What tips do you have for young enthusiasts in our hobby?

Youth Judging at Concours of America Hagerty

Welcome to According to You, a weekly prompt on Hagerty Media where we pose a question, collect the answers, and share them the following week!

We want to know: What tips you have for a young enthusiast looking to flourish in our hobby? I am reminded of one such person who came across my computer screen asking for help, and he received just that from our community here at Hagerty.

Sam from the Hagerty Community
Sam | Hagerty Community

I “met” Sam back in 2020, and was so impressed with his spirit that I wrote about his situation. Things have changed in the last two years, and Sam has started an automotive career. Obtaining a job in an industry that’s also your passion is difficult. For some, it’s nothing more than a dream. Many of us at Hagerty Media understand that plight, and we coulda used some feedback in our more formative years. Whether or not the feedback would have altered our trajectories is irrelevant; sometimes the act of caring enough to be someone else’s sounding board is all that’s required.

In my completely unbiased opinion, Sam has nothing but blue skies ahead of him. But it makes me wonder, who are we missing?

More importantly, what should we be telling them?

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    Do not be afraid of choosing an “non big three mfg “ when looking at a automobile. With some 3000 so called auto manufacturers listed, the history can be daunting but very interesting. Me, I thought buying a 54 Hudson Hornet was not a mainstream brand however getting into the history and ups and downs was fascinating even looking for a needed engine and transmission. Clubs and individuals really make it fun to further dig into making your “dream” to educate the masses.

    Would a young beginner be better off with, say, a 1929 Ford Model A or a 1964 Corvair, price and condition being similar? Which is more of a handful to find parts, tools, mentors?

    I helped a young man learn how to rebuild the engine in his car. He was ready to learn. He did all the wrenching and I showed him the steps he needs to know in taking apart and showed him how to use micrometers to measure all the clearences. Also how to read repair manuals to get the specs for his engine. When the day came to start his rebuilt engine he was excited. I poured a little gas in the carb and told him to crank it over. I tell you when it fired right up the look on his face was precious. He had the biggest smile on his face that I’ll never forget. It did my heart too. I felt proud of him and it really made me feel good to help this young man. A few years later I ran in to him and he was telling me about his 440 70′ cuda. It was good to see that he really took to working on cars.

    Tell them to enjoy what they have.
    There will always be faster more expensive cars Do not spend too much on the car that they have just enjoy it for what it is.

    I used to be anal retentive about my cars in my 20s and 30s because if the time and investment I had made in them, mowing my 60s, I encourage kids to touch, sit in, and examine and part of my C1 Corvette. I remember now what it’s like to be young, curious, and envious/lustful if vehicles I thought I’d never be able to own or drive.

    At Cars & Coffee, I purposely approach youngsters eyeballing my car and ask if they have any questions I can answer, if they would like to sit in my car and/take any pictures. We need to make our hobby/passion accessible. BTW, still waiting for someone to ask if if I want to drive their 300SL. 😎 Maybe, I’ll get lucky in Hilton Head this year.

    Buying and owning an antique car is like having a time machine. The history of the car, meeting with people with same interest. The thrill of the way they drive on a sunny Day. My dreamming startet at the age of 10, buying first classic at 18. And now at 49 got the car for the rest of my life, a 55 Cadillac Coupe De ville. Dreams can come true

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