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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
spoom
Technician

I guess we can be sorry that a lot of kids' parents didn't turn out so good.
Greg_I
Advanced Driver

Well said.

DT12
Pit Crew

This article is total nonsense!
MisterTorgue
Intermediate Driver

@DT12  ummm ok... How so? I'm willing to be convinced otherwise if you have a compelling argument. Based on my personal experiences as a member of the younger demographic he speaks of, he nailed his point.

Gene_M
Intermediate Driver

hahaha
spoom
Technician

Every generation feels the prior one doesn't understand them, doesn't love them enough, doesn't whatever. Not like I got props in the early 70's pulling up on a bike with my leather and long hair. Instead of breaking into tears or getting all Alpha, I just ignored 'em and did my own thing. I think the one "like" for this article and almost 300 views is an important tell.

EHaaa
New Driver

@ Mister Torgueln I can relate. In the mid 1970's, I was in my early 20's. I had a passion for pre-war classics, a blond afro, and grubby looking clothes appropriate for my age. I drove a Fiat 124 coupe. I joined the AACA, because they catered to the cars I loved. However, when I showed up for meetings and events, despite efforts to socialize, I was mostly ignored by the, all-over-forty, members. I was incredibly well read about cars of that era. I really wanted to be accepted, and learn from the guys in the club. I hoped to one day restore a classic from that era. Alas. To this day, I've owned well over 60 "collector" cars, but never one pre-war classic. It might be that the local AACA club were just blind to the opportunity I presented to them, not realizing that I was eventually going to mature. Maybe they were "pulling up ladders". Later, I watched the market for pre-war cars tumble as that generation died off. By then, my automotive interests blossomed elsewhere, where I fit in. That last point, to emphasize the very social nature of the hobby. Now, I'm among the old guys, wishing I could get more young folks interested in the car hobby.
TomP
Intermediate Driver

It's absolute drivel. This article appears to be self-reflective and not indicative of the classic car community at all. Everyone can stop reading after this line, because it applies to 99% of the people reading the article:
"There’s a chance that what I’m about to write doesn’t apply to you."
Mickthomas
Pit Crew

Well written. I am thankful that none of the groups or "car guys" that I've known over the past 40 years fall into this. Honest statement.

Everyone I know is open to the younger crowd, and shares everything. Just look at the forums we are a part of - whether its a "scout" page or a "honda" page etc. Everyone really tries to help and meet up.
So yeah, I guess I don't know who the bad actors are. Apparently they are out there, I'm just thankful that the hundreds of guys and gals I've known in the hobby don't act like elitist.

Russ1963Pontiac
Intermediate Driver

True! At one time I used to put down cars I don't personally like. Now I try to be open minded. I've never been into Mopar but now I try to appreciate them as now I realize they are great cars to even though I never owned one.
BMD4800
Instructor

I was at a show once, younger kid had an old Honda, not much traffic, I felt for him, so I went over and said hi, and asked about the car. This kid had some exceptional fabrication skills. Welded like a professional, put a newer VTEC engine and trans in the car. It wasn’t my thing, but he took a light car, added a more powerful engine, and did a great job. I gave the kid props for building it, coming to the show, and not giving up.
That’s the future.
Rider79
Instructor

From what I have seen and heard at car shows and cruises, you are absolutely wrong about this article (and the concerns it raises) being absolute drivel. While most car enthusiasts are friendly and at least a little inclusive towards young enthusiasts, some are not. And, many - perhaps most - of us do not realize that we are erecting roadblocks of one sort or another, despite the good intentions that we may have. I believe that it is easy for us to think that we are being inclusive (by not closing "gates"), while pulling up "ladders" in the manner described in this article. I think we all would benefit from some self-examination, instead of blanketly absolving ourselves (and also our enthusiast friends) of any guilt in this regard.
OCULUSNY
Intermediate Driver

I don't happen to belong to any vintage car groups (just PCA) but for Antique and Classic Boats, I can speak authoritatively. Though we (ACBS.org) are constantly in search of new, younger members, the dearth thereof is more from change in contemporary tastes, than old fogies--most of whom are welcoming and hard to restrain with their help.
RevsRides
Pit Crew

Everyone's experience is different...but my 16 year old son who absolutely loves cars...classic and new, has experienced this gate keeping and ladder pulling at every car show he's been a part of. He's restoring a 69 Plymouth Valiant...but gets scoffed at by "purists" who make their "more door" jokes, or put him down because it's not a $150K fully restored big block car (the kid's 16 for crying out loud and learning to work for what he has). The article...like it or not...is spot on and the author is right in his observation...I think some people don't like it 'cuz they might be "that guy."
jaysalserVW
Detailer

Find a better group of people that mentors newbies and welcomes fresh blood. We do in our small group. Our goal is to teach one another the how-tos of the car hobby--not to restrict it.
Bostwick9
Detailer

I'd walk across the show field to see that car, Revs. That "two many doors" crap is just snobbery. And people miss a lot of interesting old cars that way. I hope your son is never one of 'them'. Snobs are boring sheep mostly, remind him of that.
The Trabant I saw at Woodley Park in Van Nuys one year was the highlight of all my car show experiences when the owner took me for a spin in it.
Add that one to my Fantasy Garage as well.
25aniv
Intermediate Driver

Sounds like a great kid to me. I'd be happy to walk up and talk to him about his car at ANY show! Keep reinforcing the positives, there are still a few good people out there 😉
MYTFAST
Intermediate Driver

I feel your concern but I learned a lesson early that says fall in love with a car that was popular in it's day & as well equipped as you can afford. I always bought 1960-early 1970s 2dr hdtp or conv. cars of the high end models of Ford, Pontiac, Dodge etc. and found them to be worthwhile investments & still have 5 of them. If your 16 year old son wants to make a good investment in a vintage car, the 80s Fox body Mustang 5.0 & Firebird / Camaro V8s are already over 25 years old & worth the $$ and time & will keep him in the hobby for years to come since reasonably cars & parts are still readily available. Good luck to both of you, it's a wonderful time in his life & important to make good decisions.
Russ1963Pontiac
Intermediate Driver

I to used to always drive 2dr hardtops and convertibles but now the price of most has gotten out of reach. One of my favorite cars was a 1962 Pontiac Catalina I saved from the crusher and redone. I had a great time in that car and I bet the guy who bought it from me is still having fun. I now own a 1950 Chevrolet 2dr sedan with original 6 cylinder and I never get tired of taking it out.
Mcompact
Pit Crew

Your son sounds like a really good kid! My son drove a 1975 2002 in high school- I bought it by accident on eBay(long story). Be prepared for the hand-wringing bed wetters who will accuse you of child abuse for letting your son drive a car that doesn't have 25 airbags and the full raft of Helen Heller "driving aids."
ModelT
Advanced Driver

I get the story, and sadly much of it is true. But this too, depends on the type event and the type people in attendance. I've never taken my '41 Ford or '55 Chevy wagon to Pebble Beach or any concourse show. But I have been to many Walmart, Home Depot, and Fast Food parking lot cruise-ins and events. Like that old fishin is better than workin joke, ...... I've never been to a really bad car show.
My wife and I took all of our kids, from babies, to those driving their own, or one of my cars, to large and small car events, and local cruise-ins. Right off, we encouraged other younger kids to bring what you have, look at what turns you on. Don't touch and if you have nothing good to say, say nothing. This also works well when in an antique store, bar, or around another man's wife.
I'm not into low riders, rat rods, or expensive 'store bought' muscle cars. But I appreciate anything on wheels. Now too old and worn out to drag a ladder or carry a gate, I look at what trips my trigger and I compliment any car owner for what he drives.
As Red Green once said "we're all in this together."
Not as eloquent as the story writer. Just my two cents.
PS---- As a retired blue collar worker, I could never afford a $150K car or had the desire to own one. Half the fun was scrounging for old rusty, greasy parts and putting a decent driver together to actually drive.
mhealy1
Detailer

My suggestion is a marque-specific club; in your sons’s case maybe WPC. As a youth, not much older than your son, I belonged to the local chapter. I was not just accepted but welcomed. Nobody criticized my clapped out cars-barely “drivers”, but instead encouraged me to enjoy them. I got tips on where to find parts and good sources for work I couldn’t perform myself. The club was full of enthusiasts. Nobody trailered their cars, though many of them were high # 2s. We all felt cars were meant to be driven. At one national event at Chrysler’s Chelsea proving grounds, during a corporate-sanctioned slow lap at the base of the high-speed oval, 72 year old George broke ranks and took his near-perfect 57 300C convertible for a joyride on the banked curves. The young’uns (and the young at heart, as above) engaged at times in some anti-social automotive hi jinx, but even that was tolerated until the venue’s management complained.
My experience might be the exception rather than the rule, but we had no gates and no ladders, just good people who wanted everyone to enjoy their cars.
BMD4800
Instructor

Drive it, enjoy it, have fun. That’s what matters.
pjhay30
Pit Crew

Please be open minded. Pass the love of on. Plenty of cars sitting in reseller warehouses...and they didn't go to family or friends...and the chain is broken. What are you doing with yours? Was at a car show pre-COVID and a guy with a Dino (yes that Ferrari) was letting kids sit in it. I do the same with my AAR and 68 Charger. You??
ModelT
Advanced Driver

We've owned everything from a self restored 1926 Model T touring to a 1977 T-top Corvette, and many in between. Most times at least one of our kids went with us. Some of my greatest memories were when a parent wanted photos of their kids 'driving' one of my old cars.
Sure, they were shiny, with fresh paint and chrome to attract big eyes on little kids. But all cars were built to sit in, drive and enjoy.
Once, our two year old got a bit too close to a beautiful Corvette convertible. The lady screamed for my son not to touch it, as he stood looking at the engine, his hands behind his back. I pointed to our shiny orange Vette close by, telling her "he won't hurt it. He's only looking."
The lady asked our son to sit in her Corvette and she took photos, realizing that all kids, and all adults won't hurt your car.
You have to remember, those short persons can't just look down into a car to see what we see from up higher. Perhaps those old photos created a few more 'car guys' and memories.
When I write or say car guys I'm including girls. My daughter and my wife are car guys too.
HowardSue
Intermediate Driver

Thank You Sir
VaCarGuy
Pit Crew

Agree completely. Boring too as I had to work to get through it.
Kewina50
Intermediate Driver

I thoroughly agree. I had to roll up my pants the further it went on. Jeesh!
ModelT
Advanced Driver

It's like following sheep .... sometimes you get in too deep!
Russ1963Pontiac
Intermediate Driver

Not so, I've seen many young people with cars not good enough for us old folks and seen them put down and made feel unwanted at car shows. Some older guys seem to forget at one time they had to start out with cars that were not up to par with the other cars on the show field. My first antique car was a 1917 Model T Ford with no rear body section ( it was a touring car someone wanted to make into a roadster and never finished ) but boy was that old Ford fun.
-Nate
Detailer

Not total nonsense but the B.S. quotient is fairly high here .

-Nate
ModelT
Advanced Driver

Sometimes there's truth in B.S.
VehicleNanny
Pit Crew

I've been to too many weekend car shows where the older guys (I'm 59) with their Chevelles and GTOs scoff at the younger drivers with their IROC-Z or Civic. I'm sure the generation before mine felt the same about people like me when I rolled up in my 79 Z28 in the early 80s. I'm retired from the auto industry, and now devote my spare time to supporting the hobby for the younger car enthusiasts. Let's give these kids their day to shine. Embrace that Fiero restoration!
Greg_I
Advanced Driver

I have a 60s Pontiac and I avoid car shows and cruise ins as much as I possibly can. As a Millennial, I hate how many people feel the need to inform me about all aspects of 60s cars even though a lot of things I have been told is complete nonsense. I also hate being told what is wrong with my car from people who aren't even showing a car. I know what is wrong with it and I don't mind, it's a driver not a show car. I feel generally unwelcome or not taken seriously. I prefer the informal cars and coffees with people my age surrounded by Subarus, Hondas, Audis, etc. I may have the oldest car there, but nobody cares. I have felt for a long time like much of the old guard is toxic if not downright hostile towards young enthusiasts.

VehicleNanny
Pit Crew

I've seen it too, Greg. Glad you found the right car show to frequent.

Greg_I
Advanced Driver

Me too. It wouldn't be so bothersome if the "advice" weren't unsolicited. Outside of shows though (gas station, parking lot, stoplights) is where I see the most genuine appreciation, so I spend my time driving.

JonMiller
Intermediate Driver

Well stated! One day I was in my workshop and had the door open. The shop faces a relatively busy street and I always enjoy an impromptu visit when someone sees what is in the garage. On one (and I hope its the only) occasion, a fellow pulls up driving an old Austin-Healy. It was a driver that had a nice patina and only smoked a little. I complimented his car and asked the polite questions about the year, engine, how long he had had it etc. When it was his turn to ask the same questions, he promptly criticized my car. I asked him to leave. He is the type of person, who, if that sort of behavior persists, dampens enthusiasm. Enjoy your ride. At the end of the day, it's all about what you like to drive.
ToniFHarder
Pit Crew

Your last sentence just nails it. Totally agree!
ModelT
Advanced Driver

At the ending, or beginning of any day, I like to drive anything with wheels, 2, 3, 4, even 18.
My Austin Healy was a bugeyed Sprite with a GM 327. I can't write what the purists said!
As a plus, I've always lived on little traveled streets with garages well back on the lots.
Swamibob
Instructor

Healy Sprite with a 327! That must've been some ride. 🙂 Even with a lo HP version that must've moved very well. How was the handling with the V* as opposed to the four? Not sure I could get the grin off my face, any time I drove something like that. 🙂
Spudsly
Intermediate Driver

So. You are not interested, or willing to learn about the history of your ride ? And, watch out for those coffe stains ...
Hagerty Fan
Not applicable

No, I think hes inferring that he doesnt need old guys to "car-splain" his car to him...

Greg_I
Advanced Driver

@Spudsly  not saying that at all. @Hagerty Fan actually nailed it. I don't mind learning, I feel that there is not a person on the planet that knows everything. But the carsplaining and being told what's "wrong" with my car or how they "would've done that differently" isn't why I'm in the hobby. Everyone gets their fair amount of carsplaining at all ages, I just find that compared to my father, I find myself in that situation more often than he does. Hence why I like cars and coffee events. Much more "come as you are" and like minded individuals who just wanna be around and converse with other owners.

Russ1963Pontiac
Intermediate Driver

I agree I've pretty well given up on car shows that give a trophy as it seems this type of show seems to attract the my car's better than anyone else's type of people. I own my old car because I like it. It doesn't matter that it's not a Mustang or a Chevelle ( both great cars but I like having something different ). I also get tired of hearing all these comments from guys who pay someone else to restore their cars. I do all my own work and in my humble opinion my car looks as nice as most and I know exactly how my engine and tranny were built.
TA76
Intermediate Driver

Don't go to the show for the trophy - most in my area are for charity. You can always find someone to have a good conversation with if you try. my conversations with guys/gals who don't work on their cars goes like this.
" Nice car did you do it yourself? (answer "No" or something close) Where did you get it done. They do nice work. What do you like best about driving it?" Always leads to a better talk.
For those who want to be critical. "Because I do lot of my own work people are always asking me what they should do with their car and I always tell them do what will make you happy. That is what I did with this car." That usually stops the stupid comments.
ModelT
Advanced Driver

Greg, I can honestly say I do know it all! Well, I did till I forgot most of it!
I still like coffee, cars, and even comedians in cars.
Since it's cold out, I'm old, and grounded till this virus is gone, all of my car shows come via YouTube.
Sometimes I still see the same cars, places, and people I saw in person down in sunny Florida, wearing shorts, T-shirts, and complaining about being 60 degrees and cold.
Why didn't I use the internet back in the 60's when I got started in this old car hobby? "Splain that to me.
CarciergeReggie
Detailer

"Does that Pontiac have a Big Block in it?" LOL
llawrence9
Intermediate Driver

A reasonable question. Depending on which Pontiac. Canadian or American build. Pontiac Parisienne was BBC from the factory. . Is it a six or V-6 or V8, or does it have a swapped BBC in it. In latter years it could have a Buick or Olds in it as well. There were also Isuzu diesel powered Pontiac 1000. Sunbirds had a SBC option.
Actually a darn good question. The Lad swapped the guts of a Tesla into it and it has no engine.
CarciergeReggie
Detailer

Your points are valid but it's only a reasonable question if your intent is to get under the skin of a Pontiac owner! I'm sure Greg-I has heard that many a time!