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Hagerty Employee

Synthwave car culture: A new wave of automotive enthusiasts

I was once a man of loosely defined, youthful ambitions: I wanted to pursue a career in automotive design and meet folks that would forever alter my path. The Glassell School of Art introduced me to a woman in her late 50s who, at first glance, seemed like another free spirit seeking inspiration via afternoon workshops. That changed when she busted out a copy of Blood Sugar Sex Magik in an open studio. The past 23 years fogged my memory, but one comment remains clear:


"I crave the music that young people enjoy. I need their inspiration, their energy to create ... the Red Hot Chili Peppers motivates me."


After that exchange, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing that crazy diamond gettin' her shine on. Perhaps that's why I'm following in her footsteps with the electronic music of Gen Z and millennials, which I discovered because of their bottomless love of modern classics on YouTube. I stumbled upon a trove of videos starring everything from a Nissan 240SX or BMW E36 to a Corvette C4, Lexus LS400, or Mazda RX-7, all overlaid with synthesized tunes. This isn't some obscure corner of the internet; it's a full-blown automotive subculture.


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holy crap. Thank you! Gen Z and most of the later millennials have a weird fascination of the 1980s. We see it as some distant utopia, and I guess the media most Gen Z car guys consume reflects that.
Intermediate Driver

Not my cup of coffee, but not any less because of it. The more things change, the more they stay the same. 🙂


Better get used to it George, because I’m planning on covering a lot of it 🙂


"It's still rock 'n' roll to me..."   [tuner = hot rod and so on]


This music makes me think of Moog (even if it isn't a correct match) and video games. This isn't a bad thing.


I've found myself looking at ads of for sale C4s lately. Probably doesn't happen, but wouldn't have been something I'd have looked up even 4 years ago. I was a kid when they were the "cool new Vette" and then became the maligned generation (not Mustang II level ---I appreciate them now too).


I think there is a sweet justice to a stanced C4 at a show getting more attention from the under 45 crowd than more "valuable" cars.

Community Manager

Think less MOOG and more Roland TR-808...that's the sound of a lot of modern music.  


Ya know, that is a form of justice I stand behind.  Now if only we could do something to improve the status of the Mustang II. 


I will admit, the video above is most of the reason I bought my Trans AM

Pit Crew

These videos are making want to watch and post the intro to “Knight Rider”. The original version of course. 🙂 with Hasselhoff!

Community Manager

That is awesome, I knew this would bring more enthusiasts into the community.
Pit Crew

Wow coincidence! I had to watch the opening credit to Knight Rider after reading the article but a minute before i saw your comment!

Im a “ford guy” but obsessed with Kitt 🙂