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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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Community Manager

Agreed. All later TV/Movies of that series were pretty horrible.  

Community Manager

@SamAdamsPaleAle one day I need to meet a millenial/GEN Z member that can explain the fascination with the 1980s.  I get it, because I was a kid back then, but it's frankly amazing to see younger people like crazy things like VCR filters on their videos and a lot of the cheeseball things that I assumed were gonna age poorly...guess not! 


Moog as in the artist that nicknamed himself after the keyboard/synth? Pretty sure he has a presence on iTunes.
Community Manager

MOOG is also a person?  Wow, I learn something new every day.  
New Driver

Cool cars, cool videos all done to 80’s synth music? The downside is what? 

Community Manager

Glad you see it our way 🙂 

New Driver

Why would I want to leave a 65 Mustang for a Maserati Gran Turismo? You think that's too old for us youngins? I think this sort of music would still go fine with a classic, American, muscle car. I actually want to make some music videos similar to these, with some shots of my classics driving the local country roads.

Community Manager

I want to see that.  I would probably even pay to help make that happen. 

Gen Z have an odd obsession with the 1980s because to be fair, life now kinda sucks quarentine excluded. Climate change, a feeling of helplessness, and over all a bad time makes us want something pretty good. Not to mention, most of our generation's parents were either Gen X or early millennials, so we grew up on that. I distinctly remember my mom putting on dire straits for a 5 year old me. I hope this comment was too doomy gloomy, but a combination of feeling bad and wanting good has made us idealize the 1980s.

Community Manager

That's a fair assessment and it makes sense.  Your generation is really getting the short end of the stick: two major fallouts in 11-12 years is not cool.  I was lucky to grow up in the relatively calm 1980s, so yeah, I can see why that era has a lot going for it now more than ever.