Ok ladies and gents, this topic has been on my mind for a while now and today I’m going to let it out as eloquently as possible. The bottom line is: There is some kind of unnecessary harsh feelings between the older generations and the younger generations in the automotive world. It doesn’t seem to be one sided, and I’m beginning to think that it is the fear of the unknown. Why should a young guy like a 1954 Chevy? and What is so great about being hella-flush? The answers aren’t important, but how you go about learning them is.
First and foremost, I believe that a car enthusiast should be a car enthusiast. If it has wheels and an engine, a true car enthusiast should be able to appreciate it on some level. When a person has poured their heart and soul into their car, a true enthusiast should be able to look at it and say “wow, I may not personally like the x, y, and z, but I can most definitely appreciate the amount of blood, sweat and tears that went into this car”. Unfortunately that is not reality. More often than I want to admit, people consider certain cars to be “junk” purely based on the year or the make of the vehicle. This is the root of the problem in my opinion.
Foreign vs. American Cars
People often base their approval of a vehicle solely on whether it is American or Foreign. In 2010, American car companies assemble their cars from parts made all over the world, and foreign car makers do the same thing. Some “foreign” cars are built in America and some “American” cars are built in foreign countries. In fact, Honda just announced that they built more cars in America last quarter (April-June 2010) than it did in Japan! The obvious question then arises: If an American car is built in Japan, does that make it an American car or foreign? Is it right to like the car more or less based on the location where was assembled? Basing your automotive choices on a vehicle’s features, looks, and options seems far more logical to me. Am I wrong? Just imagine for a moment that you are a proud owner of the new Ford Fiesta, and a guy that drives a big-rig truck pulls up next to you and starts informing you of how worthless your Fiesta is because it can’t even haul a 50 foot trailer full of goods. That would be ridiculous right? Just because the Fiesta doesn’t haul a trailer full of goods doesn’t mean it is an inferior car, it just means that it does not fit that truck driver’s needs. Each driver has different needs and each vehicle has a different purpose. In my mind, you don’t have to like all cars that exist, but you shouldn’t go out of your way to hate a car because it doesn’t suit your specific needs. This brings me to my next point ….
Car Shows & Cruise Nights
Who is welcome at these events? Are they intended for “classic cars”? What is a classic anyway? The Classic Car Club of America defines a classic car as a vehicle that is 20 to 45 years old. Over 45 years old falls into the Antique category. Ok cool, so I’ll bring a stock 1987 VW Rabbit and my friend will arrive in a 1989 Mitsubishi pickup. No? They aren’t classic’s? Why not? This is a common issue in the small town automotive world. How about “newer” cars? Should a new Ford GT be allowed at a car show or cruise night? I think so. It’s appreciated by fellow enthusiasts, just like a VW R32, or a 2010 Camaro. Just because a car isn’t of your particular interest doesn’t mean that it should not be welcomed at a car show / cruise night. People like different cars for different reasons, and you don’t have to like every car you see. Just walk by it, it’s that easy! Do you get offended when a different model car parks next to you at a mall? Why would an automotive event be any different? As long as the owner of the vehicle is respectful to you and your car, all should be well in my mind.
Young vs. ……well….”Old..errr”
People drive what they can afford. If I had unlimited funds, I would have way cooler cars, and I would suspect that you would too if you have made it this far down the page. A struggling college kid just isn’t able to drop the $10K+ on the muscle car of their dreams, so they drive what they can afford. Typically that is a newer car that needs some work, but it’s also something that they can drive daily as they learn to spin wrenches. It doesn’t mean that they don’t dream of big blocks, flat head V8’s, and tunnel rams all night though. On the other hand, they may have never had the opportunity to pedal a big V8 to regain traction, cruise with a silky smooth straight 6, or hear the amazing popcorn sound from a high compression small block running on race gas. It isn’t “the norm”, so how can they be faulted for it?
The older generations are typically a bit more established in life, with a little more money, experience, and time to work with. Thus, they are finally able to have the dream cars of their youth. Maybe that dream car is a brand new Corvette, or maybe it’s a late 1940’s lead sled. Either way they often go back to the epitome of “cool” when they were younger and follow it all the way to the driver’s seat. Should the younger generations dislike them for having more expensive cars? Of course not! That is just as crazy as disliking the younger generations for not having expensive cars.
We’re all in the same club!
What’s cool to today’s youth and cool to older generations may or may not be the same, but in my opinion, appreciation for cars is universal in all car enthusiasts. If somebody has put their heart and soul into a car, and wants share it with the world, embrace it! Introduce yourself and talk to the owners of vehicles outside your “norm”. There are so many amazing features of old cars that can bring smiles to younger generations, and vice versa. Whether young or old, you don’t have to like every car that you see, but as an enthusiast you should embrace the other enthusiasts around you. After all, they are part of the automotive world just like you are.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on all of this in the comment box below. I would love to read them!
NOTE: All of the above is the opinion of Jeremy Nutt.