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Customs Are customs lost on our youth?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by borderboy1971, Sep 6, 2016.

  1. borderboy1971
    Joined: Oct 20, 2008
    Posts: 635

    from Canada

    First I'll admit that I'm not an old timer by any means, nor am I that young anymore either. But I do know car quite well and can tell most custom mods that have been done to an old car. (Some are very inconspicuous ). When customizing really got rolling in the 50's, I suspect most anybody could tell a car was customized.....different grille, rounded hood corners, peaked etc. Because the factory equivalent car was next to it on the street.
    Without being able to compare a factory car to a custom, I suspect most of the amazing build and talent is lost on alot of people now....especially younger crowd. I know there are some that will know what's been done, but for most I suspect they'll just say it looks cool.
    C. John Stutzer and dana barlow like this.
  2. Just like most of us "not so young timers" see when we see the mods done on their ricers. Different strokes.
  3. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 10,624

    from Raytown Mo

    You also have to see that a custom requires a lot of time, money and patience. There is no short cut to a custom. Young guys would have had to had that custom fire lit pretty early to be cruising a nice one when they are young.
    Dave Mc and Merge like this.
  4. e1956v
    Joined: Sep 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,430

    Alliance Vendor

    Customs haven't died with the young guy's, it's just the cars that have changed. They are buying imports that they can afford and customizing and hot rodding the hell out of them. While they are not my style I can appreciate the hard work they put in to them.
    Like prewarcars4me said different strokes.
    I bought a 1980 Silverado step side as a project for my son and me to do. Wanted to lower it and get it done so he could drive it to high school. As much as I tried to get him to see my vision, after a while I could see he just wasn't in to it. He just didn't want to hurt my feelings.
    We ended up getting a 95 civic that he wanted, like all of his buddies dreamed of.
    The excitement in him took off from there. We did car shows with imports together and I learned to appreciate what he taught me and he still likes old hot rods and muscle cars. Time well spent.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
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  5. cretin
    Joined: Oct 10, 2006
    Posts: 2,863


    I wouldn't say completely lost, but to an extent yes. You are right, there aren't the factory cars all over to notice the difference, but some of those other ones, just saying "that's cool", could be the beginning of them learning about. Some will be interested, some will not. Fact of the matter is, that just like e1956v said, these aren't the cars that these kids lusted over while they were waiting to get their license. The simply aren't as plentiful or affordable.

    But even so, there will still be kids that want to get into this regardless of the times. Just in fewer and fewer numbers.
    I was one of those kids. I'm 33 now, and hot rods and customs were always what I was into. Most people were doing the import thing, but it was never interesting to me. There is hope for an elite few.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
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  6. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,549

    from California

    customs are a lost art, only old people own HOT RODs anymore, and there is no more vintage tin .... I think I read that in the 80's somewhere. :)
  7. HRK-hotrods
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 922


    I'm 43. I admit that I've gone through phases in my builds. I started out as a teenager with muscle cars, then went to lifted trucks, then built a radical custom full sized bagged pickup but my heart has always been with traditional rods and late 40's customs. I've yet to build my own custom but I've learned a lot through building off topic cars. One day when I find a clean 40' Merc or 41' Buick, that's affordable, I'll build my dream custom. Until then, I'll keep honing my skills.
  8. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 3,703

    dana barlow
    from Miami Fla.

    At 74,I maybe shouldn't even say about newer cars,cuz I kind stop paying much atenchion to them. They really did start all looking alike to me. This is mostly cuz few have much character,other then the excitc at very high$=so custom stuff dosen't show up or is just lost to most anyway. Back before about 1980s,even if we removed all the name plates,we could still tell what it was,each brand was a very def design.=Custom stuff done showed up much more then on cars of today. That maybe only cuz I'm old an have stoped looking hard at the newer cars.
    Raiman1959 and C. John Stutzer like this.
  9. Old cars in general seem to go right over the heads of the general public. There is hope, in the hood there are a couple of kids around that come out and circle the block when I had the Ford running on the driveway with open exhaust.
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 7,904


    I did a very non-scientific and personal survey. It had to do with women and customs (kustoms), I wanted to find out in real time and personal that "...customs are for getting girls...". In the couple dozen I showed the pictures to I knew 2 or 3 would be more dialed in toward a hot rod before we started, and 2 of them liked both, 1 almost not at all, the rest found the customs "hot", "kinda sexy", "smooth", "pretty", "...hell yes I'd ride around in that...". The singular woman who didn't like the custom much at all was Mrs Highlander (!), her preference leaning toward the "trouble maker" or street racer vibe more than anything else. It's been 25 years this year so no surprise really.
    Back on topic, young or old the fair sex seems to enjoy a well done low and smooth kustom. As to our youth in general I think there's no real baseline for them to measure from. When I go to a cruise night (not often) I notice that the majority of participants are all at least 10 years my senior, some more, very few in my generation (I'm 59). Perhaps some are close to my age but just seem or appear older, it's not like I take a poll. This began in the early years of the new millenium, "old guys" showing up in Chevelles, GTOs, Mustangs, street rods, and real old guys in restored stuff like Model As or vintage prewar anything. Money was mentioned above and rightfully so. None of this, regardless of the chosen venue, is for the faint-of-wallet. Got any old Summit or Jegs catalogs? Go back 10 years and compare prices, see if you don't get an extra grey hair or 10. "Kids" have a new set of interests and priority. What they spend on phones or online bullshit would probably buy some nice speed parts, maybe over the course of a year a whole car. Customs take even more than $$$$$$, they take the ability to turn a vision into reality. They take imagination, skills that schools call "alternative career path" now, historical references, and a cocktail of the above in the individual soul in order to understand proportions, restraint, color, and most of all function. One good movie, even one that became a franchise like "...Furious", all of that could change for the generations that follow. Those in the late 20s to late 30s that can afford something special? Media has them convinced that one of the Big 3 can give it to them with a warranty for no more than a signature and a payment book. "Our stuff" is only cool in a casual way, only if they see stuff once in a while at something like the Woodward Cruise or similar mega events. Can't see a measurable number of them attending Relix, Billetproof, LSRU, etc. Those youthful participants are as special as we are, and yes the numbers always seem low to us old fucks but maybe they really aren't. I don't recall scores of guys my age as I grew up in it, and I saw more of them drag racing than anything. Of course that today as well clearly isn't for the faint-of-wallet either. Customs will always be an aquired taste, an individual path, something that takes an aesthetic that mostly defies words. If you "get it" you know exactly what I mean.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
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  11. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 8,208


    I drive many ol cars that get attention but the 1950 Crestliner gets the most attention from women and it needs paint badly crestlinerskirts.jpg
    Donald A. Smith and slv63 like this.
  12. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 5,858


    Customs are becoming an extremely small part of the old car scene and the appeal and value of streetrods is dwindling rapidly. Talked to a rodder who's been in the same large club for forty years, he said most members are getting out of streetrods and are now into 50's and 60's cars.
    Remember when the NSRA announced they were going to raise the age limits of cars admitted to their events? The pre 49 crowd went berserk. At the recent NSRA Nats in Louisville I'll bet the pre 49 and later cars were close to 50% each.
    50's and 60's cars are where the hobby is right now. For the last five years of the NSRA Nats I easily sold five cars. One was a Tri 5 the others were 60's Chevy's.

    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
  13. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 4,029

    from red oak

    If you go to a car show, customs will always be in the lowest numbers compared to other build styles. It has been this way for years. Young kids like seeing customs when they see them, but they aren`t sure what they are looking at. Some will ask questions or will just give a thumbs up. If you look at the numbers of younger kids 18-30, there are a lot more today building customs than back in the 80`s and 90`s. 50 to 60 year old guys complain they can`t afford to build an old car, try a kid whose 25 ,married and has a child of his own.
  14. Acme45
    Joined: Sep 23, 2011
    Posts: 13


    I wonder what will happen to the value of these old cars. For instance, I'd assume your $30K '55 Chevy will not be worth $30K in another 10-20 years because of the lack of interest from these kids. I could be wrong, I hope so. I also wonder what will happen to these old cars if no one cares enough to maintain them. The majority of kids today don't give two shits about a '55.
    Donald A. Smith likes this.
  15. 283john
    Joined: Nov 17, 2008
    Posts: 775


    20 years could price gasoline out of the realm of practicality anyway. Or other environmental regulations could be enacted by then.
    Donald A. Smith likes this.
  16. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,087


    It takes a lot of time and effort to "influence" the younger generation to do anything. The media has made a time warp with all of the devices and gaming things. I thought that a ton of Matchbox cars, Fisher Price Garage sets, and Tonka Toys would give some kind of influence to my son. He had a ton of interests, but they tended to not be car oriented. I even had a signed car art poster by Ken Auster with a personal note on his wall. My son thought that was very cool and kept it until high school.
    When he was ready to start driving, I agree with others when they mention small import cars as the vehicles they wanted. We selected a Nissan SER 4 speed coupe as the closest thing to a hot rod. He had the fastest car of all his buddies and was the favorite car to cruise. But, that was his generation.
    Today, he thinks our past history is very cool being involved in cars and drag racing. Even his neighbor has a modified Falcon with a big block motor, sounds outrageous, but still, he still likes small economy cars to stay low key. You can't change someone just because you were involved in it. It is the way of life...They have to lead their own lives, their own way.
    Wait, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, maybe...His young daughter and her friends like the sounds coming out of my present day car, so there may be hope yet...Skip a generation...Could be, Maybe, Hopefully...
  17. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,087


    An addendum, the start of the dummy lights instead of gauges was the beginning of the end, IMHO. Cars stuck on the road? Open the hood, look at it and say, it does not work... The attention span of most younger generation is so short that i do not know how they can sit through a long movie at the theater. Custom cars, however modified they are take time and that may be one of the things this generation just can't handle. There will be some that just excel at anything, but for the majority, cars (custom, hot rods, drag racers) take time and the mantra is..."we don't have enough of it..." IMHO
  18. Raiman1959
    Joined: May 2, 2014
    Posts: 1,428


    Most of the younger set that I've gotten to know, just aren't interested in putting money or time into 'building' an older car...seems like they just want the small, foreign cars or the 'progressive' cars with all the technology gadgets that has a 'new' look to it. That isn't everyone of course, but seems to be the majority that I've come across the past few years. It's almost like they can't see the point in todays ever-changing mentality, with video games and modern ''issues'' demanding their time, peer pressure, bad economy, etc..etc-----

    I am pleased to see young people at car shows and events....but I don't see many at all outside of that arena of a weekend ''something to do'' car show....although I do see a LOT of small foreign cars with big mufflers and boom boxes rattling the mailboxes as they drive by!....I am optimistic, and try to talk positive to anyone under the age of 40 about "old" cars and hot rods...and show the good stuff it entails if applied....I think most would agree it's not a bad thing once they hear from someone involved and see what they can build, or at least, appreciate if seen from a normal standpoint.....usually they all end with saying: ''man, that is pretty cool''....I think there is hope!
  19. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 3,395

    from Colorado

    Just checked the CPI indicator and my .90 cents an hour minimum wage in 1958 is worth $7.49 today. Gas was .30 cents a gallon then and today gas is $2.25 or approximately one third of the hourly minimum wage. However, I never had to pay for a cell phone or ball-busting car insurance rates back in the day (hate that expression)! Too, almost every car book had a mix of rods and customs.

    Times change as do interests. I like to write letters to the editor in our local rags. Now, I have to go through FB or Twitter to express an opinion. The internet has changed things in all facets of life. The fact that we're talking about this on the HAMB instead of a car club meeting makes my point.
  20. jeffd1988
    Joined: Apr 12, 2016
    Posts: 537


    Im 28 and to afford an old vehicle in general is to expensive. For example ill look on cl right now and type in a plain ol 63 impala or 55 chev. For a running one is at least 10k but will still need many things like paint and interior ect.. For one that is done. And for 20k or more the car is pretty much contoured to the seller than it is for the buyer. That is why i see my generation and younger they buy these inports that are that price and is reliable til they have some caah to put in some mods later as these import cars are all over for ect records like reliability and so on. I have friends that all want a early 50s truck. But no place to store it as well as this economy is not easy as well. I may be alil off on my saying but its an idea what going on. Plus my generation i cany find a guy friend that knows how to use a dam wrench anyways
  21. woodiewagon46
    Joined: Mar 14, 2013
    Posts: 1,510

    from New York

    How about going to a car show with a "Woodie" wagon. This is the conversation I had one day with some guy from God knows where. Him, "You are to making this car"? Me, "Yes, it took me about 5 years". Him, "Why you are to making from wood"? Me, "Thats the way it came from the Ford factory". Him, "But why you are to putting wood on sides"? Me, "I replaced the wood that was rotten with new wood". Him, "Why not putting back steel"? Me, "This is the way they made station wagons back then, they came from the factory that way". Him, No, no, no, they no making car from wood, you make it car this way". I just walked away, welcome to the new America!
  22. Murocmaru
    Joined: Apr 5, 2006
    Posts: 386

    from Van Nuys

    No, they aren't. There's plenty of people that like old cars. I'm 32 and bought a 30 roadster at 24. I then had a 51 Buick at 26. I have friends that had customs in their early 20's. The problem is that project cars and parts are expensive and hard to find. "period correct" parts are also hard to find and getting scrapped all the time. We also no longer have auto shop. So us young people are having to figure out everything on our own.

    The popular models of cars to customize, (40 and 49-51 merc, etc) are too spendy for the young folks. This is why we see more of the less desirable cars 52 ford and Chevy for example, being restored, kustomized, and dare i say rat rodded.
  23. UNSHINED 2
    Joined: Oct 30, 2006
    Posts: 955


    At 45, as an in-betweener, I think there are those that will always be building customs. There are some of those out there that believe that there may be a sort of resurgence of craftsmanship. There are quite a few cars that are in the building stage and just aren't seen. They take a long time to build when time and money are scarce. I have been seeing more stuff handcrafted lately as certain parts become scarce. I think we are fine. I'd like to elaborate more, but it'll have to wait. Duty calls.....
  24. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 4,029

    from red oak

    Customs have always been a small part of the car scene. Kids these day notice changes done to cars. they don`t exactly know what the changes are, but they like what they see. They sometimes ask what kind of car it is. Then you have to explain to them the modifications and why it was done. They then proceed to say that it is their favorite car at the show. Hang around A custom car at a show sometime and you will realize this. Although this usually happens at a gas station or a grocery store. The interest in a custom that is. Today, there are more of the younger generation into customs than ever before. Excluding the 50`s and 60`s.
    Sancho and OG lil E like this.
  25. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,796


    I actually don't notice and probably don't care too much. When a young person used to ask about my old T Bucket, I'd give 'em the whole show and a little history about Hot Rodding. If they got it, cool. If they didn't get it, they at least got a little free education.

    Most folks go through phases. It's the same with cars and hobbies. I say, leave those kids the hell alone and they'll be fine. They'll either find it or they won't. But at the same time, don't be the old shit, sitting behind your car at a show, ready to chase someone off for getting too close.

    And lastly, on this tired old subject, I kinda like being in an elusive group or niche. As much as I love seeing and driving an old car among the masses, I'd hate to wake up and they were every where. Yea, ego is also a real mother fu*ker.
    OG lil E and cretin like this.
  26. Spex84
    Joined: Mar 12, 2015
    Posts: 151

    from Canada

    I just wanted to point out that if you have to explain your car to a young person, then do it...because you might just be setting the gears in motion. You might be starting a fire that will never burn out. It happened to me, and I'll go to my grave loving hot rods and customs, even if circumstances don't permit me to own either.
    Heck, if I hang onto my daily driver for a few more years, it will be 25 years old. A quarter century. Easily as old as the cars those kids were working with in the 1950s. Sure it's not a hot rod or a custom, but if working on it teaches me how to wrench, weld, and paint...then I'm getting somewhere. So when a kid says "I love old cars, I have an '87 Jeep"...don't dismiss that kid, because the car is probably much older than he is, and represents a love of history that I think we can all identify with. And one day he might discover that he has the skill, cash, and patience to tackle a car from the 30s-60s.
    OG lil E, cretin and e1956v like this.
  27. CowboyTed
    Joined: Apr 27, 2015
    Posts: 340


    You're going to find that prices drop precipitously in the coming decades, as the Baby Boomers start to die off. As a simple matter of numbers, both demographic and financial numbers, there is no way that any of the generations following the Baby Boomers will be able to create a demand as high as it is now. Baby Boomers are the single largest generation in the U.S., AND they have recently inherited their parents' wealth, so they are spending wildly on everything they think is cool. That has caused the prices of hot rods, customs, and antiques to skyrocket in recent decades. But that price rise will not continue.

    Baby Boomers, unlike their parents, do not save money. Most of them are spending every dime to cover their lifestyles while they are healthy, and their health care costs later, and dying nearly penniless. Their kids are the next largest generation in the U.S., but those kids won't inherit much, as their parents will live longer, and spend every penny. The kids, meanwhile, are going to be stuck paying much more of their income in taxes to support the social safety net that the destitute Baby Boomers will demand as their health deteriorates. Ever since they were born, the Boomers have received everything they demand from the government, and in a democratic republic, that's going to continue as long as there are enough of them to vote.

    So the demand for hot rods, customs and antique cars in general MUST change drastically as the Baby Boomers die off, or shift their spending to their health care needs. Even IF their children and later generations were wild about the same cars the Baby Boomers dreamed about as teens, there are simply not enough of those later generations to make up for the loss in demand that will happen as the Boomers are leaving the market.

    I'm glad that I can expect to be at my highest earning capacity just as the Baby Boomers are dying, and their estates are selling all these cool hot rods and customs. I anticipate a buyer's market, and I'm busy building a huge shop now to hold all the toys I pick up in the coming fire sale.
  28. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,796


    A VERY logical answer, Cowboy Ted. Thanks.
  29. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 4,366


    I've noticed customs falling out of favor even as it pertains to the traditional side of the hobby as well. The biggest reason I can pinpoint is that it's really friggin' hard to build a custom, and in many cases, a lot more expensive, than building a hot rod. Simple fact. To build a complete custom car, you're talking advanced metal shaping, body and paint work, significant wiring, custom suspension, thousands on chrome, glass, interior.... it's a marathon undertaking. Not to mention building a custom requires creative thinking and design implementation that a hot rod really doesn't for the most part. There are no thoughts about what side trim you're going to run, what grill teeth, front bumper options.... While the same can certainly hold true for a hot rod, the point of a hot rod inherently is to strip things down. Give it stance, jam a big engine in it, make it run and stop... hot rod! There is also the "macho" mentality that comes with a performance vehicle like a hot rod. They're tough by nature, manly, gritty, hard. A custom on the other hand should put aesthetics above all. Looks good, cruises, sounds good, if it hauls ass, it's a bonus and not a requirement. The simple fact is that most people in the hobby simply don't have the skill or creativity to build a custom.

    My $.02
    chopper99 and Donald A. Smith like this.
  30. el Scotto
    Joined: Mar 3, 2004
    Posts: 4,209

    el Scotto
    from Tracy, CA

    Lots of big ass replies. The answer is simple.

    wicarnut and gimpyshotrods like this.

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