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frenchyd
frenchyd SuperDork
4/12/18 12:47 p.m.

As a kid I was one of about 1/4 of the car crazy boys in school. We worked on our cars we dreamt about racing them . 

They gave us our freedom to be away from parental supervision. They gave us our status among other car crazy guys. We used them to attract girls. They gave us our identity. I was the guy in the red convertible sports car. You had the gray primered  hot rod. He owned a 4 door sedan. And Jerry drove his mothers Nash, poor kid. 

Today kids drive whatever appliance their parents provide without a thought other than do they have enough gas. ( if that)  The only thing that plays an important part of their life seems to be the smart phone they all carry, but is provided by their parents.  

I worked like a fool to get that red convertible sports car and then kept working to keep it running and fix it up.   

That taught me ambition,  independence,  and how to achieve my goals. 

What is doing the motivation in today’s youth?  

The0retical
The0retical UltraDork
4/12/18 12:53 p.m.

Motivation these days: Getting out of college with no debt or actually being able to pay school loans when you graduate.

Everything else is secondary.

edit: So I should extrapolate a bit.

I'm 33 I've liked cars since I was little but I very much drove an appliance (95 Sentra GXE) when I was 16 because it was cheap to insure and got me to my various jobs after school. I didn't start modifying cars until I was in my late 20s (despite wanting to do so) because it wasn't the fiscally responsible thing to do with school loans, despite having a good paying job. I fixed stuff a lot but a few hundred bucks here or there made the loans disappear a lot quicker than if I'd bought the FD RX-7 I wanted.

Now I can despite owning a house and having two kids. I'll probably never be competitive racing cars but that's ok since I'll never be a pro driver.

It sucks but sacrificing to provide the opportunity for generational upward mobility almost a necessity these days and it works better if your kids understand that.

Stream of consciousness. It's funny. I remember in 2009 trying to find a job after the bottom of the economy fell out. My dad was talking about knocking on doors and handing out resumes. It doesn't work like that anymore, even if you meet someone you still need to apply online and use some savant berkeleyery to beat the HR automatic filters. The job I wanted I applied to 16 times with different resume wording before I got an interview. I actually had to ask the manager what I promised him when they called. Still got the job and it was awesome.

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
4/12/18 1:12 p.m.

Given the expense and hassle of car ownership these days (Insurance/maintenance costs, the near continuous amount of traffic, the damage it has done and continues to do to the environment) I can't imagine why kids today aren't terribly interested in cars.

They are no longer the "freedom" they once were for teenagers and are seen as more of a noose by which they can hang themselves.

Replacements for this is of course, the internet, but its also things like robotics, pursuing the outdoors, traveling, art, cooking, etc.  There's a real drive towards "experiences" rather than working until they die.  Much of this thanks to watching their parents and grandparents do the same, many times with nothing to show for it.

I've said several times that if I could, I'd much prefer to be driven to/from work than drive myself.  I still enjoy driving for pleasure, but commuting is miserable and no matter what you drive, it sucks.  I can't wait for proper implementation of automated cars to help save people from the commute hell.

That isn't to say that car culture is dead, but it is changing, it is always changing.

Just my $0.02

frenchyd
frenchyd SuperDork
4/12/18 1:18 p.m.

In reply to The0retical :

Good for you.  I assume your parents taught you that sense of responsibility?  The need to focus on the goal?  Did you father show you how to do those repairs?  

That’s the way things should be.  

However too often it isn’t. In my day cars provided that bridge. I learned from other guys how to do that stuff and they shared that knowledge out of a love for cars.  Oh, they’d tease and have a joke or two at my expense because I didn’t know but in the end I’d learn and as a result we’d bond. Friendships would form. 

Of course in my day we’d hitch hike whenever the car was not running, or we didn’t have enough gas. 

Post script 

I was one of those guys in 2008 with children in college  a big mortgage and a wife with cancer.

I never did figure out how to get back in the work force.  I wore out shoe leather and burned up money seeking to get back. One time I knew of a job I was perfect for plus I knew that company intimately having been a supplier in the past.  I went in the back door to the person who was doing the actual hiring. 

He took my resume tore it up and tossed it in the trash explaining he had over 5000 applicants and couldn’t possibly hire someone off the street no matter how well qualified I was 

frenchyd
frenchyd SuperDork
4/12/18 1:33 p.m.
Stefan said:

Given the expense and hassle of car ownership these days (Insurance/maintenance costs, the near continuous amount of traffic, the damage it has done and continues to do to the environment) I can't imagine why kids today aren't terribly interested in cars.

They are no longer the "freedom" they once were for teenagers and are seen as more of a noose by which they can hang themselves.

Replacements for this is of course, the internet, but its also things like robotics, pursuing the outdoors, traveling, art, cooking, etc.  There's a real drive towards "experiences" rather than working until they die.  Much of this thanks to watching their parents and grandparents do the same, many times with nothing to show for it.

I've said several times that if I could, I'd much prefer to be driven to/from work than drive myself.  I still enjoy driving for pleasure, but commuting is miserable and no matter what you drive, it sucks.  I can't wait for proper implementation of automated cars to help save people from the commute hell.

That isn't to say that car culture is dead, but it is changing, it is always changing.

Just my $0.02

You make a clear argument but I see the empty seats at NASCAR races.  The fields at SCCA aren’t nearly as filled as in the past.  More and more tracks are turning into housing developments. 

Car shows seem to have older and older spectators. 

 

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
4/12/18 1:34 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

To be fair, that is what motivated YOU.

I am going to guess that there were a lot of parents at the time who lamented that buying their first horse and taking care of it was what motivated them to succeed  and despairing of what would motivate the new generation of laggards who just wanted to swan about in their horseless carriages.

I think that genetically, there will continue to be the same percentage of kids born with what Dilbert calls "The Knack" to ensure that society progresses on the techno-mechanical front. Just wont be muscle cars.

 

Pete

frenchyd
frenchyd SuperDork
4/12/18 1:41 p.m.

In reply to NOHOME :

Valid point, the greatest generation got through the Great Depression fought WW2 and raised me.  Doing a good job of it.  

I raised my kids and raced. Maybe they would have liked me to do something else?  But both are successful and happy so I’m satisfied.  

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
4/12/18 1:59 p.m.
frenchyd said:
Stefan said:

Given the expense and hassle of car ownership these days (Insurance/maintenance costs, the near continuous amount of traffic, the damage it has done and continues to do to the environment) I can't imagine why kids today aren't terribly interested in cars.

They are no longer the "freedom" they once were for teenagers and are seen as more of a noose by which they can hang themselves.

Replacements for this is of course, the internet, but its also things like robotics, pursuing the outdoors, traveling, art, cooking, etc.  There's a real drive towards "experiences" rather than working until they die.  Much of this thanks to watching their parents and grandparents do the same, many times with nothing to show for it.

I've said several times that if I could, I'd much prefer to be driven to/from work than drive myself.  I still enjoy driving for pleasure, but commuting is miserable and no matter what you drive, it sucks.  I can't wait for proper implementation of automated cars to help save people from the commute hell.

That isn't to say that car culture is dead, but it is changing, it is always changing.

Just my $0.02

You make a clear argument but I see the empty seats at NASCAR races.  The fields at SCCA aren’t nearly as filled as in the past.  More and more tracks are turning into housing developments. 

Car shows seem to have older and older spectators. 

 

The only racing that is experiencing any positive direction are things like Formula-E, IMSA/WEC, Drifting, Rallycross/Autocross, Amateur Endurance Racing.  Amateur Road Racing is on the way out due to costs, and complexity.  Amateur Endurance Racing on the other hand is doing quite well thanks to the less complex rules, the ability to split the costs among several competitors and the better cost/track time over traditional sprint racing is where its at.  NASCAR is killing itself by not adapting properly.

IndyCar is coming back to Portland after being away for nearly a decade.  PWC is also coming to Portland as part of the city's "Rose Cup Races"

Traditional car shows are dying off, the new car shows are Cars & Coffee, Red Door Meets, Arrive and Drives, etc.

Like I said, its changing and evolving.  This means that some things are going to reach the end of their branch, but new branches will grow.

The0retical
The0retical UltraDork
4/12/18 2:49 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

It depends on the interest of the family too. My dad was a car guy when in the 60's and 70's but when I was growing up in the 80's and 90's he'd reached the point where time was better spent working on home improvements. I was directed towards STEM basically all my life so I grew up bonding with friends over slinging code, building gaming PC's, and holding LAN parties instead of cars.

Really I'm just the prototype of what we see with kids today, only I did it without a smartphone.

I'm not bagging on any other generation but my generation was taught that STEM was the key to landing a good job, rather than plying a trade. The second level effect is that there's a lot of competition for white collar jobs where a blue collar job actually pays better because the skills are now more scarce. I found that out pretty quickly and was glad I had an A&P I could leverage.

As you know the inflation rate of post secondary education is severely outstripping both inflation and wage growth so if you're planning for school you have to make a choice between hobbies and extracurricular activities. Unfortunately whatever gets you into the best school possible typically wins out, so extracurriculars.

Motorsports will find it's new groove. That's why it's cool that places like the GRM forum exist. It's also good that SCCA and NASA are adapting to this new reality, however slowly.

frenchyd
frenchyd SuperDork
4/12/18 3:55 p.m.

In reply to The0retical :

Interesting perspective. I’m glad you make sense out of what I see as a scary future. I understand change is inevitable but I lament the loss. 

Am I looking at the past in rose colored glasses?  I remember attending sprint car races at the state fair when a well equipped team consisted of the driver and mechanic. Everything they owned was in the pickup or on the trailer and they could go from race to race 3-4 events a week. Living  on the prize money alone.  

That was replaced by SCCA with a bunch of amateurs doing their own wrenching and driving RV’s 

Now it’s all teams with budgets split between racers or a owner getting paid for a prepared car.  

 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/24/18 11:26 a.m.

So here's a related question: What have you personally done to get some younger people involved in the sport? 

frenchyd
frenchyd SuperDork
4/24/18 1:50 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens : I’ve tried to interest family and friends without success.  I mean they would attend an event or two. Even got my sister in a vintage race.  

Ive tried to get younger kids involved but just haven’t found the correct approach.   I’ve tried the take them to the races approach. Have them help me work on my race car approach.  Work on their car approach   Offer to help them build a race car.  I’ve given them rides at the race track.  

I understand few if any are as dedicated and focused as I am  so I’ve made sure I don’t scare them off.  

So different and better approaches are needed.  Any suggestions? 

GCrites80s
GCrites80s Reader
4/24/18 2:29 p.m.

I'm not sure how to motivate people who are used to participating in extremely cheap, indoor pursuits that can take place anywhere, any time and in any weather such as video games, trading card gaming, anime, tabletop gaming etc. and put them in a situation where there are so many time, money, weather and location restraints. And working on cars is so much more difficult than nerd stuff.

Gary
Gary SuperDork
4/24/18 9:15 p.m.

I interpreted the title of this thread to be something different than what the posts to date actually turned out to be. Put differently, it seems like the responses were addressing a different issue. The original question was "What will happen to the motorsport industry in the future." I assumed that to be what will happen to the companies making speed parts, racing parts, accessories, magazines, etc. as interest in the sport starts to taper off due to demographics, technology (electric autonomous vehicles), and public opinion against hydro carbon consuming devices. So in that regard, I think because of the massive dollars involved in the motorsports industry, there will be a huge effort for the "tail to wag the dog." In other words, although there might be less interest in motorsports activity in the future, motorsports marketing (lower caps) will be doing their damnedest to keep the interest alive.

Now, with regard to the majority of the posts here so far, I attempted to address this very issue a few months ago in another thread ... that being how to sustain the sport/hobby in the future. And it generated some very serious discussion. (My initial post was related to vintage racing. But I think the problem is universal to motorsports).

https://classicmotorsports.com/forum/classic-cars/do-we-need-a-discussion-about-the-sustainability-of-vintage-racing/132838/page1/

From my own perspective, I'm 69 years old, so it really doesn't matter to me. I'll continue to enjoy motorsports pretty much as I've known it for the rest of my life. But for younger enthusiasts now in their 20's and 30's, there's a real problem. I don't have an answer to that, except to do your best to perpetuate the sport/hobby, and also to rely on the motorsports marketing pro's to keep it alive.

frenchyd
frenchyd SuperDork
4/25/18 7:46 a.m.
GCrites80s said:

I'm not sure how to motivate people who are used to participating in extremely cheap, indoor pursuits that can take place anywhere, any time and in any weather such as video games, trading card gaming, anime, tabletop gaming etc. and put them in a situation where there are so many time, money, weather and location restraints. And working on cars is so much more difficult than nerd stuff.

I’m glad you commented. You really hit the nail on the head.  How to interest the next generation who are used to instant gratification and cheap and easy access that Motorsports is worth the effort and cost.

That watching a video game of a race isn’t the same reward as being in an actual race.   

jr02518
jr02518 Reader
4/25/18 8:33 a.m.

I earn my living in sales, expanding "our"sport and hobby to others is an extension of the numbers game.  I used to wounder if it was me, not getting people to join in.  But it really is a matter of continuing to offer the opportunity.

Then being prepared for them not seeing what you see is the next threshold.  I have learned to manage my expectations, the fact that I am having a great time does not mean they will get it.

And I keep at it. The last time my oldest came back into town for a long weekend she asked to drive at an event.  I could not stop smiling. 

 

 

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
4/25/18 9:29 a.m.

It's definitely an interesting discussion. There ARE young people interested, but maybe just not in the same percentages as when we were younger. As a Gen-X'er, I grew up in what was the arguably the last throws of the "era of the car".  I'd say much of the amazing cars we have available new today is because of my generation starting to reach peak earning age.  While I'm sure there will always be some Millennials and subsequent generations interested in cars, there doesn't seem to be the same percentages as the Baby Boomers and Gen-X'ers.  I definitely don't plan on my classic car collection being worth much in 30 years or so when age may force me to sell.  

As far as competition, who knows... I think there will always be some appeal to watching speed and risk and I believe the racing organizations would do well to remember that. Take away all of the danger and you'll remove some of what makes watching racing so enticing, as morbid as that may be.

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
4/25/18 3:48 p.m.

I've worked to get my nephew interested in cars and racing, including inviting him to a hill climb and letting him sit in my and others' race cars when he was younger.  Now a senior in college, he has absolutely zero interest in cars or driving.  He has a Ranger, but it mostly sits and he uses it only when there is no other option.  At one point my brother bought him a '90s Z28, but he never drove it or showed any interest.  Now cell phones and games are something else entirely.  He wants a new phone like every 6 months.  

I've also been working on my 8 year old grandson, but so far there is not much success there either.  He shows a mild interest, but at that age I was all about cars.  His world right now is baseball, and he practices or plays every day.  

BlueInGreen - Jon
BlueInGreen - Jon SuperDork
4/25/18 4:21 p.m.

Some hope:

My 11 year old brother in law wants to learn to work on cars and likes watching in-car autocross videos.  He doesn't have the patience to do real mechanical work yet but he sure enjoyed learning how to use the big impact wrench.  We're tearing apart an old Escort little bits at a time.

There are teams of 20-30something age folks like me that I see competing in Champcar.

I was talking to a recently graduated former student who is making money flipping old Subarus while he saves up to buy his dream car, a WRX STi hatchback.  He was telling me about the huge informal car meets where he hangs out with his buddies.  I'm not hip on the social media scene but that seems to be the center of the youth car culture.  I was encouraged that he said he wants to start doing autocross and track days because he's realizing he can't fully enjoy his cars on the street.

My 6 year old watches Aussie Touring Cars on Youtube with me, loves going "super fast" on her bike, and wants to be a race car driver when she grows up.  She also wants to be a princess astronaut (that's not two separate things) and Tinker Belle at Disney World so I guess we'll have to wait and see on that one cheeky

frenchyd
frenchyd SuperDork
4/25/18 4:59 p.m.
Ian F said:

It's definitely an interesting discussion. There ARE young people interested, but maybe just not in the same percentages as when we were younger. As a Gen-X'er, I grew up in what was the arguably the last throws of the "era of the car".  I'd say much of the amazing cars we have available new today is because of my generation starting to reach peak earning age.  While I'm sure there will always be some Millennials and subsequent generations interested in cars, there doesn't seem to be the same percentages as the Baby Boomers and Gen-X'ers.  I definitely don't plan on my classic car collection being worth much in 30 years or so when age may force me to sell.  

As far as competition, who knows... I think there will always be some appeal to watching speed and risk and I believe the racing organizations would do well to remember that. Take away all of the danger and you'll remove some of what makes watching racing so enticing, as morbid as that may be.

NASCAR had  turn away crowds right up to the point of Dale Earnhardt's death.  following that was a slow decline waiting for Jr. to replace him.  When Jr quit it was like all interested ended.  

So is it the personality or the cars that draws the crowds?  If the personality how do we get them in this over regulated world?  

Do we have to go back to the roots of stock car racing?  Modern version stripped SUV’s with rollbars and numbers built by drug runners?   

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
4/25/18 5:36 p.m.

I think its more than that frenchyd.  We were involved with Nascar during that time period and witnessed some of the changes going on.  I think a lot of it was the abandoning of the traditional fan and trying to reach out to get fans outside of the norm, such as out west and even out of the country.  They abandoned traditional tracks, changed the format, and in general changed much about the cars.  When we were racing it was technically still possible for a small team to compete such as ours, although we had big time support from Toyota.  You could even still build your chassis and body.  Now they spend a lot of time in the wind tunnel and on shaker rigs.  I remember a test of a new car at Kentucky and we picked up a huge chunk of speed using a hammer.  You certainly couldn't do that today.

Also, you could definitely tell much of support was from the southern areas such as the Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia and Alabama for instance, and much less as you ventured out towards the west.  And as big Dale Sr. was, Jeff Gordon seemed to 3x the fan base, at least from what i could see in support, fans and lines to buy merchandise.  

I could also tell you story after story about some of the "rigging" going on.  It wasn't blatant, but they definitely gave some advantages and others a difficult time.  Ours lessened over time as Toyota was more accepted, but not at first.  I think as more stories such as these were heard, and frankly, the over saturation of the sport happened, people became sick of it and moved on.  Now there are way more entertainment options and it has diluted the base even more.  

8valve
8valve Reader
4/25/18 6:17 p.m.
frenchyd said:

So different and better approaches are needed.  Any suggestions? 

Spec moped.

frenchyd
frenchyd SuperDork
4/25/18 8:33 p.m.
racerdave600 said:

I think its more than that frenchyd.  We were involved with Nascar during that time period and witnessed some of the changes going on.  I think a lot of it was the abandoning of the traditional fan and trying to reach out to get fans outside of the norm, such as out west and even out of the country.  They abandoned traditional tracks, changed the format, and in general changed much about the cars.  When we were racing it was technically still possible for a small team to compete such as ours, although we had big time support from Toyota.  You could even still build your chassis and body.  Now they spend a lot of time in the wind tunnel and on shaker rigs.  I remember a test of a new car at Kentucky and we picked up a huge chunk of speed using a hammer.  You certainly couldn't do that today.

Also, you could definitely tell much of support was from the southern areas such as the Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia and Alabama for instance, and much less as you ventured out towards the west.  And as big Dale Sr. was, Jeff Gordon seemed to 3x the fan base, at least from what i could see in support, fans and lines to buy merchandise.  

I could also tell you story after story about some of the "rigging" going on.  It wasn't blatant, but they definitely gave some advantages and others a difficult time.  Ours lessened over time as Toyota was more accepted, but not at first.  I think as more stories such as these were heard, and frankly, the over saturation of the sport happened, people became sick of it and moved on.  Now there are way more entertainment options and it has diluted the base even more.  

NASCAR did what it had to to grow. Failure to grow would have caused NASCAR to die. Dale’s death simply was a marker and not a cause 

The south would love nothing to change but since that won’t happen they have abandoned their pastime.  

With regard to popularity of Earnhardt  and Gordon sales of souvenirs  I’ve seen annual peak sales and even after his death Dale outsold Jeff 

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
4/26/18 4:36 p.m.

So how did their growth work out for them?  I would say not too well.  It was certainly a slow death, and I still don't think they have reached the bottom, but if they do not attract younger fans to pull for the younger and younger drivers, you can see them shrinking at a faster rate.  Eventually they will need to quit the market over saturation.  And being in the middle of it, I can tell you Gordon had a much larger presence of fans on race weekends.  Not that Dale Sr. was small, but his was a diehard base where Gordon had almost every woman and younger fan at the time.  The only thing I can think of to compare it to was when Danica first hit the scene.  

secretariata
secretariata SuperDork
4/26/18 5:14 p.m.

Based on the Ford thread, I'd guess it will transform to the truck, SUV, & CUV industry... surprise

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