By John Gunnell
Look at the smile on the face of this young man sitting in a vintage Indy racing car at the Harry A. Miller Club’s (www.harrymillerclub.com) annual meet in Milwaukee on the second weekend in July.
As we all know, the graying of our hobby has been a problem for the old-car pastime. Clubs are scrambling to find younger members, hobby-related business need youthful customers to survive and the hobby has no future unless we find ways to get younger generations more interested in cars than computers.
There have been a number of Take-A-Kid-To-A-Car-Show initiatives that have succeeded in getting younger people interested in older cars. A few years ago the Iola Old Car Show had a special section for cars owned by younger fans. Unfortunately, only 5 or 6 cars participated.
Old racing cars are a little more exciting than old passenger cars. Their appeal to young people comes from their different look, their colorful paint jobs and the whole idea of a race driver fantasy brought to life. And, of course, there’s nothing like the rumble of a racing engine should the car owner start it up.
Lately we’ve seen several vintage racing buffs inviting youngsters to hop into their cars. Whether it was an Indy car, a sports racing car, a stock car or a dragster, sitting in that seat and taking the wheel in his or her hands is an unforgettable experience for “kids of all ages.” We think this is a great trend and we hope that it continues. They say “a gearhead is a gearhead” and if we turn these kids into gearheads it’s going to rub off on our hobby down the road.