I am a self-described car guy. I own an objectively classic car, a subjectively classic car and I am currently doing a major restoration on another objectively classic car.
Outside of that, I have a nine-year-old truck and my wife has a six-year-old minivan.
I maintain all these vehicles. So yeah, I am a car guy.
Here’s the catch, I really think the most interesting days of car and car culture are behind us. Put it this way, the car (as we know it) is the VCR and the year is 1999.
A couple of years ago it was legislated in North America that all new passenger vehicles must be equipped with backup cameras. The EU just passed legislation that auto emergency braking must be equipped on all new vehicles. These things are probably for the best, but I guess because I’m now 40 and not 10, I’m more sensitive to these changes than I was when airbags and seatbelts were mandated. I see these changes as a departure from what I grew up with and possible barriers of me being able to maintain these new cars myself. Those thoughts scare me.
I had this reoccurring nightmare when I was a child that by the time that I was old enough to drive, the car would be gone and we’d all get around like the Jetsons. Eventually, that nightmare subsided to the reality of me being a licensed driver in a world that still had Plymouth Dusters and Acclaims readily available. Although every other vehicle on the road was a cab-forward nightmare.
Now it’s twenty-five years later and all those disposable cars of my youth are gone and Dusters and their brethren are $10,000 investments. Hell, uninteresting more-door sedans are becoming hard to come by. When was the last time you saw a Chevy Celebrity?
I asked a twenty-four-year-old coworker, who I guilted into getting a driver license (I convinced him that girls would find it off-putting to have to take the bus to get to his room at his parent’s place for “Netflix and chill”), what he was interested in a new car. “A safe one” was his reply. I informed him that there is no such thing of an inherently “unsafe” car being sold today.
Manufacturers have been pushing safety in car commercials for so long you’d think that a car from 1989 was a deathtrap and a car from 1969 could only be approached by a professional in a fire-suit and a helmet. If you only ever viewed the world through the warped logic of Subaru commercials you’d think if you drive anything other than a Subaru will void your life insurance.
Vehicles are so polarizing now. I go into a bit of a social media scrum with someone who thought the latest version of the Chevy Volt was the most exciting thing available on the current car market. I replied to his post that, although the Volt was interesting, I thought the Dodge Challenger 6.4 was probably more exciting. This started a long and grueling back and forth that ended with him blocking me. I guess it was my fault as he meant “exciting” as “a brave new day for the environment” and I meant “exciting” as in “sex in an alley with a good-looking stranger”.
But getting back to my co-worker living at home with no driver’s license – there’s a large portion of my generation, and the one coming up now, that doesn’t view a car more than their largest appliance.
When I asked what make or model of a vehicle he was interested in he couldn’t name a make… or a model. I even prodded him with WRX (that’s what the kids are into right?). I was met with a blank stare.
End of Part 1
By Angus Sutherland–Car Addict in Residence
Angus Sutherland is a freelance contributor to MyStarCollectorCar. He’s got his hands dirty on many occasions so he knows all about the less glamorous side of the hobby. Take a look at one of his automotive odysseys in his blog The TR6 Project.
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