I hear an awful lot of rumblings in the media today about the next generation of car enthusiasts. Do the kids of today care? Ive heard that numbers of kids getting their drivers license at 16 years old have dropped, the millennials are all going to take uber where they need to go, the collector car scene is doomed and eventually all the cars that we have collected for so long will become worthless scraps of junk. Technology will make the internal combustion engines obsolete and maybe we will get to a point where we cant even buy the fuel to run them. There are a lot of crazy situations being flung out there but I certainly don't see the end in sight.
The pic above is of my own offspring and some forgotten relic that I pulled out of a barn. Like myself, they are growing up in a world of old cars. Now I am not a dad who pushes anything on my kids, I want them to find their own joys and passions in life, but I am sure that their surroundings growing up will shape them in some way. They may not become car collectors or industry leaders in the automotive world, but I would be willing to bet that the time spent with me at car shows and in the garage will give them some level of awareness and appreciation for old machines. If nothing else they may see some old car somewhere and think of me. "Oh dad would have loved that!". What is in their future garages remains to be seen, only time will tell. Im probably the exception to the rule. I took my father's passion and hobby and expanded it to realms he probably never could have imagined. I grew up in the most fertile soil for growing a gear head. I did not realize it until I was much older, but the experiences and visions I saw growing up were pretty special. The array of cars my father played with were pretty wild, the events we attended, the people that were a part of those events, they all blend together into a very rich tapestry filled with stuff that today seems absolutely legendary. At the time though, it was just what was going on. Classic car gathering at the home of Phil Hill? Selling a car to Steve McQueen? Driving a Gullwing Mercedes to McDonalds to grab some lunch? It all just "happened" but it certainly left its mark as I have grown up (sic) into the car whacko that I am today. Our children are having the same seeds planted every time we take them to a car show or experience some part of life with the collector cars in the background. The more seeds that are planted, the greater the chance that they will sprout down the line in the decades to come. I am confident that there will always be a generation of enthusiasts out there that will be interested in cars. The automotive industry is strong, the world of custom cars continues to flourish and the big machine is churning strong down the motorway. Kids these days may not have serious interest in the exact same cars that our generation did, or certainly the generations prior to us, but the passion is there. We are going to be OK as a scene for a long long time. I do think that there is and will continue to be a generational shift in the cars that are most fashionable to collect and invest in. The sliding scale of what is "hot" will continue to follow the ages as people get to that sweet spot where nostalgia and expendable income meet. The cars that fall behind that sweet spot will see an adjustment in interest in value, but I don't see them ever fading away to the point where they are worthless and are scrapped. Have you seen cars from the teens and 20's at the junk yard recently? No, I bet not. There will always be respect and interest in history. Our automotive world is not immune from that. As a result of this I do not fear the future of the hobby. I think we are in very good hands in the youth of today...(but keep on planting those seeds just the same).
Happy Motoring! Randy