Blog N0. 30
I like to think of myself as a car guy. I’m not one of those people who live in their garage and/or drive around like idiots trying to race people. I don’t even spend as much time working on my car as I would like. (Or as I imagine it could be like in an 80s movie montage getting ready for the big race against the bad guys or something). I do change my own oil and I spent a good chunk on time watching Top Gear and visiting Jalopnik though.
It was in that time ogling super cars that realized what a lack of car culture there is in my generation and younger. I’ve read a bunch of articles that try to figure out why young people aren’t interested in cars anymore and they all have reasons that make some sense but I think there is one big reason (right out there for everyone to see) that is overlooked. New cars are lame.
I have to agree that cell phones are much more important to some people than their cars are. The technology is cool and useful and there is always a newer better model to be excited over coming in just a month or so. I can remember my days in high school when cell phones were still bricks that wouldn’t fit in your pocket, but even then technology was digging into car culture. All around me friends were building their own computers trying to get the most out of their motherboards by over-clocking them, seeing who could get the best frames per second on Quake 2.
The similarities are obvious (hopefully, I tried to write it that way). Some people who would probably be into cars are now into other things. The competition is stiff, but there is more to it. Culture as a whole is changing. People are going without cars more than they have since the time when it was a rare thing for a family to have more than one car. I have plenty of friends in bigger cities (like Toronto for an obvious example) who either don’t have a car or have one they rarely use. There is something different about having a car when it is your primary mode of transportation. It becomes more reasonable to spend the time and money working on it and talking about it when it is part of your daily life.
I’m sure there are other reasons too but the fact remains that cars used to be cool and beautiful and now they are not. The only way to get a cool or lovely car now is to buy an old one or one that costs more than most people’s houses. And lets’ not forget the insurance. It’s hard to compare an original Mustang (the first second car) to a 94 Escort (my first car). Even the new entry level cars that companies are building specifically to combat the lack of interest young people seem to have in cars are little more than hokey boxes with way too much trim and front wheel drive.
Personally I went the old car rout. I drive a 91 MX5 now (as previously mentioned). It’s not like I have the coolest car in the world. My car is often thought of as a girl’s car, not that I get women with it, but that people assume a woman owns it but I love it. It has everything I look for in a car. It’s a sporty rear-wheel-drive stick shift with four wheel disc brakes a convertible top and good gas mileage. And the handling is superb. I get excited every time I get to drive it.
I grew up in a car family. My dad is the most particular person when it comes to car maintenance. It’s always been something that I look up to, but not something I could ever live up to. I do usually have the cleanest car of all my friends though (not that I’m bragging or anything). My passion for cars came from my dad and my older brothers. I knew from the time I was 12 that I was going to own a manual. I got a job at fifteen for the sole purpose of buying a car. It was just the way it was. I wonder now if I would still love cars as much if the situation were different. I think the possibility is strong. I may not change the oil or turn down the radio to try to hear that noise (no not that one, that’s normal; that one. It happens when I turn the wheel like this – see!) but I would probably still love to drive. I think it’s an instinct in me.
Also cars don’t attract women. Money does attract some women (and those women sometimes use expensive cars as indicators of wealth) but they cost more to maintain than the cars.