Many, many years ago the Pontiac club tried to get help from GM and was essentially told that GM did not want to help generate interest in old cars because they'd rather have the people spending their money on new cars. Later on, GM did support the club a bit, but I think the same mentality was still there and is present at most automakers.
Now the new car makers are in trouble, while the old car hobby continues to thrive somewhat in a weak economy. Could we actually see a day when the automakers beg the old car clubs to promote their products? The old cars certainly seem to be the more interesting ones today.
The strength the hobby is showing also extends to the parts industry. More people than ever are reproducing old car parts. Over the weekend we visited with Paul Terhorst of Mundelin, Ill., a veteran vendor of Classic Car parts. Paul is now looking for someone who can help him reproduce Packard parts. Paul feels that he has the contacts and marketing savvy to sell the parts, but he needs help with making them. Once he has that nailed down, he thinks he can have a successful parts business.
The Wall Street Journal just carried an article about how makers of new car parts are struggling. Maybe some of these companies should be talking to vendors like Paul who can sell the right old car parts all day long. Very interesting situation!