How do we get young people interested in the hobby?

Dad riding with John Leathers in his Northern (in the collection of the author)

I often get asked, "How do we get young people interested in the hobby?" Before I answer, let me re-phase the question as what's really being asked is "How do we get young people interested in the cars that I collect?" 

Of course, there's no limit to young people's interest in cars - simply go to SIMA. The question of course, is how to get young people interested in pre-war cars for example. The answer is often found in the stories of how today's collectors got interested themselves.  More often than not, someone gave them a ride in something totally amazing when they themselves were young. Today's kid's need a ride in a 1910 Pierce-Arrow, a 1930 Packard, or a 1955 Mercedes 300SL. In short, we need to expose them to great cars so they understand what one is. 

Of course, this is easier said than done, but I truly appreciate the collectors that open their garages to kids, and even better, give them a chance to sit in or ride in a great car.

When Dad was a kid, all the collectors he knew patiently answered his questions and gave him rides in their cars (if fact they would pick him at his house and give him a ride to the car shows before he could drive). Now, I find myself the father to a budding car guy (my 13 year son). We recently when east to drive antique cars and visit some collectors with Dad. I can honestly say the trip was hugely influential. He's always liked super cars and motor sports, but now he's really intrigued by the older stuff he's been exposed too. 

Here's hoping you get out and drive your own cars (and take a kid for a ride).

My son in a Ferrari 250 Lusso - thanks, Henry! (in the collection of the author)

My son in a Mercedes 300SL Gullwing - thanks, Gunner! (in the collection of the author)

My son with Dad's Rolls-Royce (in the collection of the author)

1 comment:

  1. I have added your blog to my favorites! I am 27 and a somewhat second generation car guy. I agree 100% young people must experience first hand a Pierce, Stanley, Peerless or similar; and not just on static display although there is a place for that too. My experience was seeing how great these cars were and appreciating the craftsman who built these cars with great pride! If you have a neighbor give them a ride, let the kids play in the car.. tell them all about it and most important relate the car to today! A 7-Passenger car from 1922 friends say yes I reply just like a modern day suv... Headlights that turn... Yes that was thought of back then too!
    Keep up the good work enjoy the pictures and the blog!