One of the topics often heard around the car hobby is: “What is going to happen to our cars when we are gone?”
The following is simply the thoughts of one person and presented as a topic of discussion and not a prediction of future car values.
The collector car market has been hot with 50s and 60s cars for years and now even the 70s and 80s cars are beginning to show some action. We often talk about the unappreciated rarity and under market value of the Ford Aero Cars. The value of old cars can arguably be said to be based on what we wanted when we were young and just starting to drive. Our youthful memories that old cars can generate can’t be denied.
What is today’s younger generation lusting after? It isn’t cars by most surveys. It is electronics. I have heard disturbingly low numbers projected for how many kids turning 16-18 are not even interested in getting a driver’s license. Where is the future? Why are you into cars? Why are you interested in the Ford Motor Company Aero Cars? Last, but not least, what are you doing to generate interest in cars and our cars especially with the next generation of collectors?
It has been said that it is about a 25-30 year cycle from new car to collector car. A 1969 Talladega would have then started to show interest to a 40+ year old around the early to mid-1990s. Around their late 40s many individuals begin to have disposable income that begins to catch up with their “wants”. This continues to increase up through the age of 50s and early 60s, or for about 20+ years. After that, the reality of retirement sets in. The Baby Boomer generation bubble which began in 1946 lasts for about 15 years or so. That means that the desire for a 1969 vehicle for this group’s older members should have topped out around 2010 and remain reasonably strong for another 10 or 20 years until the younger Boomers age out.
If these assumptions are true, the interest in “Baby Boomer” muscle car collectibles should stay strong up until approximately now (2015-2020) when we might begin to see a softening in prices as the older Boomers begin to purchase fewer collector cars and others begin to sell off their cars.
If you don’t believe me, just take a look at the value of Model Ts, Model As, 40s cars and early 50s cars. They began to go flat several years ago. They have not necessarily gone down but they have not continued to go up either.
So, are we at the end of the Muscle Car craze? Are there younger collectors coming into the hobby?
I think so, but not enough.
Many of the buyers coming into the market for collector cars are 50-55 and were born in the late 60s when the Muscle Car craze was on fire. However, by 1973 it was all but dead. Add 15 too 25 years to their age and they should now be lusting after early too late 80s cars or early 90s cars? I hope not! I think for many their fathers’ interest in the Muscle Cars help create a second generation of interest in our cars. I also think that many in this age group rediscovered muscle cars when they began to drive. They got them as inexpensive cool cars to drive to high school and college. They now want to relive those times.
What are we doing to pass this car passion on to today’s youth? This includes our grand kids, kids and friends under 40.
On Tuesday June 26, 2019 the Hemmings Great Race stopped for lunch in Murfreesboro TN where I live. All the local AACA (Antique Auto Cub of America) Clubs and crowds of spectators stopped by Cannonsburgh Village to welcome all 120 cars with a little Southern Hospitality. What a great bunch of cars and participants of all ages.
It was obvious everyone was having a terrific time even with the hardships of driving old cars for 7 days and thousands of miles. This is how you keep the car love affair going and introducing it to our youth. Our local Central Magnet High School, with the help of the local Stones River AACA Club, entered a group of local students in this year’s event.
The students drove a 1953 Pontiac Chieftan, that was purchased for them by the Stones River Car Club. The Stones River group has been a tremendous supporter of the students and helped them locate the car in Oregon during the summer of 2015.
“The Stones River Club paid to have the car shipped here and then they had a day when everyone could get together, they opened up the garage door, it was there and all the kids got to see it at the same time,” Scott Culp said.
The exterior and interior of the car was in great shape and the engine ran decently, but the Chieftan required a lot of maintenance including brakes, suspension, a timing chain and eventually a new generator.
The Central team is the first high school group from Tennessee to compete in the Great Race.
They are not the only youth in the Race. There was a 16 year girl driving one of the cars with a a 14 year old girl as the navigator! Both have been participating for years with their parents but this year they are on their own. In general, participants ranged in age from 14 to 84! The oldest car were a couple of 1916 Hudsons, 101 years old!. No car can be newer than 1973 and modifications are allowed.
How cool would it be to see a set of 1969 Mercury Cyclone Dan and Cale Spoiler IIs in the event? How about a Talladega driven by some high school or college kids? Why not a father son team in a Spoiler?
The Great Race would be a good place for visibility and have some fun but the exposure is not that great and it does cost $5,500 for a private entry. A novice class (X Cup) for youth is only $1,500. Only five entries in this class are permitted.
This is only one option for youth involvement.
What ideas can you suggest to bring a wider interest to our particular cars and the car hobby in general?
Some will argue that we should take a kid to a car show and let them see the cool cars. I for one, think that is only one answer and most likely not the best answer. I love to look at cars but what got me hooked was ridding in them! Listening to the engine feeling the “Gs” in a tight turn. Seeing the cars in action at a race track, hearing the sounds. smelling the fuel and feeling the ground shake. That is what will keep younger people into cars!
There are other options as well and we will show you a great example in our next article, Part 2.
Here are a few photos of cars as they were welcomed into Murfreesboro by Coker Tire’s Corky Co