Is the End of Petrolheads Nigh?...
That's when the Kustom Kulture began, and it was first represented by the greasers. Most hot rods of those days were of course modified pre-war classics. The greasers were soon replaced by the 1960s drag racers, which gave way in the 1970s to the lowriders, and so on.
During the 1980s and the 1990s, things began to slightly change though. Of course, as the years passed, some classics began to be replaced by others. For example, the children of the 1970s lusted after cars from their own time, so now when they're all grown up those are the perfect classics for them.
The majority of kids from the eighties (including yours truly) probably had a Lamborghini Countach or a 993 Porsche Turbo poster on their bedroom wall, so youngtimers are probably the closest thing to a classic car they might one day own.
Of course, as years passed, some classic cars either became garage queens, part of a continuous restoration project, or are currently rotting in a car graveyard somewhere. That's actually the main problem in my honest opinion. Some yesterday cars prolonged their life with the help of petrolheads, who grew up when gasoline still had tonnes of lead in it, cars rolled on ply tires and you could practically repair or restore any car using a fairly fixed spectrum of tools.
What about modern cars though? After the old-school enthusiasts and real petrolheads pass away, how many will bother to take over this heritage? Sure, youngtimers are still very much connected to the older ones, despite the introduction of fuel injection and numerous other electronically parts. Still, the cars of today have almost nothing in common with them.
Who on Earth will bother to restore an aluminium space frame Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG in twenty or thirty years from now? The mechanical and most of all electronic complexity of today's cars is not something your average old-school petrolhead can master using just a couple of wrenches.
On top of that, most cars now have a lifespan of around seven years, after which a new, even more complex modern "generation" takes its place. In other words, modern classics are somewhat of an oxymoron. They are just finite means of transportation until a new one comes out.
In my opinion, the latest cars to be soon considered classic will probably be the ones from the 1990s, when computers were used mainly as a diagnostic device rather than a vital repair tool like now, when it has almost completely removed the human factor from the equation. Modern vehicles can't even be serviced without the use of computers, as most car problems today consist of tiny software glitches that cannot be cured with an old-school wrench and some paint.
I don't even want to bring the whole "integrated assembly" problem. In the old days, you just had a chassis, an engine and a transmission. Everything else could be customized by hand in a barn. Nowadays you have monocoque construction, integrated electronic systems, sensors that communicate with each other and cannot work unless a computer remedies a "glitch in the matrix" and so on.
In other words, the future has brought us safer cars, more powerful and fuel efficient engines and more gadgets to entertain us during a drive. It has also brought the end of the original petrolhead, who will slowly disappear from our culture. You will no longer hear stories about an adolescent and his father working together in the garage to restore a classic, since the very definition of those cars will probably mean "obsolete means of transportation" in the future.
And that's the real shame if you ask me. The future is slowly killing the very core of automotive culture, transforming it in just another appliance industry.
comments written so far
as gas motors go. Every generation has their cars and will always have a collective attitude.
In the 40 and 50s you had Hot rods, in the 60s and 70s you had muscle cars.
In the 80s and 90s you had tuner import cars. Everyone who is into autos has their interest. What i see now at the shows is that its all coming back bigger than ever. They are even crossing over into many timelines. That was taboo a few years back.
You have people mixing old flat heads and putting injector kits on them. As with every Generation you will have back yard hobbyists doing wild performance stuff as we all have done. It is bigger that ever. The electric cars of the future will be wild with aftermarket parts as well.
No matter what, people who love cars will evolve with it and also keep the past alive. Look at all the clubs out there from race clubs to rock crawlers and what they are coming out with.
it is wild crazy stuff. Besides that, the industry as a whole is just bigger that ever. Its is no different than getting rid of the old carbs and going with injection systems. Today you still have both that are huge in the after market. That is what SEMA is all about. It will never go away, it is bigger every year. There will be some crazy things that will come out with the electrics as well. It keeps evolving thats all. As a whole people do not like change.
Well look at what change has brought to the car world. There are so many directions you can go now days that its endless. Im a motor head to the extreme and I welcome the electrics, You will see some crazy stuff once they get them perfected. Bring it on I cant wait to see all the wild stuff in the next 20 years. It will always be there. Go into any junk
yard and look what was left for scrap and now you see it all coming back. SEMA rocks.
Those of you who think that new cars will kill the gassers are on another planet.
Just go to a SEMA show and you will know what Im talking about. Come on people
open your eyes it is bigger than ever. The only thing Electric cars will do is put more
money in their pockets so they can keep it going even better and grow it bigger.
With out change we would not have what we have as far as our hobby.
Sorry you are dead wrong on this one. Get out to the shows and see all the kids who are
into the old school stuff. its stronger than ever. SEMA has it all from the entire time line of
our sport. OPEN YOUR EYES. The biggest thing you can do is take your family to a
car show. Trash the video games and the smart phones and the big screen TVs and get
your kids out there. Get them off their lazy computer digital asses and get them interested into getting dirty and creative with autos. spend time with them and teach em.
The new cars have nothing to do with it. If your a parent like me get your kids involved with our sport. That is what kids want you to do. Pay attention to them. It is up to us to get them involve to preserve our history and learn how to think without a computer.
The problem is that kids are taught everything with a computer. Take em to a show and do something with them. take em to an auto museum a race a local drag strip. Get them into it at an early age. it is up to us to do this. Kids can teach us a few things as far as their generation that we do not understand as being old schoolers as well. That
is what it is all about.