The largest numbers in a demographic group since the Baby Boomers can be found in the Millennial generation.


Millennials (aka Generation Y) were born between the early Eighties and late Nineties, give or take a few years.


The earliest and oldest crop of Millennials are now adults in their 30s, while the youngest are in the last throes of late adolescence.


Millennials represent the future as consumers and decision-makers and they will bring their own philosophy to the game.


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This group of young 21st century adults have grown up in a cyber-world where they have forged their major interests in a new world where gigabytes mean much more to them than horsepower. Generally speaking, Millennials have displayed the least interest in internal combustion engines since the generation that disliked the first cars because it scared their horses in the late 19th century.




So how does one get a kid to buy into the old car hobby? For some Millennials, it is simply a matter of influence from their parents or grandparents. They were fortunate enough to grow up in a family where the car hobby was alive and well in the garage behind their house.




These Millennials were born into a car guy family and just ran with it, so there is no sales pitch needed to get buy-in from them when it comes to the vintage car hobby.




Some Millennials are gearheads who want to blaze their own trial in the car hobby. They are drawn to new age tuner cars that are closer to them in age and are essentially the source of automotive inspiration for these 21st century hot-rodders.




The tuner cars offer a unique way to combine the car hobby with the computer world for Millennials. The little four and six-bangers under the hood of tuners can be built into chipped-up, super-charged monsters that can devour the competition on the street or track.




The Millennials’ replacement for displacement is a tricked-out tiny engine in a small car with the best power to weight ratio in the laws of physics.




But how do you get a Millennial to buy into a ride that was built when his parents or grandparents were still at the courting stage in life? One way is to offer the kid the actual courting car if it is still in the family. Surprisingly, there are numerous examples of these family legacy rides that do stand the test of time and family loyalty. MSCC has written many stories about multi-generational vehicles.





Another way is to work on the Millennial’s desire to stand out in a crowded world of peers who find their collective sameness in face rings, Kool Aid-colored hair, and a confusing array of impulse-driven tattoos. An old car will give them a unique identity that is unlike anything else they can find in a world where young people want to stand out in a cool way.




The vehicle choice might be a way to sway a Millennial into the vintage car hobby. We have found younger people identify more with smaller rides and pickup trucks when it comes to interest. First-gen Mustangs fit the bill, as do Novas and Darts for Millennials. Older pickup trucks are just naturally cool for Millennials because they have been featured so often in movies and videos.




There may also be a way to engage Millennials in the car hobby through resto-mods, customs and Pro-Street rides. These vehicles can be a solid compromise between old school style and new age automotive technology. They can offer a bridge between the old and the new for Millennials because they can perform like a new car with all the creature comforts found in the new rides, but they retain their retro good looks in the mix.




Our final suggestion about how to get a Millennial to buy into the car hobby is the rat rod. They are personal statement rides that are built to the owner’s personal vision of coolness. Rat rods are also an affordable way to get into the hobby for a young Millennial who wants to jump into the game.




Those of us from earlier generations should do our best to welcome Millennials into the car hobby because one day they will be the people who decide the fate of the hobby. 


Jim Sutherland


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