The topic of young people not getting drivers’ licenses has become a topic of concern for the auto industry, particularly in, ahem, mature markets like Japan and the US. If young people never embrace the automobile as consumers, they’re not likely to become enthusiasts or collectors. Many collectors, of cars and other things, are often trying to rekindle a spirit they felt as a youth. People will gravitate to collect either a car of their youth or a car they aspired to in their youth. Zlati Meyer writes for the Detroit Free Press, often about car events. In this video produced in connection with tomorrow’s Woodward Dream Cruise, Fifty Shades of Dream Cruise, Zlati takes a lighthearted look at the greying of car culture. What do you think, will car collecting die out, or, twenty years from now will the people born in the first decade of the 21st century start Camry, Accord and Elantra clubs? If there is a Woodward Dream Cruise in the year 2030, when today’s 18 year olds will be entering their thirties, what cars will be driven, and how old will the drivers be?
Zlati does have a point. I was on Woodward yesterday to shoot photos and video. I stopped by the Coffee Beanery because there was a Viper club event with about 50 Vipers of various colors and vintages. While there were a few owners in their 30s and 40s, most looked a bit older than me and I can remember the Nixon-Kennedy debate. Still, at the annual GM Design employees’ car show at the Northwood shopping center I saw lots of younger people. Yesterday evening on the corner of 13 and Woodward I saw plenty of families with kids.
If you think about it, though car collecting has always been a hobby for the mature. I can remember 20 and 30 years ago, collectors bemoaning the lack of young blood in the hobby and the decline in interest in the so-called true classics, the pre WWII cars. Now a lot of collecting focuses on the cars of the youth of mature folks today, so you see cars from the ’50s and ’60s increasing in value. That Vietnam veteran in the video might have been one of those proverbial guys who went off to war leaving a muscle car in the garage.