Last week I posted a link to a Washington Post article about the demise of the 'Car Culture'. (The original post is here). The gist of the piece is that it's an "old guy" thing now. Marc Vernon is a regular reader who disagrees, and he sent me this response to that piece...
My thoughts on the Car Culture article from the Washington Post (which the Tribune picked up last week as well).
Coming from the perspective of a true car guy, one that has six collector cars and being over 50 with grey hair and all, I'm not exactly one of the 'old farts' they talk about and that I do see at shows and cruise nights, but I'm far from expiring any time soon, either.
The article touched on a lot of stuff not exactly related to 'car culture'. To me, the culture part is the love of the auto in all its forms, from styling and performance to heritage and lifestyle.
The demographics I see at car shows still run the gamut, from teenagers to octogenarians. Yes, there is some 'aging out' that is occurring in this hobby, but there are still a raft of younger enthusiasts coming up in the ranks. Case in point, I went to SuperCar Saturday last week in Bolingbrook and the average age of the hundreds if not thousands of people there was about 30-35 years old, with groups of high-schoolers running around like paparazzi taking photos of cars (with real cameras!) as they entered the show.
The younger set these days are into contemporary muscle cars like Mustangs, Camaros and Corvettes or exotics like Nissan GTRs, Lamborghinis and Porsches. Not exactly the chrome-laden, over-finned metal from the fifties, but the love of the automobile is still there. Afterall, all these cars still have four wheels, an engine, a steering wheel and seats.
Also, economically, it's not as easy to become a car guy at a young age, as the days of 'I bought my first hot rod for $50' are long gone but today's whippersnappers do what they can to enter the hobby as best they can.
So car culture is far from dead in the U.S.; it's just changing somewhat as everything does as time marches on and technology advances and tastes evolve. That's my one-minute take on the subject.