Author Topic: Looking to the future of classic cars.  (Read 1412 times)

Offline e.mason

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  • Name: Eric Mason
Looking to the future of classic cars.
« on: October 01, 2017, 05:28:27 PM »
As I was driving along today in my new Cadillac.  I reflected on how much Cadillac has come in the last 50-60 years with convenience options.  Back in the day, when Cadillac was on the cutting edge of luxury.  Options like power windows, power steering, power brakes etc. were all the rage.  I then took account of what conveniences today's Cadillacs offer.  Rear TV cameras and monitor.  Radar for safety.  Onboard WiFi.  Satellite radio.  Navigation system as part of the Onstar system.  Being able to order a pizza at the touch of a button.  This then lead to me to wondering.  What will be the state, in the future, of restoring and maintaining antique cars?

Besides the challenge of finding replacement parts.  A restorer will need a degree from MIT.  Thoughts?

Offline The Tassie Devil(le)

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Re: Looking to the future of classic cars.
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2017, 06:26:08 PM »
I am thinking that these later model vehicles will be virtually unrestoreable unless there is a perfect supply of replacement parts for every part of the car.

The use of rubber that is formed to odd shapes to fill areas that simple extrusions cannot fill and seal, plus plastics that do similar tasks, electronics that are so complex, including computers and the like, will only make the older vehicles more highly prized.

3D Printers will be a requirement in every home/garage to make the unobtanium pieces.

Bruce. >:D
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Offline Bobby B

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Re: Looking to the future of classic cars.
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2017, 07:57:36 PM »
I am thinking that these later model vehicles will be virtually unrestoreable unless there is a perfect supply of replacement parts for every part of the car.
Bruce. >:D

Bruce,
 In all Honesty...Who would want to?  >:D
                                                Bobby
1947 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible Coupe
1968 Mustang Convertible
1973 Mustang Convertible
1969 Jaguar E-Type Roadster
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Offline Bill Young

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Re: Looking to the future of classic cars.
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2017, 10:28:21 PM »
I personally think the safety things are fine , my problem centers around that in my opinion all the new cars look like ass. Also they all resemble  hundai's to the greater degree so why spend the extra money? . In addition they all will do anything electronically but there is virtually NO choices in color of interior or exterior. Most new cars to me look like the old song " Boxes , little boxes and they all look just the same, and they all are made out of ticky tacky and there is a white one and a black one and a silver one and a gray one and they're all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same". Sorry but I like colors and chrome and individuality and style. I am continually baffled why there are as many makes of cars still in existence given the aforementioned . Other than the Dodge Charger and Challenger the rest of the cars bore me to tears, people I know sometimes say " I saw you on the road , didn't you see me"?, I don't want to tell them that I try to avoid looking that close to most cars because I hate seeing them and some are so ugly that they offend me to look at them, I'll leave it at that not wanting to offend anyone. One Mans Opinion.
1972 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado Convertible in Coronation Red , White top , White seats with Oxblood dash and carpet

Offline Steve Passmore

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Re: Looking to the future of classic cars.
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2017, 03:21:57 AM »
You're not alone Bill as I second that.   The problem now is that car design is driven fuel economy and the wind tunnel.
Steve

Offline The Tassie Devil(le)

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Re: Looking to the future of classic cars.
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2017, 04:04:26 AM »
The day they made rubber mouldings/weatherstrips to hold the glass, is the day they made it impossible to restore these cars.

Bruce. >:D
'72 Eldorado Convertible (LHD)
'70 Ranchero Squire (RHD)
'74 Chris Craft Gull Wing (SH)
(Past President Modified Chapter)

Offline StevenTuck

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Re: Looking to the future of classic cars.
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2017, 05:09:16 AM »
Today's cars sitting in a junk yard for 20 years will probably have little decay since most today are not even made out of steel. However, as we discovered with the late 70s, the plastics suffer most decay. Computers will probably be useless. So as it has been said, restoration will be very difficult.

I think the clubs like ours and other marques will be much smaller. Today the baby boomers drive collecting for the most part. Once we die off, the new generation's interest is more into their cell phones than cars. Cell phones are their ticket to freedom unlike what cars which were ours when we could first drive. The rice burners will be all the rage and they are gaining momentum now. I am glad I won't be around to see it to be honest.
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Offline Big Apple Caddy

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Re: Looking to the future of classic cars.
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2017, 07:36:20 AM »
People, often the older generations, have been pondering and questioning the future of classic cars and the hobby (i.e. will modern cars of a given time be sought after as classics in the future) for ages and despite past doubts of some, the hobby and interest in classic cars has continued.   As far as tech features in today's cars, I think continuously advancing engineering and technology may make replicating or replacing today's parts in the future easier than some currently think.  People have also been critical of styling, cars looking too much alike, etc. dating back many many decades yet folks of those past generations of cars still find them nostalgically appealing as classics today.  In the future, I think today's cars will appeal as classics to today's younger generations just as yesterday's cars appeal to yesterday's younger generations today.

Whether or not environmental, in regard to gasoline driven cars, or safety regulations will affect use and ownership of today's cars in the future is still the bigger question to me.

Offline D.Smith

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Re: Looking to the future of classic cars.
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2017, 07:51:11 AM »
 

The reality is these cars are not made for collectors.  They are made for the new car buyer.   The parts are designed to last the length of the warranty.   They don't expect them to be on the road more than ten years considering how many miles the average person drives.   

The junkyards are full of cars that look nice but were too expensive to repair the mechanical or electrical systems.  Either the parts and labor are too expensive or the parts don't exist anymore.

Offline Big Apple Caddy

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Re: Looking to the future of classic cars.
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2017, 08:42:16 AM »
The reality is these cars are not made for collectors.  They are made for the new car buyer.   The parts are designed to last the length of the warranty.   They don't expect them to be on the road more than ten years considering how many miles the average person drives.   

The junkyards are full of cars that look nice but were too expensive to repair the mechanical or electrical systems.  Either the parts and labor are too expensive or the parts don't exist anymore.

Actually, cars today on average last a lot longer and with many more miles than those of decades past (1980s, 70s, 60s, 50s, etc).  The junk or scrappage rate was notablly higher back then.   A big reason why the average age of cars on the road has increased so much over time, more than doubling between 1970 and today, is the overall improved reliability and durability of newer cars.

Offline Art Gardner CLC 23021

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Re: Looking to the future of classic cars.
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2017, 08:59:56 AM »
I was a professional mechanic from 1973 to 1983 and can speak to the longevity of cars a bit.  Today's cars have much longer-lasting drivetrains than in the past, in part due to the use of synthetic lubricants.  The engines and transmissions typically go 200k or 300K miles these days.  The thing that kills off the cars now is all of the ancillary optional equipment.  For example, some Cadillacs have electro-magnetic fluid in the front struts and when those units fail, the cost of the struts often exceeds the value of the car.  Same thing for other fancy optional equipment.  The cooler the feature when new, the pricier it will be to fix when it is 10 years old.  To me, the smart play these days is to buy new cars with as few options as you can tolerate.  The basics of the car will last and last. 
Art Gardner


1955 S60 Fleetwood sedan

Offline TJ Hopland

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Re: Looking to the future of classic cars.
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2017, 09:10:54 AM »
Look at where we are today with 3d scanning and printing.  You can pretty much make your own parts now and the technology gets better and the price comes down every day.   As far as the computers and how fast they advance it won't be long before you can do some simple hacks to a watch to emulate and replace a cars computer.   I was recently introduced to a computer called a Raspberry Pi.   Its a full blown computer about the size of a deck of cars that cost $35.   People have written software for it to emulate computers up to about 10 years ago and use them to control some pretty sophisticated robots and such.   I bet someone a little smarter than me could make one run a car.  They may have already done it,  look at the aftermarket EFI systems that are out there today where the ECU is built into the throttle body that pretty much looks like a carb.   I'm sure those computers are more advanced than the OE's were using 5 years ago.   Its going to be the kid that is playing video games today decides he likes his dads 2005 in 2035 and makes it work.   
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Offline James Landi

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Re: Looking to the future of classic cars.
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2017, 09:58:31 AM »
A terrific conversation, and you gentlemen add so much subtle insight... while all the previous points are certainly germane to answering the overall thesis regarding the future of car hobbyists and car collectors, I find myself wondering whether car ownership in this age of the "sharing economy" will become an "antique" notion.  If millennials have little interest in car ownership, save for the utility of comfortable, safe transportation, then the concept of shared, fraction ownership in  driverless cars becomes more like a possible future norm.  Thus, no "pride in ownership" ---

Offline lexi

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Re: Looking to the future of classic cars.
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2017, 10:05:19 AM »
All great comments, some humorous and from a boomer perspective I as well can't see why anyone would want to restore them given the obstacles noted. I believe that there will always be a select few who will for nostalgic reasons take the plunge, though the availability of products like gasoline and perhaps even certain lubricants may be a death blow to the 'hobby'. Gasoline powered vehicles will eventually disappear, first at the mass consumer level. Yes, 3-D printers will be a necessity as the deterioration of plastic parts will be a problem. Perhaps resto-mods will save some models-as electric drive trains replace the obsolete gasoline & hybrid engines of today and some buck-toothed geek will write a program to replace the failing computers of these cars.

Collecting on a widespread basis by the masses has generally been a phenomenon made largely possible by the birth of the middle class who had the discretionary income to indulge, as well as for other reasons. For example one did not see antique collecting generally among the masses in the 19th century; though a few great collections were established by the wealthy. A catastrophic event would also relegate antique car restoration and other such 'leisure' activities to the back burner.

Currently our biggest issue is the change in mind set that I have seen among our young. For a number of reasons they are generally not as interested in collecting or working with their hands; nor do they seem to have the same interest in historical objects that many of our generation demonstrated. Indeed, in contrast the so-called 'DIY' generation as well as the boom in collecting that was noted after WWII is well documented. Collectively, our young have more of a minimalist mentality perhaps in part fueled by a lack of funds and space to engage in the hobby, but also fueled by the 'magic of the box' (micro technology). Yes I know there are always exceptions, but a 'head count' at car shows as well as at other venues such as antique & photographic shows for example, demonstrate this. I have seen this trend developing over many years. Demographic changes also come into play. I believe it is human nature not to re-invent the wheel so to speak, and the impetus for the young is to move forward and explore new technological worlds.

Way down the road one will have to go to a museum and/or visit a wealthy collector to see only the very best automobiles that have survived. As an analogy how many of us currently own and drive restored antique horse drawn carriages? History is repeating itself and we are all active participants in that system. Clay/Lexi
« Last Edit: October 02, 2017, 10:11:54 AM by lexi »

Offline robert G. smits

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Re: Looking to the future of classic cars.
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2017, 12:20:15 PM »
I think James has hit it on the head.   After the Dallas Mecum a couple of weeks ago my wife wanted to try a 4star Indian restaurant located in a community setting.  Not sure I would have found it even with GPS.  Solution UBER.  The trip both ways was less than $20 total.  Got me thinking how convenient this was.  Everything done on my iPhone and no need for cash or credit card.  When you couple this with driverless transportation in the future I can see little need for owning a car, especially when they all look the same. When you calculate the daily cost of owning a $40-60K auto you car afford a bunch of Uber trips. I don't think the prospects for expanding the car collector population to the younger generation looks all that bright right now.  Hope I am wrong.  Bob Smits #2426
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Offline lexi

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Re: Looking to the future of classic cars.
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2017, 03:17:18 PM »
Bob's point is what I refer to as the "Paradigm Shift", hence my comment in my last post about us not owning horse drawn antique carriages. I don't place the same emphasis though on how economical car ownership is, especially classic cars. Owning a classic car is not practical, rather it is a luxury that to many represents a link to their past, a memory, for example. None of us really 'needs' to own a classic car. Need is not the issue, at least not in the usual meaning of the word. The issue is what drives certain individuals to 'collect' and preserve a portion of our heritage be it antique autos or anything else, irregardless of the cost of ownership and operation. That entire paradigm is shifting.

I would agree that as technology advances the generation of the day will probably have less interest in old cars for example, as automobiles will form less of their paradigm. The situation extends beyond the classic car world. For example a lot of young people find it odd that I wear a wrist watch! Some of them find it odd that I still prefer to read a real book as opposed to e-books, etc. They use their cell phones instead to obtain that information. Perhaps most important is that shift appears to have taken root now, which is at a time when the use of an automobile for example, is still important in our society.

The obsolescence & lack of convenience of vintage autos can only take us so far in explaining what is and what may happen to the classic car world. It certainly appears to be a subset of a larger phenomenon at work-where individuals appear to care less for history and preservation of objects, (not just old cars), than they do for instant gratification with the 'magic box' (micro technology). It is part of what is going on, which may explain why at car shows I am routinely asked what kind of gas mileage my car gets, rather than inquiries related to the historical importance of the vehicle. Bob's prediction is I think unfortunately accurate though other factors extend beyond the classic car world. Bob also remarked (echoed by others) that most of the new cars all look a like. Perhaps there is less inclination for many to covet and embrace the new automobile thus hastening it's decline as a status symbol to a mere utilitarian object with no historical value (and a loss in pride of ownership as James put it)? The future for car collecting and interest in vintage autos appears bleak, in my opinion. Clay/Lexi                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Offline James Landi

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Re: Looking to the future of classic cars.
« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2017, 05:30:50 PM »
 Understood from the "macro-level,"  Thomas Friedman's new book THANK YOU FOR BEING LATE  http://www.thomaslfriedman.com/thank-you-for-being-late/  posits the thesis that with the advent of the "smart phone" in 2007, everything changed.  Although we've referenced some of these salient  changes in our culture in this thread for us Cadillac enthusiasts, the cultural changes that Friedman discusses will have you shaking your head in agreement-- for as you well know, we senior citizens often "sense" change from the perspective of experience, age, and accumulated wisdom, yet brilliantly articulating and weaving a fascinating narrative is the stuff that talented folks like Friedman do best.  I recommend the book to you-- it's a quick read and my sense is that you'll enjoy it.  Happy day,  James   

Offline lexi

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Re: Looking to the future of classic cars.
« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2017, 07:03:06 PM »
James sounds like a book that I shall have to look into. I remember Alvin Toffler's Future Shock from 1970, and as I recall, his comments on the disposable goods society mentality; i.e. where the cost of repair outweighs the cost to buy new-would further negatively impact societal views on objects. Certainly a perspective that is not foreign to car people (and insurance companies following a claim!). The impact of rapid change on society and individuals was addressed in this work. Friedman's book sounds like a great read and perhaps an interesting companion piece to Toffler's work, (shaking my head in agreement right now!). Clay/Lexi
« Last Edit: October 02, 2017, 07:25:36 PM by lexi »

Offline James Landi

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Re: Looking to the future of classic cars.
« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2017, 08:44:23 PM »
Clay--- you certainly "nailed" the connection... I recall with Toffler that he gave voice to the notion that the modern t.v. viewer (back 40 years ago) was a passive observer, and therefore a generation of children would be observing rather than living and forming a direct connection with the life they were fractionally living... when you assess the engagement and effort that attracts folks to our old Cadillac hobby, it's all about a direct connection with a piece of automotive history and American culture that far exceeds the significance of the vehicle itself.    Happy day,  James

Offline lexi

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Re: Looking to the future of classic cars.
« Reply #19 on: October 02, 2017, 09:01:17 PM »
Wow So well put and dead on! It is like what a Caddy fanatic buddy of mine had printed on a T shirt of his. "Not just a lifestyle". Yes, loving the old cars is only part of it. You got that right. Chat later. Clay/Lexi