Where is the collector car hobby headed?

Where is the collector car hobby headed?

Week-long series provides a vision of where we’ll be in 2030

Punch “2030” into your GPS and it’s likely to provide you with a list of local streets, avenues and boulevards with addresses starting with 2030, or perhaps it will suggest the route to Dover, Massachussets, and its 02030 zip code.

But your GPS won’t point the way to 2030 for the collector car hobby as it rolls through a major transitional period during the next few years, as Baby Boomers give way, albeit reluctantly, to the upcoming generations of car collectors and what initially will be their very different interests.

To help predict and perhaps even to help point the way, we again have asked several leaders in the hobby, include some of those very next-gen members, to help us provide a road map as we move on down the hobby highway.

We did this exercise last year in the week leading up to Monterey Car Week, and we’re repeating the process this year, though with different essayists.

While this article is by way of introduction, the series begins Tuesday, August 6, with Lindsey Harrell, who this fall will become the president of the Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance & Motoring Festival, looking at the future of concours and auto shows.

On August 7, John Kruse, professional educator and co-founder of Worldwide Auctioneers, examines the next decade ahead for the collector car auction industry.

Next up is Roger Falcione, founder of ClassicCars.com, who will look at the changing collector car marketplace and the vehicles that will appeal initially to the newcomer next generations. (Remember, however, you Baby Boomers, that when you were young, you probably had little if any interest in the pre-war, let alone Brass Era cars that you now collect. You were into building hot rods and maybe that Mustang you coveted in the high school parking lot.)

On August 9, Michael Bodell, Lotus enthusiast and collector, motorcycle racer and the youthful deputy director of the Petersen Automotive Museum, looks at how technology is updating the country’s car museums and making them more attractive for visitors.

It’s my turn next, on August 10 taking a look at the next-mod trend in collector cars. We’ve had resto-mods. Next up come electro-mods, or as some put it, the future proofing of the collector car.

On August 11, McKeel Hagerty writes about the seismic demographic transition the hobby is experiencing and what it means.

And then, on Monday, August 12, as Monterey Car Week begins, we’ll summarize the series and ask for your comments and reactions.


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  • Robert Kramer
    August 5, 2019, 2:19 PM

    Great idea and very timely. I look forward to seeing everyone’s thoughts.

    • Ed Dickinson@Robert Kramer
      August 11, 2019, 12:33 PM

      There is no collector cars any more, the supply is being used up.an Whats left is junk,or non collectibles,that people are trying make into a collectible, WON’T WORK !!!! Will not replace the 32 ford coupe,the old customs,the hot rods of the 50s and 60s or the muscle cars of 60s and 70s,and the people today trying to get $125,000 for a 40 ford,just won’t happen the younger people don’t have money. They don’t even know what a 40 ford looks like.

  • Robert Jones
    August 5, 2019, 2:28 PM

    I have been a hobbyist, builder and collector for over 40 years..I am now 70….in anticipation of soon reading here on the subject of collector cars in the coming decade, one distinct element stands alone to me above all others…the combination factor of age and descretionary income availability.
    There are so many vehicles currently owned by people in the 65-80 year old age range that will likely be sold during the next ten years that will necessarily have an large effect upon price…the question becomes then, who will want to buy them and who can afford to buy them…..many younger people may have respect and admiration for 40’s, 50′, 60’s and other special interest vehicles, but they do not seem to be enamored with them enough to gather large cash reserves beyond their normal living expenses to make cash purchases…and, unlike new car sales with lease options and relatively low interst rate loans, most transactions remain as cash purchases. There will be exceptions, but clearly younger people also have an eye upon new technologies, accessories, gadgetry, electric advances and other draws which will likely keep them from being anxious to own and maintain the precious memoirs of the older generations’ early years of hot rods, customs and muscle cars….I have had this same discussion with my own adult children who watched restorations and final products being presented at shows and cruise nights….they can appreciate the older cars, but if they are any indication, we will reach a point where there will be a very large supply of restored vehicles for sale and far fewer people lining up to purchase than ever before..as a result, placing a ton of money into something like a tri-five Chevy may not make much sense if the goal is to recover most of the money spent later on-there are just too many of them around and pick buyers in low numbers will be in control of the market

    • Jon F Steiner@Robert Jones
      August 5, 2019, 4:46 PM

      The days are over for American cars and hot rods. The younger generations don’t have the funds or interest in a 50 yer old car. I track C2 Corvettes on Ebay. The prices start at $50,000 and do not sell. Unless owners take a deep cut in price, then the cars will sit in their garage forever.

    • Dan Dixon@Robert Jones
      August 5, 2019, 6:39 PM

      I am inclined too agree with Robert! As a comparison, Look at what is happening to the housing market. Most young people are not interested in houses with land, they want an apartment or a low dollar built townhouse with current technology in the home while all the well built homes that baby boomers are selling (that could be updated) are NOT their interest. I think it is sad but I see the housing and car markets going in a similar direction. Down

    • Lester Turner@Robert Jones
      August 6, 2019, 6:24 AM

      I believe that Mr. Jones has is right. I am 61 and I see the future buyers being very much into technology. Also the finance’s will play the most important role. It is unfortunate but the future will be more about survival (both from a financial as well as a physical perspective).

  • Lone Ranger
    August 5, 2019, 3:01 PM

    There will be classic Honda’s and Toyota’s. That’s what the millennials drive. People won’t be interested in spending thousands on a classic car. Hopefully,the rip off auction houses disappear. They are responsible for the normal Joe unable to afford a decent classic. This also includes dealers who charge and purchase unreasonable amounts for classics. Sellers, we know you put a load of cash in that car, and probably bondo, but nobody told you to do so. You won’t get out what you put into it. So quit asking for top dollar on the classic that you did not lift a finger to restore. BTW, like many of you, I’ll be dead by 2030. Someone else will be enjoying your classic or most likely selling it thinking how foolish you were to dump money into a future rust bucket. They won’t get the price you might ask, but hey, it’s free money. They’re need only enough to buy another Accord. Yep, you’ll be rolling over in your grave. Selling my classic car for a Honda!!!

    • George Webster@Lone Ranger
      August 6, 2019, 8:34 AM

      You can’t blame the auction houses and the dealers for sky-high prices. The prices are set in an open market by willing buyers. When those would-be buyers stop bidding (if ever?), the prices will drop.

  • Don Scott
    August 5, 2019, 3:11 PM

    Gathering information is not easy. It is important to ask people from several different backgrounds to be able to gain perspective. If you ask the people in a bar what is the future of booze consumption, they will likely tell you that there is no problem with alcohol, now or in the future.

    • ramond chiaramonte@Don Scott
      August 5, 2019, 4:03 PM

      We have to face the fact that things will change but I am more of a optimist. There will still be younger people that have memories of cars of the 50’s and 60’s around for a while. I come across a lot of younger people who remember fondly their grandparents cars. When they have the discretionary income to collect a classic will they? I don’t know but I am not going to worry about it. I intent to just enjoy having a classic as long as I can and it makes sense and just have a good time.

    • James Misercola@Don Scott
      August 5, 2019, 5:36 PM

      I am 50 years old and recently went to a car show along with my ’71 Grandville Convertible. The overwhelming majority of people showing and viewing cars had to be at least in their mid sixties and older. This is an expensive hobby and I just don’t see it being accesible for younger people. Couple that with the fact that millions of people (young and old) would rather engage in fun time with their electronic devices than participate in the labor of love that is classic cars. Interesting times ahead!

  • Anthony Ban
    August 5, 2019, 5:11 PM

    I can see where the future of the hobby is in danger of complete extinction. I am 58 years old and I have never been interested in any car built before 1955. I respect them and appreciate them for what they are but I would never buy one. I completely understand how somebody 10 or 20 years younger than me wouldnt give a hoot about my 1972 Challenger or 1969 Super Bee.

    • Dee Santoro@Anthony Ban
      August 6, 2019, 3:36 PM

      Interesting topic on where the collector car hobby is headed. IMHO, as long as there is some demand, there will be some worth. I’m looking forward to the restomods of the future… All the tech, and greener options? Why not?! The concours cars will only go up as the wealthy include them in portfolios, however there will be that demand for specialty accessories and parts. We just need to brand the hobby to the youth as ‘recycling’!


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