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The Future of Car Culture and How To Preserve It

The car enthusiast “culture” in the U.S. is a huge business. Last year, according to various industry experts, car enthusiasts spent close to 100 billion dollars to buy new and used performance cars and trucks, aftermarket parts and services, and to attend car lifestyle events and experiences. Even with these extraordinary large numbers, the nation’s most recognizable correlated charities and foundations have struggled to “give back” in any meaningful and impactful way. In fact, according to federal tax filings, less than $4 million in grants were awarded to auto-related student scholarship funding in 2019.

By jeff mason

June 15, 2020

How Do We Preserve Car Culture

So what can we do to keep our pastime thriving? How do we keep our favorite museums from closing the doors, breaking up collections and erasing history? What do we do to ensure access to qualified restoration specialists who can keep vintage cars running? Who will attend shows, rallies, and cruises if the next generation has no reason to fall in love with cars like we did? Where are the next cool stories going to come from if parents and kids aren’t in the garage tinkering with engines because no one knows how the old stuff runs anymore and the new stuff is just too damn complex? Why would anyone think there will be a car culture at all if we’re just going to sit in self-driving boxes as passengers, trading away the feeling of steering our way to freedom or, better yet, the promise of impressing a friend?

Mark Twain is one of my favorite writers. I’m fairly sure if he were around today, he’d say,

“Everybody talks about the future of car culture but no one does anything about it.”

I believe that the auto enthusiast non-profit world is resoundingly without a nationally recognized entity representing the desires of the average enthusiast to educate the next generation and to help preserve car culture. Returning military veterans have the Wounded Warrior Project, children in poverty have Red Nose Day and men dealing with health issues have the Movember Foundation. These non-profit organizations have created large communities around
their particular “cause” and now employ sophisticated marketing campaigns to raise millions of dollars to support the many small beneficiaries connected to that cause.

The Piston Foundation Strategy

We’re using a similar model to create The Piston Foundation and the Piston “brand.” Our plan is to grow the Foundation into a national, centralized industry platform designed to primarily solicit donations directly from ordinary car enthusiasts, as well as the industry participants, and then in turn fund various auto-related beneficiaries that help preserve the car culture.

Uniting Car Enthusiasts

By uniting the charitable giving interest of car enthusiast in the U.S., we believe we can raise significant donations in the next five years or less. To help us reach that goal, we plan to target the different car related segments that make up the whole industry, not just the classic/collector car marketplace. Additionally, by growing the Foundation’s name recognition around the auto enthusiast world, our sponsors and partners can co-op the highly visible Piston cause, attach their brand to it, and go a long way toward fulfilling their Corporate Social Responsibility.

National Social Media Campaigns

The Foundation’s “go–to-market” strategy will be a series of unique social media-based campaigns directly targeting car enthusiast’s consumers. Each campaign will appear on the consumer’s social media channels on any mobile device. There are no apps to install, downloads, or signups required. We all know how much car people love talking to each other and each campaign capitalizes on this trait by leveraging our proprietary social media-based “peer sharing” software.

Join Us in this Mission

There are 25,000,000 people in the United States who see the car as more than transportation. Piston Foundation is working to harness that passion and spread the message of what is possible. Some of the best moments in my life have been spent with cars and certainly many of my best friends can be found near a shiny fender. Over more years than I care to count, I got a lot out of the mix of parts and people that we call car culture. It’s time to give back, to actually do something about the future of car culture. Join us.

Support skilled trade education for future auto restoration technicians.


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