By on August 18, 2012

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.

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182 Comments on “Woodward Dream Cruise:
Generation Why: Are Boomers Going to Be the Last Car Collectors?...”


  • avatar
    Advance_92

    Time, space, disposable income and secure retirement. All those things we’re not supposed to expect in the future.

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      I think Advance_72 has explained it to a T.

      I myself would love to own a collectible car, but do not have the time or resources to do so.

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        let’s talk reality for a second

        just say you own two cars both less than 5yrs old and paid off

        as a minimum, it would cost $2,000 per car to keep them on the road just in registration, insurance and all that crap even before the car has moved from the garage (that’s where I am)

        maybe your car is still financed… add that

        then add gasoline

        then add mechanicals and servicing

        how many people can afford that or more? costs add up

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      I’m in a bit of a different boat, but I can’t disagree with you guys. Well except when these geezers die off and all that sweet detriot iron becomes affordable again!

      Oh Grabber blue 1970 Mach 1 with your beautiful 428 cobrajet, shaker hood and drag pack – sure your over 100k now, but a gen-y’er will just want to get rid of you at a garage sale because your just some useless junk whose only worth is to get a top flight Iphone!

      I’m counting the days

      • 0 avatar
        truenorth

        Counting the days until boomers die off? Life expectancy of a 60 year old is 20 years.
        7,300 is a lot of days. No wonder a new iphone is more interesting from a practical standpoint.

    • 0 avatar
      Hank

      Exactly. I’m an Xer who has wanted to restore a car from the late 40s since I was 7 playing in an old ’49 Chevy Fleetline in our ranch pasture. Unless things change dramatically, your list is it. And not just for me. I can think of a 1/2 dozen Gen Xers I visit with on a daily basis that are in the same boat and also would love to get into the hobby, but can’t find the flexible income.

      I would add this one thing: classic cars as investments instead of as enthusiast hobby has ruined the market for those of us in this boat, much as the old men with too much money and no new dreams have ruined the baseball card hobby for 10 yr old boys with their lawn mowing money. Take the Plymouth in my avatar. I bought one in easily restorable, no rust, daily driver condition 25 years ago for $125.00. It only needed plugs, points, paint and tires. Now, that same car is regularly seen on eBay for upwards of $3-4,000, and is as rusty as Joe Biden’s speech filter. And it’s just a Fury. Heck, I’ve seen ’78 Marquis with $12,000 price tags. Really?! Then you can forget anything with sport or muscle while you’ve still got children, a mortgage, $1200/mo health insurance, and two kids with eyes on phds in the future.

      I think for Xers, it’s money, or at least a lack of security in the future value of their money, not a lack of desire.

    • 0 avatar
      Toucan

      > Time, space, disposable income and secure retirement. All those
      > things we’re not supposed to expect in the future.

      Exactly. And why would anyone expect that anyway? Trade imbalances have to equalize at least a bit at some point. Debt-based economy has to come to a grinding halt. We have to become poorer so that these Asian people could become richer.

      BTW, I can’t image a more pointless way of spending money than collecting cars.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Toucan, that is too bad you feel that way. I can go to my garage and start my time machine, turn on some Styx or Pink Floyd and I’m 18 all over again, even if it is just for a few minutes.

        Car collecting is not a waste of money at all, but it is another expense. Advance92 nailed it. Today’s generation is likely to work to they are near dead. Sad. But then again, in 2030, will a modded Civic be the Nova of the day? Likely.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        “BTW, I can’t image a more pointless way of spending money than collecting cars.”

        Why are you visiting a car site then? Old cars are expensive to you and new cars are pointlessly expensive to me. With old cars, done right, you can recover most of your expenses aka do the labor yourself and build something you like but which is marketable later. Buy a new car and you are in the hole very quickly and you’re unlikely to ever recover the cost of the new vehicle.

        The sweet spot for value vs cost is probably with $5,000 daily drivers but most of these (and I own two) aren’t really what anyone would ever collect. The 1980s variety of these use them up and sell them off cars are long gone and I expect my late 90s cars to be no different.

        Why are you visiting a car website again? I mean what gets your motor running?

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      Hogwash.

      I thought I had none of the above until I grew a pair of balls and bought a project car.

      I’m a gen X’er and have adapted my lifestyle for my ride. It involves sacrifices that most people aren’t willing to commit to. I don’t own land or a home, but I have always found a garage for it.

    • 0 avatar
      kenzter

      I’m gen X. When I was 17 I bought a rusty ’66 Mustang that didn’t even run. Now THAT was a project car. Six months later I came to my senses and sold it for break even.
      Fast forward 20 years, and I’m in a slightly better financial situation than I was at 17. Being older and wiser, my classic car purchase actually runs and is damn good shape. My avatar. It cost me $1800 and about $300/yr to keep road legal.
      I believe you have to be realistic. I for one wouldn’t pay for a fully restored car no matter how much disposable income I had. I’ll restore it myself, at my own pace, and outsource what I’m not comfortable doing. And I’ll drive it in the meantime. I don’t expect my Caddy to be fully restored for another 10 years.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        It depends on the car and what you’re looking to do with it, but buying a restored car is nearly universally cheaper than restoring it yourself unless its one of the big name sought after classics. My car of choice will be a 1992 25th anniversary pro touring camaro as I had a 3rd gen in high school and still love the look.

        Something like this, with upgraded suspension, 6 speed manual and LS engine:

        http://www.camarosource.ca/small_version.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        kentzer,
        My Lincoln is a similar situation. I like your style.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        Exactly. With fewer and fewer people able to fix a car (change the oil, replace a component), let alone interested in learning to fix a car, there are fewer modern suburbanites able to maintain a classic car of any decade.

        Relying on a shop to restore and maintain a classic is ridiculously expensive with shop rates varying between $50 and $100+ per hour.

        I’ve been involved with classic cars for 30 years and regularly I meet fellows who are $40K into a $25K custom or classic car. They are happy so who am I to fault them? They represent a diminishing group of people – the ones able to throw that much money at a hobby that won’t ever come close to breaking even.

        The work-a-day guys I hang out with have to prioritize life – family, food and shelter first, all the practical expenses of life next and toys last.

        Most of the guys I know (including me) feel the need to restrict the cost of their toys to something close what they could resell it for. Buy it for $3K and put $8-$9K into if necessary but only if they can expect to most of that back when they do sell it.

        Muscle cars, antiques, sports cars, cruisers, street-rods, etc. The guys that do the same with a bread-and-butter commuter car (Civic, Jetta, Corolla) have to know they won’t get their investment back ($8K in shiny custom parts – exhaust,engine mods, wheels, etc) generally speaking.

        But then most hobbies seldom pay for themselves so when they do, its a bonus.

    • 0 avatar
      Lightspeed

      Yup. Time space disposable income, secure retirement.

    • 0 avatar
      greaseyknight

      Correct, but if you want to see what some of the young guys are doing check out some of the build threads on the H.A.M.B., lots of young guys building stuff on a budget. The Rat Rod trend has also taken off because they are so cheap to build.

    • 0 avatar
      jeffzekas

      Our neighbor in Santa Monica collected old cars. His name: Phil Hill, multimillionaire and Formula One champ… And typical of most car collectors. As for the rest of us: I am GLAD to hear of the demise of car collecting, because, maybe now, the sooner the better, the price will come down on old Woody Wagons and VW vans!

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        If you have a Woody for a VW van, you better snap one up that you like. The price is climbing on even the 1970s vans (like my ’78 Westfalia). They’ll never top out in the $30Ks or $40Ks on a regular basis I think but I do expect to see them hitting in the teens regularly for a nice one. The 50s/60s Samba with the sunroof is $60K+ now and GoWesty is asking $50K+ for a warmed over 80s Syncro Westfalia now with some minor upgrades which boggles my mind.

        Some people really like to buy shiny things that the salesman assures them is roadtrip ready (who ever believes a salesman?) and are ready to pay a premium for the privilege.

        My wife and I knew we wanted to keep our ’78 Westy (Corvair implanted) but it was time for a fully restoration to keep it from getting shabby and we knew we probably couldn’t afford to buy another as rust free – so we kept ours through richer times and poorer in the garage. Am finally restoring it now myself – paint, mechanical upgrades, interior, etc. It’s the only way I can afford to do it.

        Van MIGHT bring $15K later to the right person when it is done so I feel good about the $6K it’ll need for all the TLC. I’ll be into it about $7500. Single stage acrylic enamel plus a bit of hardener (has worked veryw ell int he past for me on other projects), industrial paint on the chassis and hidden bits (perfect semi-gloss black and cheap, I buy it from a farm supply store, durable), and quality interior/rubber/plastic parts.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Very good points Advance_92. Most cars are just a money pit, if your going down this road be sure to pick up something which will retain or increase in value.

  • avatar
    toomanycrayons

    I think the kids got the message: The Car Killed The World. How do you spin enthusiasm out of that?

  • avatar
    Instant_Karma

    No, they are not. I’m 33 and bring in a fairly modest income but that hasn’t stopped me from acquiring a 31 year old W126 and a and 41 year old MGBGT, along with my 22 year old daily driver Integra sedan. All these vehicles combined cost less than a 5 year old used Kia with repairs and maintenance included and each of them is desirable and have character in their own right. My cars may not be 100 point concourse vehicles, but they are in decent enough shape and each one always gets compliments when i drive them around. It’s always funny when someone asks me what kind of Porsche my MG is, that has actually happened a few times.

    I may never be able to afford to blow 6 figures on a Barrett-Jackson trailer queen, many of my peers in my generation and those afterwards may never have that chance too, but that won’t stop people like us from collecting the vehicles that mean something to us.

    Money isn’t everything, but it sure does help sometimes.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Live the dream, man.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Yep – I have to chuckle when I hear someone tell me they sold their old daily driver and bought a new one to save money on repairs or fuel.

      The opportunity cost of a new car is very high. Buy a nice used car (when it makes sense) and pocket the difference to spend on other toys, savings for your kids’ college, pay down the mortgage that much more, whatever floats your boat).

  • avatar
    tbp0701

    Yes and no. I think the Packard to GTO shift will continue to move into Preludes (just to use top of mind examples), at least through Gen X. But the market and what it means to the people buying will likely change. Up until now, I think the nostalgia for 30s-60s cars was also a nostalgia for an America–and a world–that no longer exists, for better or worse. I’m not sure things have shifted quite enough for Gen Y. Moreover, while cars were a major part of coming of age for many people, I suspect that’s no longer the case, and what they represent may have shifted. Throw in the probability that, as the boomers need to spend more on medical bills, their toys will hit the market in force (50s & 60s Mustangs, Strats and Les Pauls) and things will shift. Despite all that, I think enough young people still see cars as much more than transportation to spark an interest and desire to own and appreciate them, but I’m not sure there will be as much associated cultural nostalgia. If nothing else, I’m pretty certain people over 35 aren’t the only ones buying Gran Turismo and Forza, so something has to be there.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Even collectable cars hold a different place in society for Gen X and Gen Y than for earlier Boomers. Can’t think of any pop songs about Honda Preludes. For the Boomers, getting a car brought freedom and the ability to get away from the parents. For Gen X and Gen Y, parents were busy for work so there were plenty of opportunities for sex even if you didn’t have a car. In addition, somewhere along the line car insurance became insanely expensive for teen drivers.

      • 0 avatar

        The British punk band Elastica had a song about some going-ons in a Fiesta. So modern cars can featu in music. Guess they don’t do more for business, not cultural, reasons.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        I figure life living at home on Friday night with Mom and Dad in the 50s and 60s was alot different than living at home with Mom and Dad in the 2000s. What did the the average teen have in the 1950s? Two or three channels of TV? Mom and Dad playing cards? The radio – maybe 2-4 channels?

        Compared that to now – internet, a half dozen TVs throughout the house, a recreation room potentially, a cellphone connected to the world through the web with chat programs and Facebook, a fridge full of variety, etc.

        Around here the cruisers and parking lot loitering kids looking for something to do seem to do it b/c there isn’t much at home to choose from. Getting out and away is part of why they are out on a weekend. That and a chance to score a date. Their cars and trucks? No particularly impressive. Saw an 80s Buick barge with expensive wheels last weekend. A big pickup that made alot of diesel soot when the kid got on it. A clapped out import sport compact of some sort with neon lights under it. A Mustang that wasn’t impressive at all.

        Maybe it’s my town vs one with more wealth.

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      Can’t wait to get a hold of a 50s era Mustang myself. ;)

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        Was that meant to be funny, or are you seriously waiting for a 50s era Mustang? Being as the Mustang came out in late ’64, you’ll be waiting a very long time for a ’50s era, and methinks you may have ended the debate on whether the Gen Y is going to pick up the slack or not…….

      • 0 avatar

        When you see Strats and Les Pauls, think guitars, not cars. “Mustangs” is most likely a reference to the Fender Mustang, introduced, not so coincidentally, in 1964.

      • 0 avatar
        tbp0701

        I may have caused some confusion. I was intentionally mingling classic cars and guitars to illustrate the boomer’ toys, or at least the toys in which I’m be interested. Both Fender and Ford–along with other companies–named products “Mustang.”

      • 0 avatar
        tbp0701

        OK, lesson with my last post: don’t write something uneditable at 3:30AM. You’ll cringe in the morning and not be able to fix it.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I agree with you the classics market will simply shift into 80s+ cars as time goes on. An old friend about five years once pointed this out to me and basically exclaimed there was nothing ‘American’ from the period worth owning and all future classics will be BMW/Mercedes/Volvo and Japanese.

      I have to add though I think the overall group of collectors will dwindle as time goes on. The whole reason classics became popular to begin with it there was a glut of examples and whose bodies survived many years in harsh elements and could be easily rebuilt by someone who could turn a wrench. Between top dollar scrap and the fact most 80s Japanese cars have already disintegrated outside of the West, finding clean examples will be challenging.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        I believe that the car collecting culture will move on from generation to generation precisely for the want factor. golden2husky posted the ‘time travel’ aspect to it if you were lucky enough as a teenager to actually own a car destined to be a classic. For myself, I bought and restore a ’95 Ford Mustang Cobra Hardtop Convertible for a couple of reasons. One, the rarity of having a factory hardtop convertible on a Mustang, let along a Cobra. Two, the last of the Cleveland built 302 fully jetted by the fine folks of SVT. And finally, for the simply joy of owning what I could never have owned but so badly wanted when I was in high school. I’d rather show the world I made it by having a restoring what I always wanted rather than something new for now.

        Let’s not forget that these geezers have spent a lot of hard earned money and time into these cars, which get rarer by the day; driving their price up. Collectible cars need, as a rule, to be attainable. Hard to find a ’69 Mustang Fastback GT anymore than needs some luv at a cheap price.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    cars are the new cigarettes and red meat and clubbing baby seals

    they contribute to greenhouse and wonderful lung disease

    they contribute to destabilising the west with the situation in the middle east

    their creation is an environmental nightmare

    when they crash they kill your kids

    they do awesome things to modern city planning

    the government and police think you’re enemy number one… when they’re not draining your back pocket

    add alcohol, its fun

    the old saying is that if Otto Benz was to propose the automobile today, it’d be knocked back on so many safety and environmental issues

    but hey, what do i know, i drive a V8

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      And to any gen Xer or gen Yer who’s actually got the guts to be a REAL rebel, refuse to conform to his/her peer group, and actually not give a damn what anybody thinks . . . . . . you’ve just laid out the holy scripture for owning a vintage car or two.

      • 0 avatar
        lopro

        Tinkering with cars is not seen as something “cool” by Gen Y. Heck, knowing how to use Tor and run a botnet is considered to be more “cool” nowadays. Oh, how the times have changed…

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Lopro is correct. Many of today’s youth have a global mindset and don’t drive in ignorant bliss like the youth of the 60s. But that is not really the driving factor at all. Tinkering with cars and any blue collar trade is scorned by today’s kids. And that is killing interest in cars, from collecting, to repairing, to the enjoyment of driving. Get kids interested in things mechanical and the interest will eventually come back. Most kids back in the day got their hands wet on bicycles, lawn mowers, and mini bikes. Today’s kids have lawn services and don’t ride bikes (motorized or otherwise)…I’d even bet the typical suburban home does not even have a full set of sockets and extensions.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Agreed. Life is short, drive a real car, and don’t be a tool.

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      Take a look at the nitwits in power these days. Safety costs are driving up everything. There are many things that we take for granted, that if ‘invented’ today, would probably be banned. Alcohol comes foremost to mind.
      We’re all victims of the conventional wisdom of the day.

      Personally, if the future means having to take public transit, in cities that are becoming increasingly vertical (and living spaces increasingly tiny), I will be glad to be dead in 20 or 30 years.
      I would never trade the ‘gee-whizz’ factor of the next iPhone over open spaces, being able to ‘get away from it all’ and the freedom to choose between a 5 acre lot in the country, or a bungalow in the suburbs or a 400 sq ft concrete cubicle, 300 feet in the air.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        “I would never trade the ‘gee-whizz’ factor of the next iPhone over open spaces, being able to ‘get away from it all’ and the freedom to choose between a 5 acre lot in the country, or a bungalow in the suburbs or a 400 sq ft concrete cubicle, 300 feet in the air.”

        I agree but some of the youth I know will be happier living in those condos and apartments vs the bother of a house, cleaning the gutters and mowing the grass – not to mention the bother of driving an hour to and from work. Some of these kids have grown up in subdivisions and they don’t even aspire to live in a subdivision. Smaller, easier, and closer to the places they want to go is more satisfying.

  • avatar
    Guildenstern

    I don’t think this is really fair. NOBODY who didn’t get a sweet sweet union pension has classic car money in Detroit, and therefore are old. Younger people either don’t have that kind of money, or don’t live in Detroit.

    OR, like some of my friends, they are off at the top of the mitten in their 4x4s. Or like me they are throwing all their money into a Chumpcar or LeMons money pit. Or they are hitting the parking lots with their boosted to an inch of its life civic. All things the grey hairs don’t want at their nice cruse. Because there’s that too, the whole “not being the right kind of person” to have around their eye meltingly over valued resto-heap.

    Plenty of kids like cars, some of them can even afford them (not many but some), but most of them can’t be bothered with inflated classics and they go find their own little corner of joy.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve had the opportunity to visit with and speak with a number of collectors around the Detroit area and I can’t recall a single one living on a union pension. Ken Lingenfelter certainly wasn’t in the UAW. In my experience a lot of collectors are successful small and medium sized business owners that now have the time and money to indulge their passions.

      • 0 avatar
        Guildenstern

        Oh we’re talking collector, collectors? I was thinking more the guy with a 442 at the cruse in. The one or two old cars guy. Those, to my experience, have mostly been retired blue collars. Is Woodward mostly the airplane hangar full of cars type of show?

      • 0 avatar

        Guildenstern,

        The crowd at the Woodward Cruise, and the cars, are about as diverse as you could think. Everything from auction worthy ’53 Corvettes to a King Midget. Cars ranged in quality from concours worthy to project cars.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      Totally agree with the second paragraph, which is the real point here. There must be several dozen 50-60s domestic cars at each “cruise in”, and i usually see some of the same cars each time. There isnt anything interesting to look at. Just a bunch of old Detroit iron, waxed and babied. Nothing past 1973 and certainly nothing foreign. No race cars either.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        Sort of like going to a single brand car show? I won’t attend a Corvette show or a Mustang show (name the brand) b/c I can only look at so much of the same thing.

        Sort of like the guy my Dad met at the last car show he attended. Guy had a very low mileage six month old car right off of the showroom floor. He was very proud of it but there was nothing unique or interesting about it. We all see a half dozen examples every commute. Still good for him, glad he was so happy with his shiny car that he liked to wash and wax weekly. says he was going to give it to his prepubescent son some day. Hope the kid appreciates it.

  • avatar
    Rday

    I think that as wages continue to tumble and houses, investments, etc continue to shrink, the collectibles will only be available for the wealthy or secured [UAW; Auto Corporate exec, etc] type people. The wealth is moving to China and they may be the collectors for the 21st Century. Anyway it is good that the obsession with the car is fading. The auto industry over-promised and under-delivered on both. The industry in general is self-absorbed. The domestics at least didn’t really care much about the American consumer anyway. Nuff said.

    • 0 avatar
      car_guy2010

      Your response is exactly why this country is in such a mess. Baby boomers, in all of their greed, basically pillaged every single institution that’s sacred to this country.

      No wonder their kids are broke and they whine/bitch about/blame young people for something they created.

      I too, would love to collect a vehicle but I don’t see it happening when I can’t even afford major repairs.

      • 0 avatar
        Charliej

        You really blame the boomers for your problems. Every generation has its problems. My parents had the depression and the war. Everyone seems to think the fifties were like Leave it to Beaver. In reality, the fifties, for some of us, were a decade of poverty. Growing up in the south, living with grandparents on a dirt poor farm. I joined the Navy and learned a trade. I then worked for fifteen years getting experience. Then I opened a business and prospered for thirty years, until retirement.

        Everyone has a chance. What you make of your life depends on you. It is easy to whine about how others have it easier. Others may have it easier, that does not mean that you can’t succeed. It just means that you have to work a little harder, be a little smarter. Aside from my grandparents, no one ever game me anything. I had to work for what I got. I did luck out and marry a very good woman forty six years ago. Her love and support made the struggle much easier.

        If you are not doing as well as you want, don’t blame others. Look around, see what it takes to succeed in you chosen field. Life does not owe you anything. You have to earn your way, if you are not lucky enough to be born to money. But, you can make it. You just have to decide to do whatever it takes. Just don’t blame those who came before you. If not for them, you might not be here.

      • 0 avatar
        toomanycrayons

        car_guy2010, in Quebec the students are protesting, the Boomers are whining. The students think that the Boomers are downloading all the risk and cost onto their backs. Hard to deny. Each kid is supposed to assume the debts of an education and gamble that their choices pay off. If they don’t then the Boomers get to say, “Sucks to be you!” and continue to collect their pensions and benefits. What happened to the risk-pooling/peace&love that the Woodstock Generation sang about? Sucks to be you, took its place. Go on and detail your GTO, someday a fresh young face will be deciding if you get a second Depends that week…

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        A bit harsh there toomanycrayons, but you all have valid points. I realize this goes off the point of classic cars but I’m feeling very philosophical at the moment…

        I just last night lost my grandmother a day after her 92nd birthday. Obviously she was a member of the war generation and despite all of the hardships they all endured she seldom talked about it. In fact it took me until today to realize her whole life she was setting the example to everyone on how to live. Never smoked, I never saw her drink, never swore, very moral/religious, and most importantly she was never negative and never ‘talked shit’ as it were on anyone… especially on her children, two of which are horrible people.

        The last memory I will have of her is leaving the hospital last night and all three of her children (including my mother) at her side. I looked at them and I thought none of you will ever come close to being the incredible person she was, I have to admit I sat and judged them all with my eyes. Two of them are in a financial mess and if my aunt had not married into serious money she would have been too. If you were to approach any of them and explain things are pretty screwed up because of their generation’s excesses, they wouldn’t care. Even my mother whom I love dearly will tell you that’s too bad I worked, I raised a family, and now I need taken care of. They fail to realize their parents grew up in the true poverty of pre-war America and *fought a world war* against the forces of evil in order to preserve this country for them. The same parents then rebuilt postwar and showered them with gifts and treats they did not have in their own youth. So what does this boomer generation do with this fortunate lifestyle? Attend comparably cheap universities and get better jobs than their parents could, thus setting the stage for required education post-high school. Partake in drugs and sex unheard of in previous generations. Some would dodge the draft, and some of those who did would spit on their siblings and countrymen after returning from the unjust Vietnam war. Riot and destroy property. Gorge their way through life and use up the American dream and then say too bad to the rest of us, ‘we want our retirement’.

        I have to say if I could have my way I would end all social security taxes tomorrow and keep sending out checks until what was already collected was gone. I would drastically cut most of government and severely curtail the welfare and Medicaid. I would rob them of their pensions and 401ks and use the funds to pay down the national debt *they created* and I would decree throughout the land family needs to take care of family the Federal gravy train has come to the end of the line… and if the Communist/Marxist/Anarchistic/Union/Religious/Retired elements in society didn’t like it, I would call out the military and order shoot to kill. I guess I’m just a hardass and I’ve lost patience with the boomer *babies*.

        But you know what, that’s not what Grandma taught me, and that’s not what she would want, nor anyone else from her time. We are all sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, and siblings to each other. We just have to remember this and together as a society work through our problems. Compromises must be struck and sacrifices must be made. Nothing is more powerful than people coming together for common cause, and the people of my grandmother’s generation showed this by winning a world war.

        If there is one thing I can say which rings true to me it’s this:

        Be cheerful while you are alive.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I’m glad that kids aren’t collecting classics, I’d rather not see an AMC Ranbler with a fart can and an ugly spoiler drilled into the trunk!

    That and they’d get angry from not being able to “chip” these classics.

    I’m 22 and I’d enjoy a decent classic sedan since even car buffs don’t care for those.

  • avatar

    I watched the video and had difficulty getting by the reporter’s pushy and obnoxious attempt at humor during her interviews. I interview hundreds of car owners every year and I would interview a fraction of that number if I used her style.The whole piece seemed to mock the old car culture in a mild Don Rickles wannabe style- and there is only one Rickles.

    • 0 avatar

      Jim, if you note, the people she was interviewing were enjoying it in a good natured manner. They seem less aggrieved than you are. It’s a hobby, not a religion. I see it more as gentle ribbing than Meyer being a a Don Rickles wannabe. I’ve met Zlati while working area car events and she’s always been very nice to me. When I’ve observed her working, she’s acted professionally. In any case, she’s way too young to have seen Rickles work the Ed Sullivan show and if you check out some of the other videos that she’s done for the Freep, she doesn’t take herself too seriously and isn’t afraid to look silly. Here’s her take on the 2012 NAIAS:
      http://www.freep.com/videonetwork/1381710160001/A-humorous-and-irreverent-take-on-the-Detroit-auto-show

      I think there’s enough room in automotive journalism for a variety of approaches, including less than serious looks at serious subjects. Would you want other writers to duplicate your and your brother’s approach over at My Star Collector Car?

      • 0 avatar

        I just got back from a Mopar show in Calgary so I apologize for the delayed response. I talk to people who have put so much of themselves into their vehicles (many of them on a limited budget) that I simply want to help them celebrate their pride of ownership and accomplishment.

        For instance, today I interviewed a guy who has a mid-70s Plymouth that he restored over the course of several winters in an unheated garage here in western Canada. He tried to drag as many pieces into his house as possible for repair and he also got his wife’s blessings if he quit smoking before he started the project. He quit cold turkey 9 years ago and now he has a completed car that he loves, a happy wife and more money for gas.

        I guess my point is that I grew up loving the cars and trucks from the past because they are a part of my own past and I can relate to the reasons why owners make sacrifices to own old iron. If other people want to do exactly what we do to give these non-famous car guys their moment in the spotlight, then I say good on them for that.

        I love to tell their stories and have no desire to turn them or their cars into a 5 minute comedy bit for TV.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    There are no jobs for the under-30 set, let alone the under-20 set, which is the biggest discontinuous break. From stripper Grand Ams to S10s, those things were the carriages of baggers, order-takers, and gofers. You can blame this on a number of things, but the lack of ways for them to go make money obviates or removes the need to buy a car.

    If you don’t get a POS you can afford and have to spend time keeping it together with ingenuity and little cash, you’re not going to have the same love of the vehicle. You see it in firearms, computer programming, religious orders, guitar playing, or any of the hobbies that tend to be suited particularly for the traditionally-masculine focus on arcane detail and domain expertise: You can have people discover and become fascinated in adulthood, but it’s always a smaller group and it’s less natural.

    Do public schools still teach driver’s ed? Do they still have an auto shop or a metal shop? Where I live, the answer is, no, they don’t. Driver’s ed, of course, facilitated getting those kids able to get a job and enter the workforce on a high school diploma. Metal shop and auto shop, of course, facilitated training mostly the boys for non-college-degree jobs where they’d work with their hands. What parent or teacher or administrator wants to admit that their students aren’t going to Harvard, and so won’t need to work with their hands? There’s no standardized test that requires welding or sewing expertise to get nationally ranked and accredited.

    At least the Gen-Xers, with the love of all things kitschy, have an almost Hippie-like affection for doing things with your hands with the Maker movement that should keep people thinking of crappy cars as canvases for dream rides. There is nothing like five guys with nothing below a master’s, having never done a thing with their hands in their lives, trying to do basic auto maintenance with an instruction book and a shrink-wrapped set of wrenches. Do they screw up? Of course. Do they have a good time and will probably continue to do little things while paying a mechanic for anything of consequence? Absolutely.

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      A number of factors have conspired to reduce the motor-head hobby in the US.

      The local high school now charges for driver’s ed. Many don’t have the money, and insurance companies tack on a fat surcharge for anyone without driver’s ed.

      I was in one of the last classes at my high school where shop courses were offered. I took auto shop, wood shop, metal shop, basic electronics in addition to biology, chemistry, physics, algebra and trig. Soon after I left, all the manual trade shop classes were axed in favor of a very big, shiny computer lab. I can’t say that any of the shop classes helped me find or retain employment, but they certainly helped me survive getting through a world with fewer opportunities and resources.

      Massive student debts, no access to health insurance, no affordable housing, plus lack of JERBS. How many times does this have to be said? If people can’t make enough money to pay for basics, how are they going to pay for hobbies? A young Polish couple, with school age children, that lived near my house pulled up stakes recently and returned to Europe. The husband found a job in Germany. You know things are bad when immigrants with skills start to abandon the US. At least in Germany they will be able to see the doctor without being bankrupted.

      With some exceptions, don’t expect to see many 90s and up cars being restored. The electronics found in these cars makes it a daunting task.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      There are jobs for those who get an engineering degree from a decent state school or do accounting or finance. Don’t forget the healthcare field. I have friends who are around 30 or slightly under and are doing pretty well.

      Hell, I have a friend who is 25, working at Boeing near Seattle, who is making close to 6 figures.

      • 0 avatar
        skor

        Right. And where is the demand going to come from for engineering services, accounting and the like if the majority of the population can’t afford a car, or a ride on an airplane etc, etc?

      • 0 avatar
        Sam P

        Most people in the United States can’t afford to ride on an airplane? In that case, Seatac Airport should be much less crowded than it currently is.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        Give it time: we’re only starting to feel the ripples of the shock waves coming.
        With the manufacturing base decimated and many white collar jobs off-shored, newer jobs are paying much less. With all the manufacturing jobs in Asia, it’s only a matter of time before the R&D and commensurate jobs will be in Asia.
        So far, the rise of the ‘service’ industries have masked this exodus. But just what do the service industries do? Do they create anything?
        As one example of a recent American success story: Apple. Sure, the ingenuity and creativity are in Silicon Valley, but since the iPhone and iPad are largely built in Asia, how long before they figure out how to create the next generation – and then do it for half the cost. Heck, they’ll probably market it back here as the Pear and Washington will do nothing…….

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        Nah- I know someone who works at a state university. He says the grads find jobs but they are very seldom six figures. Most often they are $45K and there are a fair number of companies out there that use up their employees b/c there are more viable employee candidates looking for work everyday on the company’s doorstep so if the $45K a year employee gets tired of 50+ hour work weeks, there is another candidate ready to take their place. So – the new grads take what they can get and hope they can build a resume enough to move on to greener fields.

        Just like always – it helps to know someone and to graduate from a school with a good name like Cornell or ??? I’ve talked to some of those guys and just like anywhere else – you meet guys who know their stuff and you meet guys who clearly have never built a thing in their life – but they can probably do the math analysis…

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I have to agree with joeaverage. In MY area there are very few jobs, if any, for recent college grads but recent college grads DO get job offers from far away places like North Dakota, Montana, and Idaho, for the disciplines they majored in.

        The question for them then becomes, “Can they afford to accept those jobs or will they find it too expensive to live there?”

        A recent BSEE grad I know got no job offers in NM but got one for $64K (starting) at Florence, Colorado, at the Federal Maximum-security prison there, working for a contractor.

        The jobs are out there, mostly in places no one wants to go, but can applicants afford to accept them if offered one?

  • avatar
    froomg

    We will see another generational shift, but as long as people grow up with cars, there will be nostalgic interest in collecting the vehicles of youth. I’m a Gen Xer at age 37, and I’ve developed a taste for the “Malaise Era” cars that were (and are) scorned by many. I recently sold a more conventional collector car – a 1966 Dodge Charger. It was a great car, but it didn’t have the nostalgia factor for me that the cars of the 70s and 80s do. I’ve got a super-low mileage pristine original 1981 Chrysler Cordoba now. You know what? It turns heads and people love it. The same will be true of Elantras and Camrys 30 years from now.

  • avatar
    Neb

    Two facts to put things in perspective.

    In America right now for people between the ages of 20 and 30: only one in six has a full time job and the majority (three out of five) are not even on their own – they live with family.

    I bring this up to underline some truth about cars: we can talk about how younger people view cars and generational shifts and that sort of thing, but these issues are vanishingly small compared to being young in the new depression.

    Also: I’m convinced 30 years from now sensible Japanese sedans from the 90s will be coveted.

    • 0 avatar
      Kaosaur

      They already sort-of are now.

      Also, phew. 20-30 year old with a full-time job and not living at home. :D

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        I’m a bit older, married with kids but let me tell you – even some of my middle aged friends have made bad choices and moved back in with Mom and Dad. Marital problems, over extended their finances, slacked off on their careers at a time when replacing that job is very difficult with their lack of education at the same level they had pre-recession.

        I love my parents and they love me but ANYTHING would be better than moving back in with them. I’d live in a shabby RV trailer with my wife and kids, work a second job if necessary for six months before I’d move back in with them. Great parents they are but I don’t want them in my business.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      Your sentiments ring true but you’re using either silly or made up numbers since only 10% of women 24-34 live with their parents and 19% of men 24-34 do so (I’m not sure if it’s because women are more likely to marry out and live elsewhere or if women are simply more likely to get jobs since they’re more likely to go to college these days). People younger than that are likely to still be in school so living at home isn’t weird at all.

      That said, I do agree with the sentiments and while I live by myself and have a full-time job I also park in a public parking lot where I have one spot and I still owe about $150,000 in student loans…so no car collecting just yet.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Hearing this I feel like I stole my worthless diploma at 29K… although among people I know I’m one of the more expensive debtors.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        I worked my way through college and had zero debt on graduation. on the flip side it took me nearly a decade to graduate and thus I missed out on better paychecks. I found work immediately (years ago) and life has been stable. My wife took out loans for her higher ed (Masters) and can’t find work with her education b/c she tried to advance in a dying career field where as quickly as someone retires at her place of employment, the boss simply does away with the job or opens the job search to the entire country and there is ALWAYS someone with better credentials looking for a chance to crawl up another rung on the career ladder. He does not believe in advancing existing employees b/c they have any seniority. Nice guy…

        We’re hoping we don’t NEED to relocate. Kids in school, friends, kids’ activities, I have a vehicle in mid-restoration without any suspension making it very difficult to move, etc. Not to mention buying/selling houses.

  • avatar
    CliffG

    They may be getting cheaper faster than you think. I was watching the live Mecum auction from Monterey yesterday, and there were a lot of cars that got nowhere near their reserve before the bidding keeled over dead. We can argue whether a ’70 Boss 302 is worth north of $100k, but when bidding stops on a mint example at $70k, you have to figure there were a few folk standing around going “Really?”. Rarity will always sell, everything else is kind of tricky. For what it is worth 20% of the population will have real disposable income of a fair amount in 25 years. If we knew now what exactly they will want, why, we would be in the top 2% right now………

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      What you describe is common with most “collectables”. I watched recently as some 1970s kid’s board games sold for serious coin on eBay. 20 years ago, my mother pitched games just like those in the trash when she cleaned out the attic.

      It’ a common pattern. People hit middle age and then they want to own the things they had in youth, or the things they wanted but weren’t able to afford at the time. As they advance to their golden years most of that stuff doesn’t resonate with younger people, with the exception of high-end or rare stuff. As you’ve pointed out, it is already happening. Garden variety first gen Mustangs, GTO’s and the like will be coming down in price quite a bit and will probably never see their previous highs.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      @CliffG: “. We can argue whether a ’70 Boss 302 is worth north of $100k, but when bidding stops on a mint example at $70k”

      Let me add some perspective. I’m a 30-something family man with a good job. We’re doing better than most of our neighbors. My wife and I are both in graduate school (MBA for me, research scientist for her), so it’s likely we’ll be doing better in the future.

      But my house cost around $150k. So that car costs somewhere between 1/2 and 2/3rds as much as my house!! Spending that much money on a collectible car would be a stupid life choice — and I’m doing way better than 3/4 of the people in this country!

      Going for a decade of Prius ownership is a much more sensible choice, since the car is cheap to operate and maintain, and it passed the payoff point long ago. There isn’t a much room for non-sensible choices when it comes to supporting a family for the long haul in a resilient way, even when you’re making near-6-figures in an area where $150k houses are the norm. I don’t know how the people in the coastal cities get by, especially if they have to pay for daycare…

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        $150k for a house? Wow. In Ontario, anywhere within a 90 minute drive of Toronto, you could not buy a run down shack for $150k. People are fighting over $400k condos that are barely 700 sq ft!
        I don’t think there has been a $150k house (that wasn’t condemned or seized) since the mid-80s!

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Carbiz – I noticed that when I was in Toronto a few weeks back. Wonderful city to visit we all enjoyed ourselves but I don’t think I could afford to live there.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    In 20 years the hot spots will be the current Stangs, mint magnums, and the usual hipo unusually optioned Camaros. Anything that is in superb condition that is very hi powered and looks great.

    The same as now with the 60’s cars. Nobody is interested in a Valiant.

    • 0 avatar
      Kaosaur

      You’d be surprised. I’m in the ~30 crowd and I’m thinking about building up a small collection of 70s & 80s pimpmobiles in a few years. Not the flashier lowrider style but like…the Duke’s car in Escape from New York. My friends and I all love them. We grew up in New York in a much seedier era and saw these things all over the street and in movies.

      They’re the epitome of cool.

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      Not so fast: I’ve gone looking for a Duster (my dad’s GF had a ’71 in purple with the white vinyl interior) and I’ve always thought it would be a great econo-box to drive with a dash of cool, but those cars are all gone. First of all, they were beaters when new, but guys long ago but up the survivors, ripped out the slant-6 and dropped in a 383 to impress the cops with.
      Part of the problem with the later generations is that they (we) grew up with ‘loaded’ vehicles. No way I would buy a ’60s muscle car without a/c and power windows. I’d probably pay a fortune to have power locks and keyless remote installed in such a way as to not destroy the authenticity of the vehicle.
      Unless you like the old Caddies or Lincolns, just try and find a car from the ’60s that is nicely loaded up. Even top of the line Chryslers and Fords may have had power steering, power brakes and a radio as standard. Not much else.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      I find that the younger crowd don’t have the same prejudices about cars we had in the 80s. Camaros were associated with guys sporting mullets, Dusters were lower than the lowest on the food chain, Mustang IIs around here were like Pintos, etc. My tween thinks there is nothing wrong with a General Lee Dixie horn or a Aieoogah horn on a VW van… 30 years ago I know folks who would have rated that as a sacrilege.

  • avatar
    slow kills

    I’m not sure what would be worth rekindling in the “spirit they felt as a youth” of a Gen-X adult. We were nihilistic even back then.

  • avatar
    Lynn E.

    Space. Even poor Romney had to install a lift just to store his family’s daily cars.

    I live in Phoenix and have been looking for a small home with workshop to work on projects and I am amazed at how difficult finding a garage/workshop is.

    Between zoning laws and unbelievably bad/thoughtless/greedy home builders it appears that living with my projects or even having parking space for friends is difficult to find.

    The home builders in Phoenix don’t even know the earth rotates around a very hot, but potentially useful, sun let alone know some of us want more space than to just “park” in front of a TV.

    Lets hope the dog was removed from the car roof before operating the lift.

    • 0 avatar

      “Lets hope the dog was removed from the car roof before operating the lift.”

      At least the Romneys didn’t serve Seamus for dinner:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyD7pfYf7-c&feature=player_embedded

      “… and away from the dinner table I was introduced to dog meat, tough…”
      Dreams From My Father – Barack Obama

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        My friend’s ‘challenged’ father tried pulling the Romney’s dog joke in my presence. He’s the sort of imbecile that has a photograph of himself shaking hands with Obama on a commercial website. I simply responded that it would be better than the Obama solution of eating the dog, and he turned purple while his wife and daughter jumped in to insist that we have no more political discussions for the rest of the day.

      • 0 avatar
        Charliej

        Personally, I love political discussions. Having grown up in the south during the civil rights era, I love pointing out to Republicans how much their need for scapegoats is the same as denying blacks their civil rights. I would much rather shake Obama’s hand than Romney’s. Obama came from a broken home and has made it to the top of the world. Romney came from great wealth and has had everything handed to him. Who deserves more respect?

        I am a Democrat and damned proud of it. I worked hard for everything I ever got, but I still feel a responsibility to give back to the country for those not as fortunate as I. I have a very low opinion of people with money, who turn their backs on the poor. Greed is not good, but it does appear to be God to the rich republicans.

      • 0 avatar
        dejal1

        “Greed is not good, but it does appear to be God to the rich republicans.”

        So, you were ok with John Kerry?

        You saw no problem that a Senator from Massachusetts kept his $7,000,000 yacht in Rhode Island to escape a $70,000 a year excise tax in Mass? The same John Kerry who at his home in Mass. had public flunkys put in a fire hydrant in front of his home so no one would park there?

        John Corzine and company “Lost” $1,000,000,000 investors dollars. John Corzine is a bundler for Obama.

        The American Indian (1/32nd maybe) Democratic candidate for Senate, Elizabeth Warren in Mass. made $429,981 at Harvard
        in 2010,$90,000 as an expert witness, $43,938 as a consultant on an asbestos and $136,946 from royaltys and puts out a commercial bemoaning the high cost of higher education. You are fine with that? She could have donated half of it for scholarships to Harvard and would still be richer than most Americans.

        No problem with the Kennedy clan? When the old man died, he was worth $500,000,000 back in 1969. You remember pro-Nazi Joe Kennedy, don’t you? The rum runner during prohibition. But, you’d say, the sons weren’t the father. True, but they still took the money.

        From what I understand Mr. Romney gives millions away every year to charity. Are you saying he doesn’t?

      • 0 avatar
        dejal1

        Forgot this:

        “Having grown up in the south during the civil rights era, I love pointing out to Republicans how much their need for scapegoats is the same as denying blacks their civil rights.”

        The 1964 Civil Rights Act votes in the House and Senate:

        By party
        The original House version:
        Democratic Party: 152–96 (61–39%)
        Republican Party: 138–34 (80–20%)

        Cloture in the Senate:
        Democratic Party: 44–23 (66–34%)
        Republican Party: 27–6 (82–18%)

        The Senate version:
        Democratic Party: 46–21 (69–31%)
        Republican Party: 27–6 (82–18%)

        The Senate version, voted on by the House:
        Democratic Party: 153–91 (63–37%)
        Republican Party: 136–35 (80–20%)

        The original House version:
        Southern Democrats: 7–87 (7–93%)
        Southern Republicans: 0–10 (0–100%)
        Northern Democrats: 145–9 (94–6%)
        Northern Republicans: 138–24 (85–15%)

        The Senate version:
        Southern Democrats: 1–20 (5–95%)
        Southern Republicans: 0–1 (0–100%)
        Northern Democrats: 45–1 (98–2%)
        Northern Republicans: 27–5 (84–16%)

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Kerry was way better than the alternative, but that’s not saying much.

        But, yeah, Romney is basically Kerry with a red lapel pin who goes to a different church. New England old money. I was looking forward to to bipartisan schadenfreude of seeing all of the same criticisms of Kerry hurled at Romney.

        But, alas, the Republicans have just gone with the fire-up-the-base and freeze-out-the-moderates strategy, which means that it doesn’t matter who’s running because the election isn’t about the politician or about the issues…. But now the election has been debased to the point where it’s just about the rural/urban cultural divide and who gets to push their values on whom, with no possibilities for sensible compromises. :-(

      • 0 avatar
        JD-Shifty

        Pretty much something an imbecile would think would be an equal comparison. meat being served to a child compared to the actions of a so called adult.

      • 0 avatar
        kkt

        dejal1: In 1964, most southern senators and congressmen were still Democrats and many of those southerners voted against the Civil Rights Act, as you posted. However, it was the Democratic white house of Lyndon Johnson that pushed for the act and made sure it came up for a vote. The pro-segregation southerners did not forget it, by the 1968 presidential election they switched from the mainstream Democratic party to the Dixiecrats of George Wallace, and by 1972 they had joined the Republicans.

      • 0 avatar

        KKT, actually, it was Eisenhower’s White House that first pushed for civil rights legislation.

        Just so you know, it was a Democrat, Woodrow Wilson who segregated the US armed forces.

        Somehow the “southern strategy” of the Republicans appealing to “law & order” white southerners in 1968 expiates over a century of the Democratic party being the party of racism, eh? When the Republican party was running blacks for public office during Reconstruction, the KKK was the militant wing of the Democratic party. Democratic Sen. Byrd of West Virginia was a high ranking Klan official.

        Obviously, putting a dog carrier on a car’s roof is far worse than having been an active Klan recruiter.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @Ronnie: while some of that was true decades before I was born (Lincoln was a Republican and presided over segregated armed forces), the Democrats are running on a progressive platform NOW and the Republicans are not – so voting based on 70 year old platform documents from before the parties essentially swapped names (and votors) would be il-advised.

        The words conservative and progressive would untangle the historical context you’re trying to use.

      • 0 avatar
        kkt

        Ronnie Schreiber, I don’t know what you mean by “first pushed for civil rights legislation.” What were all those Reconstruction-era Republicans trying to make sure southern blacks could vote doing? What about Truman desegregating the armed forces? Maybe Ike pushed it, but it the modern Civil Rights Act didn’t actually get anywhere until LBJ, so he gets the credit.

        And what do you mean by Wilson segregating the armed forces? There were segregated units back to the Civil War for sure, and probably back to the revolution.

        The parties shifted over time. Before FDR, Republicans were the party of the north and industrialists, and Democrats were the party of the south and plantation owners. FDR made the Democrats an uneasy alliance between the southern plantation owners, the working class all over, and the socialist and progressive fringe. In 1968, the southern racist part of that alliance split off.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    Car Collecting has always been older people’s game. Most of them say “I got a car I always wanted when I was young” or “I found car just like my old one”.

    Gen X’er are now collecting 80’s Grand Nationals and unmolested 5.0 Fox Mustangs.

    Who knows? Some will want to collect ‘manually driven’ cars someday.

    • 0 avatar
      The Dark One

      Agreed. Growing up I always wanted either a 57 Chevy, Trans Am Bandit clone, or a white Challenger like the one in Vanishing Point. Of course by the early 90’s when i’d graduated high school and entered the job market, most of those had pretty much been ragged out and become basket cases. So I made do with an early 80’s Celica Supra. After all these years I’d still love the T/A or to find an already restored Supra ( I absolutely LOVED that car) But the price of a restored Pontiac or a new Retro Challenger really up there.

    • 0 avatar
      Kaosaur

      Yep. I totally want an 80s Grand National.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        And some of what people choose to buy for a play car is based on what the car can do for them. A 30s original or an aircooled VW can be outclassed by the cars on modern roads. Who is going coast to coast in a 40HP aircooled VW or driving to the Gulf in a 30s antique anymore? When the speed limit was 55 mph, those antiques were still useful. Now I find that 75 mph is the cruising speed and that 40HP Beetle I own will not be used on the interstate as casually as i did before (it’s all apart for a restoration but stored in my barn waiting it’s turn).

        Drove a ’52 original Chevy a few weekends ago. It’ll do 60 mph all day long but it’s clear that brake technology and suspension design ahs come a long way since then. I knoew this already but it reaffirmed that for me. The object was to give my kids a ride in an antique. They were fascinated by the rollup windows and seat springs (as opposed to foam filled seats).

        I wanted my kids to see that old cars aren’t just cars with an interesting wrapper. Tech has moved forward.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    Who lusts after cars designed by federal regulators? Who wants to futz with the soon to be obsolete computers of today’s cars? Cars aren’t the ‘it’ thing today anyway: it’s gadgets that capture the popular imagination.

    • 0 avatar
      01 ZX3

      Those gadgets you speak of are obsoleted withing months of their arrival so what’s your point about obsolete car computers?

      • 0 avatar
        mitchw

        You’ve just made my point. Computer tech advances at a pace far higher than car makers can develop cars. There’s drawers and closets around the world filled with old gadgets, but I wouldn’t call that collecting.

  • avatar
    Sanman111

    There will definitely be car colletors in the future. It is just a question of who will be doing that collecting and what kind of cars they want. Mustangs, camaros, and grand nationals are definitely being collected and worked on. Now, you will still have a hard time buying nice 90’s supras, rx7s, mr2 turbos, integra type r, twin turbo 300zxs and other japanese icons for reasonable prices. As a Gen Yer, I am looking at 90s cars for a cheap weekend cruiser/local auto-x car and it can be hard to find one that won’t break the budget. Non-turbo mr2s, miatas, and SN95 mustangs all seem like decent possibilities.

  • avatar
    Crosley

    I know in my case as a Gen X’er, the Barrett-Jackson douchebag crew ran me off from the hobby. I was into musclecars and just wrenching on older cars in general but they became absolutely ridiculous in price once that auction house took off.

    Every 2 door rustbucket was suddenly worth its weight in pure gold. It used to be only the vintage Porsches, Ferraris, Mercedes, Corvettes, etc that attracted the big money guys, but Barrett Jackson changed all that.

    I have a lot more disposable cash now (but less time) and prices have come down a bit since the recession, but it made me leave because it was just a lot of money to tie up in a hobby. To really participate, I basically had to go after cars I just wasn’t that into.

    I know I can’t be alone in being priced out of the market.

    • 0 avatar
      mitchw

      I recall some years ago watching a Barrett-Jackson auction as two guys faced off over a blue Stingray. As prices got over 300K IIRC, I started mocking the older guy trying to outbid the smiling, young, and tall bidder. The winner? Young Mark Andreeson, creator of Netscape. One wonders if the geezer knew what he was up against.

      (A happy seller too, I’m sure)

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      I left VWs partially from silly parts prices, partially because the cars go for silly amounts now.

      Back in the early 2000’s you could get a good 60’s VW Bug that ran and worked for $1500, now you can’t even get a VW with an engine for that kinda money. I dunno why or what made the prices jump.

      On a side note, this articles getting some pretty interesting comments I must say.

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      I think the internet and internationally televised shows like Barrett Jackson have whet the appetite of many foreign collectors to American iron from the glory years.
      My personal favorite is the ’69 Chrysler 300. (My father had the 4 door hardtop.) I’d want a convertible. Chrysler only made 1,900 that year. How many still exist today? How many of those are still in North America? How many of those haven’t rotted out, or have a dozen trim parts broken?
      Those late fuselage Chryslers were pretty much unloved at the auctions, but they were revered at the demolition derbies…. :(

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’m interested in car collecting, but I can’t say that I’m into the social aspect of the hobby. To me, it is very much becoming a “Grizzled Old Men” convention.

    Maybe they are friendlier in East Michigan, but the prejudices against FWD and Japanese cars at general admission shows/cruises has always been very off-putting.

    You show up in an ’88 Cutlass Supreme Classic and you’re golden. You show up in a ’88 Calais Quad-4 and you’re either shunned or told that your car sucks.

  • avatar
    Slowtege

    I think there will always be car collecting, just less so perhaps in the future. Barring the money and space issue (both issues for me currently, but space more so), I’m not so sure I want to dissect wiring or computer issues on a long-discontinued E90 generation M3 (or any current BMW that will be out of warranty soon). Cars from the 60s and 70s were fairly simple and straightforward and I think back then when all those cars were new, minor driveway maintenance was perhaps a little more normal than say a ’90s Japanese sedan. Maybe we’ll all just like the cars we grew up with because we know how to fix and maintain them…

    The muscle car auction craze was something that I didn’t/don’t like. Turns me off to most pre-’71 cars. Thank goodness not many like the turn-of-1970 era Chrysler full-sizers. I really like them. Hipsters of Seattle, my Gen-Y self will out-metal you with a ’71 Newport/New Yorker/Imperial/Fury/Polara…maybe. Or maybe I’ll get a MKII Celica Supra (with no sunroof as I am 6’5″). ’80s and ’90s non performance icon stuff is still super cheap, thankfully.

    As was pointed out earlier, there are (as there always have been as we know) more car cultures than the muscle car and 2 door coupe stuff. They don’t get the spot light but they are out there. I know a few on here hate the Stance movement, I love it. Do I like all of the cars that I see? No. But hey, look at it this way: People aged my parents and up, like the generation before them, complain about reckless kids driving fast etc etc etc. Enter the “low and slow” Stance movement. Voila! No more fast…just maybe too slow over bumps and into parking lots… Either way, those guys are into their cars–spending money and time on springs, shocks, coil-overs, wheels, tires, doing some heavy custom fabrication work, custom interiors, completely cleaned, repainted, and wire-tucked engine bays, etc. It’s cars, community, and usually beer too; like 30/40/50 years ago, just now with better photography.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    I’m a Gen-X who hates old things. But there’s always room for collectors to want the stuff I’ve thrown out.

    Personally, premium cars exist for one reason: to demoralize and devastate my enemies. If you think of cars as positional goods (like I do), the real competition with cars IMO are luxury goods like an iPad, a Louis Vuitton messenger bag, a Leica M9, or a carbon fibre racing bike.

    Collecting old cars from that perspective only makes sense if that product is a part of your identity. Identity requires aesthetic anchors, and those anchors shared with likeminded people form social communities. It’s those communities that people want to be part of.

    In other words, buy the old stuff so you can experience the community of others who also buy old stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      You have enemies in your community that you need to demoralize? Why put yourself through that? Do they even know who they are?

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Oh man, I grew up with guys like you. Like I’m supposed to be impressed with the stuff you bought off of the rack. Big deal. Good luck with that. Go MAKE something or drive that Mercedes 500K miles or around the perimeter of the country or from Peking to Paris. Then I might get impressed. Keeping that new car shiny? Not impressed.

      Enemies? -head shaking-

  • avatar
    mountainman_66

    my thoughts………
    car as ‘WEEKEND ONLY’ toy is not a valid concept to most these days….add in unreliable Delco points ignition, 4 wheel drum brakes and 60’s vintage suspension geometry, most folks are out!
    even a totally uncollectable c4 corvette has more appeal…at least most can get out of the county without needing mechanical tappets lashed, points adjusted, dwell checked, etc. oh , i forgot, c4 corvettes dont have any of those things!

    grizzled old men…..I like that. i get it… and while i can mix with that crowd, i get why a 25 year old wont.

    with a few notable exceptions, the cars worth restoring have been ‘gone through’ 2 or 3 times by now…..oh sure, you can find that 1973 4 door belair sedan , complete with 350 / 2bbl combo, but lets be honest, that car isnt worth restoring. that 69 camaro is 43 years old now, certainly it is either factory new and immaculate and expensive or its been tubbed and then had the tubs removed, etc…..more weld and bondo than joan rivers. you want my
    my 2¢???…….dead hobby.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      I think you are off base. Of the gear heads I know, I am the only one running a Holley carb on a big block. They have all wished up and are buying junkyard LT motors out of yukons and running big boost and bottles. They are proud of the fact they are running junk motors down the strip with 11 sec ETs.

      All have disc brakes and most run AC.

      The hobby is nowhere near dead. Only now it requires some thought and a computer.

      • 0 avatar
        mountainman_66

        since you hang with “gearheads” who yank motors out of scrap yard SUVs and trucks, Id call you a “gearhead” or “racer”, an even more rare and threatened sub-species of the now endangered “car collector”.

        ….. anecdotal estimations of a larger circumstance based upon your soda straw view of the world is no way to arrive at the real picture.

        dead hobby. no different than shooting marbles or bowling. except that those two activities dont generally require a considerable sum of cash. the collapse of the new car market can do nothing but be a reliable predictor that young people are no longer willing to drop tons of capital (that could be spent on other things more useful) on a depreciating ‘asset’.
        the end of the flat worlders didnt occur because people who didnt believe changed their minds…..its because they DIED and were replaced with people of different attitudes towards the concept.
        dead hobby. guys like you will have a few “classic” cars at the state fair in a hundred years, much like the old men with the little steam engines do today.

        http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3123/2817168525_8bc8055630.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      The trick is to find something that hasn’t been chopped up. They exist but you’re looking alot harder for them now. Not many field cars or barn cars left here in my part of the south. Only the hoarders still have them unmolested and even a number of those have gone to waste b/c the hoarders let them rot saying they’d get around to them someday. Then they got too old to build cars and their heirs sold these old cars off at estate auctions or to the crusher.

      I’ve put ALOT of miles on pre-70 cars and they aren’t that much trouble. Most don’t need adjustments but every 2000 miles and for a weekend car that’s probably a year’s use. Once everything is made right, it’s easy to keep them right if the car/truck/motorcycle is garage kept.

      I used to drive my ’65 Beetle daily when I was stationed in Italy and VA. Every 2000 miles I’d change the oil, adjust the valves/points/carb/brakes and oil everything that needed it and you know what? That only took an hour or so every couple of months. Tuned correctly and with everything in good shape the car was no more trouble than a modern fuel injected car. It was just as reliable once I quit cheaping out on parts and replaced balky things like carbs and fuel pumps with something new instead of parts I stripped off of cars going to the crusher. A new replacement carb made all the difference and needed adjustments more or less when the weather started to warm in the spring and then again when it cooled in the fall. Ran like a sewing machine. It had some quirks due to the lack of fuel injection and electronic ignition but nothing that couldn’t be handled by putting the gas pedal in the right position – 1/3 for normal conditions, maybe to the floor when it was hot, maybe 2-3 pumps when it was really cold. A really tough day was when the starter would hang and the car would need to be roll started. That only happened when it was really hot. I could do that most of the time by myself on flat ground. A push from a friend or a couple of taps on the starter with a hammer.

  • avatar
    lilpoindexter

    Bad for the automotive industry, good for drivers. This means only people that WANT to drive, will drive…maybe we will see a better driver as a result.

    My daily beater is a 1988 528e…I can’t tell you how many late teens/ early 20s guys give me thumbs up….I know they are envisioning the car hellaflushed, but still…they might be enthusiasts.

  • avatar
    340-4

    Huh.

    Well, I sorta agree.

    I’m 43 and I have always had 1-3 collector cars sitting around. Now I’m down to two – one restored, one just starting the process.

    Jerb, income, time, money, space, interest… all factors.

    Inflated prices, you bet.

    Also, let’s not forget the smug boomer douchebags that make up some of these clubs and owners groups, either. I remember talking – or trying to talk – to some of them locally and their attitude was ‘beat it, stupid kid’ or ‘you don’t have a Ford’ or ‘you don’t have a (poorly, I might add) customized 40s-50s car’ so get lost.

    Sadly, I think it’s in decline overall as far as obtaining and restoring anything moderately interesting. All snatched up, all stowed away, too expensive.

    Cars have become appliances, largely, to many younger people.

    Will they covet mint 90’s Japanese vehicles? Probably.

    But precious few will be able to afford anything the boomers have stashed away when it comes time to sell.

    We may see a price crash.

    We’ve got a whole generation here that faces a very non-lucrative future for diminishing resources; I’ll only mention the repulsive wealth transfer to the top we’ve seen since Reagan.

    It looks bleak to me.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Most guys will collect either the car dad wouldn’t let them buy or the car they wanted but real life kicked in. By real life I mean wife, kids, mortgage, etc.
    I think the televised auctions have distorted the market. You’ll find yahoos trying to sell a car that needs a complete restoration for the price of a car that has had a rotisserie restoration. Also, I’ve noticed a lot of the guys dropping serious cash at auctions have their original wife. Trading in wives cost money too.

    • 0 avatar
      Styles79

      This is exactly my case, when I was a teenager I wanted a Celica Supra as my first car. Couldn’t find a good one so ended up with an FWD Celica. Fast forward 15 years, had a bit of a financial windfall and spent a little of that on a tidy very restorable ’82 Celica Supra. So far I’ve put about NZ $15k into it, but it’s money well spent on a 90,000km low owner car. That’s about the limit of what I will spend, and other than servicing, insurance and registration it shouldn’t cost a lot more. My plan is to keep this car and drive it. Maybe sell it in 20 years or so, who knows? If I do I hope to have broken even or thereabouts. If I don’t that’s fine, that’s not what it’s about. Maybe I’ll keep it forever…. it depends, if there’s ever an “80’s Jappa boom” like the muscle car boom of a few years ago I might just find it too hard to resist.

      Then also supporting your statement, right now I’d love a new Toyota 86. But other life priorities are going to stop that, so who knows, in 20 years time I might be selling my Supra and buying one of them…..

  • avatar
    el scotto

    http://home.comcast.net/~de_judge/site/ Some collectors dreams come true.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I think that 90’s Japanese cars in decent shape may be the next thing, almost every Camry that I see is a banged up bucket and we all know what every Honda from that era has become.

    CRX’s and Suzuki Trackers are already fetching silly prices when they’re in decent shape, or even if they’re a little brokenrustypoorily modded.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I did wonder whether a CRX would be a fun car to own just for the hell of it, but then I checked the prices and conditions — nope!

      I couldn’t afford one when I was a teenager, and I can’t afford one now, and it’s about the same delta. Also, kid-safety is important — and the CRX is a deathtrap by modern standards, and a poor kid hauler too. Buying one just because I thought it as a cool car in high school would be a poor life-choice, and isn’t worth it.

      • 0 avatar
        chaparral

        I can get good CRXes in Houston for around $3000.

        On the other hand, I don’t feel as safe in mine as I do on a motorcycle. There is a definite “tin-can” feel to them.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Theyre all rusted out up here… It’s a damn shame.

        Alas, driving to Houston to spend $3k on a money-sink and time-sink isn’t in the cards for me any time soon. Also, my driveway is only big enough to fit the daily drivers.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Call me crazy, but could I suggest a Tercel 2-door hatchback as a decent CRX substitute?

        They’re light (almost as light), small, easier to find in stock form, and they’re tougher in accidents.

    • 0 avatar
      panzerfaust

      My son dreams of owning a mint CRX someday, he’s 23 and has already had a ’68 Mustang, and an Eclipse. Right now he’s into motorcycles, but one day soon I suspect I’ll see him with some of his favorite vintage toys in the garage.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I agree we will probably see many Camcord hoop-ties in the next twenty years.

    • 0 avatar
      Styles79

      Yep, it’s already starting to build here in NZ. We’re seeing Toyota KE70 Corollas starting to go for good money here, not ridiculous yet, but definitely more than their condition would suggest….

  • avatar
    ranwhenparked

    Put it in perspective – car enthusiasts have always been a small minority of the general population. Just because 80+% of the current crowd of car collectors are baby boomers or older doesn’t mean 80+% of baby boomers/silents/GIs are into cars. I’ve been noticing more and more Xers getting into restoring and showing cars, and would expect my generation to eventually follow suit.

    I’m 27, but do not currently own a collector car for one key reason: I don’t have space for more than one car. My job requires a lot of driving, and I often have to haul crap, so if I can only have 1 car, it needs to be reliable, practical, and spacious. If I one day have the storage space for another car, sure, I’ll get something interesting like an old Packard or LaSalle or something, but not right now.

    That said, as much as I like cars, I shun car shows. Rubbing shoulders with a bunch of fat old men in jorts arguing over date codes on trailered Corvettes just isn’t fun. I think that’s where the car hobby has a real image problem.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Jorts? gotta see what that is… I know I’m going to regret it.

      We go to car shows but we seldom enter our cars in the shows. We go in our favorite resto/custom/antique, park it nearby somewhere safe and then walk through the show and then leave. We also have no interest in the judging or arguments. And the flea markets don’t offer parts anymore that are affordable at some of the shows we frequent. Other shows which don’t attract crazy people and their wallets, are still affordable.

  • avatar
    harshciygar

    It is already well established that my generation (Y) does not have jobs, money, or interest in cars.

    It is also pretty obvious that car collecting is only for the “more established” types who have money, and room.

    But whoever thinks young people don’t still like old cars doesn’t know many young people. They may not know the difference between a vintage Charger or a Challenger, but damn near everyone I know can recognize a classic Mustang, and appreciate it.

    It has already been mentioned that car prices for vintage metal is pretty high, and it is true…if they only place you’re looking is eBay. My dad just bought a running, driving 1968 Galaxie with 60k on the odometer for $2200. It needs some love and some buffing, but everything works, and there is just one small patch of rot on the frame, practically a miracle for a car that was born and raised in New England.

    Hell, 10 years ago I got my Cougar for $1200 without an engine. $500 later I had a running driving car that was the coolest car in the parking lot. The whole school turned out to watch me peg-leg a burnout, including the vice principal, who wrote me up for 10 hours of detention.

    But he let me do one more burnout. “You’re already in trouble, might as well make it worth it.”

  • avatar
    moawdtsi

    Noone is going to say anything about those hoots? I would like to buy a better eagle talon than my nearly mint ’91 that I had, but I need a practical (4-door) back-up car in case my other cars break down and need more safety feature than a non air bag non abs car so I will look to an Evo. That will be a collectible for sure.

  • avatar
    RedSC94

    I’ve been a member of the local GTO club for over 25 years. When I first joined, most of the members were blue collar guys and gals; who were into drag racing, cruising, and car shows. Many wrenched on their own cars, and some were employed at auto repair shops. As the years went by, some of these folks sold their cars as the prices increased dramatically. It could be hard to justify holding on to something that has become so valuable.

    Now the members are mostly people who are retired and are very well off financially. Classic cars are an expensive hobby. We have our meetings at various restaurants around town. We’re starting to look like a bunch of old folks home residents on an outing.

  • avatar
    Dukeboy01

    Car “collecting” is an older person’s game. Anyone at any age can be a car “entusiast” but you have to have time, space, and disposable income in order to keep and enjoy a car that is basically a toy.

    I’m a Gen Xer. Soon after I got established in my job and shorly after I got married, I bought a two- year olf Pontiac Firebird Formula for my “fun car.” We were going to put off having kids for the first three- five years of our marriage and both get established in our jobs. Two months later we were pregnant and nine months after that my wife became a stay-at- home mom. Our other car was a Chevy Beretta and we attempted for over a year after our first child was born to make do with two coupes as family cars.(Helpful hint: It’s easier to wrestle your infant into a rear facing childseat in a Firebird if you take the T-top panel off first.) In the end the Firebird had to go and we eventually ended up with a 4- door Chevy S-10 as our family car.

    A short time later my youngest brother turned 16 and my dad’s insurance rates went through the roof. He had a 1969 Camaro that he and I had restored when I was 14. It was always going to be mine someday and my dad decided to go ahead and give it to me. Life was good as I now had a “toy” car again.

    I kept it for about two years until we decided that we needed a mini- van for our family as the S-10 wasn’t cutting it anymore as a family ride. The Camaro went on eBay and the proceeds went towards a new Honda Odyssey. The deal with the wife was that I could have another “toy” car once the van was paid off.

    So, two years ago, I bought 2002 Camaro SS that is sitting quietly in my garage today. It’s definitely a keeper, mostly because I have reached a point in my life where I can count on not needing to sacrifice it to fill another more important automotive hole in my family’s fleet. Someday I will find a 2012 0r 2013 Camaro ZL1 or Corvette to park beside it. And sometime after that I’d like to have a big old Caddy or Buick parked next to it. (Big and old by that time might mean something that today is completely mundane like an early ’90s Coupe Deville or one of the last Roadmaster station wagons.) After that, maybe a 1990 Chevrolet 454 SS sport truck. Those were one of the cool vehicles from when I was 15- 16.

    The point is that Gen Y kids aren’t in a position to be having “spare” cars around and Gen Xers like me are just barely getting there. You need at least a decade and more like a decade and a half of both steady employment and just plain old getting settled into an “adult” existence (i.e. your kids have to grow up a little bit so they can climb into the backseat themselves and you have to have a permanent place of your own to keep stuff where your landlord won’t hassle you about engine parts and oil leaks in the driveway) before you can truly enjoy a collector car. As a practical matter that means you have to at least be on the “back side of 30” or older.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Dukeboy – did that with motorcycles and a ’49 Chevy truck that I used to drive daily. Every life event – first house, second house, baby #1 and baby #2 and $400+ daycare for years led to a toy selloff.

      Somehow my aircooled VWs survived the cuts but mostly b/c at the time they weren’t worth anything and weren’t costing me anything. They were laid up in the garage/barn/barn belonging to a good friend.

      To me old cars require a garage or at least a car port if they are safe enough parked there after resto. To be affordable they need to be worked on at home if a person has a budget like mine and that leads to tools. Tools demand a garage.

      A garage demands enough income to sell the starter house and buy something a little larger. I’d even argue that it helps to be in a neighborhood where the neighbors are wealthy enough that they don’t want to rob you blind when you leave the house.

      I might have a few thousand invested in my garage kit but it’s cheaper than paying someone to do my restos, my daily driver maintenance and the cost of all the gadgets my peers continually replace and upgrade (I don’t have a cellphone, never did video games, my computers are WinXP era castoffs running free Mint Linux or WinXP for my kids’ games. Hint: if you are going to play video games, buy two year old PC games. $10 can be alot of fun and they are still new games to my kids).

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    The new Dodge Charger is the answer. Does everything good the old 60’s cars did, handles close to the latest German cars and is 99.9% as reliable the latest Asian appliances.

  • avatar

    I am government certified old, and still searching for a 65 GranSport Buick from my youth that is well beyond my means. But in the meantime, Got a great Alfa Spider for low dollars that is my summer driver Easy to drive, not bad on maintenance, and women who would never look at me otherwise like it. Unfortunately that doesn’t translate to me.

  • avatar

    I am a fan of big American cars from 50s and 60s because they were exciting, unusual and sometime ridiculous. I do not care how they drive but variety, design and presence make them desirable to collect. I was a kid back then and was fascinated by these big cars – embodiment of American freedom and individuality. “It’s a mad, mad, mad world” was my favorite film.

    What generation Why or whatever it is called today is supposed to be excited about or collect? Anonymous and boring cars like Camry, Accord? Which are embodiment of Japanese blandness, sameness and lack of individuality and personal freedom and self-expression which also quickly becoming main characteristics of American national character.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      Some were exciting. You don’t see those cars out on cruise nights. Just a bunch of lookalike american sedans or family coupes, which are supposed to be “special”.

      A mid 50s Cadillac? Definitely a classic. A Fury or Tempest? Come on. Just the old equivalent of a Camry, you know. Yet they’ll stack these old fleet queens eight-deep right in the honor spot at the local drive in. I’d take cruise nights and shows more seriously if there were a committee of enthusiasts limiting admission to the truly special.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        Compared to the average bread and butter modern car, a 50s/60s and now maybe even a 70s/80s bread and butter car is interesting to some. (says the guy that owns two bread and butter aircooled VWs). My kids certainly think so. My tween thought the 80s Buick barge we saw the other day was interesting. He never sees them so it’s different.

  • avatar
    AJ

    I have an intern at work that says that her generation is all about being eco friendly. That right there says it to me. They’ve been sold, and have bought the idea that having that American dream is wrong. The house, maybe even the vacation house, the two, possibly three cars, maybe the recreational vehicle… it’s all wrong. Her recent husband and her should be happy living in an apartment and sharing her grandma’s old Buick. And how dare my wife and I have three cars?! (She basally stated that to me recently.)

    I think its sad, personally, as in my opinion the more people that do reach the American dream that I feel that my wife and I are achieving, the better for us all. I’m all for that this intern succeeds in life to the point where she and her husband had the income to be able to afford that classic car. But after working with her for the past six months, I doubt she will. Hopefully her husband has goals in life that she doesn’t.

    • 0 avatar
      LectroByte

      They have a different dream, and it doesn’t involve selling their souls for a bunch of materialistic stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      Kaosaur

      The fuel of that “dream” is debt.

      Generation Y (of which I am part of) HATES debt.

      Debt is toxic. Assets purchased on debt may never materialize into real equity. We go to University, MAYBE, because we have to. We don’t run up bills expecting to pay them off forever from now…mainly because that University education is going to take some of those folks decades to pay off and that’s already unmanageable.

      Why would you buy one house? Or two? Especially when houses (and classic cars for that matter) are priced up ridiculously by older (baby boom) speculators.

      That American Dream for most older folks is mostly bought and paid for by the fruits of older or younger generations. Wealth transfer upwards indeed. Maybe you think it’s sad, but we like having money in our pockets at the end of the day.

      Do you want to know what the American Dream for most educated, upwardly-mobile youth is nowadays? Relocating to another country. And not owing anyone any money.

      • 0 avatar
        Campisi

        You are my favourite person right now.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Good post. I’m curious which countries are looking good?

        Europe’s a complete mess and will be for a decade or more, most of South America has always been dangerous for Americans and its only going to get worse with the current crop of anti-American leaders. Japan is somewhat radioactive and economically iffy since the 90s, Australia’s economy is heavily dependent on the mining boom, which is in turn tied to the Chinese and South China Sea economies of Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. Personally I don’t trust the Red Chinese at all and I believe like all other things their economy is a bubble and I wouldn’t want to be in-country when it bursts.

      • 0 avatar
        Kaosaur

        @28 Days LaterMost folks are escaping to Europe and China but I know several others who are going to Southeast Asia and Central/South America. Hell, I know folks who’ve already worked a few years in Central Africa. Shortlist of countries I keep hearing: Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uraguay, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Columbia. It’s not even so much the argument that they’re better but that we see more opportunity in places that aren’t here. Personally I’m keen on Denmark or maybe Iceland. They’re convenient and I see opportunity for me there. As a generation, I think we seek jobs that give us high mobility. I know a lot of chefs, hospitality workers, entertainers and programmers, for example.

    • 0 avatar
      Guildenstern

      I’m supposed to get ANOTHER house? AND an RV? But I HATE the house I already have (it’s in league with my yard to waste every free minute of daylight I have) And I don’t like the idea of having to drain a tank full of my own poo being a part of my vacation, EVER.

      I thought the American Dream was to be successful, and happy in your own way through hard work. I didn’t know there was mandatory equipment. They must have taught that one of the days I was out on a field trip for science class. Crap, This Vacation House, do I drive my RV to it and park it there? Or do I leave the RV at home and not use it during my vacation? And if so, why do I have the RV? I’m so behind!

      • 0 avatar
        panzerfaust

        “I thought the American Dream was to be successful, and happy in your own way through hard work.” FTW well said sir.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah, agree, American dream has nothing to do with living in mansions and having three cars and has everything to do with opportunities, happiness and small Government serving people. Times change too. You can do a lot of things without ever leaving your home. Government thrives on spending and debt. Less we spend and less debt we have is better for all of us and for the economy in general since saved money can be invested to achieve much more productive ends. Because money we spend end up supporting Government – we have to avoid it. We must work on starving Government of money because it is the only way to make it shrink. Avoid taxes as much as you can – buy everything on Internet or locally for cash. Simplify your life. Do not take loans. Vote for Tea Party types. Starve this beast to death!

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        How can you starve a government that prints or borrows 44 cents of every one of the 3.6 trillion dollars it spends a year under this regime?

        “Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the Capitalist System was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.” – John Maynard Keynes

        Keynesian Economics explained by the SOB himself.

      • 0 avatar

        Eventually sooner rather than later interest rates on treasures will go up to historically normal levels like 5% instead of ridiculously low rates they rely on today. You can imagine with 20 trillion of debt how much stress it will put on US government finances. Most of revenue will be spent on interest payments alone. I strongly suggest Government employees – union or not – to not rely on pensions or any other help from Government and better save money for their retirement. And rest of you – forget about Social Security. Of course to its own detriment Government may attempt to engage into hyperinflation race but we all know it makes things even worse. Soviet Union is a good example. Of course America is more like Greece than Soviet Union but it is hardly any consolation. I hope generation Why knows what it is doing and what waits it ahead. They can certainly forget about collecting cars, pensions and other generous handouts from Government and should think more in term of surviving riots and living on foodstamps. Foodstamps to get their fair share of food donations from Western countries – that what Soviet people got after Government defaulted. They were lucky to avoid hunger because Western countries were still in good shape to be able to help.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        Guildenstern – do like our neighbors when I was growing up: never, ever, ever use the RV bathroom for anything. Use rest stops. Makes sense to me. I don’t ever want to deal with that aspect of an RV either. If I was building an RV out of an old highway coach, I’d skip the bathroom entirely but then I’m here in the south and there are bathrooms at every highway exit – for better or worse.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      “And how dare my wife and I have three cars?! (She basally stated that to me recently.)”

      Because you can. That is all.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    I guess the auto collector doomsayers should see the parking lot next to my house on a saturday night. Most drive hand me downs or pickups, but they’re for sure doing the same thing I was doing about 35 years ago. Not everyone will collect cars just like not all of my friends from high school collect cars. Its a small club. And as someone already said, they’ll either get the cars that they had when they’re kids, or the ones they drooled over when they were kids. Camry and Accords? Maybe, but don’t forget SUV’s and Pickups as well.

  • avatar

    Been into many car collection points lately and couldn’t find a car that was powerful and classic, just interested in having a unique car.
    But my referred me to an electric car, which will be the future he says. Reading about them now at hubpages.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      And in 25 years some of today’s EVs will be antiques. And they’ll be technological turning points of historical interest. A 2012 Chevy Volt with a Mr. Fusion range extender upgrade sounds like a car worth bringing to a show, when I’m old and want to tell the young whippersnappers how much the world changed before they were old enough to care….

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Car collecting costs money. This is true even if your collection is limited to the one special car you always wanted. Guess who has enough disposable income. It’s middle aged people whose children are grown and gone, not twenty somethings a year into their first jobs, paying off student loans, trying to buy a house and start a family. Give the next generation time to get their financial affairs in order. Some of them will still want the car they couldn’t afford when they were young.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    Other factors:

    1. Helicopter parents are driving kids everywhere, since “driving is so dangerous”, so they want to protect their kids til 22ish.

    2. States outlawed 16-18 y/o driving with more than one peer, so no ‘cruzin’.

    3. Kids are told that cars arent ‘green’, etc.

    4. Also that new cars are ‘waste of $’

    5. They cant text, surf web while driving!! So, no go.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Also, you don’t need a car to keep up with your friends anymore, if you have a smartphone and a Facebook account. So, a car is a just a way to get places – rather than your ticket to the party.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “States outlawed 16-18 y/o driving with more than one peer, so no
      ‘cruzin’.”

      Seriously, when did this happen? I recall things changing here in PA with regard to the ‘cinderalla’ lics but this is ridiculous.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      A guy can’t get a little personal attention from his girlfriend via Facebook. Pictures aren’t the same – ya know? Doesn’t take much of a car to get to her place, even a little scooter will get the job done.

  • avatar

    As a 20 year old it hurts me deeply to see the collecting hobby go the way of the dodo, I myself have a number of cars due to a set of circumstances most people my age will probably never see. But here where I live, you need a car. Everything is so spread out to be a midsized city, and public transport sucks (the DNC is going to be an absolute nightmare here more than anywhere else logistically) so you need your own auto. When I turned fifteen and a half (the earliest one could get there license here, if you take drivers ed at 14.5) I never turned back with driving and neither did most of the kids I grew up with, except the hipsters of course, they rode bikes. Stupid bikes I might add. But most of my peers drive appliances, not collectibles. Facebook and texting doesn’t replace good times, that’s just an asinine cliche about this generation. Most of us like cars, but just don’t have the means. It’s not like years ago where you could find three jobs to work and save up to buy that truly cool car, even in high school.

  • avatar

    I think you may be right, in that there will be fewer and fewer car collectors in the future. There are several reasons for this. I haven’t read through all of the comments, so forgive me if they have already been addressed.

    1) I think that most collectors and hobbyists tend to gravitate towards cars that they grew up with. For example, I was born in 1954, and my favorite cars run between 1957 and 1969. Can anyone get excited about a 1998 Grand Am? Or a Ford Taurus?

    2) Cars of the past could be worked on with a simple set of tools, a hammer, and a welder. You could fabricate almost any part from scratch if you really needed to. Modern cars have far more plastic, safety items and electronics in them. They would be very hard to restore 30 or 40 years from now.

    3) Fewer modification choices. Back in my day, it was common to swap a large V8 into something that came with a 6 cyl engine. The reason was that while your 64 BelAir came with a 6, the bigger engines were offered, so a swap was pretty easy. Can you imagine how hard it would be to swap a V8 into a Grand Am? Also, emmisions regulations probably forbid putting a hopped up V8 into the car unless it was certified with one to begin with. Another reason why current mods tend to be focused on body kits, tail lights and audio systems instead of engine swaps.

    4) To my generation, cars were the playtoys that you spent time on fixing up, hot rodding, modifying, and so on. The modern generation’s playtoys are computers, video games and iPhones. Nuff said?

    • 0 avatar
      Crabspirits

      1.Keep in mind that nobody gets excited about a Mercury Breezeway sedan either. How about a 98′ 2.5RS or a Terminator Mustang?

      2.A welder is not a simple tool. It requires skills. I think repairs are actually easier these days thanks to the internet. Have you ever seen 3D printing? I think one day this technology will get to the point where we will be able to replicate any car part within minutes, or at least anything in demand.

      3.Are you serious? Small engines that pack a punch and fit in anything are everywhere. Cheap, reliable turbos, cheap chinese ebay performance parts. Things are so easy these days. And LS4 from a GTP/impala SS with the full engine cradle probably WOULD be a easy swap to a grand am. Sure, it takes fab work these days, but the electronics part is all a matter of how much you want to pay. There is aftermarket EFI out there that can run basically anything. You may have to ignore the traction control, cruise control, or other non-essential items not working however. There are tech-savvy guys out there that actually get a kick out of working with this stuff. You are half-right on the emissions thing though. It’s one of the reasons I’m not driving a turbo 1UZ-powered Lincoln LS right now.

      4.This is one of my favorite topics to bitch about. But you know something I just realized? Nothing is immune to the attention span monster. Someday kids may actually play outside again.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        I agree about the potential of 3D printing. I even play with primative ones on weekends. It’ll probably be another 20 years or so until home-based 3D printers can print car parts, but the foundations are there.

        And being able to print out a new open-siurce-enhanced alternator or piston would actually make owning(or synthesizing) and MG worthwhile!

  • avatar
    SteveMar

    I guess I must be in the vanguard as an older Gen Xer. My “classic” car is a 1982 Prelude that I bought this spring in pristine shape. It’s true no songs were written about the car, but it is a semi-sporty car that I remember really liking when I was in my early/mid teens and the car was brand new. It amazes me how many guys stop me about the car and ask questions – guys in their early-mid 40’s like me who remember the car as a kid, guys in their 20’s who grew up as Honda fanboys in their parents’ Accords and Civics.

    Which brings me to my main point — I think owning a classic car has to be tied to your own personal connection to the vehicle. I like 50’s and 60’s cars to look at, but, really, I was either not alive or way too young to drive them. It’s not MY nostalgia — it’s boomer nostalgia. My nostalgia, for good or bad, is 70’s and 80’s vehicles. Not the heady days of muscle cars, but, heck, it’s my life. I think there will always be folks who are into the cars of their youth — and those folks will spend some money and time to bring them back.

    In the meantime, I am loving the heck out of my $2+ grand Prelude — I bought to enjoy and drive, not to stare at and, every sunny day I open the sunroof, makes it worth the modest price of admission (and upkeep.)

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    There won’t be the Barret Jackson type of silliness for sure. Frankly, even as a car guy, I’m totally turned off by the idiocy of the fad-chasing car auctions, the Ferrari speculators and the 20+ car collections of the filthy rich.

    As an aside, I think I should preserve my Iphones and Ipads and gaming systems….. I bet there will be a collector market for those in 30 years!

    • 0 avatar
      Guildenstern

      Funny you should mention that, My wife and I together have a pretty comprehensive videogame collection that dates back to the early TV Pong systems. I’ve paid more than I should for used in box systems in the past, and she has a couple Sega Saturn games that can go for over $100 now for some reason. but nobody ever thought a 60’s mustang was going to be worth anything in 1973.

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    The musclecar hobby isn’t going anywhere, this article is silly. Go to any major event and you see just as many young people as you do older ones. And the age of musclecar owners continues to trickle down over time. You see just as many guys in their 30’s and 40’s that own them as you do guys in their 50’s, 60’s and up. And the guys in their 30’s and 40’s didn’t even own them back when they were new, many of them weren’t even born yet. These guys grew up around the boy racers of the 80’s and 90’s. Many of them were raised by musclecar owners, and many were not. Heck, I’m 50 years old and I wasn’t old enough to own most of the cars that I now own when they were new.
    The hobby gets passed down from generation to generation. And most of the cars that you see at local shows and cruise-ins are not ultra rare several hundred thousand dollar or million dollar cars like you people seem to think. Those cars are kept in climate controlled garages and transported via enclosed trailers to national events.
    And the comments about camrys and such becoming big time collectibles someday are hilarious.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      I see Beetles, Chevettes, 70s Monzas, Pintos, Mavericks, Yugos, and everything else pedestrian bread and butter at car shows. I see no reason to believe that someone won’t start bringing a well kept economy car from the 80s and 90s at some point. Heck I saw a garage kept (surely) K-car recently and I had to turn and look at it going down the road simply b/c it has been so long since I saw one of those around here. So 20-something probably inherited it from her grandmother and it probably had 20,000 miles on it. Yeah, I’d look in the window at a car show. I’d also show my kids what cars from my teens looked like.

      Weren’t Falcons and 60s Novas pretty run of the mill steel during their day?

      I’m not seeing the 20-30 somethings bringing antique cars to the shows around here. Maybe it is the economy but my peers (even professionals like myself) aren’t wrenching on old cars in quite the same numbers as my father’s peers once were. The fascination isn’t there apparently aside from a core group -here- of gearheads like myself. Also the 30-somethings that we know best don’t have enough budget for that sort of thing. The recession has slowed our income increases at work, a few were laid off, most of us got real serious about savings. I have a few friends who have taken ‘saving money” to new heights – coupon clippings, staying home, worrying over spending $20 frivolously.

      I’m restoring my project car(s) but slowly. Out of my spare cash in between soccer and scouts and our kids having sleepovers. On the evenings when I don’t get home after 6 or 7 PM needing to help my wife get dinner started, kids into the bath, homework checked, bedtime readied, etc. Some nights the whole process takes until after 10PM and I’m not very enthusiastic about time in the garage.

      Other families and other generations might not have spent so much of their free time on their kids. Dunno.

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    Well yeah, you see many different types of cars roll into car shows. But just because some kid rolls up in his grandfather’s mint 76 chevette that doesn’t make it a high roller collectible like a hemi cuda.
    Novas, Falcons and A bodies aren’t big buck collectibles except for the rare performance versions. I don’ see many people in their 20’s with a nice old ride at shows, either. But I see alot of people in their 20’s, they are highly interested in the old stuff, but obviously they are not yet in that place in life that they can afford such cars. They will be the next generation of classic musclecar owners.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      I don’t have any interest in owning a Chevette either but to each his own. He’s welcome at the car show just like the ‘Cuda and the ’57 Chevy – if the show is an open show.

      I surely hope the next generation can afford to do something beside be a basement dweller b/c selfishly that implies we’ll all be doing better. ;)

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