cars, not art objects, not dangerous clap-traps, not unreliable accidents waiting to happen. There's an insanely persistent myth everywhere that anything that doesn't have 12 volts, disc brakes, and a Chevy V8 in it can't be driven with any safety, reliability, or even at all in today's world. We know that's total BS. But we're only a tiny fraction of the hobby and an even tinier fraction of the world at large. Most guys only know what they see on TV and at local shows where late-models and modified cars dominate. If you see an unmodified pre-war car (or pre-1960 car these days) it's an anomaly and a curiosity. That's what feeds the myth of "old cars can't be used today." Why would it be otherwise--nobody's there showing them the truth.

 

Change that.

 

I've had dozens, if not hundreds of conversations at cruise nights standing next to my 1929 Cadillac or 1941 Buick explaining that I have driven the cars thousands of miles without incident, on today's roads, at modern highway speeds, and at night. Guys who think that 6-volt electrical systems are unreliable and weak have twice forked over $20 to me because my 1929 Cadillac started faster than their 2016 Corvette or Mustang. They are bewildered when my '41 Buick pulls away from them on the highway on-ramp, the driver grinning like an escaped mental patient (that would be me). They can't believe when they see Ohio plates on an old car several states away from home, covered with bugs and gassing up with a family inside with their luggage. Hell, I just took my Buick to ANOTHER COUNTRY and you should have seen the looks I got passing through the border.

 

Even experienced "car guys" are almost completely ignorant of original, unmodified cars. They have no idea that old cars have capabilities that will serve them just fine in today's traffic. Many of them figure that it's either newer than 1965 so it can be driven or it's a Model T. Seriously, go out there and talk to guys at any "local" car show or cruise night. They know NOTHING. Call them out on their BS and prove them wrong. I had an argument with a guy in my shop just this past week where he said, "I convert all my cars to Pertronix--I don't want that unreliable points stuff in there." When I pointed out that points will often keep working even in failure mode while a Pertonix "black box" will completely and permanently stop working in a split-second puff of smoke, he was completely unable to process or even understand my point. Well OF COURSE modern is better than old stuff, right? Upgrades are the only way to be sure you get home. We're so much smarter than those guys 50, 60, 70 years ago, what did they know? That kind of anti-knowledge is a big reason why the part of the hobby we love most is suffering.

 

If you want new car people to be interested in what we're interested in, you need to show them that owning an old car isn't a hardship and doesn't require special skills or a lot of money. Show them that these cars can be driven regularly and reliably and that they still work like regular cars.

 

Everything else is just closing the gate after the horses are gone.

 

If people don't think old cars are cars, they aren't going to be interested. You can let them look all they want, but as long as we let this myth of old cars being fragile, unreliable, dangerous, slow road hazards, they're just not going to get on board. DRIVE THEM EVERYWHERE, not just to shows when the sun is shining. Take them to the grocery store and school meetings like Melanie in her '56 Chrysler. Take them to work every day, like me with my 1941 Buick. Go out to dinner with the family and leave your old car in the parking lot while you go to a movie--don't fuss and fret or do silly things like putting a cover on it. If you're going to visit family someplace within driving distance, take the old car. Stop pretending these aren't machines designed for a purpose. It's just a car like any other; let everyone see that. 

 

I am convinced this is the only thing that will save us because the misinformation is so extremely pervasive. Everything else is just whistling past the graveyard.

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1 hour ago, Matt Harwood said:

The VERY BEST THING you can do to encourage future hobbyists is to simply let them see old cars just being cars, not art objects, not dangerous clap-traps, not unreliable accidents waiting to happen. There's an insanely persistent myth everywhere that anything that doesn't have 12 volts, disc brakes, and a Chevy V8 in it can't be driven with any safety, reliability, or even at all in today's world.

 

Even experienced "car guys" are almost completely ignorant of original, unmodified cars. They have no idea that old cars have capabilities that will serve them just fine in today's traffic. Many of them figure that it's either newer than 1965 so it can be driven or it's a Model T. Seriously, go out there and talk to guys at any "local" car show or cruise night. They know NOTHING. Call them out on their BS and prove them wrong. I had an argument with a guy in my shop just this past week where he said, "I convert all my cars to Pertronix--I don't want that unreliable points stuff in there." When I pointed out that points will often keep working even in failure mode while a Pertonix "black box" will completely and permanently stop working in a split-second puff of smoke, he was completely unable to process or even understand my point. Well OF COURSE modern is better than old stuff, right? Upgrades are the only way to be sure you get home. We're so much smarter than those guys 50, 60, 70 years ago, what did they know? That kind of anti-knowledge is a big reason why the part of the hobby we love most is suffering.

 

If you want new car people to be interested in what we're interested in, you need to show them that owning an old car isn't a hardship and doesn't require special skills or a lot of money. Show them that these cars can be driven regularly and reliably and that they still work like regular cars.

 Stop pretending these aren't machines designed for a purpose. It's just a car like any other; let everyone see that. 

 

I am convinced this is the only thing that will save us because the misinformation is so extremely pervasive. Everything else is just whistling past the graveyard.

Matt, I totally agree. I have tried to do this with most of my cars and intend to maximize it with my 66 Monaco wagon. I have also had countless discussions with younger people at cars and coffee and gas stops, the interest level is very high.

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Matt all you say is totally true my friend. I take it a bit further. Many of us belong to clubs (AACA, BCA etc etc) who have members who own newer cars then some of us do. THEY need the encouragement too , to know what a car with running boards is like. Talk to them as well , they may ( and I think many do)feel  that those people who own pre WWII cars don't want to talk to them because they own newer post war cars, or don't like post war cars or................Ask them if they want to sit in your car, if they may want to go for a ride. When they do , explain some things that may not be obvious to them but in an older car need to be dealt with  - hand signals for letting all the modern car drivers know you want to turn and where you are going ( some modern car drivers may wave at you thinking you are waving and them - I am serious, this happens more then you can believe) tell them that the wipers are vacuum and if it is raining and you are accelerating you have to back off for a second to let the wipers use the vacuum and wipe! Show them the tools if you have a set ( yes I have a crank handle for my 1930 Packard and no I hope I never have to use it to start the car!)  Let them know that the heater does perform well ( I have two in my 40 Buick Roadmaster one on the firewall and one under the front seat - with both going, it seems it will melt the plastic steering wheel as it gets so hot.) Spread the word to everyone, and share the enjoyment with your fellow car people as well.

Some of you may be thinking Geez Gosden must have been in this a long time - I joined AACA in 1965 when I was 15. No I am not a GEEZER 🙄 ( those of you that are my "friends" can stop snickering and laughing now)

Walt

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3 hours ago, 60FlatTop said:

Freshly turned 25 and insured wit J C Taylor.

002.thumb.jpg.b2aac252202bd07ea266859d778ed303.jpg

 

31 and with J C Taylor

0033.jpg.e2c1d0dc4511201ed20b83a7fefc486f.jpg

 

69-ish, J C Taylor in a couple of years.

1201966373_20180301_113719(3)2.jpg.73b2a931e450a5489089a664faf722fa.jpg

 

 

What I must know is, how did you get those jeans to last 44 years? :)

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2 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

I had an argument with a guy in my shop just this past week where he said, "I convert all my cars to Pertronix--I don't want that unreliable points stuff in there."

 

Agree this.

Easier to carry a set of points and a condenser in the jockey box than a mail order module.

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Please don't shoot the messenger, but did any of you see the coverage of yesterday's around the globe teenage environmental protest . That is the exponentially growing attitude of young people toward fossil fuels in general and everything that uses them. Fossil fuel vehicles ; of any age or type , are rapidly becoming identified as an enemy of life on planet earth.

 No longer a fringe view amongst young people, it is becoming their generational mantra. 

 

 The car hobby will be unrecognisably  different than it is today 20 years from now.

 

 

Greg in Canada

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19 minutes ago, 1912Staver said:

Please don't shoot the messenger, but did any of you see the coverage of yesterday's around the globe teenage environmental protest . That is the exponentially growing attitude of young people toward fossil fuels in general and everything that uses them. Fossil fuel vehicles ; of any age or type , are rapidly becoming identified as an enemy of life on planet earth.

 No longer a fringe view amongst young people, it is becoming their generational mantra. 

 The car hobby will be unrecognisably  different than it is today 20 years from now.

Greg in Canada

 

Yes, there are lots of young people who have been indoctrinated to that view but don't panic. Our local monthly Cars and Coffee still has lots of young gearheads attending every month. That does not attract the attention of the media as much as environmental protests do, but it is still happening.

 

On another note, I just got back from lunch at my local neighborhood diner. A 40 something year old guy who I had never met came out of the diner as I walked to my car. He came over and wanted to talk. He recently moved to the area and owns a Ford Falcoln. He apparently had never heard of AACA before but I think he might be joining us soon.  I gave him a card and invited to our next AACA Chapter meeting and expect to be talking with him some more in the near future. That makes two men in that age range who own newer antique cars that I have spoken to at a restaurant in the last 24 hours (dinner last night and lunch today) about joining AACA simply because I drove a 1937 Buick out to eat. 

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I am far from panic. I don't intend to change anything about my old car involvement. But I do realise that when it is time to sell ; say 10 - 20 years from now, there is a very good chance that anything that runs on fossil fuels will be essentially valueless. Some of the truly great cars will no doubt be the exception, but nothing that is within my budget. 

The hobby has been a rocky ride for me at the best of times. Ever increasing costs vs ever decreasing disposable income. But it is what I have lived for since I was a boy. I just don't have any illusions about younger generations carrying on as if it is still the later half of the 20 Th. century in the first half of the 21 St. century. 

 

Greg in Canada

 

 

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I have known a few guys who came home from WWII and chipped in money with one of two friends to jointly buy an old car. It was a much less litigious society then.

 

As far as those kids go, no world leader or person of influence has stood in front of a group of our youth and said "Between 1940 and 1990 the world leaders detonated 540 megatons of nuclear explosions while testing weapons. Those explosions incinerated uncounted billions of cubic meters of atmosphere with all the ozone included. We made a grave mistake." Nope. If you broke it and can't fix it none will admit to it. Maybe I am the only person to add up all the tests. 540 megstons of nuclear weapons tests and not a whisper Point at a tailpipe, call it evil, and encourage a hobby?

 

Could have all the makings for a mixed message.

 

Once I worked where people learn. A group of towhead freshmen were being handed a sacred compact fluorescent bulb for their desk lamp in one building and in another building live steam was blasting into the sewer at a rate of about 3,000 pounds per hour.

 

The world's problems can be fixed but ignorance stands in the way ask the "green" leadership how many BTU's or KW's they used in their home last month. The odds are you will find ignorance. When the dual axle garbage truck rolls by on pick up day next week ask how many families depend on the manufacture of waste to exist. There is no money or creation of jobs in the fix.. < that's a period.

 

BTW, I sit on old papers because it wastes valuable resources to wash the jeans. They are a little stiff but they last if you don't wash them.

 

 

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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14 hours ago, greenie said:

Not to start a rant, but the antique car insurance companies don’t allow drivers under the age of 25. My kids loved my cars; and if they could drive them at 16, providing the over 25 insured was in he car, the experience would have been better.

For several years, I had a son who was an officer on a nuclear submarine- when he came home he couldn’t drive my antiques.

Now he’s 27 and likes BMW’s. Go figure.

It is 27 for my antique car insurance...

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At some point we must all realize the definition of "youth in our hobby" means we should be targeting those who are 40 to 60 years old.  Most of those much younger are still raising families & working full time with less disposable income to spend on car hobbies.

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In my mind the actions of individuals are simply their own choice, regardless of age. The problems for the rest of us start when large groups of young people rightly or wrongly arrive at a general consensus.  That is as I am receiving the message " fossil fuels are a serious danger to life on earth" . The question of this being correct or incorrect is far beyond me, but it seems significant numbers of young people are rapidly making their minds up that fossil fuels are a serious problem. 

 Eventually their demands for action has a good chance of resulting in real action. Especially as we oldsters fade from the population majority  and younger generations replace us as the dominant opinion. 

 The " clean Earth " movement has real potential to effect the old car hobby especially in the near to medium future.

One way or another I see real trouble for us older vehicle hobbyists over the next 10 -20 years.

 

Greg in Canada

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)

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This thread is bringing me down. I’m just really getting ramped up in the vintage car hobby. I’d sure like to know that could get fuel and oil for my old flatheads in the year 2040.  Agree though, it’s not looking good. 

 

On a positive note my 22 year old son who’s a business graduate donned coveralls on Saturday. He offered to help pull apart my spare  ‘49 flathead that’s stuck. I just kept handing him tools and got him to do all the work. I walked him through all the parts. Why they were there. What they did. Their part names etc. 

 

I believe that shop hand tools need to be handled. Used and felt. Students need to develop a feel. What they can and cannot do with each tool. How much force to apply or not. In my opinion my son should never just inherit my tool box.  They gotta learn what’s in there and how to use it long before I’m gone. Last Sat was a great learning session. 

 

I was elated that my son was interested in my old cars.  He’s been very busy with his chosen studies for the past 5 years. I got some awesome one-on-one time with him, doing a hobby I love. Old cars.  He made my day. Several days actually. He plans to come back and do more work with me on this coming Sat. I promised to not touch the old flathead untill he’s back.

 

I’ve got a new skip in my step all week. 

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As for my grand kids 11 & 13 the two of them have no interest in old cars. Until last year it was, would there be enough money to buy a wakeboard boat if we sold the old cars. Between wakeboarding with their new boat that dad bought ( I am off the Hook ) and summer snowboard training. Plus they have winter snowboard training 3 days a week as they have every Friday off school. So how can my old cars compete with this.  The 13 year old doing a back flip on a snowboard this summer.

cooper back flip.jpg

Edited by Joe in Canada (see edit history)
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Congratulations to us all!

While this is an important topic, this is the 

1000th thread on "bringing youth into the hobby!"

 

Thread #957 had some good insights too.

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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On 9/21/2019 at 11:04 AM, MCHinson said:

 

Yes, there are lots of young people who have been indoctrinated to that view but don't panic. Our local monthly Cars and Coffee still has lots of young gearheads attending every month. That does not attract the attention of the media as much as environmental protests do, but it is still happening.

 

 

   Problem is the kids are indoctrinated by the media and the schools and are hit every day with it. How do I know? I talk to our grandkids and great grandkids.

   20-30 years from now the only old cars left will be the museum pieces and possibly cars for the very rich if they can find fuel or have not been legislated off the road. Thousands of our cars will have gone to the shredder.

 It's not easy to say this. I have two cars from H/S, one of which I bought new, sill a few years later another car I bought new. I have six in total along with my daily drivers makes eight. Of course I don't want to see it happen but reality is reality. AND it's not just the CARS! 

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