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Pedal Smasher
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This thread will be for discussions on why there has been a steady decline and interest in owning automobiles with the millennial generation and generation Z, which is starting to enter the work force and enter college. Please wait till posts have been moved from Autoholism - Your Story.
 

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1981 to 1996. Since those were the years of" what we would say a lack of inspiration in the Automotive industry" I can understand the lack of interest. Just a guess.
 

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Über Genius
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Unfortunately, the whole concept of ownership, in general, is going by the wayside.

The most troubling one is the ownership of one's own actions.

I blame it on society frowning on parents spanking their kids.

(I know this isn't a soapbox thread so I will stop there)
 

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One factor which I’ve never seen in print, is that there has been a huge migration from country to city. While city populations continue to grow, rural populations are on the decline. If you live in the country, having a car and a backup car is essential. If you live in the heart of a major city, owning a car is a liability. No place to park it, congested streets, etc. mass transit is much cheaper than car payments, insurance, and maintenance.
 

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Detritus Maximus
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Hmmm! For some people, having thoughts in their head also puts those thoughts in their A$$. JMHO -- Doug
Corollary: In such cases, if you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, it's because your mouth is open.
 

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Detritus Maximus
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My opinion, some of these changes in society are welcome. If you are the type that feels cars are a burdensome appliance, then you should not get one if you can live without one. Makes life easier for those of us that do want to have one. You will not be borrowing my tools. You will not need my help changing your oil. You will not call me at midnight to come get you when your 'just stopped running'. I will not be fixing your car because you A: didn't want to spend more money on a decent car, B: didn't want to spend money on preventative maintenance or it was inconvenient, C: now that it is broke, still don't want to spend your money to fix it, but will spend my time. Or any combination.

I don't mind self driving cars. It's the same thing, if driving is a chore you will never be good at it. Therefore, you are less likely to be good at it and more likely to make boneheaded actions.


I like electric cars. The air will be cleaner. The world will be quieter (modern cars are super quiet, but old mufflers still sound like old mufflers). And our old gas burners will be less of a concern environmentally as they will be a rapidly declining percentage of vehicles on the road. Although, gas will become more expensive, the guys running diesel Rabbits on biodiesel will do fine as America will never give up deep fried anything.

The more 'boring' new cars are, the more interest there will be to save/restore/keep the old cars by all the new younger folk who want to tinker and already suffering from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).
 

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My opinion, some of these changes in society are welcome. If you are the type that feels cars are a burdensome appliance, then you should not get one if you can live without one. Makes life easier for those of us that do want to have one. You will not be borrowing my tools. You will not need my help changing your oil. You will not call me at midnight to come get you when your 'just stopped running'. I will not be fixing your car because you A: didn't want to spend more money on a decent car, B: didn't want to spend money on preventative maintenance or it was inconvenient, C: now that it is broke, still don't want to spend your money to fix it, but will spend my time. Or any combination.

I don't mind self driving cars. It's the same thing, if driving is a chore you will never be good at it. Therefore, you are less likely to be good at it and more likely to make boneheaded actions.


I like electric cars. The air will be cleaner. The world will be quieter (modern cars are super quiet, but old mufflers still sound like old mufflers). And our old gas burners will be less of a concern environmentally as they will be a rapidly declining percentage of vehicles on the road. Although, gas will become more expensive, the guys running diesel Rabbits on biodiesel will do fine as America will never give up deep fried anything.

The more 'boring' new cars are, the more interest there will be to save/restore/keep the old cars by all the new younger folk who want to tinker and already suffering from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).
Of course the air will be cleaner since the electricity comes straight from a socket in the wall. At least that's the impression I get from the electric car hype.:)
 

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Of course the air will be cleaner since the electricity comes straight from a socket in the wall. At least that's the impression I get from the electric car hype.:)
But what fires the plant that supplies the electricity for the car? Here in NC Duke power is involved in Coal Ash settlement ponds that have flooded over and released coal ash into the water. A very good example is the coal ash problem in the Dan River. Flooded over and 2 to 3 in of ash along the river bottom. It is in a layer that will never go away, just be covered up with silt from upriver,. Link to local spill is here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Dan_River_coal_ash_spill ,5 years later, https://www.greensboro.com/news/state/years-after-dan-river-coal-ash-spill-duke-energy-close/article_de8d0fa9-43e8-5b83-85d1-b253683a0548.html
Fine is here, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/duke-energy-corporation-agrees-6-million-fine-coal-ash-spill-north-carolina/ they, (Duke Power) wanted the customers to pay and we are, but they suckered us by installing new electric meters, then hiked prices. Look hard enough in the above articles and you'll find about 6 plants that have this coal ash problem. Dan River (Eden Plant),(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Norman), Lake Julian, Asheville Nc. Citizen Times article Ie radioactivity here: https://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2018/05/01/answer-man-lake-julian-safe-despite-reports-radioactivity/565184002/
I am all for clean energy, but realistically it isn't going to happen soon, and at what cost to the consumers? Jarrell
 

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The more 'boring' new cars are, the more interest there will be to save/restore/keep the old cars by all the new younger folk who want to tinker and already suffering from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).
The problem with this statement is that everything you describe removes the trigger that generates the future interest in restoring old cars. The evidence would appear to be that there is a shrinking population of people that want to tinker, resulting in reduced demand for the available iron. The law of supply and demand works.
 

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Detritus Maximus
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Of course the air will be cleaner since the electricity comes straight from a socket in the wall. At least that's the impression I get from the electric car hype.:)
To me it's about efficiency. We can be more efficient with a stationary power plant than with all those idling cars spewing small amounts of carbon and stuff into the air. Even though the cars are way more efficient than they used to be, we have way more cars on the road because of way more drivers on the road. The waste built into the system because this or that fuel is more profitable is ridiculous. Look at how much natural gas is burned off (creating more pollutants) simply because the oil company makes more profit on the oil it's pumping and refining. We are not talking 'losing money' on the collection of that gas, just not as much profit.


We already have an electrical power grid to distribute. Wind and solar are a boost, not a replacement, to the old power plants. Coal is just a nasty necessary evil with a long history of large environmental and health issues. Not to mention the weird cultural addiction to a single industry that it has created in coal country.


As for the involvement of new generations in the car hobby, I just don't see the issue. It won't be the same as it was, but nothing ever is. There are plenty of old cars still out there waiting for someone if people stop cutting up cars for a few parts. And nice ones just get more valuable. the best analogy I can come up with is the art world. It is already to the point that the super rare high-dollar stuff is handled and treated like a Rembrandt. I see more of that as time goes on as no one is making new old cars (not exactly a true statement, is that?). It seems to be happening even with our Opels. When the prices get out of reach people look around for the next best thing.

And don't discount the interest in newer cars. There will always be hotrodding. And, honestly, if there is a lack of old cars to meet demand, which I doubt, someone will make something. I could see a resurgence of the kit industry using newer components.
 

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Detritus Maximus
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The problem with this statement is that everything you describe removes the trigger that generates the future interest in restoring old cars. The evidence would appear to be that there is a shrinking population of people that want to tinker, resulting in reduced demand for the available iron. The law of supply and demand works.
Shrinking percentage, but increasing total. Look at all the interest in rally cars due to the gaming industry. If it wasn't for those games Subaru probably wouldn't be as popular as it has been for the past fifteen years.
 

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Pedal Smasher
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Discussion Starter #17
I was hoping the convo that started this would have been moved over here, from Autoholism - Your Story. I guess no such luck. I'm going to repost what the main reason I believe is behind the decline of automobile ownership.

I think the main reason however is exposure, or a lack thereof, to automobiles growing up. Baby boomers were surrounded by cars, it was a massive part of society. They grew up in an era where THE thing to do on a Friday night for much of the US, was to cruise the main drag. Go over to the dinner and get a burger, then chill with your friends in someone's car. It was a pretty big deal for a teenager to have access to a car on Friday night. Cars became integral to the first real teenage social structure in baby boomers. Cars = cool, freedom, date night, parking, etc. Back in the 60's and 70's, how common was it for there to be a drive-in movie theater pretty close to where you lived? Like anywhere in America? Albuquerque used to have a 6 screen drive-in theater up till about the mid 90's. It was replaced by a normal theater, if you call 24 screens in the same building normal. And, it was far more common to see someone's dad working on a car. WWII vets came home and they wanted to do a few things. Start a family, buy a house, and often get a fun car to enjoy. The 50's and 60's saw the birth of America's hot rod scene, which lead to a crap ton of racing. Fast, sexy cars became pretty important. You weren't a cool cat like Steve McQueen and Elvis Presley if you drove a pretty boring car. Fast was IN baby! Aside from this time frame gracing us with some of the most beautiful European automobiles ever made, it was Detroit's glory years. We got the Corvette, all the muscle cars, the Thunderbird, and older cars like 3 window coupes were still pretty sexy. Take off the hood, slap a blower on it, headers out the side, and put some FAT rear tires on the old Ford or Chevy and hot damn! That old coupe would blow the doors off of the "fast" car next door. This was society back then. You could measure the heartbeat of American society by listening to how many loud engines you could hear on a weekend night on the main street. Granted I wasn't around to say this first hand, but I've heard too many stories from relatives that lived in a typical small-ish town during this time. I've paid too much attention to the era to not draw these conclusions. Any of the old cats around here are free to correct me if I've given a bad description.

Today, everyone is far more concerned about twitter and instagram. Gaming is pretty huge for those that care less about the aforementioned social media crap. Outdoors is also pretty big, along with fitness. Sports are still pretty big. The social structure now days doesn't hinge on a car scene, thanks to technology. The high school I went to, pretty much everyone was driving by age 16. But, it was also a private school so I don't know how realistic that was back in 2005-2009. I know today with the students I teach, a lot of them don't drive. As Seniors in high school! I was stunned the first time I polled my Seniors in my Financial Literacy classes on how many had a driver's license. It was like maybe 15-20%. I couldn't believe it. With social media being so damn prevalent in today's teenagers, and the advent of online gaming, Netflix, high speed internet, etc, they don't need to leave their house to "connect" with friends. Which makes it less important to constantly get together somewhere to escape.

I'd say the financial realities of trying to get a vehicle haven't really changed all that much from the baby boomers to generation Z, in the grand scope of things. How many baby boomers bought classic cars in the past 20 years because they couldn't afford that car when they were a teen and early 20 year old back when the car was new or relatively new? The classic car scene in recent history has been dominated by baby boomers on a quest to get the car they always wanted but couldn't afford, at least in relation to priorities. At the core, what has really changed? Cars are no longer part of the social structure.

And I don't see automotive interest as increasing. I see the percentage of people interested in them as decreasing, even with video games to spur on new generations.
 

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As I posted on the other thread, I think you nailed it. While the economics may be more difficult today for someone out of school on his or her own, the visible evidence is that the economics of car ownership are far better for kids in high school today that when I was in school. As I earlier mentioned, that cars that the school kids park in front of my girlfriend's house, a block from the local high school, could easily serve as the family chariot. Most are SUVs and few of them are more than two or three years old. None resemble the typical fare of my youth.

Straying a bit off the topic, I get a bit annoyed when I read articles that make the point that new automobiles are less affordable today than they were thirty, forty and fifty years ago. What these "studies" do is compare the price of the typical new car with the median family income, and there is a huge error in this comparison, in that it ignores the cost of maintaining cars then and now. Fifty years ago, oil changes were recommended every 3,000 miles, changing the oil filter at 6,000 miles. BMW tells me to change the oil and filter at about 15,000 miles. Fifty years ago, you changed the spark plugs, points and condenser at 12,000 miles. What are "points" today? Where is the condenser? Spark plugs can go 100,000 miles. Tires? Used to be you were lucky to get 15,000 miles out of a set. The shock absorbers were gone at 20,000 miles and the clutch on a manual transmission went out at 30,000 miles. At 50,000 miles, you started to think about trading in your worn out old car. My two BMWs have 400,000 miles between them, and they still have their original clutches.
 

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Detritus Maximus
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I was hoping the convo that started this would have been moved over here, from Autoholism - Your Story. I guess no such luck. I'm going to repost what the main reason I believe is behind the decline of automobile ownership.

I think the main reason however is exposure, or a lack thereof, to automobiles growing up. Baby boomers were surrounded by cars, it was a massive part of society. They grew up in an era where THE thing to do on a Friday night for much of the US, was to cruise the main drag. Go over to the dinner and get a burger, then chill with your friends in someone's car. It was a pretty big deal for a teenager to have access to a car on Friday night. Cars became integral to the first real teenage social structure in baby boomers. Cars = cool, freedom, date night, parking, etc. Back in the 60's and 70's, how common was it for there to be a drive-in movie theater pretty close to where you lived? Like anywhere in America? Albuquerque used to have a 6 screen drive-in theater up till about the mid 90's. It was replaced by a normal theater, if you call 24 screens in the same building normal. And, it was far more common to see someone's dad working on a car. WWII vets came home and they wanted to do a few things. Start a family, buy a house, and often get a fun car to enjoy. The 50's and 60's saw the birth of America's hot rod scene, which lead to a crap ton of racing. Fast, sexy cars became pretty important. You weren't a cool cat like Steve McQueen and Elvis Presley if you drove a pretty boring car. Fast was IN baby! Aside from this time frame gracing us with some of the most beautiful European automobiles ever made, it was Detroit's glory years. We got the Corvette, all the muscle cars, the Thunderbird, and older cars like 3 window coupes were still pretty sexy. Take off the hood, slap a blower on it, headers out the side, and put some FAT rear tires on the old Ford or Chevy and hot damn! That old coupe would blow the doors off of the "fast" car next door. This was society back then. You could measure the heartbeat of American society by listening to how many loud engines you could hear on a weekend night on the main street. Granted I wasn't around to say this first hand, but I've heard too many stories from relatives that lived in a typical small-ish town during this time. I've paid too much attention to the era to not draw these conclusions. Any of the old cats around here are free to correct me if I've given a bad description.

Today, everyone is far more concerned about twitter and instagram. Gaming is pretty huge for those that care less about the aforementioned social media crap. Outdoors is also pretty big, along with fitness. Sports are still pretty big. The social structure now days doesn't hinge on a car scene, thanks to technology. The high school I went to, pretty much everyone was driving by age 16. But, it was also a private school so I don't know how realistic that was back in 2005-2009. I know today with the students I teach, a lot of them don't drive. As Seniors in high school! I was stunned the first time I polled my Seniors in my Financial Literacy classes on how many had a driver's license. It was like maybe 15-20%. I couldn't believe it. With social media being so damn prevalent in today's teenagers, and the advent of online gaming, Netflix, high speed internet, etc, they don't need to leave their house to "connect" with friends. Which makes it less important to constantly get together somewhere to escape.

I'd say the financial realities of trying to get a vehicle haven't really changed all that much from the baby boomers to generation Z, in the grand scope of things. How many baby boomers bought classic cars in the past 20 years because they couldn't afford that car when they were a teen and early 20 year old back when the car was new or relatively new? The classic car scene in recent history has been dominated by baby boomers on a quest to get the car they always wanted but couldn't afford, at least in relation to priorities. At the core, what has really changed? Cars are no longer part of the social structure.

And I don't see automotive interest as increasing. I see the percentage of people interested in them as decreasing, even with video games to spur on new generations.
Sorry, some of us are not so good with reading comprehension. Or just don't follow rules.


For me, my experience was this, my mom and dad had old cars (used cars, actually, many were not cool then, but became victims of nostalgia). More 49 Fords than he can remember. The cars I grew up in (that I remember): 56 Buick Special 2 dr, 67 Charger (silver/red interior, 2 years old, the car. I was 4), 50 Ford Woodie, 56 Ford Victoria, VW Bug, another 49 Ford (first trip to Florida, not a good beach buggy...), 59 Chevy 4dr, 62 Chevy wagon, 53 Mercury, 72 Torino wagon, 72 ford wagon, 75 Granada, 69 VW van, 69 Chevy C10, 76 Chevy Caprice (landyacht...but Corvette motor), 48 Mercury Woodie, plus some others. Virtually all of these were just used cars, interesting but not awe inspiring or particularly desirable...at the time. Except the 48 Mercury Woodie, it was already becoming a collector item in 79, and the Charger I always did like, but no one cared about the first generation until recently. You can thank Bullitt and Dukes of Hazard for that. NOBODY liked the 72 Torino until Clint made a movie, they were cheap until then. Most were 10-20 years old at the time my parents had them. Think about the equivalent types of vehicles that are now 10-20 years old. Most are fwd and not particularly interesting...yet. It's funny, I'm on a forum dedicated to 71-73 Mustangs that has a tendency to downplay and declare valueless anything but a Boss, an HO, or a high option Mach1. The discussion there is that the snobbery of super rare/super fast that is expressed is actually discouraging people from saving good less desirable cars because they'll never get their money back out of a concourse restoration (as if that was the ONLY option in old car ownership). Funny thing is, one of the guys started a thread asking about this interesting little Australian made 91 Mercury Capri convertible. He was intrigued by it and so were some of the other guys. These are older guys, 40's thru 60's, and they seem to have taken a shine to something they don't even remember being sold here, never mind that it is exactly the kind of thing they would typically ignore or dismiss, fwd, turbo four cyl, Mazda based small car. It apparently wasn't interesting enough to make note of them when new, but now they seem interesting. Even to those guys.


There is still a lot of stuff going on out there that is under the radar simply because it doesn't seem to interest 'older' people. Look at the drifting scene. How many people on this forum even understand what that is about? Yet it is big. Just try to find a 90's Nissan 240sx that hasn't been thrashed. It's not my cup of tea, doing backyard mods and tearing the cars up (I really dislike hearing that somebody wants to make any Opel a drift car, next stop...scrap yard), but is that so different from the fate of so many Falcons, Fairlanes, Novas, Chevelles, Coronets, Darts, etc? Or the resurgence in customized vintage Japanese bikes? The vast majority of that is people under 40. Even looking at the forums over at the 60*V6 forum. All the threads on how to build the best 3.5 stroker using all factory parts and 3.6 stuff. Or LT1's in anything.
There is still a lot going on out there, just maybe not here.

I was 22 when I got my license...….
 

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During the time I was growing up cars were awesome and getting awesomer every year. The 'Cuda, Challenger, Road Runner, Mach 1, Javelin, and others were hitting the streets. And what was really cool about this is that these came on the heels of a decade or more of kids hot rodding pretty standard cars. It was like al that work finally paid off and Detroit got the message. It was also a time when you could easily work on a car. Complain about points and condensers all you want, but the cars were accessible.

Fast forward a heap of years and I am driving a Honda Prelude. Awesome car, capable of 150 mph, over 1 G cornering, 29 mpg, and nearly maintenance-free. I love that car, but I am reluctant to get deep into its mechanicals. I did the brake and suspension upgrades, and I drove the wheels off it at the track, but I never touched the motor. I know kids hack them all the time, but it takes a bit more skill and money than a carb upgrade on a Ford 302.

Fast forward another heap of years and between the purchase cost and sophistication of modern cars, I can't imagine a high school kid wanting to, and even or importantly, having the skills to go in modify it. The kids I know who own cars like these have shops do the work for them. For the other kids, their moms and dads already bought them an SUV.

That's one thread in this I see. Here's another.

To kids growing up today cars are everywhere, all the time, and there probably isn't a day that goes by that they don't use or ride in one. They are ubiquitous. They are as exciting as a wide screen TV in that once you get it home and turn it on, it becomes just a TV again. So when kids reach those adolescent years where they are trying to distinguish themselves, a car? Really? Plus, it might just be me, but the younger kids I know are less material. Buying the cool stuff before other kids figure out it is cool isn't as much a thing. On the other hand, finding a niche everyone overlooked, some novel idea, such as a cool but not macho car like a GT or Manta, kind of retro, kind of hipster, that is more likely to happen. Plus, there are things like global warming and similar social-responsibility issues that is a thing among kids. (We had our versions of that in the 60's and 70's - racial equality, women's rights, all that hippie stuff.)

Really, what we should be asking is what is it that kids nowadays would find that would distinguish themselves among their peers? That would at least address the question of why something like cars is not high on their list. But to ask what would interest the youth of today in cars? Maybe not the prestige or bragging rights, but something more mature, like the art and history, bygone technology and fashion, novelty. There's a lot more to cars than hot rodding.

Mike
 
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