Last week, CNBC ran a very informative and eye-opening story on why Americans are driving less. It delivered compelling explanations for the reason that the average driver is covering 8.9 percent less miles this year compared to last. It made us here at BoldRide wonder where this trend is going, and how that effects being an automotive enthusiast in the years to come. Here are ways to create new gear heads and foster that enthusiast bug in others:
Capture their imagination:
I was into cars well before I could ever own one. What captured my imagination was a DuPont Registry. It is like a Toys R Us catalog for adults. On the cover was a Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR – an insane LeMans racer-for-the-road. I was smitten, but for others it could be films like Steve McQueen’s LeMans, or the vintage Road & Track short story, “A Nice Morning Drive.” These works do well to romanticize the automobile, and helped me become the gearhead that I am today. They will certainly light a fire in others.
Start a Project:
The price of a new Ford Mustang GT Convertible can deter many from considering buying a new sportscar, but you don’t need to get a perfectly new coupe to enjoy car culture. There are plenty of used sportscars, and even though Cash 4 Clunkers took a whole chunk of inventory off the market, you can still get your hands on all manner of used sportscar. How about a second-gen Ford Taurus SHO, or a C4 Corvette? It’s all out there, and parts are plentiful for American and Japanese cars. The best part? Older cars are simpler to figure out and easier to work on.
Attend a (Good) Car Show:
Plenty of ice cream shops and other businesses have a weekly ride night, where people bring out their prized cars, but for some enthusiasts, it’s a red herring. The novelty of these shows quickly wane, washed away by bowling shirts with flames on the sleeves, and Chevy Bel Air “trailer queens” that are restored so much that they are actually brighter than the day they left the dealership in 1957. A bunch of over-50s sitting behind their mid-life-crisis-on-wheels in a lawn chair week after week is no way to get the next generation into cars.
Instead, go to a Cars & Coffee event. There, a more active breed brings in more refined sportscars with technology that the kids actually might recognize. A general respect persists for more obscure niches of the automotive world. If you are already an enthusiast, C&C will make you a smarter one.
Treat Driving Like Fishing/Golfing/Skiing:
Sitting in traffic is not Driving (note: the capital D). Sitting in traffic is just waiting, in a car. Enthusiasts know what it is like to have their favorite sportscar sitting under a tarp all week, and waiting for that clear, dew-covered morning, when no one is on the road yet. That feeling of taking to the road in a sportscar for a short day trip or even to hit the backroads near your house is why people own cars like this. It’s to understand the sport and passion of driving. A well-crafted sportscar doesn’t deserve to sit in traffic, and if you telecommute or take public transit all week long, it makes that Sunday morning drive even that much more special.
Understand the Significance of It All:
With smartphones and video conferencing, we don’t have to leave our house to do work or connect with friends, but there is no replacement for actual human contact. Cars are the way that we get face-to-face with our friends, bosses and clients. It is also the way that we get away from it all and free ourselves from the daily grind with a trip up to the mountains.
You have to step back and consider just how important it is to understand how your car works. In the event that something goes wrong, you should at least have a chance at being able to fix it. Also, one should understand how advancements in auto racing trickle down to our daily commuter car.
It’s all connected- the passion for cars drives attendance to racing events, where a new technology will one day make its way to your own car, and technologies that were brought forth in the past are being toyed with in a garage somewhere by father and son as they prep a sportscar for a Sunday drive. You don’t have to be the next Stirling Moss, but you spend a decent amount of time every day in your car. Don’t you think it’s about time you finally get connected with it?