For The Last Time: Boomer Car Culture Isn't All of Car Culture

Illustration for article titled For The Last Time: Boomer Car Culture Isn't All of Car Culture
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It has come to my attention that people are talkin’ cars. Well, some people are talkin’ car culture, to be more precise. Something about young people’s interest in cars relative to Boomers, increasingly the most tired debate of them all.


Now, the extremists among us will argue that to rectify this situation we should simply destroy every car built before 1980. And, honestly? It’s hard to argue with that. Old cars were inefficient, were often poorly built, are most certainly deeply unsafe and, worst of all, fun. Perhaps we should gather up a single example of each car, put them all in one place (we’ll call it The Cars Museum), and destroy the rest. Those who pine for a ‘68 Mustang can go to the Cars Museum and drive it, since cars at The Cars Museum will be maintained for this purpose.

But! That is not my argument. No, I would never make that argument. Instead, let us consider the source of all of this most recent fretting about the kids and their cars, some newspaper called The Wall Street Journal, which says the youngs are getting their driver’s licenses in vastly fewer numbers than those a generation ago. It turns out that new cars are expensive, seems to be one issue.

There’s also this, buried in the 17th paragraph:

In addition, many face substantial student-loan payments, making them more cautious about big-ticket purchases. Total student-loan debt has soared to $1.5 trillion, surpassing Americans’ credit-card and car-loan bills.

I don’t need to tell you that car culture today is alive and well among the youngs—just look at Radwood, LeMons, Formula Drift, Club Loose, the tuner scene and any number of other things—but any analysis of what the youngs do or don’t like should consider they live in a vastly different world than Boomers inhabited, a world with $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, and wages that have hardly gone up relative to inflation in decades. You can’t really get into cars if you simply can’t afford one.

Who do we have to thank for that? I mean I’m not saying it’s all Boomers’ faults, but...

News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.



Boomers: “You kids don’t work these days!”

Gen X and up: “Your generation refused to leave the workforce, eliminated things like “pensions” for shareholder profits, college tuition and fees are 10x what they were for you, and buying a home was something that your generation could do at age 24 and in a single-income family.

Screw your ‘57 Chevy.