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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
gli48
Pit Crew

Very good points Jack. While I have been on wrong end of the "fences" showing up at a car show in the Midwest (Michigan) with a foreign car amongst '57 Chevys and Mustangs, I have committed the same offence against the truck bros and rolling coalers. We all need to remember that this hobby has a big tent and there is room in it for all of us.
Spuds
Advanced Driver

My issue is rolling coal on the streets just to be a jerk to pizz off soccer moms and Prius drivers it what has caused the diesels to be so hated today.Thanks a lot guys.
Patrician
Intermediate Driver

Most kids today aren't interested in cars. Most kids today have no mechanical ability. Most trades go begging for workers. Look at the purchases of this younger generation.. Computers, cell phones ,Play stations, sushi and Thai food. I rarely see anybody young roaming the aisles of Harbor Freight. I'm 66 and when I go to car shows I'm like the kid there. I have no doubts my 1955 Packard Caribbean will some day be melted for scrap.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

It doesn't have to be that way. We don't need every kid in America to be car-crazy. We need SOME of them to be car-crazy. You can help. Get that Packard out there where people can see what a stellar design it is!
StudebakerTor
New Driver

Thank you for the spot on article. I've experienced what you describe on the receiving end so have eschewed attending car shows and the like to this day. We have always felt tlike stewards of the vehicles we have owned, and we love to share stories, anecdotes, and any other conversations (that's a two-way street by the way) with folks who are interested. I last year drove my '78 Lincoln Cont. Town Car to a drive by birthday shout out for an 8th grader with the local Sheriff's deputies bringing up the rear of this good-sized parade. She was astounded and the sheriff's were eager to know about perhaps acquiring an older car some day; we had a meaningful exchange of thoughts and ideas about perhaps where to start! On an innocent drive late last fall in our '50 Studebaker Regal Deluxe Starlight Coupe, I witnessed a draw drop on a young girl who had never seen anything like it. We waved, smiled, tooted the horn and hoped that she would continue to remember that moment!
stevecobb45
Detailer

I'd like to add some experiences that can also stymie younger car enthusiast. While at a car show there was an elderly guy sitting beside his beautifully restored old Ford. I wanted to complement him on his car & said, "that's beautiful car". His comment back, "I know it". He had no idea I was asked to be a special judge for "best of show car" at that show. When my fellow judge & I compared our notes, it was down to that guys Ford & a perfect 57 Chevy. Needless to say the Chevy won & when we were introduced as special judges, I looked at the Ford guy & gave him a big smile. I always take time to talk to people at car shows & when given a complement on my car I always tell them how much that means to me. I met many new friends (young & old) that way.
BillyBuick
Intermediate Driver

Why should your personal feelings toward the guy, even if he was unfriendly and arrogant, influence the way you voted?
ratsheadcheese
New Driver

This sounds like some guy with his Porsche friends who got together over a
low calorie low foam Latte with just the slightest whisper of cinnamon !
They had just finished their session with their psychiatrists and were comparing notes !
It's tiresome and nearly enough to make me want to cancel my insurance with Hagerty !
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

That's me, I'm the low foam latte guy who has won races in eight different series and broken nearly a hundred bones! 🙂
turquoisetom
Pit Crew

I'm sorry, but I have to say that your as ignorant rest of these people out there that want to do away with gasoline cars. It is a fact that the worlds climate has been changing from the beginning of the world. It gets warmer then it gets colder and no matter what we meager humans do, it will not change. As for electric cars, are electrical grid is such that we will be sitting in our homes freezing because we used all the electricity that we could produce to run our cars!
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

You might want to give it a second read --- I gave that as a quote and an example of how people are killing youthful enthusiasm.
WRH
New Driver

I never comment on articles but had to on this one. I’m 57 and this one really resonates with me. Not only am I guilty of doing these things I think it continues even when older. A few years ago I bought my first Ferrari (an 88 Mondial coupe), joined the FCA, and eagerly looked forward to my first event. Imagine how I felt when I walked up behind some people standing by my car to hear them say, “This is the worst Ferrari ever made”. What’s worse is that it was being said by the local FCAchapter president! Needless to say that was my last FCA event and I did not renew my club membership. Yep... “enthusiasts” can kill a club or someone’s enthusiasm faster than any regulation.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

As a confirmed Mondial fan, I'm sorry you went through that.

A great way to mess with those people is to remind them that a fiberglass 308 is rarer, and has greater provenance, than whatever they are driving.
HHRpanel
New Driver

My favorite part of this article, is the suggestions to mentor the younger enthusiasts.

MattK
Detailer

The Only thing Curbing my enthusiasm is a lack of money Or I would have something parked in my driveway right now. When I grew up our used cars were all those classics. I had a 72 AMC Ambassador and then a 69 Firebird, My friends had a 68 Mustang and a 69 Camaro. In the Eighties I got my first new Car an 86 Olds Calais which I still have fond memories of, Dating my future wife being one. But I continued to like the cars of the eighties and on, Cars like the Buick Reatta, the Fiero, all Firebirds and Camaros, the 2nd Generation Toyota Supra, 2nd Gen Mazda RX7, Cadillac Allante, a Fox body Capri and so many more oh and a Porsche 928 or 968. I would love to have just one these in my driveway. It's all about how you were raised and if you are strong minded and confidant enough to get what you want not what someone else says, because there's always going to be someone who is a Ford guy a Chevy guy or a anti Foreign guy.
topside
Detailer

I remember that my 1st car was a '64 Corvair (in 1969), with faded paint and quickly needing & receiving a rebuilt engine. (But at least it was a 4-speed!) Eventually I worked myself into a small collection of very nice Mopars, including a Hemi car, but my "roots" are humble and I've never been well-off, so it's not hard to remain grounded. The younger folk don't have the financial cushion us older guys were able to build, but we can help them with donated leftover parts and some help. I try to spend more time talking with the young folks at our local Cars & Coffee than the guys with new Vettes & such who are trying to establish themselves as some High Ground, and frankly, they're often more fun to engage. I can't recall the name of the old hot-rodder who coined the term "coolness is what you make of what you got", but it still applies. Helpful advice should be framed as questions, rather than beginning with a judgement; otherwise it's dismissive and divisive, right ?
fd797
Pit Crew

Jack - you hit some funny bones on this one. Two stories. I went to a car show with my wife years ago. Wondering through the aisles of cool cars, I saw an AMX. You just don't see those that much. It was clean and looked original, and in it's own way, absolutely beautiful. My wife saw it and almost gagged, scoffing out loud how ugly it was. It was loud enough I think the owners nearby heard it. I shielded her aside, and told her about the AMX a little. AMC struggling to get by, and that was a heroic effort in many ways. And a good friend of mine maintains that in Caldwell, ID, the fastest cars on the streets were AMC's growing up (I still scoff a bit, but I heard him...). I got to ride in an autocross once where we brought out the old cars - that thing worked pretty dang good - blew away my Fish. To restore or maintain one of these is probably 4x harder than the nearest car here, and probably 100x harder than any Chevrolet. That is something special you are seeing. I'll grant, the AMX isn't beautiful in many eyes, but it is knowing about it. Point is - don't be too critical of anything, if you don't like it, and maybe especially if you don't like it.
Second, it is funny how we develop prejudices. I happen to own a 67 Barracuda and an FD RX-7 (there isn't much more cultish than a mopar and a rotary....). I like them both - they are both just fun and amazing cars. It is funny the different crowd of people that recognize or thumbs up, or want to talk - but, I get a completely different crowd for either one. It fascinates me - why can't it can't be the same crowd? Somehow we need to do some rideshares, to appreciate what we can't see.
Bmike
Detailer

Gates. I sort of recall the words of a great writer (Egan? Bedard?) who once said: "A true enthusiast can find something nice to say about any car."
BillyBuick
Intermediate Driver

Also ..."if you have nothing good to say then say nothing!"
Hymie60
Intermediate Driver

I make a effort when attending a cars and coffee or cruise event to check out the Toyota’s, Honda’s, etc. I’m 77 and drive a muscle car. If I approach these younger enthusiasts and ask honest questions and show a genuine interest, they will open up and you will learn a lot about Asian performance cars. Give them a chance.
YardDogDoctor
Pit Crew

I'm a 68 year old motorhead and will agree that many old guys in the hobby have a need to either display what they know - or just display in general to the detriment of those "not as knowledgable". Many time at car shows or at a Cars and Coffee event there are cars there that show a lot of wrenching but not a lot of finesse. I'd hang out listening to the owner field questions and see their reactions to "the looks" that they would get from the experts. A lot of it was sad because I could remember being their age and being damn proud at what I was able to do with my meager resources. Here's what it boils down to for me: If a guy needs help - help him. If he asks for the help - respect him for it. If HE'S proud of what he's done give him a smile and help his pride. If your the guy who would tear down his OWN kid for an effort that they're proud of....well....move along. Car ownership and enthusiasm is the lifeblood of the hobby. Imagination and pride work hand-in-hand at inventing the next big thing or improving the quality of something else in that persons life. Work at doing that with guys who aren't at YOUR level and a lot of these "State of the Hobby" issues will go away.
BillyBuick
Intermediate Driver

Your comment is the best of the lot.
Spudsly
Intermediate Driver

I find a lot of these examples you suggest in your piece here to be true. In only a small fraction of cases at car gatherings. To begin with the crabby-ass fraction I am talking about do not show up or stay at a mixed generational car show. The clubs I have been involved with welcome and reward those deserving young car buffs with open arms. We all learn from each other and have a good time.

And, on a side note, politics is not usefull, exceptible or even the least bit tolerated at any event. The current no-budge enviorment of our political views is better left out of the parking lot. Only legislation that hurts the hobby should be dicussed. And, as far as our rides becoming extinct... ha... only when there are no more roads to run, will we be history. The hobby will exist as long as the 1 to 2 %s continue to buy million dollar rides.
DT12
Pit Crew

C’mon..... gate-keeping ...... ladder-pulling????? “Old people...... Young people?????  How about I took my grandkids to a car show today or grampa and I rode to the car show today in my tuner. I let him drive it on the way home. The cool thing about our hobby is both “young” and “old” enjoy all things automotive. People of all ages actually go to car shows and like some cars and not others. It’s no different than Fords vs Chevys. It’s why drag racing came about. My car’s faster than your car. Keep the psychologists out of our hobby and ALL will be better for it!  

joesurfer
Pit Crew

no more gas - electric only? You need to blame the auto makers too. They are more than happy to jump on the CO2 bandwagon and throw everything we hold dear to the wind!
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Well, that's the point. We need a generation of young buyers who won't stand for "the electric future".
Jim1969
Intermediate Driver

Jack, I think I get what you’ve illustrated.
Kids have to play the cards they’re dealt. Not many of them can afford to restore an old Mustang, Chevelle, GTX, or any other classic. Most adults can’t today unless they have deep pockets. I’m not a fan of restoring new age cars, but a kid who is willing to get their hands dirty is few and far between. Educate them on classics of the past, but encourage them to keep working on whatever they have to work on. Once they gain knowledge of these new age cars, they can educate us. We may need their help someday. They’re our daily drivers.
I have Grandsons who are good at playing music, have no mechanical ability, but love to feel the torque of my old cars They grin. So, there’s a place for all of us if we’re willing to be productive.
An older guys thoughts. I’m 70.
Tsaxman
Detailer

Wait, you, Jack, despise my Cabriolet 4S? What the heck.

I previously owned a Shelby KR convertible, a Buick 455 GS convertible and a Ferrari 308 GTSi, and, because I live in frigid Michigan, with a 4-month window in which to seriously drive these cars, one may as well have the top down (or off, in the case of the spyder) when enjoying actually driving these cars rather than simply polishing and looking at them. However, all but the Buick were manual transmission, if that is any saving grace in your harshly judgmental world.

However, I agree with you that we should embrace those in the hobby with dissimilar tastes: so the folks driving resto mods (I love 'em), rat rods (I don't get it) and those 4-bangers with stupid wings and large exhaust tips (oops, there I go, judging) should be respected for who they are --- car guys. Not wrong, just different.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Oh, the older I get, the more sense I can see in a Cab 4S. Give me a decade, and I'll be driving one!
JonMiller
Intermediate Driver

I think the article accomplishes is main goals; make us think, encourage us to do.
The article did get me thinking about whether or not I have caused such things to happen. I think I might be guilty of some gate keeping. Like many writers in the thread, I generally avoid shows and gatherings. I attend two per year and that is more to be part of an event and see old friends. It is also a brand-specific event so I guess we are meeting behind our own set of gates.
I do have one observation not necessarily relevant to the article but I think it has some effect on younger enthusiasts. We are visual creatures and size up situations with remarkable speed. If a new old-car owner cannot see themselves as part of the tribe, they will most likely keep their distance.
I had a great lesson when I was 18 and first started drag racing. An experienced driver saw we were having rookie issues with launching the car. A few tips led to a years long friendship and my deep respect for the man's talent and his willingness to help. If anything, the article reminded me of that experience.
Pass on your skinned-knuckle wisdom when you can. You can't fix global warming but you can help fix a rookies car (you can fix cars, right?).
BillyD
New Driver

You know I have been guilty of a couple of these "gates-ladders" discussed in the article. I do like the look, feel and smell of the older cars (pre-80's) and I do, at times, snub or bypass those cars when at shows or meet and greets. I have been more aware of these and make the effort to talk to those younger folks and find out more about their passions and encourage them in there creations and work. My kids really have no interest in any of the cars I have even though I have pressed to get them out in the garage to do some work. That probably has an effect on my attitude as well towards the younger group based on my experiences at home. It will be sad when these events become smaller and smaller due to the lack of interest and as the demographic ages and can no longer attends unless we can encourage them to carry this on.
smtguy
Intermediate Driver

What is the biggest car car theft deterrent that keeps Gen Zers from stealing your car?
Give up?


A manual transmission.
Boomer joke. 🙂
mwmyers91
Detailer

The article has merit, on a small scale.. But political legislation will kill the sport. Edelbrock see's the writing on the wall. GM all electric by 2035. The electric Mustang. Whats in the future for NASCAR ? Zero noise and zero emissions ? That will be exciting, LOL. Like the NFL now maybe they can pipe in engine and crowd noise. Enjoy what you got while you can - the only future for collectors will be carbon credits
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

With enough motivated drivers, we can stop a lot of this.

This analogy will upset people but... How many members does the NRA have? They haven't been able to stop *all* the legislation, but they've stopped *Some*. We need at least that much political muscle.
avideo
Intermediate Driver

Here in Arizona we have cruise in nights and car shows (Even now!) where all sorts of vehicles from ratty VW bugs to low riders and high end collector cars show up at the same time for the same event.
Pretty democratic if you ask me. And best of all, these events happen most of the year.
Geok86
Advanced Driver

Yep, and as I could have predicted....the guilty parties are all bitching about your article Jack....I just had this discussion/argument with another member (JohnR) the other day, and he basically told me I’m the problem, and I have a “weak ego”. I still experience these issues, and I’m fast approaching 50...there are A LOT of opinionated people in the hobby, and the Boomers (most not all) are not very accepting of younger generations, particularly if our tastes and actual vehicles don’t align with theirs.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

I notice that there are people who say "THIS IS STUPID" and there are people who say "We've eliminated this at our club/meetings/Saturday-morning".

There's no overlap between the two.
takidd
New Driver

I started playing with cars over 40 years ago and cant say Ive ever come across the attitudes in the article amongst any members in my local car clubs. My buddies who are around the same age find it so refreshing to see someone younger enter the hobby. We may not understand their method of hot rodding as they spend more time on the computer then turning wrenches but it gives us great satisfaction to see someone building their dream. Seeing the power made by tuning has made me appreciate and respect that angle of the hobby more than my skills at being able to stick an engine somewhere it wasnt before. Attend an autocross if you want to see diversity in the hobby.
OldFordMan
Detailer

This reminds me of Kyle Larson's new-found religion.
jaysalserVW
Detailer

Hummmmm--I bet that what was said here in 200000 (+/-) words could have been said in about 200. There is more to why younger people are not in the car hobby. Sure, some people ARE "pulling up the ladders" and "slamming gates" but the fact of the matter is this: younger people are not in the car hobby because they are becoming established in life. They are young marrieds, trying to make a living, finishing education, and more--and ALL of the above. It always has been thus. That's why the average age of car collectors/serious car hobbyists is 45 and older. After that age, people (men and women) have become more established in life and can look around to see what's happening around them. In our car club--we have trouble finding young people to join--we actually search for them! People--it is difficult to find younger people who have the time, the money, etc. to become involved--much less seriously involved. This situation is a situation of "life"--not so much as a bunch of old guys (mostly) pulling ladders and slamming gates. That's my old 82-year-old guy analysis of the situation.
Looking back at my own situation as a young guy who loved cars but could not afford to "get into cars" simply because of the way "life" is for younger people. There--I've said it and I'm glad! LOL
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Well, I think your post could have been shorter as well!

Seriously, I agree with you, but you shouldn't discount the forms of "non-serious" enthusiasm that happen before the age of 45: having a GTI as a daily driver, attending autocrosses on an ad hoc basis, keeping a $5,000 car in the garage. Don't put that mental "gate" on what you consider to be "in the car hobby".
SteveS
New Driver

This has been going on forever. I showed my car once, 30 years ago, and never again. Everyone has an opinion, even when they don't have a specialty vehicle or any experience. Much better to drive it and enjoy it.

That being said, people in my city are having a fit about the tuners gathering in parking lots and making noise on the interstate, and I defend them. Brings back fond memories. The cops used to join us in the parking lot rather than hassling us, and most people respected them and behaved.

If it's any consolation, horse people are way worse than car people. Our daughter quit showing as soon as she could.
KJB1954
Pit Crew

I couldn't agree more DT12, this article is total non-sense.
Redenzo
Pit Crew

Jack is right in so many ways. Our memories of the "good old days" ignore the reality of the times we lived in. I also have to say he is totally right about many in the car culture (especially here in South Florida) with posers and judgers of those who can't afford a new Lambo or Vette. Yes there should always be a place for personalized vehicles and an openness to new ideas, like music you may not like it but you can still appreciate it for what it is. Do I personally get running 10 degrees of negative camber on a Honda Civic? No! Do I understand young people trying to express their individuality and establish their own "cool factor" by way of what we oldsters see as "stupid"- Yes Indeed! We have all "been there and done that" to one degree or another- that is the nature of our hobby- the love of the things mechanical. With that comes not only a willingness to buck the standards that society sets but also to try to find a group of like minded enthusiasts willing to see the value in what we do. So next time you see a big jacked up 4x4 "rolling coal" or a ground scraping import tuner inching over a speed bump- pay some respect as all our veins run with the same petrol headed mania that drives not only the hobby but a multi-billion dollar aftermarket industry- all with the goal of expressing our individuality while simultaneously fitting in.
TimeFixers
Pit Crew

That was painful. I must be stupid.
CT-car-guy
Pit Crew

Change is inevitable. If the majority of young people don't want to go to car shows, who cares? When I first started going to car shows they were dominated by Model Ts and As. There was even a 1902 Oldsmobile. The owners of those cars have died off, as we all will some day. The early pre-war cars were largely replaced with muscle cars. Was that good or bad? It really does not matter. I really don't care if millennials care more about their iPhone than their ride. I intend to enjoy my cars while I can, but I don't feel I need to save the hobby from change.
Velocetta
Pit Crew

A great read...made me smile.

Recently having spent way too much time reading some of the nonsensical rantings on these forums (just consider any of the articles that appear on the future of EV technology) or perhaps the B.A.T. forums, you can see the ladders as well as gates going up all around us. Everyone these days seems to have a soapbox and apparently an axe to grind.
I'm 64 years old and have been involved in the car hobby my entire life. Over the years I've personally been on the receiving end of much critical 'commentary' with respect to the modifications on my car from the 'purists' in the crowd. While I'm also 'guilty as charged' with respect to how/what I choose to see/judge with respect to some aspects of the car hobby, overall I choose to understand the hard work, determination, passion and engineering behind what someone chooses to do with their choice of car...even if I don't get it.
The article nicely shows that collectively we involved in the car hobby often times can put up barriers that impinge the very future of what we all (collectively) love to do...simply have fun enjoying our cars (in what ever style, taste, or price range they may be).

Respect in all avenues of life should be mutual.

StarRacer
New Driver

When I was 16, I drove a junk 79 Malibu and got sneered and laughed at every time I drove it through a cruise-in. It sucked but I never lost my live for old cars. To be honest it helped me become who I am today. I learned the value of respecting my elders even if they’re jerks. I learned the life lesson of the value of a dollar. I learned to work hard, show up on time every day and work extra hours if needed. And when I finally was 44 (46 now) I was able to obtain a really nice old car. Getting laughed right out of the parking lot every Friday taught me valuable life lessons. I’m so thankful I wasn’t coddled.
Jim1969
Intermediate Driver

There are posts below in reference to gas not being available and electric cars. On the national evening news just recently, GM reported that their goal is to produce all electric vehicles by 2035.
LoyaltyCIO
New Driver

Great article Jack, lots of thought proving insights in there! I'll share one thought, IMHO the SCCA is massively missing out on growth opportunities with younger members my ignoring the DRIFT community. Based on my limited experience, the avid participants in that sport truly understand having fun with cars! Every time I bring the subject up in my local region meetings, what I hear most is gates and ladders type responses!