The Classic Car Scene has a problem. It’s written in the magazines. It’s on the forums. It’s the subject of debate at car shows. Just how do we encourage the youth of today to get involved in classic cars? Owners club numbers are dwindling. Club committees are stagnating. Monthly member magazines aren’t being read.
The average age of a Wolseley Owners Club member is about 93. 97% of the Rover P6 Club are retired. The Reliant Scimitar Club aren’t fairing much better.
Just where are the kids when you need them? Why aren’t they restoring the Rileys? Just how DO we get the next generation interested in classic cars?
Well, firstly, we should stop patronising them. Magazines have concocted the term ‘Young Timer’ to describe a modern classic car. Roughly, that covers any classic car that isn’t part of the traditional ‘stable’ of classics. So we’re talking 1980s and 90s cars. Do you know what the problem with that word is? It’s alienating.
You might call a Peugeot 205 GTI a Young Timer but I wasn’t even born when that one launched.
You might call a 90s Rover Coupe a Young Timer but to me it’s just a shit old car. I was 10 when that car hit the showrooms, I wasn’t bothered about it then and I’m sure as hell not bothered about it now. And do you know what? I’m not the only 28 year old who loves cars. There’s tonnes of us out there.
The stalwarts of the Classic Car scene are fretting about getting the younger generation involved in classic car ownership when it’s happening right underneath their noses… Except it’s not the same classic cars and it’s not the same scene that it used to be.
Do you want proof? Check out Ultimate Dubs, the Telford Car Show that takes place in March each year. Looking to get the younger generation involved in classic cars? They’re all here, and they’re all way ahead of you. The cars range from brand new to 50 or 60 years old, and the average show-goer is in their early to mid twenties.
This generation isn’t interested in preserving factory-standard yawn boxes. They look at a factory standard car and see potential, not providence. Everything is slammed on the floor, on air-ride suspension. If the sump plug isn’t scraping the deck then it’s just not low enough. You’ve got every different type of VW, from the air-cooled 60’s stuff up to present day cars, every day vehicles that have had money, style and attitude thrown at them by the bucket load. Not just that, but there’s a whole range of cars from a whole range of manufacturers, and you see things you haven’t seen before. Want to see a BMW on Bugatti wheels? How about an Audi R8 on air ride? Volvo 240 on the floor? Karmann Ghia in full show spec? How about an air bagged Ford Ka?
I walk around the show in awe, the quality and standard and variety of the cars on display is insane, and do you know what? There’s a vibe here, an energy, that you just don’t get at other classic car shows. Ultimate Dubs bridges the gap between top end classic car show and those ruffians with neon lights meeting in McDonalds car parks. It’s the unexpected offspring of the coming together of everything that Max Power taught us and all those boring Classic Car Shows. It’s like taking the very best bits of the classic car scene, clearing out all the crap and turning the volume up to 11.
Ultimate Dubs showcases the future of classic car shows, and car shows in general. It’s buzzing, it’s thumping, it’s insanely crowded, and do you know what? There are GIRLS here! Real girls, looking at cars, that they’re actually interested in. You don’t get that at the Bristol Classic Car Show. There’s not a single Wolseley in sight, and do you know why? It’s because we are the PlayStation generation, you can keep your Wolseleys….
We don’t want your Wolseleys. We want it compressed in MP3 format, forced into a can at high pressure, we want it branded, we want it loud, and we want to drink it all in whilst we instagram everything so our friends can see. We don’t care if it’s not factory fitted. If it’s factory fitted it’s failing. We want it loud, we want it low, and we want it now. We don’t care for your owners clubs. If you own a cool car then we’ll call ourselves a club. We don’t want your committee, we’ve got facebook. We don’t need a monthly magazine, we’ve got window stickers and twitter. We don’t need your AGM we’ve got cars to build and suspension to weld and when that’s done there’s detailing.
We’re not the next generation of classic car lovers we’re the only generation of classy car drivers and if you like my ride that’s awesome, and if not then that’s cool. We’ll do what we want with our cars because we follow the vibe as it moves. We don’t need single marque show grounds because to us all that matters is cool – if it’s got cool then the badge doesn’t matter, if it’s boring then the rule is the same.
You can keep your concours Astons and E Types – we don’t care for factory fit cars. Take the wheels from that Aston, shove them on an Astra, get it down on the floor and we’ll rate it. We’ll shoot it with selfie sticks on go pro’s going global and let the internet all have their say.
Because you know what? We like it. And that’s all that matters. Cool is king. And it’s here to stay.