by Kelley Timms
A few nights ago after work, I came into the house only to find my 9-year old and my 6-year old deeply engrossed in “one of the finest episodes of Spongebob Squarepants ever”. It was a beautiful day outside and this, coupled with my distain for Spongebob, sent me spiraling immediately to a level of irritation I had not been to in a long time. I told my kids, “Everyone outside now!”
As we went out through the garage, we had to pass my ’73 Camaro RS, which is in the “put-together” stage and has been for quite some time. I told myself I had to finish the Camaro and I wondered how I could involve my kids in this project– so they actually learn something about cars. Would they even want to learn and appreciate classic cars as their dad does? This led back to the office the next day and we posted up on a couple of the popular car forums this question: What do you do to help further the hobby to the next generation? Needless to say, the responses were great. We got a lot of them from car people of all ages.
Here’s a sampling:
“Well my youngest son out of three is the only one interested in old cars. I try to keep him and his friends involved where I can and take them out driving in it to keep their interest up. I also had to embrace the tuner cars as these young guys are really into that. The Fast and Furious movies have sure had their impact on these younger kids.”
“I grew up liking cowboys, horses and Colt 45s. Nobody cares about cowboys anymore. Old cars and hot rodding will probably go the same way. New generations grow up with new heroes and interests.”
“What we find in New Zealand is a strong following by the young for the “tuner” cars. But, that doesn’t stop them from dreaming of owning the classic or custom rods that we enjoy. We have a strong following of the classic cars. We just returned from the annual Beach Hop where over 4,500 cars were gathered. There were crowds over 100,000 easy to watch the parades, etc.”
“I know my 32 year old daughter has no interest in my ’55 at all. She only has one very fond memory of it– after going through a couple tranny changes, there was a big hole in the floor around the shifter and she thought it was so cool that she could see the road as I drove.”
“I think to some degree it is in the genes. My grandfather owned a gas station in Oregon in the ’50s, both of my uncles were gear head car builders, and I have been laying under cars since I was 16. My neighbor lady once told me that as a teenager she had never seen me without a grease smear somewhere. My son and I have been building cars together since he was twelve. I guess we can’t help ourselves. As long as the gear head gene keeps reoccurring in our gene pool, the hobby is safe.”
I think the bottom line we need to take in from these forum posts is: You get what you give. So, the next time a young person asks you, “What kind of car is that?” Take the time and give them your best gear head answer because you never know the influence you can have over a young person interested in our hobby. I’m off to buy my kids a set of Craftsman wrenches. That way, we can get the Camaro done by the time they are old enough to drive it!
For more information on introducing the younger set to our classic car hobby, visit this website: www.takeakidtoacarshow.com