MARCH 19, 2014: DARK DAYS AHEAD–WHY THE BUBBLE WILL EVENTUALLY BURST IN THE OLD CAR HOBBY

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The old car hobby is currently alive and well in 2014.

 

Barrett-Jackson’s prices at Scottsdale showed a healthy market for the old iron and a recovery from the 2008 collapse in the US economy.

 

The times are good right now and for the foreseeable future, but the biggest threat to the old car hobby is still ahead for car guys.

 

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The time will come when the current population of car guys will have to pass the torch to the next generation and I doubt whether the younger population will embrace the hobby with enough enthusiasm to keep the old iron on the road and out of museums.

 

By next generation, I mean an under-30 crowd because their interests are far removed from the old car hobby in most cases. They have grown up in a wired generation where they are interested in more power in their I-phones than under the hood of their cars, if they even own a car.

 

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There are exceptions to the rules when it comes to the younger crowd, but they are definitely less interested in cars than previous generations.

 

The actual car guys in the younger generation have also developed different car tastes because they have been exposed to a different kind of car during their lifetimes. Tuner cars and modern technology provide a faster, lighter and smaller road rocket that will beat up the bigger competition from a bygone era.

 

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The idea of a stock big block monster from Detroit’s muscle car era getting spanked by a stock twin-turbo 4-banger in a quarter mile showdown is no longer an unlikely scenario.

 

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Also, the influx of foreign cars into the North American car market has eroded the brand loyalties built by the Big Three when they dominated the sales of vehicles in bygone years.

 

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The net result is a new car guy whose interests have expanded well beyond the traditional old school car guy boundaries. They have grown up during a time when new-tech horsepower is acquired in a completely different manner from simple brute force, size and torque.

 

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The younger car guys can own a vehicle that will fly down the road and past the gas pumps because they also get great mileage from their new age cars.

 

The next-gen car guy who may want to own an old classic is also put off by the sticker price when he sees the cost of a old school ride.

 

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Most will be unable to afford the old iron until they reach the age of the current owners, but even then the cars will never represent the cars of their youth like the current older car guys.

 

These cars will mean even less to the new generation by the time the younger car guys get older and search for their own nostalgia on four wheels.

 

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They will embrace the nostalgia of the cars from their own youth and will likely view the old iron in much the same way current car guys look at stock Model Ts from before their time: interesting but not even close to interesting enough to own one.

 

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The future does not look good for the old iron but older car guys who currently own them should just enjoy the ride and, when it comes to the old ride’s rear tires, smoke ’em if you got ’em ( plenty of old school horses under that vintage hood).

 

Jim Sutherland

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