In regards to Jesmond Micallef’s statement about ensuring the future generations become interested in classic cars, in your last issue. He’s right in saying it’d be great to have more youth coming through and enjoying the hobby, but I think he may have his blinkers on a bit, too. Perhaps my view is a bit more on the hot rod or modified side of things, but I see countless events that encourage families to take part. I myself have just returned from Beach Hop, where there were thousands of kids lining the sides of the roads, watching in awe as the cars rolled by. Taking things to the next level, they even had a competition for kids’ pedal cars, which drew more than a little admiration from other kids, who no doubt then pleaded with their parents to build one for next year.
If it’s the vehicle-owning-aged kids that need to be targeted, then there needs to be a reason for them to be involved. They’re hardly likely to join a car club to sit in long drawn-out AGM meetings or sit around drinking tea and eating scones. If car clubs want to talk to the younger generation, they need to get involved in social media, and be accepting of youth, not condescending. The hot rodding scene has been through all of this, and over the last decade there’s been a big change in attitudes, and it shows. There are now plenty of young people building hot rods and getting plenty of assistance from the older generation. Sure, they’re not all cars the older rodders necessarily like themselves, but everyone has to start somewhere, right?
Part of why people, both young and old, like certain cars is that intangible ‘cool factor’. Not sure about Jesmond, but I certainly don’t know any kids that had posters of Triumph Heralds or Sunbeam Alpines on their walls. Lamborghinis, Ferraris, aspirational-type stuff is what will draw them into the scene for a closer look. Once they’re involved, maybe then they’ll fall in love with something more attainable; it’s all about exposure. So, that said, does this very magazine have a duty to try and attract the younger generation? Less old-man ranting by columnists about the same old tourist-driver woes, less ‘tally-ho, old chap’ speak, and more ‘today’. Maybe the Ellerslie Classic Car Show is a good place to start, too. Has anyone ever considered dropping posters to the local schools? Again, not with Hillman Imps on them, but [with] something that the kids would love to see. All food for thought, but the answers are out there! Old enough to know but still young enough to care Thanks for your perspective on an issue that’s puzzling many classic car clubs in this country. Encouraging younger people to join in our hobby is definitely something we all should be involved in. AFW