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Hot Rods Are we a dying breed?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Frozen Chosen, Jul 30, 2014.

  1. 40's and before the real deal performance Hot Rods, 50's cruising street driven Hot Rods, 60's muscle car threat show rods, 70's rod runs and true spokes resto-rod, 80's big events pastels, 90's shop built billet, 00's over-the top tasteless spending baby boomers cashing in the 401K's creating the RR revolt, 10's patina protouring. All through these years there has been an underlying traditional hot rod rod movement consisting of guys that never wavered, youngs guys coming in, building within your means, a whole new wave of small shops with incredible craftsmanship that many thought would fall by the wayside. This combined with a huge and still growing movement in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan. Dying, no! Changing....Yes.
    woodsnwater, Baumi and need louvers ? like this.
  2. summersshow
    Joined: Mar 3, 2013
    Posts: 899

    from NC

    na... Im staying busy trying to repopulate the hot rodders...

    I also have a pic of my little girl (4 months old) with me in a customers 54 vette... But I cant find it on my computer right now...

    boys.jpg Photo590.jpg
    ct1932ford likes this.
  3. Good post..The picture of your nephew reminds me of an obervation I had last week while driving my Roadster. A young gal was walking down the side walk with her toddler. I was in a string of new cars and my Roadster stopped him in his tracks and he watched my car drive by and he "got it". There is something innate here guys and gals.

  4. Truckedup
    Joined: Jul 25, 2006
    Posts: 4,160


    I know a lot of people and very few mess with old vehicles nevermind hot rods. In fact I don't mess with them any more other than my stock 51 Willys 4x4 truck. I've gone back to old British hot rod bikes, they take up less room ...
  5. daddylama
    Joined: Feb 20, 2002
    Posts: 930


    dying breed? don't think so.
    I'm not a baby boomer (in my 40s). I've owned old cars all my life... most of my friends are into and own old cars.
    now the important part:
    my kids are exposed to hot rods every chance I get. they hang out and help in the garage. they are the next generation... and I've got a bunch of kids. :)
  6. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 18,484


    Nothing ever stays the same. Even those who were there to remember are largely wrong in what they recall.

    Dying, no. Changing, yes.

    Adapt, or die.
    ct1932ford and rockable like this.
  7. What started as a hardship hobby has morphed into a billion dollar racket. In my situation, I started wrenching on cars, because I didn't have the money to buy something dependable, and I'm sure many others started the same way.
    I see a lot of the young people in my part of the country playing with 20-30 year old pick-ups. They're a lot cheaper and easier to get parts for that a Deuce.
    Are we a dying breed, is it a dying hobby? Probably, but it will be more of a slow change due to the disappearance of usable cars and parts. A hundred years from now there will be some old misunderstood idiots hopping up those old hybrid cars from the early 2000s, wondering who will take over for them when they die.
  8. Boatmark
    Joined: Jan 15, 2012
    Posts: 296


    I've read this thread a few times trying to zero in on my response. I don't think traditional Hot Rod's will die, but I think they will ebb and flow with time. It actually seems to me there are more kids interested than in the there was - but like many of us middle aged guys when we were younger, cost keeps them out of the game. At 50 I am just getting to the point of having the funds to build what I dream about. In the meantime I got my old car jolly's building stuff that is just a little too new to be on topic.

    Which brings me to one point I sometimes think gets lost - some of these kids working on OT stuff show some real talent. I think it is in our best interest to take some interest in what they are doing, praise the good, see if we can't provide a little guidance to the bad, but keep an enthusiasm in building old cars.

    I was walking through a cruise night a while back, and while walking past of flock of rice rockets I was stopped in my tracks by a cool little car. It was a very OT little 90's front wheeler Chevy coupe. I talked to the owner who turned out to be a high school kid . . . It was essentially a late model built as a we would an old car - dropped down with a nice stance over some cool wheels, shaved from front to rear, shaved door handles, he cleared over the factory paint to get enough meat to sand a buff a pretty nice finish, and made some very subtle chrome trim from brass stock. The very cool thing was his use of some materials intended for collision repair of the plastic bumpers to slice and dice the bumpers - pulled them in tighter, and did some reshaping. I guess that's 21st century fabrication!

    The bottom line of this long uninteresting story is. . . the car was very cool. With very little money he had built a cool ride to get him through college. He really really wants a 55' Chevy one day, but isn't sitting on the sidelines until he can work his way up.

    So if there is a kid around who shows the right instincts, we can't turn up our noses because the car's aren't our thing. Cool cars are cool cars - we can help them learn the skills, appreciate craftsmanship, and work their way towards the traditional hot rod or custom in their future. It will help preserve the hobby in the long run. I think it has always been that way to some point - I learned my first skills working on a new mini-truck . . . taught by an older guy who had to move his Badass Anglia out of his garage to make room for me.

    It's all about passing on the skills . . . .
    woodsnwater, gc427 and gimpyshotrods like this.
  9. RussTee
    Joined: Mar 25, 2008
    Posts: 1,221


    Are we a dying breed well it depends on how you look at it and some of you may not like the answer, that is I think that the current traditional hotrodder could be a restorer that is a restorer of a type of car built mainly in the 1950s in the 1950s and earlier hotrodders built cars using the latest technology now day traditional hotrodders tend to go back and restore or recreate cars using technology and parts from generally round about this period maybe the hotrodder of today is the so called boy raceruseing modern parts and technology of today like the cars seen in the fast and the furyious maybe we are either restorers or guys that just have not moved on? I am 64 now and still gas weld why becase its traditional aint it?
  10. Perhaps we are but remember many of us are doing this now because we have the time and the money. During the mid point of our existence we were buying a home, paying a mortgage, working probably too much at our career and raising kids. We need to realize the current generation are now in that mode presently. One of the things we can do and I do as do some of my friends with race cars is encourage kids to have their parents put them in my car a take a photo. That stays by them forever for some reason. One such person was a granddaughter of a banjo player and hot rodder I jam with on Fridays. She was probably about 5 at the time and her dad and grandfather put her in the car and took her picture. She never forgot it and always comes to the drags at Picton with her Dad or Granddad and hunts me up. Last year I was hobbling up to the line from the pits to watch a friends first pass in a FED. All of the sudden someone grabbed my hand as was swinging it walking beside me. I looked down and here was the same girl, now a 9 year old with curls, walking beside me looking up and grinning. I think it was "raining" because for a moment I had trouble seeing. I looked around for her family and spied her granddad walking about ten steps behind. He just grinned and shrugged. He later told me I was her hero and she always wants to come and go to the pits to see "Don" . There have been several others but that is one way to promote our hobby and it appears to be very effective. Any scratches and footprints that accidently arise from such pale in comparison to positive effect it has . I have no doubt little Sydney , as she is called,will some day have a Hot Rod of her own or will at the very least be a very supportive wife for someone so interested.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2014
    woodsnwater and gc427 like this.
  11. Yes you have a point. I actually read the obituaries every online every morning. Just to see who died. I look for estate auctions on Auction Zip. and I have made purchases of the goodies that the deceased wouldn't sell. Im not a denialist I know im getting old. I know that much of it is never going to get done and someday possibly someone will reap great bargains from my estate sale. I hope so anyway. But for now its my hoard and im not finished playing with it yet. And some of it is for sale however if your wanting to play with my marbles you are not going to get the best ones.
  12. and this topic gets rehashed here on the HAMB all the time, old guys (in their 20s) got me into this and if we didn't pass it on its our fault. plenty of young guys in this area building hot rods.
  13. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,476

    Engine man
    from Wisconsin

    Back in the day you could buy a house for what you made in a year and the monthly payment was about 1 weeks wages. I built mine in 1978, my dad built his in 1969, my father in law built his in 1951. A car payment was about 1/2 a weeks pay. Today, houses cost at least twice the average income and require both husband and wife to work to pay for it. Car payments these days suck up at least a weeks pay. Then there are cell phone bills, cable/internet, child care because both parents work.

    Then nobody wants to pay mechanics anything. They are trying to hire mechanics where I work and I found out the starting wage they are offering is less than what I started at in 1980. They don't advance the pay scale either so the last younger guy they hired is looking for another job and is working on vehicles after work. There are two of us nearing retirement so they will be very short handed soon. They call in people to work on equipment at many times what they are willing to pay a new hire.

    It's very difficult for someone with the mechanical aptitude necessary to get into the hobby.
    gc427 likes this.
  14. camerl2009
    Joined: Jan 26, 2014
    Posts: 203


    I don't think so im 19(20 in a few weeks) and just getting into it. been into cars all my life my uncles father had a 30's Chevy street rod its always sparked my interest but i like the traditional route more
  15. Just fluke perhaps but I was at the Station Jam today and little Syd was their with her grand parents. About midway through the morning she made her way down to where I was playing fiddle and sat down beside me and asked about my last day at the drags which she missed due to a previous schedule. I don't know if you have ever been interviewed by a 9 to 10 year old about your hot rod or race car but it is an interesting experience that will leave you smiling. She left promising to be in attendance at the sept 20 meet and I heard her remind her grandpa that she had to be there. With a fan base like that how can I lose?!
    enloe and need louvers ? like this.
  16. Times are changing, and always do!! I was just at a car show in my area that gets a large turn out. The show is very nice and for charity! I was the only old school type , hotrod there. 60s drage car. still had a great time and won best STREET ROD. I was also the only 30s car there. oh well!!!
  17. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792

    Member Emeritus

    Sounds like a stupid article.
  18. I won't say "Dying" but, please excuse the modern term..."Diversifying". Think about it for a few seconds. "Back in the Day" just how many vehicle choices were available to the young enthusiast? A very few European imports in the U.S. pre and post war. What was it, the late fifties/early sixties when Toyota began sending imports to the U.S. (Earliest Land Cruiser imported was 1958) beginning the Asian import market. So for a cheap source of transportation there wasn't much here for many years but American cars. Now given massive advancements in global communication, free trade, etc, etc, etc... everyone is exposed to styles and trends from around the world. Some gravitate to one style while others identify with another. Personally I have ridden the waves of a few of these trends and am quite happy with all of those decisions and content to be building what I have always wanted to build, my 1940 Ford Coupe. But given that I have messed around with a few of the other trends it has given me a good appreciation for the passion that drives each person dedicated to that particular style. I don't really know what I am trying to say here, but more wanted to point out that I don't think were a dying breed. As long as we are legally permitted to drive, be it internal combustion, hydrogen fuel cell, or electric vehicles, there will be a sub-culture that will want to make that vehicle their own, to stand out from the crowd. Call it what you will, but at it's core it all started with Hot Rodding.
  19. My grandson DSCN8742.JPG Grady is 4, he will be my hot rod buddy this summer/fall, the Model A is almost finished.
    ct1932ford likes this.
  20. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 18,484


    Just remember, those tattooed up boys, with their greased hair, and cuffed pants, that you greybeards complain about, are not trying to re-live YOUR past. They are carrying this hobby FORWARD.

    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
    ct1932ford likes this.
  21. gc427
    Joined: Aug 10, 2009
    Posts: 122

    from SoCal

    If we are a dying breed then we all need to get busy re-producing a bunch more of us!

    Get to work and start spreading your seed!

    Encouraging the youth of our world and not thumbing your nose just because a car is not a "traditional hot rod" is what we all need to do.

    This is an art form. It takes talent. Some of us have "it" and some of us don't.

    The way that we keep this alive is by building and driving cool cars so that the masses can be exposed to hot rods and custom cars. Get your cars out of the garage and drive them!
  22. blackdog
    Joined: Nov 9, 2011
    Posts: 35

    from Golden BC

    I really think Boatmark hit the nail right on the head. I'm the son of a baby boomer car nut and I wish I had the disposable income and free time that he and his buddies have. He taught me and I will try my hardest to teach my young boys what I know and get them hooked . Gimpyshotrods, you also nailed it!
  23. Seems pretty healthy around here! Here's some pics of future hot rodders. Our A is a father/son project. There is an increasing number of teens all agog over showroom equipped muscle cars at shows when you can see the same thing in the dealer showroom or on the car lot, though? IMG_5655.JPG IMG_0001.JPG IMG_0191.JPG IMG_0022.JPG
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
    ct1932ford and David Gersic like this.
  24. redidbull
    Joined: Oct 17, 2013
    Posts: 26

    from Ct

    I know this is an old thread but it came up in a search for "is hot rodding dying". Me and a couple guys I work with were talking about this topic. I have been going to car shows quite a but over the past couple years and have noticed that it is indeed an older crowd, 50s vs 20s. Drag races on the other hand seem to be more of a mixed crowd. I believe as others have said it is a cost thing. With 20 somethings starting their careers they may make decent money but also have student loans so money isn't available yet. My first car was a 5 year old Plymouth Duster I got for $900. Almost anything 5 years old is 10 t0 15 times that amount and I know they are making more but it is still alot. I recently picked up a 1989 F150 for $700. It is nothing special but a set of headers and a future decent 302 and it will be MY hotrod. My kids enjoyed our 4 wheeling trips when they were young, 87 Suzuki Samurai, but were never really into the building. They liked the mods and how they worked and looked buy rarely got their hands dirty. Bottom line I feel bad but I think alot of these real cool rides are going to sit after we are gone. Jim
    F&J likes this.
  25. coreythompsonhm
    Joined: Jul 16, 2012
    Posts: 68


    Being 30 and have spent my childhood working on hotrods is why I am still into them. I dont know anyone else near me who build old cars. Most people do the custom imports stuff where I am at that are younger than me.
  26. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 8,353

    anthony myrick

    went to a local small car show, had about 75 rides
    only about 10 were older than 1970
    the majority of the crowd was 20s-40s

    the pre 1948, 1965, 1973 shows are just about gone......thank goodness
    imagine the lamenting of the brass era car owners when newer cars showed up to shows
    is it declining.....dont know
    it is changing
    and I think for the better
    BAD ROD likes this.
  27. BAD ROD
    Joined: Dec 16, 2004
    Posts: 1,535


    Dying breed? I really don’t know. I hope so! Will keep availability manageable.

    Doesn’t seem like the hobby is growing as fast as everything else, and it doesn’t seem to be shrinking.
  28. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 9,716

    jimmy six

    I believe it's your perspective. Are guys lining up to buy 32 Ford roadsters at a 100K a pop....not so much. For the guys who wanted them, have them. The next group want the 50's and for the most part are spending money on restored ones and changing them for their own likes. 60-early 70's cars seem to me are where guys with $$ now are spending it. Theses car guys are 65 and retiring buy their HS dream car..... There will be some who want "old" cars but all seem to want all the modern conveniences and 70's had a lot of it plus big block power.
    My 56 will hold its value for the most part but to sell will need modern "niceties" to sell. Think about it... Who can adjust brakes or even knows how.
    The best thing we can do is preserve them and pass them one to someone who cares....not necessarily family..wish us good luck and enjoy what you have now.
    clem and jnaki like this.
  29. I was wonder this also but after attending the local indoor car show, seeing young guys both here on the HAMB and at our local cruise nights and local outdoor shows, I'm confident we're gonna be alright. Here are several pages of "happenings" in our Omaha/Lincoln area. The first part are listings of local cruise nights and the rest are swap meets, car shows and get togethers. Hey! There are literally PAGES of car stuff happening here and surrounding area and a good part of it is young people. Check it out and remember, we only have a little less than a million people counting the Lincoln area....45-50 miles from Omaha. 1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg 4.jpg
    enloe likes this.
  30. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 8,874


    I'm 59 now and more into things now, as I approach retirement, than ever before despite slowing down due to injuries. I've no grandchildren however both my son and daughter love the car scene and going out with the old fellow in the current car. Both look forward to me completing the current project; that way they each get a car when I'm done and dusted and have moved on. :D A lot of friends are not car people however they have other interests. Any chance I get I'm happy to try to convert any non believers and turn them into followers.
    Rodding has evolved and gone through it's ups and downs like many other things; it has adapted just like those who build and drive cars and those involved with aftermarket products. You can still build a traditional car however OEM parts are getting scarce and harder to find, unlike the old days when there was no aftermarket to service the hobby and you used and adapted whatever was available.
    Sadly there are some people who promote events etc only for personal financial gain or are here to build their own own empire to the detriment of the hobby, they are in the minority and are only here for the short and not long term. Those in the know see their true colours and don't fall for the propaganda or smoke and mirrors.

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