Gunners Garage

Take a Kid to a Race Car

By John Gunnell

OC Blog 217

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 ( 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.