Car Collecting: It’s Not Just for Grownups Anymore

Hagerty Collector Network’s hobby survey last fall gave a glimpse into the future of our hobby – and results show it could be in trouble.

Results tell us that the next generation of collectors – our youth of today – is nowhere near a ’68 Mustang Fastback or a

’34 Ford street
rod. A whopping 85 percent of collectors are between 36 and 65 years of age, with the average age being 51½.

The nearly 8,000 enthusiasts who took our survey say that the average age they got into the hobby of collecting cool cars or trucks is 34. That’s not a good thing if we want to see our hobby continue to grow. With the tuner and lowrider markets mushrooming in the last 10 years or so, we should be seeing big numbers.

A recent MichiganStateUniversity grad said, “I think the biggest hindrance for most kids getting into the hobby is money, not interest.”

Yes, the younger generation could be considering the financial obligation of a mere single classic car, and adding that expense to college, a first apartment and so forth would be overwhelming. But some interesting collector cars aren’t out of financial reach. A lot of neat models are just turning 25 years old – the age of most cars considered “collectible” or “classic.”

Models such as the Ford Model T, VW Beetle and Karmann Ghia, the Mini and the Alfa Romeo GTV 1750 are all affordable. Old Datsuns, like the 510 and Z cars, and Mazda RX4 and RX7 along with newer models like the VW GTI and Scirrocco and Volvos of the ‘80s are worth a look too. Many of these cars are inexpensive, cheap to run and easy to work on. They also offer good performance for the money.

And the ever-popular (and ever-price-increasing) Mustang does have cheaper options: the 1964 ½ to 1966 coupe (choose the 6-cylinder) and the ’67 hardtop coupe are reasonable. And for those who want something a little newer, the 1982-1992 5-liter models are a great value but more for driving rather than collecting.

So, what can we do to get the younger generation started? We can mentor a group of youth in our community, talk about our classic cars and trucks with our kids and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and we can look into organizations that work solely for this purpose – like the Collectors Foundation. Offering grants to automotive museums and libraries to preserve vintage vehicle documentation, and scholarships to students studying an automotive program, the Foundation uses individual and corporate donations, along with a portion of Collector Network membership fees, to further our cause.

Do your part to make sure our hobby stays alive for generations to come. For more on what you can do, consider donating to the Collectors Foundation. Visit for more information.


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