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Rise of the youngtimers; are young people set to save classic cars?

The following article, “Rise of the Youngtimers” is a piece written by Akash Cheeda, a Piston Scholarship Committee advisor and a talent recruiter for Marc Brunel Recruitment. The Piston Foundation and Marc Brunel share the same vision of promoting car culture and, with Akash’s involvement, a joint partnership is planned for the future. Akash’s article highlights an interesting development within car culture and today’s youth that is certainly worth talking about.

By Akash Cheeda

October, 20 2022

During a time when classic cars are under threat from environmental legislation, outright bans and emissions charges, it’s a breath of fresh air to hear that there’s hope on the horizon. Young people seem to be leading the way in ensuring the classic car’s survival, and in this month’s blog, we talk about just how they’re doing it.

But first, some stats. Classic and specialist car insurance giant Hagerty conducted a survey in late 2020, named the Why Driving Matters Survey. Completed every two years, it looks at trends and demographics in the classic car industry and market. What was noticeable about the most recent iteration was that younger people were more – not less, as it might be expected – interested in owning classic or collector vehicles than older people. 53 per cent of Generation Z individuals, 57 per cent of Millennials, and 49 per cent of surveyed Generation Xs were reported to be very interested in owning a classic car. On the other hand, Boomers and the Silent Generation were much less interested, with 33 per cent and 19 per cent respectively. This makes it clear that the age of classic car enthusiasts is getting lower, and classic vehicles are gradually becoming more popular among younger people.

Additionally, over the past two years, we’ve seen a rapid rise in online auction platforms for classic cars, such as Collecting Cars or The Market by Bonhams. These popular, and still growing websites were timed perfectly; the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 forced thousands of people to stay at home, meaning enthusiasts couldn’t attend in-person auction events. What’s more, in a 2021 Autocar article, it was reported that average disposable income nationwide went up by as much as £100 billion collectively, estimated by the Bank of England. So, picture this: you’re an automotive enthusiast stuck at home, with more disposable money than you would normally have. What are you going to do? Chances are, you’re going to browse online classic car auction sites and perhaps place a few bids. We think the increase in disposable income, time spent at home, and therefore the rise of these auction websites, not only contributed to a shift in the classic car market but also helped open up the community to younger buyers.

Autocar went on to report rising interest in vehicles from the 1980s and 1990s, commonly known as ‘youngtimers’ or modern classics. In the article, John Mayhead of Hagerty explained that Millennials are “buying the cars that they love and remember from growing up, rather than buying them as commodities.” The online auctioneer and marketplace, Car & Classic, reported similar statistics; modern classics are seeing rising demand with iconic 1990s cars, specifically Japanese cars, such as the Toyota Supra, Mazda RX-7 and the Nissan Skyline – which is now the site’s 27th most-searched-for vehicle. To us, this shows that younger people are finally having their moment, and changing the classic car market. No longer is it only down to ultra-high-end, multi-million-pound auction sales, it now involves affordable enthusiasts’ and drivers’ cars on more widely-accessible, online auction platforms.

As passionate classic car enthusiasts here at Marc Brunel Recruitment, we love hearing that the industry is opening up to younger enthusiasts, and that youngtimers are seeing more of the spotlight. Some of the world’s greatest cars are from that era, and we’re proud to work with some leading firms in the UK who specialise in classic cars. If you’re currently looking for a career change and want to break into the automotive industry, get in touch with us at info@marcbrunel.com today, or click on our website’s Candidates section for our open vacancies.

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