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Variance

The Auto Enthusiast Appeal

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The Auto Enthusiast Appeal

-Variance

June 6, 2006

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Automotive enthusiasts and enthusiasm have and has existed probably for as long as cars have been around. There have been many automotive clubs, websites and magazines. You can read books and/or watch movies (such as Cars, a pic of which is above) or television programs featuring cars and driving. Of course, if automotive enthusiasm is nothing new, why am I bothering to write anything about this? It’s like writing about the new phenomenon of bathing or eating. Well, to some, those may be new things but I digress…

The point is I think car enthusiasm is at its strongest level ever. All you have to do is look around…

Cars is not the only car-themed entertainment currently out there. The third installment of The Fast and the Furious, subtitled Tokyo Drift, is set to hit theaters soon. On TV, there are countless automotive programs to choose from: Overhaulin’, King of Cars, Pimp My Ride, Pinks and more. Also, there are going to be new television series featuring GM and Ford.

Hell, I think cars and their enthusiasts are influencing things that have nothing to do with cars. There are dishwashers with direct injection, Dunkin Donuts has “Turbo Ice” coffee, I have an “RT” (think Dodge) Sharpie marker. It seems more things are being designed to appeal to people that are into cars.

My point? I’ll be honest, when I started to write this, I didn’t really have one. It was more of an observation but I’ll try to make one.

I guess it’s that more and more people are getting into cars and companies are trying to cash in on it. And who’s to say the influence won’t increase? Auto manufacturers have already taken actions based on the opinions and wants of the enthusiast community:

-The removal of the big chrome slab on the front of the hood of the new Lincoln Navigator effectively making it 10% less laugh-out loud hideous.

-The addition of a traditional manual gearbox in the BMW M5.

-The Chevy SSR was built in response to an overwhelming response to build it from enthusiasts (yes, we know the aftermath of that but bear with my point that I’m already struggling with).

-I’m not entirely sure on this one but I think people such as us helped GM decide to bring the Opel/Vauxhall Astra here as a Saturn.

-In addition, there’s GM’s consideration of making more of their cars RWD.

In short, I think this is the greatest time to be a auto enthusiast. Not only do we have many great cars to choose from these days but we are helping to make some of them available and shape them more to our likings. The manufacturers seem more open and to care more about what we think. I mean, why shouldn’t they? If we don’t like it, we won’t buy it. More of us should take advantage of this. Don’t like something about a car’s design? Want a car they make but don’t sell here? Tell the manufacturer or start a petition. A while ago, I would have questioned whether petitions were worth the time but these days, I think they just might have some kind of impact.

So, there you are…and if I haven’t made my point clear, just go back to considering this an observation and nothing more. That way we both can’t lose.

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Good Article, Variance. Now get yourself a Turbo Ice coffee, and unstick youself from the pleather.

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Guest YellowJacket894

There's proof of this in the C&G Underground Chevelle Project.

Two examples are:

Powertrain

...[3.6L] HFV6 with DOD...

(Can you guess what engine -- similar or alike -- GM just introduced recently?)

Styling

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(And look at the '08 Malibu...)

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:AH-HA_wink:

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I feel that automotive enthusiasm is waning. Yes, there are more TV shows around dedicated to automotive pursuits, but that's mostly because of the growth of 24-hour cable TV channels with airtime to fill...and one dedicated "automotive" (read: NASCAR) channel. And yes, there are more automotive websites than ever, but there are more porn sites than ever...and more kid's sites...and women's sites...and....it's just part of the growth of the internet. And two movies based around automotive themes just join the long history of automobiles in Hollywood.

The problem I see is that young people have many more interests to pursue. From the internet to video games to extreme sports to everything else, cars aren't the overwhelming interest to teenage boys anymore...and never has been a big draw to girls.

As an automotive historian, I see fewer and fewer young people looking into old cars. You couldn't walk down the street 30 years ago without tripping over an old car freak...now you have to search them out.

I've spent a few years trying to turn young people (under 30) onto old cars and automotive history. But the search for people who even find old cars intriguing has been tough.

I would love to agree with the intial posting, but from my perspective, it doesn't seem to be the truth.

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I think we helped the SRX too. I remember GM started with this ugly dark grey part on the lower bumper. We all bitched and moaned, and it came out with a body coloured lower bumper.

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I feel that automotive enthusiasm is waning.

...

I see fewer and fewer young people looking into old cars. You couldn't walk down the street 30 years ago without tripping over an old car freak...now you have to search them out.

Hmmm...I wonder if it is the area that you are in? I only ask because around here ... a lot of kids (er, younger than me) are into older cars. Many of 'em show up at the car shows held in the area nightly ... and I know quite a few from my various car clubs/groups.....

*shrugs*

Cort, "Mr MC" / "Mr Road Trip", 32swm/pig valve/pacemaker

MC:family.IL.guide.future = http://www.chevyasylum.com/cort/

Models.HO = http://www.chevyasylum.com/cort/trainroom.html

"I'm just out to find the better part of me" ... 5 For Fighting ... 'Superman'

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Hmmm...I wonder if it is the area that you are in?  I only ask because around here ... a lot of kids (er, younger than me) are into older cars.  Many of 'em show up at the car shows held in the area nightly ... and I know quite a few from my various car clubs/groups.....

*shrugs*

I don't think so...but I'm not sure. Southern, eastern, and southeastern Pennsylvania (along with western and southern New Jersey and north eastern Maryland) are prime areas for the automotive culture. We're stocked with museums, clubs, and cruise events. This seems like a perfect place to take the nation's pulse on automotive enthusiasm.

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I would have to agree with Hudson here.

Used to be you could slap a set of spare plates on a vintage car and rip around with minimal fear; today the car is impounded, you are possibly jailed & the fines are towering. Not to mention what this does to your insurance. As a teenager, getting a car and getting it on the road is more regulated & expensive than ever. Add to that the fact that modern cars are nearly impossible to work on for the shade-tree mechanic, and where's the fun anymore?

I once drove an uninsured, unregistered, uninspected, fiticious-plates car around for a day. There was a hole in the windshield where the inspection sticker went. Good memory, that one (got a number of similar ones!) Today, the loopholes are all sewn up, and that in itself limits enthusiasm to some degree.

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people used to be AUDIOPHILES.

now, people either listen to poor quality mp3's on iPods or are enomored more with movies and videos and video games than pure audio on breathtaking equipment.

Cars have kind of gone the same way. Folks seems to have less consciousness about driver's hardware like handling and steering and even engines. And they now prefer crossovers and large SUV's, because of style and image and trend, rather than high quality sensory driving experience.

Hipness, convenience and sense of new seem to matter more to people than executing a function to a high level in and of itself.

Edited by regfootball

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I don't think so...but I'm not sure. Southern, eastern, and southeastern Pennsylvania (along with western and southern New Jersey and north eastern Maryland) are prime areas for the automotive culture. We're stocked with museums, clubs, and cruise events. This seems like a perfect place to take the nation's pulse on automotive enthusiasm.

Hmm...well, the PA, NJ and NY Monte Carlo clubs are alive and kickin', from what I understand. They have BBQs and events throughout the year.....

And, I have a bunch of friends in the areas you mentioned ... most of whom are enthusiasts....

Still ... I see what you're saying, in a way, I guess.....

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On the same line as what Reg suggests, there isn't as much enthusiasm for older cars as there is for current and future cars.

I dunno... Were the major Auto Shows ever more crowded than they are today?

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Guest YellowJacket894

On the same line as what Reg suggests, there isn't as much enthusiasm for older cars as there is for current and future cars.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

What about the trend where people buy old Caprices off of Old Man Jenkins down the street and add on those (disgusting) huge ass rims, etc.

Personally, I'm in my mid-teens and I plan on buying a First-Generation F-Body.

I really wouldn't make it sound like there is so little intrest in a classic car. Sure, people are really looking forward to the new Camaro, Impala, Challenger, and so on. But I don't think classic car buyers are going to dwindle in numbers anytime soon, especially considering that the value of a classic increases per year and the investment pays off.

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Well I'm in southeastern PA and there is a local Cruise Night once a month that attracts from 300-400 cars if the weather is good and numerous larger shows throughout the year. People of all ages (and cars of all ages) show up in droves, young and old. And each year the Carlisle shows get bigger.

As for old cars and the interest level in them, I have two words:

Barret-Jackson

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One question, one point.

Well I'm in southeastern PA and there is a local Cruise Night once a month that attracts from 300-400 cars if the weather is good and numerous larger shows throughout the year. People of all ages (and cars of all ages) show up in droves, young and old. And each year the Carlisle shows get bigger.

Where's your Cruise Night...I'd like to see it.

As for old cars and the interest level in them, I have two words:

Barret-Jackson

What's their ages....the cars and the buyers? Buyers are not all that young (and can't be with the price tags at the auction). And cars are getting YOUNGER; pre-war cars are getting cheaper while relatively new cars from the muscle-car era are getting more expensive. When a hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind car from the 1930s is cheaper than a mass-produced (albeit with a rare option or two) two-door sedan from the 1960s, Barrett-Jackson doesn't show much for the progress of automotive enthusiasm.

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Well I'm in southeastern PA and there is a local Cruise Night once a month that attracts from 300-400 cars if the weather is good and numerous larger shows throughout the year. People of all ages (and cars of all ages) show up in droves, young and old. And each year the Carlisle shows get bigger.

I suspect some of my MC buds are at that local cruise night, tho, I'm not sure.

The First Gen MC Club had its Eastern Meet at Carlisle last year.... Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend :(.

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Well I'm in southeastern PA and there is a local Cruise Night once a month that attracts from 300-400 cars if the weather is good and numerous larger shows throughout the year. People of all ages (and cars of all ages) show up in droves, young and old. And each year the Carlisle shows get bigger.

As for old cars and the interest level in them, I have two words:

Barret-Jackson

I've noticed the same thing when I'm back visiting family in Eastern Ohio...there are a lot of old car shows in the little towns there..something every weekend it seems from May-Sept..lots of neat (mostly restored, since it's not called the Rust Belt for nothing) vintage cars of all types can be seen...

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One question, one point.

Where's your Cruise Night...I'd like to see it.

What's their ages....the cars and the buyers? Buyers are not all that young (and can't be with the price tags at the auction). And cars are getting YOUNGER; pre-war cars are getting cheaper while relatively new cars from the muscle-car era are getting more expensive. When a hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind car from the 1930s is cheaper than a mass-produced (albeit with a rare option or two) two-door sedan from the 1960s, Barrett-Jackson doesn't show much for the progress of automotive enthusiasm.

It is in Chesterbrook( Valley Forge) and I'd love to catch up with you at one of these shows. Takes place on the 4th Saturday of each month until November.

Point taken about the shift from antiques to musclecars at B-J, but I think it reflects the aging of the population interested in pre-1950s cars more than an overall change in the level of auto enthusiasm in general. In a few decades, the same fate will likely befall cars of the first musclecar era. Values will drop and something else will be the hot trend in collectible cars.

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It is in Chesterbrook( Valley Forge) and I'd love to catch up with you at one of these shows. Takes place on the 4th Saturday of each month until November.

Point taken about the shift from antiques to musclecars at B-J, but I think it reflects the aging of the population interested in pre-1950s cars more than an overall change in the level of auto enthusiasm in general. In a few decades, the same fate will likely befall cars of the first musclecar era. Values will drop and something else will be the hot trend in collectible cars.

Are these shows during the day or in the evening? If it's during the day, remind me in two weeks...if it's in the evening, remind me next month.

I wonder if the prices of older cars will continue to slip as the people who remember them from their childhood age and die...will I be able to buy a Duesenberg or classic Bugatti in 20 years for a "reasonable" price?

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The shows usually run from late afternoon until just after dark. As for the rest, "reasonable" is relative and I suspect that Duesenbergs are somewhat immune. I would say to look at the current prices on '40s and '30s stuff in general, prices seem to be down(except for street rods).

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Hudson has a point about old cars not attracting the youth. Think about it, who really wants to remember the K-Car or any of the other cheap ass 80 and early 90's cars. Hell even the mid to late 70's were pretty ugly and non-inspirational auto's.

Today youth like my son looks at the STI, WRX, Evo, Cobalt, Retro Mustang, R35 and this is what kids are into. They can look at the 60's and early 70's and see great road machines, but for the last 30 years auto's have sucked pretty much except for the rare machine like the early 90's monte carlo, the Impala SS of the mid 90's, the GMC syclone and typhoon. There are those rare glimps where you could find amazing machines, but the cost are just too high now adays.

Auto Clubs will grow in some areas and die in others. Based on the cost of things this will tend to bring more and more seperation between the have and have nots that can really afford auto"s.

We will have to strive to keep the memory alive so that it does not burn out and die. :(

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...the rare machine like the early 90's monte carlo

Hrm. Well, yes, that would be rare ... since the MC ended production in 1987 ... and didn't come back, well, Chevy claims it came back, in 1995.....

At any rate, I don't know ... maybe I see more of the youth into the older cars ... because I look for/seek out/associate with them more ... and pay less attention to the youngsters with the newer cars....

*shrugs*

Cort, "Mr MC" / "Mr Road Trip", 32swm/pig valve/pacemaker

MC:family.IL.guide.future = http://www.chevyasylum.com/cort/

Models.HO = http://www.chevyasylum.com/cort/trainroom.html

What's it like to buy your favorite car brand new? Wish I knew...

"You've made a fool of everyone" ... Jet ... 'Look What You've Done'

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