My Car Quest

October 23, 2017

Are Car Enthusiasts A Dying Breed?

by Rachael Everly –

Car enthusiasts are slowing becoming extinct. And it’s mainly because our environment conscious younger generation is slowly moving away from wanting to purchase a car. For every American, a good-looking car has been a necessity in the past. However, with an increase in trends such as the use of ‘taxi hailing’ apps like Uber and Lyft, our upcoming generations are less excited about owning and maintaining a car.

Still wondering if car enthusiasts are becoming a dying breed?

Well the Generation X & the Baby Boomers are still not completely done with purchasing cars, but now, the fate of the car manufacturing industry relies more or less upon the Millennials, also known as the Generation Y.

Research indicates that up to 20% of Americans of ages twenty through twenty-four don’t even hold a driver’s license. The rest of the world’s and at least America’s love affair with cars is not completely over, but there’s a twist in the story.

The Millennials are moving towards a lifestyle where they would rather hail an Uber, take the public transport, cycle or even walk several blocks, rather than having to go through the stress of purchasing and maintaining a car and this is not good news.

City Driving

What has led to their extinction?

There are several reasons why car enthusiasts are slowing becoming a dying breed:

Recession has left many people broke

“There are plenty of reasons people decide not to buy a car, but the overwhelming reason is not that they don’t like cars, it’s because they can’t afford them.” according to Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at AutoTrader.

As opposed to previous generations that made enough bucks to pour money into funding their interest, Millennials have to face several bouts of recession. In fact, they barely make enough to fill their stomachs, let only have extra bucks in their pockets to purchase an extravagant car.

Our upcoming generation in comparison to the previous generation makes at least 10% less money. The older generations were able to graduate and secure better jobs, but the scenario has changed dramatically after the recession. With a limited budget, the upcoming generation prefers giving up the privilege of driving and spending their extra cash on the latest technology that allows them to compete with their peers.

Today’s generation is also more environmentally conscious

In fact, the Millennials are much more concerned about the environment as opposed to any of the previous generations. They also believe in making use of public transport or walking around town as opposed to purchasing more cars that could lead to an increase in carbon footprint on Earth.

Technology has left no time for cars

Modern technology has a hand in eliminating the need for a car. With just a simple tap on the screen, smart phone users are very easily able to hail cars. If this isn’t enough, with the excessive use of technology in our lives, we no longer feel the need to make a trip to our friend’s place when we can just have a video call with them from the comfort of our couch.

What does the future look like?

Although cars enthusiasts are not completely out of the picture, in the upcoming years, they have the potential to become a dying breed. While the car manufacturing industry has been actively working on producing cars such as pure electric vehicles that seem to have a much lighter impact on the environment, it still appears that they are miles away in trying to push the Millennials into owning a car.

It is impossible to predict whether the upcoming generations would be as enthusiastic about cars as the generations that they have superseded. Furthermore, things don’t appear to be lighting up for the car manufacturing industry anytime soon.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

THE AUTHOR: Rachael Everly is a passionate blogger and an avid luxury car lover currently associated with Alfa Romeo Central Florida. For more updates follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

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Are Car Enthusiasts A Dying Breed?
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Are Car Enthusiasts A Dying Breed?
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Although cars enthusiasts are not completely out of the picture, in the upcoming years, they have the potential to become a dying breed.
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Comments

  1. Yeah, Well the drought is ending. Now that Trump is in office car enthusiasts will begin emerge from the newly employed middle class younger folks. They don’t even realize it now but it will come. The auto manufacturers will start to respond to the desires of the younger enthusiasts also. The computer modifications that allow the tuning of engines that the industry has quashed will begin to be designed in again. A new generation of gearheads will emerge. Yay for Trump!

  2. Wayne Anker says:

    Mr. Trump, is that you?

    • David Herman says:

      Guilty as charged. My apologies to all for taking the bait and overreacting. I just think that Mr Trump will have no effect whatsoever on the number of car enthusiasts.

  3. Raymond Zinn says:

    Not even going to go there, simply ignore the now politicised trolling bait.

    That said, the people referred to in the article were not “car enthusiasts.” They used the car as a status symbol and not much more.

    The car enthusiasts drove 5 – 10 yr old cars while working in their garage, scrounging swap meets, walking the car corals at swap meets. They are or were the minority in a car culture that idolized the new car introductions each year.
    To them digging into their newly found “old” car was their lives pleasure. The last few recessions have decimated them due to loss of jobs that afforded that the little extra disposable money was the straw that broke the camels back.

    Sure the high rollers are still around, but could one call them car enthusiasts? Sure they gather around them wonderful collections, but they rarely drive them, work on them, enjoy the feel of a car that was meant to be used, driven, tinkered with. The future generations will be able to see the past pleasures because of these collectors, but never enjoy the ownership and experience of going down the road on a country drive.

    I put 40k miles on a ’29 “A” Roadster, pieced it together treated her like a car was meant to be. Helped restore a ’57 T’Bird, and ’63 Split-window, because it was pure fun and satisfaction. I could not afford them but working on them, with a guy who was very good with his hands, yes fun, and driving them “funner”- LOL.

    Heck back in the 60s I put together Kit Cars, god I hate thinking of those great VWs we sacrificed, but still fun.

    You want to see and meet real “enthusiasts” hands-on guys and gals that spent many an hour tweaking and re-tweeking it get every bit of it just right.
    They’re still around but getting older and the restorable cars fewer, heck who wants to restore an ’80s Ford Taurus even if is a SVO? Not many.

    We wanted to restore the cars of our youth, the ones the big kids on the block built.

    This old guy just got a low milage “Leaf” -the future(?) perhaps a good car, but fun?

    Yes less of them, but still around.

  4. Cars are seldom (if ever) about the political landscape. They are about the tastes and behaviors of consumers. Those tastes have been changing for years and in recent ones, dramatically so. The biggest changes culturally were first with the internet and then with the advent and dissemination of the smart phone. Why would you go anywhere when you can experience it on the internet or by your phone? Kids have been nurtured on these devices so why change the behaviors that have proven to be reliable and joyful through their developmental years?

    To young people, the web is what the windshield was for us “Old Dudes” who emancipated ourselves from our family and found new freedoms behind the wheel of the car. Even if we had Uber, we wouldn’t have used it because it didn’t match our past behaviors. Think about it…Mom has been “Ubering” kids around for most of these kids’ lives already. Uber just filled the same chauffeuring system with a cost component, just like iTunes legalized Napster.

    For the Baby Boomers, the car represented more than transportation. Today, the cell phone represents more than a telecommunication device to kids, teens, and urban 20-somethings.

    But even with all these changes, the car enthusiast is ALWAYS going to be around. Just look at horses. Recreational horsemanship is up higher than ever these days. Which means more and more people are using horses for pleasure riding. They do so in specialized ways of course, just like a Concours or a vintage event at a track or a tour on special roads – which is where more of our events and participation is heading.

    As long as there is the innate desire for mankind to have the sensation of speed beyond their physical capacity to run, the car will continue to be a driving force in our mobility, albeit mostly for recreational and specialized purposes – which, if you think about the last time you used your classic car, it’s already happening.

  5. Trevor Gaunt says:

    At least within cities, the future would appear to be driverless electric cars parked on a charging rank at the end of the street not owned by individuals, but available to come to your door at the tap of a smartphone app and take you wherever you wish – at least within the city limits and possibly a little way beyond. Of course, as the range of electric cars improves as a result of developments in battery technology, intercity travel and eventually countrywide journeys will become the norm. New generations will have no use for a driver’s license. Driving “experiences” will be limited to racetracks and, for the less wealthy, computer gaming. The office of President, Prime Minister, Leader of the European Union etc., will have little or no influence over this trend. It seems an inevitable consequence of technological progress.

  6. The notion that cost is a major contributing factor in the decline of the hobby is most certainly true, I speak with young people who come into my sports car shop with their eyes as big a saucers looking at cars they can only dream about and I am sad for them… I think many would love to have an older fun car but lack the place to keep it and most certainly lack the price of admission even if they did.. Many younger people who have spent a number of years in college if they can find work are spending all they can make on cost of living expenses and paying back their college loans, no money left over for a fun car… Most have little hope of ever affording their own homes much less a fun car to put in the garage if they had one.
    . Going to cars and coffee events and seeing lots of younger people taking pictures and talking with the owners it is quite obvious to me that the spark of interest is certainly there for many, and yes I know plenty of young people who not only do not own a car but are in their 20’s with no license and no interest in driving… A lot of even the aging enthusiast population is down sizing their collections as they do not have kids interested in their hobby, and their is currently a glut of interesting older cars for sale… so yes this is most definitely a changing world that is affecting the potential longevity of the collector car hobby. Even wealthy folks are slowing down in the acquisition of collector cars, and yes it is getting more difficult to find guys who can still work on the stuff but we do still exist.

  7. CJ Madson says:

    Raffi hit a key word: freedom. Cars (and getting that first license) were our E ticket to freedom. We could go when and where we wanted to. And because cars were integral to our lives, many got into personalizing cars with a different look, more power, just about anything. And that sense of freedom was true from the earliest days of cars on the road, even with the challenges of getting them started and keeping them running.

    Now, with screen-based life and alternative transportation, there is little sense of magic in that first car, first license. Given the costs of buying, maintaining and insuring cars, I can’t blame the latest generation(s) for making a rational decision to skip past that. And the trend was already happening, with manufacturers making more generic-looking cars and focusing on the New & Different features of the big flat screen with all the things people seem to care most about. Once the cars look and drive much the same and even the apps are pretty similar, it’s logical to bypass ownership and just hire rides. And autonomous cars will just solidify that.

    There will be a group of hands-on owners, drivers, and aficionados for a long time. I just hope we’ll retain the rights to access the roads we’ve helped pay for, keep registration and insurance fees for Live Drivers reasonable, and continue to share a sample of the cars which used to be seen across the country. Given that there will also be fewer potential classic car buyers over time — due to less interest and inability to drive a stick — please give a wave to those few folks who are still keeping the icons of past mobility alive and on the road.

  8. I apologize for the reference to Trump. I do however believe that there will be a shift back toward the appreciation of the genius and elegance of auto design. I do believe that the political and financial climate does have a substantial effect upon this.

  9. Philip Sarris says:

    Great cmments from everyone, even the one I don’t agree with.
    When I grew up in the 50′-60’s, almost every carport in my suburban Florida neighborhood had the hood open on it’s car at least once in a while while the owner worked on their car. That personal, physical connection with the machine has been mostly lossed over the recent decades with the high tech engines and systems that have surpassed the back yard mechanic’s ability. However, there still seems to be a healthy fascination with classic and exotic cars, and because of their relative exclusivity, there should be enough demand to keep these cars on the road for some time.

    Hans…I can’t imagine a plausable scenario where the “genius and elegance of auto design” will once again reign supreme in the manufacuring of new cars.

  10. CJ Madson is correct. The youth of today has economic and behavioral issues with the cost and viability of the traditional automotive platform. Working with two different car companies (one Asian, the other European) last year, the research shows that most if not all the students, youth, and young urban professionals don’t want cars as their own. So we’ve developed a series of testing platforms with a range of “packages” that allow for use, without ownership. Basically a customized Uber without ownership.

    Most kids will not pay for a car and say no immediately to a $99 car payment. But they reply positively to a package of car usage at $199 per month if the car arrives to them clean, 15 days a month, bundled with coffee cards, theater discounts, food discounts, etc. – they are willing to buy monthly access to product and services outside of ownership. They want convenience, reliability, and seamless integration – which is what the smart phone is.

    Globally and for youth markets, this is certainly the future of car user-ship.

    And the very same thing could apply to classic car ownership – since I only use my Lancia 4-5 days a month, what if I could do so on demand without having to garage and insure it?

  11. Raffi…that sounds like the obvoius corporate answer to non-ownership.
    However, I’m not sure that I’d want to “share” my classic car with others, esp. with the idiosynchcrasies that classic and exotic cars tend to have. Having said that, I would like to be able to rent classic and exotics for short, limited time, (half a day, or so) to have the experience of how a certain car feels and handles. Perhaps most of the cars that I have lusted after all of these years, but have zero experience with, would prove to be disappointing.

  12. Several of these classic rentals are in place already, and many more with exotics. The appeal is exactly as you have stated – to test and get your enjoyment for a day and then reflect on the larger commitment to purchase. Most, however, on a survey basis seldom if ever pull the trigger on ownership.

    The reality is that even for us older enthusiasts, the pervasive cultural behavior and use associated with a seamless experience device such as the smartphone (most of us use one) is infiltrating our other use-cases. Combine that with the erosion of personal energy to fix and struggle with a car that is particular and quirky, and many former enthusiasts are buying more modern, trouble-free cars without knowing that their affinities are migrating toward convenience over passion.

    Passion takes time, fortitude, and deep engagement. People are being weened off passionate engagements and finding ease more pleasurable than challenge. It’s a deeper discussion but a big part of what we are seeing.

  13. Raffi…like purchasing a newly minted Camaro, Mustang, or Challenger that resembles the 1960 model.
    The last 2 cars that I purchased, 67 Mexico and 71 DBSV8 , i had zero experience with.. I’ll have to search for a classic rental company.
    Thanks for your insights.

  14. Glenn Krasner says:

    The article was right on target, as well as the comments. The only omission is that what we enthusiasts call “cars” only make up 37% of the new vehicle market today, and its share is declining daily. The other 63% of the new vehicle market is comprised of SUVs, trucks, and crossovers. I do not envision gearheads 25 years from now getting excited over a 2014 Nissan Juke or a 2017 GMC Denali. As also mentioned, the industry is in a state of flux, with most manufacturers heading, albeit slowly, towards producing electrics and autonomous vehicles. This is probably better for the planet and future generations, but life will be a lot more boring for them. Then again, with virtual reality becoming a daily thing, future gearheads will be able to drive a 1963 Stingray in a race at Watkins Glen against Stirling Moss, and actually feel the heat, sweat, grime, and smells. I just fear the loss of additional manufacturing jobs worldwide as a result.

    Glenn in the Bronx, NY.

  15. Trevor Gaunt says:

    Glenn, I’m glad you picked up on the electric autonomous vehicles theme. I am sure that’s the way motoring will be in the future. How far away that future will be is open to debate. A couple of months ago, I read a speech by a US professor who says car ownership will be a thing of the past by the year 2025 when we will travel in autonomous vehicles whose use will be shared with other people, probably though not necessarily, living in the same neighbourhood. Personally, I doubt his timescale, but not the vision itself. Ownership as we used to define it is on the wane already: many, if not most, new vehicles are leased on a three year contract, at the end of which the lessee has the option to purchase the vehicle by making a “balloon” payment. However, my information is that most lessees choose to take out another three year contract on a brand new vehicle, usually paying slightly more per month than previously.
    Regarding for classic car ownership, as the owner of four classics that I use regularly, I hope very much that the authorities find a way of allowing us to continue the pursuit of our hobby without the imposition of draconian restrictions. I am concerned that environmental considerations may overwhelm us, despite the fact new vehicle manufacture creates far greater emissions than does the continued use of old cars.

  16. As you mention, timescale is a bit optimistic Trevor Gaunt. Most scales I have seen indicate that regulated autonomy will be in place by that timeframe, but no way it will make car ownership a thing of the past for at least another 40 years. Reason being, that a vast number of 30-35 year olds now are car owners. AND if you are a parent, you eventually realize you don’t want to share a car with a range of potentially germ-filled families, so you settle into domestic life, in the suburbs, buy a car for commuting and germ-familiar patina, which might be semi-autonomous but still is your own car.

    Right now we are regulating cars at Level 2 autonomy. Tesla runs inside Level 3 currently. We will get to Level 4 nationally, but not for a while.

    Level 2: at least one driver assistance system of “both steering and acceleration/ deceleration using information about the driving environment” is automated, like cruise control and lane-centering. It means that the “driver is disengaged from physically operating the vehicle by having his or her hands off the steering wheel AND foot off pedal at the same time,” according to the SAE. The driver must still always be ready to take control of the vehicle.

    Level 3: Drivers are still necessary in level 3 cars, but are able to completely shift “safety-critical functions” to the vehicle, under certain traffic or environmental conditions. It means that the driver is still present and will intervene if necessary, but is not required to monitor the situation in the same way it does for the previous levels.

    Between Level 3 and 4 is the hardest to manage because it involves “handoff” trust from car to person.

    Level 4: This is what is meant by “fully autonomous.” Level 4 vehicles are “designed to perform all safety-critical driving functions and monitor roadway conditions for an entire trip.” However, it’s important to note that this is limited to the “operational design domain (ODD)” of the vehicle—meaning it does not cover every driving scenario.

    Level 5: This refers to a fully-autonomous system that expects the vehicle’s performance to equal that of a human driver, in every driving scenario—including extreme environments like dirt roads that are unlikely to be navigated by driverless vehicles in the near future.

    We will get to Level 5, but from a regulatory and systems perspective, it will likely take 30-40 years. Technology moves faster than our ability to trust and regulate it for use AND abuse.

  17. CJ Madson says:

    The levels of autonomy have been useful (and they’re helpful here too, merci) but the ONLY way Level 2 or possibly 3 could work is when drivers are required to take over in predefined regions, such as downtown, and if the system requested human intervention at those times & places.

    Given the lousy driving awareness today and too much multitasking, the notion that present-day drivers (only “steerers”, really) will let the car do its thing and then suddenly be fully aware enough to decide to take over and make the correct driving decisions is a large load of chicken manure in my opinion. The manufacturers have to go straight to Level 4 capability if they’re to have full credibility.

  18. I cannot imagine not getting my drivers license as soon as I possible could starting with a learners permit at 15 1/2 years old and then the full drivers license at 16 years old. But apparently this is not the case for many young people today as pointed out by the author of this article.

    I, and likely many of you, became interested in classic cars when we were young inspired by parents, other family or friends, we want to own and drive these classic cars because they are fun and remind us of an earlier time. They are much more than just transportation and they may not even be transportation because we drive them for fun not necessarily for transport.

    I have written a few articles about The Self-Driving Car and Automobile Luddites which can be read at this link –

    http://mycarquest.com/tag/self-driving-car-mg

    In the last of these articles I wrote,

    “Technology has made the automobile available to more people who otherwise would be relegated to passenger status only. Now we are heading into a new era where anyone can use an automobile even if they do not know how to drive, have a driver’s license or have the capability to drive a car such as a blind person or someone with a handicap that prevents driving a car. Not only does the fully self-driving automobile not need a driver it also doesn’t need passengers!

    The self-driving, or autonomous car, is the biggest advance in automobile technology since the automobile was invented. It will bring out the natural automobile Luddites and may expose people who do not know they are automobile Luddites.

    We will likely see people grouped by age with the younger ones accepting and liking this new technology and some older people not liking or accepting these changes. This will be similar to what happened with the personal computer, the internet and the smart phone.”

  19. Some my favorite commentary on self driving cars has come from the old “Top Gear, UK” show and Jeremy Clarkson and company. He was appalled at the prospect of self driving cars. His reasoning is that people ENJOY DRIVING. They do not want to relinquish the experience by any means. I think that the hype around self driving vehicles has been an attempt by the industry and government to convince the public that “everyone is chomping at the bit in eager expectation for self driving cars” is an attempt to manipulate public perception about the horrendous change that is about to occur. When talking to all kinds of drivers, (except the old and feeble) no one I talk to is looking forward to having a stinking autonomous car take over the pleasure of driving. Along the same rationale the auto manufacturers had begun to make the computer systems for cars in the early 2000’s able to be tweaked, tuned and modified by computer programmable chips. This modifiable computer chip is no longer being pursued or offered (from what I hear) .
    There was a fairly avid following of folks who were working with modifying the computer control systems of cars while it was possible… the new generation of gear heads. (or motor heads as we used to call ourselves). I believe that the government is slowly but surely encroaching on our freedoms and rights. (which is why I really do celebrate Trump, although I certainly did not support him in the beginning)
    To keep from a long rant and being labeled a troll I will stop at this.
    I would like to remind folks that as long as young men have testosterone there will be people pursuing the farther reaches of driving exhilaration. In the immortal words of Ricky Bobby “Go faster.”

  20. wallace wyss says:

    Wow-I can see by all the postings that this is a hot topic! I think something is happening here that is fundamental regarding the future of car enthusiasts. We are being squeezed out. Compare us to, say, fans of taking pictures with film. Now that digital is everywhere no one worries about film speed, developing film (some say the art is in making the print) and all that. Oh, every once in a while I see someone enthusiastic about a film camera but after taking 100,000 pictures with film I look upon them oddly, like someone saying we should stock up on buggy whips.

    I am one of the last flip phone owners. I see people everywhere with their eyes glued to their smart phone, and I am afraid the need for contact with the outside world continuously has spread to the car. I can actually see young people (under 35 anyway) trading in their car because it doesn’t have Blue Tooth, or some other way to continue their communication with the net while driving. That leaves out all collector cars built before, say, the ’90s.

    So eliminate all those potential buyers of old collector’s car, they simply wouldn’t even consider a car that doesn’t have all the latest electronic tools.

    I also see emissions as a problem. Oh, the politicians will talk about creating a special category for cars that won’t meet some future emissions standard but they will add mileage restrictions, or charge extra for those non compliant cars to enter certain zones (say a downtown area). Collector cars will be stigmatized as old time polluters. For those with dozens of collector cars, the threat of impending legislation will affect car values eventually–who is going to want to pay half a million for an old Ferrari if it is forbidden to drive it on the public road.?

    Another death knell that is sounding is manual shifts. When even Ferrari isn’t selling cars with manual shifts, it’s hard to argue they have a place. Automakers can’t rationalize having them when they sell below 15% of their total. So the thrill of using engine braking power to slow down is something you will only read about in books.

    As far as trying to reach the enthusiasts of the future, I think concours d’elegance and vintage car races ought to immediately have an under-25 discount. We have senior discounts, but why not at the other end? I say one tour around an event like the Palos Verdes Concours, or the like, it doesn’t have to be Pebble Beach, and you will get some newbies enthusiastic about old cars.

    I also think the Carmel event where they have some of the cars that will appear in the Pebble Beach concours appear first in the village while the owners have lunch is one of the best events for spreading the joy of old cars–you can see it on the faces of the crowd, many who are just tourists not expecting to see these wonderful cars. There needs to be more tours associated with various concours, with a public showing of the cars, that showing free.

    Fortunately a counter trend to the formal show is the Cars ‘N Coffees, which are free, all over the nation You see plenty of obscure cars (like the BMW Z1 I just saw at Malibu Cars ‘n Coffee) Young people are coming to those and becoming car enthusiasts, but it’s still a big jump financially for them to go to concours when the spectator fee is $40 on up.

    We need more of these counter trends to increase the level of enthusiasm. Open to suggestions on what those would be….

  21. Autonomous cars are not going to kill “regular” or classic car enthusiasts or enthusiasm.

    Did the Microwave kill pleasure cooking?
    Did the TV kill live theater?
    Did the Radio kill reading newspapers?
    Did the book kill oratory?

    No. None of these advances in technology killed the previous behavior. The world is not going to stop driving cars. Speed is part of our biological need. Fast hunters get the kill, fast prey escapes being eaten, and fast humans outrun fire, flood, etc. We RESPECT speed and our ability to control it.

    Thus, controlled speed will always remain a passionate engagement among mankind. The car is ingrained in our cultural and social geography.It will remain for our lifetimes and very likely the lifetimes of our kids. Just like pleasure horses are still used even though their excrement was once far worse than our car pollution today.

    My grandfather lamented the loss of the horse as transportation. He spoke of a relationship with the animal that was trusted, respected, and he felt empowered by that relationship – as a good horseman would be. He didn’t like being in a car, passive and constrained. But he still used cars despite his distaste for them. He also used a microwave, read books, watched TV, and got most of his news from the radio.

    Self-driving cars are not going to be regulated out of use. No more than most all of our previously heralded and generally safe technology will be mandated out of use.

    • Thanks for the encouragement. Most of the folks here seem to have been hypnotized by the new perception that has been fed to this past generation. Kind of an acquiescence to a an antiseptic future that does not include free thought or room for the natural passions of mankind.

  22. wallace wyss says:

    Sorry, Raffi, can’t buy your thought that advances in technology won’t kill previous behavior, I think you are wishful thinking. always willing to think “there will be a place for us traditionalists.”

    Newspaper readership is dwindling as people get their news on Smart Phones. When I pick up the LA Times now, which used to be one inch thick, it looks like a flimsy shopping rag.

    When Borders went out of business, it was because they were poorly run compared to Barnes & Noble but now B & N are endangered. People don’t read much anymore. An automotive publisher told me all his sales are down except for how-to books. Book selling is fundamentally changed. Sure there are isolated bookshops like Downtowne Books in Riverside, that have a steady clientele of folks that like old fashioned bookstores, but even they order books on Amazon for their customers, embracing the evil technology that kills bookstores left and right.

    The sad part is that the would-be enthusiasts of the future, lulled into disregarding driving as an art, won’t know what they missed. They will have heard the word “enthusiast” but never actually met one. The do-gooder ecology boosters will kill self driving cars, empowered by estimates that road deaths will drop by 30,000. They won’t rest until the last steering wheel is wrested from our cold, dead hands.

  23. Trevor Gaunt says:

    Wallace, I like your idea of discounted entry to classic car shows for young people, but fear it’s too late. Cars ‘n’ Coffee events seem to be attended in the main by participants, ie the already converted. As for youngsters rejecting old cars because they don’t have Bluetooth etc., I’m sure there are firms willing and able to install modern technology into classic cars without spoiling the look.
    Hans and Raffi, I’d like to believe your optimistic scenario for the future of our hobby. However, my experience of the march of technology is that it’s relentless, paying no heed to the employment prospects of workers in the “old” industries nor to those unwilling to learn the new ways or even bend in the new direction. I do agree that the timescales we are being told for implementation of levels 3, 4 and 5 autonomous vehicles appear unrealistic. Yet we probably thought the same of lots of technological feats that came to fruition within our lifetime. And it seems to me technological progress is accelerating.
    I don’t know that we need worry about collectors of high end classic cars, say those with current price tags of $500,000 upwards. I suspect such vehicles receive little or no use on the public highway, so restrictions will have negligible effect on either the collectability, desirability or value. No, those most affected would be enthusiasts like myself, who exercise their classic cars regularly on the public highway. What will we do if it comes to pass that the majority of vehicles are powered by electricity and/or hydrogen rather than internal combustion engines and the need for service stations selling gas/petrol and diesel fuels diminishes drastically? Even if a smaller network of fuel vending stations were to remain, what sort of prices would we be forced to pay? Would a (future) government sign up to a worldwide carbon emissions reduction treaty that forced upon it the need to tax fossil fuels much more heavily? In short, could the “average” classic car enthusiast be priced off the road?
    I know I sound pessimistic, but perhaps now is the time to formulate a plan to stop the authorities – whoever they may be – from interfering with our chosen hobby.

  24. Yesterday, at the Galpin car show, I was approached by a gentleman from the LAUSD (our school district) to give a talk to students about cars. He said all they do is “work their thumbs” on their devises. His idea was to stir up interest in cars, although it wasn’t clear why that is a concern of the district. And yes, I have a grandson who was in no hurry to get his license. Lordy, I could hardly wait until I hit 16, so I could apply for mine. The times, they are a-changin’.

  25. Wallace – LA Times? Probably not fair to use LA as the example of what is trending worldwide. All over the globe, people still use traditional instruments for their daily lives. We still use antiquated currency even though credit card companies insisted 40 years ago that cash was dying. And the ATM was supposed to kill banking with a teller. Still not happened. What about how the Concorde was supposed to replace sub-sonic air travel? And CDs have replaced Vinyl forever? Nope – in fact vinyl record sales are UP and have been for a few years.

    https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/jan/03/record-sales-vinyl-hits-25-year-high-and-outstrips-streaming

    I do believe that autonomous cars will eventually replace the mainstream use of self-driven cars. But it will not cause the demise of collector cars as we know it. In fact, like vinyl records today, the interest will increase in selective micro-markets where people will still want to drive their car, work truck, or recreational hunting vehicle, convertible Miata, or performance toy.

    Yes times are changing, but not as fast as you think. I still work with teenagers who are in love with old cars, tinker with them, know what a carburetor is, and know how to weld. Yes, they have fast thumbs and text a lot, but they are passionate and dedicated to a future fueled with gasoline and a steering wheel in their hands.

  26. wallace wyss says:

    I will write a letter to Pebble Beach urging them to have a student price for still enrolled college students. And all of us helping to plan concours should do the same.

    • Personally I think that is a great idea and take it a step further, if they are attending a design college admission should be free… good to get a smattering of history influencing some of that design work… perhaps then we would not have a whole series of angry looking predator mouthed cars in the market place…

  27. Richard Bartholomew says:

    I have a different idea of what the future will be with the influx of self driving cars and the technology that comes with it. More vehicles will be available than what we can imagine now. Bumpers and heavy steel door innards wont be needed if cars cant crash. A sort of fuzzy logic adaptation will come about. Cars will be self driving or assisted but still retain the fun of it. Boys like wheels from a very young age. We might evolve with vehicles that will be extremely safe but still deliver the G forces. Imagine everyone on skateboards or jet ski like vehicles that are like two positive poles on magnets that repel each other and cannot crash into each other. While self driven family transports, buses and trains making their way to and fro in normal routes the enthusiasts can lake the scenic routes on vehicles that today are only seen in Star Wars movies with CGI effects. People will always race and make timed runs too.

  28. Rod McIntyre says:

    The motorcycle industry in last few years has been introducing many new designs and concepts. What was a bleak and uninteresting field has become a very interesting mix. Might this direction be in the future for “cages”?

  29. Simon Vels says:

    I think the retro design Mustang from 2005 and up have the young kids attention.
    and now they also have interest into the history .

    With today’s cell phones the education is easy when they are interested.

    Because classic cars are used in movie’s and game’s like Fast and Furious they remember those cars .

    I notice this when I drive my cars, doesn’t matter if it’s a Pantera or Shelby.

    But this is just my 2 cents.

    Simon

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