So what do you guys/gals do to keep the new generation interested in the old cars? I’m looking for more ideas.
I run a local car show and a couple car cruises throughout the year where I live. I have a lot of cool sponsors that give some toy cars or tools, in order to give away at the event.
Ive also had model building contests for the kids at the show. Hot wheels, or hot wheels coloring books. Things like that.
I also encourage kids to sit in the old cars as much as possible. I started doing this and some other classic owners followed suit. I also have them start them up under supervision. They seem to love it! I’m doing my best to hold their interests and explain how all the mechanics work.
Kids have a ton of things to keep their attention, phones, tablets, video games, etc.....
So any help from any of you out there, I would much appreciate. What other fun things can I do to hold their interests, and keep them coming back? Thank you all!
That is certainly a difficult question, as younger car enthusiasts seem to like things that sometimes drastically different than older folks. I mean personally it feels like mixing oil and water where I live. 😐 The night time "car meet" scene in Houston is full of millennials (not that many Gen X-ers, honestly) and the events have almost a feel of being in a night club. Or turning a parking lot into a night club?
Anyway, my advice to you is to check Instagram's location search tool (maybe Facebook, but that's kinda passe for millenials) and see what local enthusiasts do on Friday/Saturday night AND where they congregate. It is my hope that you will be inspired by what you see, and that will integrate into the hard work you already do for our motoring community.
If you need to learn more about location search read this (it gets better at the bottom): https://havecamerawilltravel.com/photographer/instagram-location-search/
Kudos to your efforts (letting kids in the cars is huge), some bullet points to try and keep this post from being a novel:
-millen & gen X like 90s and newer SUV, Japanese cars, modern muscle, lifted trucks and so on. If the show welcomes the 2004 Golf that has been "stanced" do the other participants stay open minded an welcome the car and owner?
-there is 30+ years of really solid video game car enthusiasts, and once games like Gran Turismo started feature real cars they became an influencer. Set up some consoles and let people play old versions of the games, do a model contest where you build a car in 2000s Forza style, etc. --this is the nostalgia of younger people vs. hearing a rockabilly band do 50s covers...
-influencers... Mighty Car Mods, Roadkill (now a streamed show but it started on YouTube), Hoonigan and so on... there is a lot of car content on the internet with big followings. Maybe your shows aren't to the scale to bring a personality in... but even getting a sponsor to get a prize from one of these sources (i.e., a Roadkill T-shirt, a MCM chopped sticker...) would connect to different niches.
-brand loyalty is not fighting words to most Gen X and under. 69 Mustang and Camaro are both cool... and neither as fast, grippy or efficient as a Hyundai Veloster N. Traditional car show crowds have to let go of the bias and negative perceptions "not what I would want, but cool for what it is" is much better than dumping hate on someone's joy.
-educate the "old crowd". That kid with the stanced Golf might just be the torch-bearer that decides the 62 Galaxie should be kept stock for the next 60 years after you are gone.
Yeah, I love the video game route. I'm a millennial, and a lot of my passion and knowledge behind cars stems from video games. Even to this day, I'm playing games like Forza Horizon that let you build your engines from scratch, and drive a plethora of cars ranging from America and Europe. And you can drive generations and generations of cars ranging from a 1925 Bugatti Type 35 to a 2019 Bugatti Chiron.
Another one is that the age limits for cars to enter need to go away. I've noticed in my area that there have been a few holdouts that only let 1970s and older cars attend. I think that sort of thinking will slowly strangle those events out of existence. Even though my car is a 69, I tend to avoid those shows on general principle and would rather have the oldest car at the local millennial meetup.
Can't think of anything more, but i really like your approach.
If you want kids to be interested, they gotta feel and see it. Letting them sit and start them is a big deal to them! Specially when these cars grumble and purr...! they don't hear that in today's cars!
I bought my 68 Olds 442 convertible when my boys we're 5 and 7. they are now 18 and 20. Today they spot ol' cars out to me and show interest when we go to car shows, etc.
I guess a good way to get them interested is to buy one and let them rid in it! And now, let them drive it!
I'm a millennial! I feel like a lot of people in my generation love their cars, but they don't have time to spend at a car show all day (because of kids sports, work schedules, etc) so they flock to Cars n Coffee events or cruises. We have a "cruise in" on Friday nights that a lot of younger people show up to. It is literally just a bunch of people chatting in a parking lot. We do have a DJ that shows up. There are no awards and you don't register. I'm not in the traditional kind of clubs where you meet once a month and they host a big show each year. I'm in a couple of "registries" where you join a Facebook group and can talk to others, share pictures, and meet people in your area. You get a "number" for your car and a vinyl decal to show you belong. It's fun to find other people in the registry! They have us meet at a big show once or twice a year and hold cruises throughout the season for people in the immediate area. This works well for me! My Dad lets kids sit in his cars as well. The fact of the matter is, a lot of people aren't turning wrenches in their garages like the old days, and if they are, the kids are inside playing video games. You literally have to take a kid to a car show and pass on the passion. I am a girl, I grew up around cars and car shows and I built models, played with Micro Machines and Hot Wheels, and the only car I ever wanted was a Mustang. I drive one now. I go to car shows. I go to cruise ins. I love the car girl life 🙂
Hi, over the winter, I had the kids from auto class at the high school I work, replace the engine in my 1988 Caprice Classic Brougham LS I also had them do modes to the replacement engine. Unfortunately they were unable to complete the project because of the school's being closed due to Covid19.
what you are already doing is spot on. I have often thought that car shows should include...at least once per year...a model car show for the builds the kids have done. I used to enter cars I built in a local hobby shop car show when I was a kid and that is part of the passion I still have for cars and I am now 72 years old.
I take my 71 Cutlass to a weekly cruise in at a local burger restaurant. There is a man who built a large downhill hot wheels race track. He brings the track out to the cruise in twice a month and sets it up for the kids to race cars. He sells the Hot Wheels for $1 each and 100% of the proceeds goes to the local meals on wheels. The kids love it. And, it gives us old car guys an opportunity to show off the real thing to kids who love cars.
Hey, as the youth you're talking about, this post is right up my alley. I think accepting modern tuner culture would be a huge step up. Most teenagers couldn't care any less about a COPO Camaro, but would flip at the sight of a CRX Si. A second would be to add like a video game section, like set up a TV and a XBOX.
Keeping the ideas flowing...
I second the idea of broadening entries to car shows, as you offer the opportunity to see and compare different cars to each other. I started my own passion with muscle cars, but have gone through various phases of interest to trucks, exotics, British cars... now full circle.
As my car experiences grew, so did my appreciation and passion for a broader range of cars so now I’m a fully committed car omnivore- they’re all cool!
Something else that could be good, which I’ve seen work successfully, is to put the screens down and get behind the wheel- go karting is accessible and a great “gateway” to cars and driving. The electric karting venues on up seem to generate great interest.
One more note on car shows, I agree that the time spent there can get monotonous- I’m a fan of omitting the “trophy jail” associated with a lot of car shows. Ideas to reduce or eliminate the waiting around for awards and presentations seem to be well received. I think that’s one of the reasons cars and coffee events are thriving- no judging, etc. just even peer to peer appreciation. ?
There is a youth culture, for sure. I've seen it at Lemons, it's at Radwood, it's captured in large part by the 'Roadkill/Car Craft' idea as well. (Barely a year goes by that I don't have to dodge some foolish shiny new undergrad or high school team at a Lemons race).
I think youths who are getting into cars are doing it to 'DO SOMETHING' and learn something, and will often leave shiny paint until they are further along in their automotive fun times.
At the risk of coming off as self promoting, I wrote an article for Hagerty on this very subject last summer:
Here's the TL:DR: Millennials and Gen Zers do love cars, just like their Boomer parents and Gen-Xer older siblings. The key differences are 1) Economics: We're on our second recession in 10 years, which disproportionately hurts young folks starting their careers. They don't have much extra cash with which to show their car love. 2) Style of communication: Younger people really do live online in a way that's alien to older folks (and by "older" I include myself, at 35). That doesn't mean they don't crave real-world interactions, like cruises and track days; it just means much of young peoples' car love is happening in places the 30+ crowd isn't looking.
Thanks for passing along. I really feel this because my joy for cars is experienced through a much different way than owning a classic. I play video games and post about cars online. With that said - I hope to have my own classic to drive around one day, but now's not the time. 😅