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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Avoidable Contact #92: Gates and ladders-all the ways old people kill young enthusiasm | Hagerty Media

Everything I need to know about life, I learned from my father and an anonymous psychiatrist. From Dad I learned that "People do what they want to do, and what they say they want isn't important." From the infamous Internet blogger "The Last Psychiatrist" I learned that "You're not a 'good person' because you have good intentions.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/avoidable-contact/avoidable-contact-92-gates-and-ladders-all-t...
357 REPLIES 357
gfviperman
Intermediate Driver

This is where I stopped reading:

“I spent 30 years pulling smog crap off my car—but global warming is real, so we all need to make sure that emissions controls can’t be defeated, for the good of our planet.”
jjw
Intermediate Driver

Sooooo, you don't think limiting toxic automotive emissions is a good idea?... From that statement I'll conclude that you are too young to remember before emission controls and what it was like to walk down the street in any urban location in the US...
gpsuya
Intermediate Driver

Well said. That makes two of us. I would advise Jack Baruth to do his own research instead of listening to the drivel put forth by the climate crusaders.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

If you read the article again, you'll see that I'm using that as an example of an attitude to avoid, not one I endorse 🙂
Oldcruiser
New Driver

I likedthis story. I see you cruised Woodward also. My weekends were spent on Telegraph or Woodward. My son who is now 33 could of cared less about cars as a child. Now he is a complete car nut like me. He built a 66 Mustang and is working on a 66 Galaxie. I always try to encourage the younger ones about cars and to make it your own. I'll give them some performance tips or how to customize their ride. I hope it doesen't fade away but I do see more oldies like myself at cruises and less younger faces. Keep up with the great articles.
NITRO450EXP
Instructor

I have in past commented on vehicles not to my taste, but I usually start with a comment like nice fab or nice work, I appreciate the OP's skill and effort, even if I don't understand the appeal or logic of that particular style. On low rider I don't get it, but some of the paint is epic. And knowing how many weeks of work goes into a multi color flake paint job, I respect it.
But maybe I am a little guilty of gating.
I will try do better.
We need the young people if our hobby is to survive.
Nitro
RevsRides
Pit Crew

I respect your comment...I think all of us are guilty of a little "ribbing," we just need to be careful it doesn't kill the enthusiasm for being around the car culture. To me, that's the whole point of what the author is trying to get across. Old dogs can learn new tricks, despite what the saying says. 🙂

BMD4800
Instructor

Just like taking kids to the range. If they don’t experience it, they will never appreciate it or grow to enjoy it.
DocHolliday
New Driver

"When you’re 18 years old, you want to drive 200 miles an hour and show off for every girl in the town square. When you’re 60, this stuff doesn’t seem as important.

Which is totally normal—but if you lack the self-awareness to understand that, you confuse anhedonia for wisdom."

anhedonia
[ˌanhēˈdōnēə, -hi-]
NOUN
psychiatry

inability to feel pleasure.

Driving 200 MPH, on a public road as is often seen in all the Youtube videos filed in "Mexico" demonstrates a lack of wisdom. It reveals an attitude of carelessness towards the well being of yourself, and most importantly, others.

If a 60 years old, and this kinda stuff seems less important, by gosh, THAT IS WISDOM. As a 60 year old, believe me...I can still feel pleasure. I know have the wisdom to know that I don't have to risk my life and the life of others in order for my pleasure addiction to be satisfied.
DocHolliday
New Driver

Sorry for the typos...hopefully, my point comes across.
knuck39
Pit Crew

I would disagree with one statement that was made..."when your 60 going 200mph doesn't seem that important anymore"....at 63 in 2019,I rode at Bonneville for the first time on a bike I'd never done more than help crew on, with my only "practice" really being some starts out of 1st gear in my friends driveway...I made one rookie pass that had to be slightly over 100 to prove I was worthy to be out there....then as a rookie..set 2 records one faired and 1 unfaired @ 163 and 148 respectively,on a blown on alcohol 1974 Harley Sportster(albeit pretty far removed from a stock machine)...At that point, all I could think of,after the fact,was gearing it up to break the world FIM record of 179 the following year.... so I would say also THAT kind of enthusiasm brought forward will also help to advance our mutual hobbies far more than standing around and discussing what may have happened in the day....so if you still have that itch by all means...scratch it as well....and bring those young guys along to crew....;-)..
25aniv
Intermediate Driver

All I got out of this article is that the author is old and grumpy and isn't a very good musician.
This isn't new behaviour in the car culture demographic, it has been like that forever it seems. All through the 70's & 80's car shows were only open to vehicles at least 15yrs old. It was stupid then and a generation or two later it is still stupid.
The government is going to win in the end and that's just the reality of it. You can "keyboard warrior" all you want but it won't change anything. More reality.
Enjoy what you have and offer support or a helping hand to those who could use it. It may not be a vehicle you like but somebody put as much sweat and heart into just the same as your car.
tdskip
Intermediate Driver

This has nothing to do with the "government", this hammer looking for a nail thing some of you guys have going is getting really old.

You are so blinded you totally missed the point of the article.
25aniv
Intermediate Driver

Actually, it very much does. What behavoir does gates and ladders mimic?
Yep, government. I didn't miss the point at all. You choose not to live in reality and that's ok. Its your decision to make.
Thrillseeker
Intermediate Driver

Shame on you, you mentioned the government.  LOL

Glacier
Pit Crew

It's way simpler than all that ladder stuff. Just respect the young person's taste and respect that their fun is their fun and their JDM multi-turbo tuner (for example) is their '64 GTO with tri-power and a 4 speed. Life tip: take interest in young peoples' interests and they will show interest in yours.
All this philosophy...I think I need to go do some donuts in the snow. Oh no, did I just say that on my Insurance Company's blog?
MarveH
Intermediate Driver

A good read, and worth considering. I have always been a step off of my enthusiasts peers so I'm a little more sympathetic to younger car guys. I have loved 80's hot hatchbacks, sports cars, and drooled over mid-70's Escort Mexico's and RS 2000's while my buddies drove around in jacked up Novas. In addition, at 50 years old, I attended a two year automotive school where I was 30 years older than the rest of the students. I had a great time and learned a lot.
I go to car shows but the experience is diminished by lawn chair car guys scowling from behind their GTO's. Is it any wonder the kids don't support those traditional events?
I also blame automotive journalists who are fully bought into global warming mythology and self-driving cars, let the rest of the world worry about that, you should be defending the hobby.
pjhay30
Pit Crew

Agree 100%! I'm 50 BTW. I'm still stinging from a Vettes and Corvettes show in Minneapolis, MN at the FT Snelling Officers club (20 f'ing years ago). There I was, admiring a C2 Vette (and I currently own an AAR, 68 Charger, BMW M6, Porsche Cayenne Turbo S for toys). I asked a Q of a 50+ white guy and he dismissed me as "you can't afford it! WTF.?" They are only cars, they don't love you back. Admire and encourage both the young and old, have people sit in them, listen, give them leads on cars, etc. Again, we shoot ourselves in the foot as plenty of "guys" hold them as a status symbol. GIve me time with the family, in the AAR or M6 and I will take it over a lonely guy with a car and attitude. See you on Woodward in 2021! Likely be only few AAR's on the strip. Please say hi, I will not say "you can't afford it!".
VicH
New Driver

Some good points and true points. I think you went off the rails a little and sense the hostility. You can’t judge what we did yesterday based on today’s standards with smog. Also, wasn’t it the same for us where the older ones scoffed at us? But we wanted it and liked it so we worked towards it? But you are asking for it to be handed out to the young ones now? Similar to getting a “participation” trophy for showing up. Yeah... that was a great idea wasn’t it...? I agree that older folks can be more encouraging but that can be said for many things.
A good story creates discussion and you did that. Good story
MR
Intermediate Driver

The author succeeding in the goal of stirring ALOT of S#!t.
It needs to be said, and it was well said IMO.
A little less trash talking and a little more car talking
BillyBuick
Intermediate Driver

The Psychiatrist, you spoke of in the early part of your column, did not help you. You wasted your money.
You speak of "older" people in the hobby in general terms. There is no way all those ridiculous statements you make about older enthusiasts apply to everyone.
I THINK YOU ARE WRITING ABOUT YOURSELF.
Find a better psychiatrist!
Planeguy
New Driver

Well, in his defense, he DOES say “ There’s a chance that what I’m about to write doesn’t apply to you”...
I’ve seen it, but no, it’s not “everyone”...
BillyBuick
Intermediate Driver

Whether it applies to me or not is not the issue. The issue is coming down on the older generation with general statements of what the author thinks is the problem.
Let's be honest, this older generation, of which he writes, "is the car hobby" for the most part, because they now have the disposable income to buy the car of their dreams. You will always have some jerks that put people down BUT THEY ARE NOT ALWAYS OLDER PEOPLE!
F360Spider
Detailer

Well, that article just wasted five minutes of my life. The author is trying to create some sort of controversy where none exists. I've never heard any car enthusiast, regardless of how "old" they are talk like that.

Jeez.
Swamibob
Instructor

Having been a car enthusiast for most of my life: I'm 57 today; I've heard much of what Jack is writing about. Not from every old car guy, not even from most of them, but I have heard all of it and more. As a rule the real bad offenders are a small percentage indeed, but to say no one in the hobby is like that, is not realistic. I don't think I've pulled any ladders, in my lifetime, but I have put up a gate or two. Mostly when I was younger.
MisterTorgue
Intermediate Driver

Then lucky for you. Your car community must be all like-minded and care about the same things. I would love to be that out of touch and isolated as to be completely oblivious that our hobby has a problem with gatekeeping, snobbery and all around elitism. What the real waste of time is the fact that I even spent the time responding to you.

Bostwick9
Intermediate Driver

I think the die was set back when the definition of a "classic" car was created by the ACCA back in the early '50s.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Well then it looks like you're doubly fortunate!
SteveNL
Intermediate Driver

There's no doubt that guys can be cruel in the car culture. There's a MOPAR website that I used to visit where everyone seemed most intent on showing that they knew more than me.....which many of them did. When I was young and poor, I owned a 1966 slant 6 Dodge Dart. It was all that I could afford and I learned to repair cars with that simple Dart. I learned how to tear that Dodge apart and put it back together which made me proud of a car that no one else seemed to respect. It really was a great car and I ended up putting over 225,000 miles on it.

But in the 1970's the guys in the auto parts stores didn't think very much of me or my car because they were better mechanics with nicer cars. Their disdain was often clear. I still continued loving and working on cars despite what they thought. Today I restore Porsches, BMWs and Mercedes.

I thoroughly agree with Mr. Baruth that we old men need to do everything that we can to encourage young people to follow the passion that we love. But the ladders and gates have always been there and it didn't stop any of us. I volunteer at a classic car museum and we never see anyone under 50 in the place. Young people are losing interest in cars and motorcycles.

I think that the problems facing the classic car culture are numerous. Two major obstacles are the complexity of newer cars and the cost of tools to repair them. When I first learned to repair my Dart, all I needed was the Chilton manual and about $50 in tools. That allowed me to perform much of what needed to be done. If a kid today wants to work on an early '80's BMW, he or she will need a much larger investment in tools. Those are major gates.

I have friends in the auto repair business. They tell me that they can't find young people who are interested in learning the auto repair trades. Our culture has taught young people to look down upon the skilled trades. That also hurts the classic car culture. Owning a cool old car becomes frustrating if you can't do any service or repairs.

It will take someone more intelligent than me to solve these challenges. Cars and motorcycles have been a life long passion for me. I'm sorry to see the auto age pass away.



BillyBuick
Intermediate Driver

I agree with most of your comments. I think the way to get some young blood interested in the hobby is through education. BRING BACK AUTO SHOP IN THE HIGH SCHOOLS.
DT12
Pit Crew

I still believe the article is embellished nonsense!

Geok86
Advanced Driver

And I’m willing to bet that you’re part of the PROBLEM too.
MisterTorgue
Intermediate Driver

@DT12  Congratulations on getting the last word in. Feel better now? We don't mind that you wanna take your ball and go home.

RevsRides
Pit Crew

Hey...that's alright! Do you still believe the earth is flat and has four corners, too? 

Scott
Pit Crew

Sounds to me like you wrote this to yourself and your car buddies. Makes sense for those who need to hear it, but IMHO, the ones that feel as you describe in your piece,either aren’t really true enthusiasts or were given whatever they asked for as younguns’. Sad.
Geok86
Advanced Driver

Sorry, but WAAAAYYYY TOO MANY NEED TO HEAT IT!
tahend
Detailer

Reality is, we need the global killing asteroid to hit this planet so it can start fresh.
tdskip
Intermediate Driver

What an insightful comment that is totally unrelated to the article...
Wolf
Pit Crew

I have been guilty of this and it happened slowly as I got older.. this makes sense to me and I will be trying to stop with my gates and ladder.
Good **bleep**!!
JohninNC
Advanced Driver

The only car guys/ gals I dislike are those with insanely loud exhaust systems, those 'rolling coal' in their diesels, those running mega bright aftermarket headlights, and those driving Carolina squat/ California lean pickup trucks (nose way high).
Someone that says, "I change out all my vehicles headlights IMMEDIATELY to mega bright 5000K retina burners, for MY safety and the safety of my family! I don't care that they're illegal"- yeah I really dislike that person.
There, I feel better now.
I love beaters, lowrider trucks, a wide variety of fun, retro, exotic, off road oriented, overall interesting vehicles- even Donk's make me grin.
CBL
Pit Crew

Jack's point is well taken. I took (my then) 10 year old daughter to a local Cars and Coffee. Most of the fun was taking our GS convertible for the drive. As we went through the myriad of cars on display we came across a beautiful Morgan. My daughter thought it was the coolest thing. But then things got cooler. The owner came walking up and said, "You want to sit in it young lady?" It was a magnificent gesture, and I told him that. His response, "This is how we get her generation interested in these things". Now, my daughter turned the shy thing on and decline the invite, probably because she knew she was not suppose touch peoples cars that were on display.

I have always remembered this guy as an ambassador for our hobby. I have tried to take on that role as well. I walked over to a low rider group on one occasion (admittedly, not my deal) to get a closer look. The guys were awesome! I walked away with awe in the paint work and I am still amazed the passion these guys had for their builds.

Jack's points are right on. Lets face it, we are all "show offs" to a degree. When you show up in your numbers matching 1960s or 1970s icon, and you see the rice burner with crazy graphics all over it, you know he wants to look at your rig. Open the conversation by asking him about his.

Loved the article Jack!
DrillNFill
New Driver

Great story, we should all be as welcoming as "Morgan Guy".
MrBill-1943
Intermediate Driver

May I offer my comment on why we are so different. I remember when the new year and models of a car in the 50's would come out. All the kids on the block would bike down to the different car dealerships and look at all the models in the showroom and then in the lot. We would make it a real learning visit and comment on the best and worst what we would do and then try to go home and tell our parents hoping that perhaps they would buy one. We could tell the type of car by the sound of the starter and even today when we see a car from the 50's and early 60's can give you the model, style and type with one quick look...today not so much as almost every car looks the same and in a few basic colors. When was the last time you saw a group of kids going to a car showroom to look and start dreaming of owning one of those? I attend many a car show and have yet to see or hear us old guys and gals pulling up the ladder or doing anything to the negative other than wishing there was more style and class and hoping our next and younger generation of owners and designers would just go back a little to the good old days.
tonyjustin
Pit Crew

Sorry Jack, I agree with the naysayers. In 1972 I was pulling down a whopping $1.60 an hour waiting tables. There is no way I could afford the '72 Mustang Sportsroof I have today that I restored from the ashes. You say kids have a tougher hill to climb? Again, I disagree. With Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace, the ability to locate parts, tools, accessories, and even "expert" help along with the array of choices is unmatched. We just had the want ads and word of mouth. Depending on your location, it was at times slim pickin's. Lastly, I think you're comparing apples to oranges when you reference car shows. Most of the ones I attend are venue-specific. By that I mean there are Mopar, Corvette, "oldies" shows/swap meets, or any other label. Sure, a Honda will stick out at most of them, but there are also tons of shows/swap meets that fit that genre. I would suggest cutting back on stereotyping this generation in favor of any other generation. It's just not cool.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

I'm not saying you didn't work hard, or that I didn't work hard. I'm just pointing out that the impartial economic data is absolutely clear on this. Wages are down. Cost of living, particularly rent and medical expenses, are way up.

You might be curious to know that $1.60 in 1972 equates to more than ten bucks now...
spoom
Technician

Subsidies on food, shelter and medical are way up...
MrKnowItAll
Detailer

My sentiments exactly. I worked in restaurants, factories for $1.30 an hour, drove a $25 car that I could barely afford to keep gas in. Lived in my car a few times; worked and went to Jr. College, living on my own at 18. I never experienced the college social life - I worked and went to school.
I scrimped and saved for everything and didn’t complain that the bosses son drove a new Chevelle. Pretty much the “rich” kids were the snobs. They never had to struggle, just looked their nose down at kids like me. Dad was paying their way thru college.
Those same guys are the snobs at car shows with the uber expensive Porsche’s etc.
Human nature never changes, life has never been easy.
DanC
Pit Crew

I am a commercial Real Estate agent who was a motorhead and still has too many cars. Recently I was tasked to sell an interesting old airport with 2600ft of still beautifully paved 50 ft wide runway. Aside from the hangars (some good...some bad) it was 100+ acres of flat paved land. I thought of all kinds of uses since General Aviation is WAY TOO EXPENSIVE anymore. Who showed up to look? Kids with hopped up pickups and street racers. They were looking for their own private Woodward Ave or Sunset BLVD. The best part about it is if you keep 1 airplane there and fly in/out every so often...it is still an airport and zoning/noise restrictions don't apply. You can literally race all nite and not be illegal.

The point here is that they WANTED IT! I was thrilled. Now to cross the hurdle of funding. It ain't easy to get a bank to fund a racetrack. If I could only find an industrial developer who would build buildings set back from the runway...using it for the roadway on days...and allow the kids to race on it evenings and weekends. Some aftermarket parts guy looking for a private test track...

There are no gates or ladders here, but there isn't a pot load of money either.
kareski
Pit Crew

I guess I have done my share of gates and ladders at car shows and on the street. When at cars show I respect more of the car enthusiasts that works on their own car. They are proud to talk about what they did and changes they made as I do for my cars. The ones who have others who do the work for them and then brags what they pay for I usually look at the car with a comment of "That's nice" and leave it at that. I envy the young kids today who tune up the car with the computer sitting on the engine instead of a timing light and volt meter. But in the reverse the kid envy's the old fart that can make a car purr with just adjusting the carb, use a timing light and volt meter. I am 67 and have to come to realize that many of us baby boomers car enthusiasts may be the last for the combustible engine cars. In 15 to 20 years what are we going to do with our combustibles when they are outlawed, gas with be $20 a gallon, and oil will be $10 a quart? I guess we will have to buy the electric version swap and trash our combustible engine. The shell will be admired more than what powers it. As I see what is coming I have come to the conclusion that we need to drive and enjoy what we have now more often before we have to trade in our wrench for a electric socket.
tcchuck2005
Pit Crew

Seems like a very grumpy fellow.