A bleak outlook on automotive culture. Long post.
derpwagon last edited by
I wrote this up in a "what's on your mind" thread on one of the forums I frequent that's still slowly puttering along. It's not happy.
I miss when forums were active and various car meets were a regular activity. I used to frequent multiple forums that were thriving, and have pretty much nightly car meets. Monday to Thursday were various meet ups around the cities, Friday and Saturday night were cruise nights, sundays were barbeque/grill days at a park.
Since about 2018 it seems like the last vestiges of that life have slipped away, as facebook and gen z kids killed forums then ruined car meets through dipshit behavior bringing enough law enforcement attention that the businesses that hosted us no longer wanted to.
The death of forums is a blow to every enthusiast, as the wealth of knowledge in build threads, how-tos, and shop/mechanic presence was presented in an easily searchable format, accessible to anyone. Go find that on snapchat, I'll wait.
The death of culture came from too many attention seeking tryhards focused more about "clout" and scene points than any love or understanding of a particular type of vehicle. True, diehard enthusiasts are still out there in every age bracket, but the older guys and gals have either moved on or withdrawn to their small circles, and the younger folks are drowned out by the scene kiddies and their rolling monuments of overinflated self-importance.
Glimpses of the glory days are still visible if you know where to look, but rather than an establishment of daily life, it seems like these days they're a sliver of a good memory to be grasped at when you find it, rather than something enduring and repeatable.
Not to mention that on top of it all, for a lot of people life simply moves on. Interests change, lives change, families are created or increased, financial situations are ever in flux, jobs come, go, move people across the country.
Add into this, the ever-approaching death of the internal combustion engine. The automobile as a vessel of freedom will eventually be relegated to an appliance of convenience, ferrying around worker drones to their places of employment. I'd place money on individually driven vehicles being more and more restricted as time goes on. With it, I think automotive culture will lose more and more of its soul, until the flame is eventually all but snuffed out as the passion is restricted to those Jay Lenos and other immensely wealthy patrons of the hobby who will never need worry about restriction.
I see no sunrise on this horizon. I hope I'm wrong.
SilentbutnotreallyDeadly last edited by
Automotive culture is different to what it was 10 years ago...and even then it was different in the decade before that. If my memory of the car culture that I knew back in the mid to late 80s remains true...the only thing that remains common between then and now is the love of cars, respect for automotive artisans, complaining about the cost of things and the ever present feeling that car culture as we know it is dying....
Exage03040 last edited by Exage03040
I have a multi part series of posts I'm going to eventual drop about transitioning to a motorcyclist. I'm not sure how many people will read it, but it's approaching 2000 words with 3 parts already so I guess I'm committed?
Part of my reasoning is that it has to do with the industry shift and car culture itself. Riding is a very visceral and engaging experience. You don't need big cash to get noticed and the community is actually really great. I've gone to events and ridden with the Harley guys, hipsters, sporties, ADV... Young and old everyone's really chill and respectful 99% of the time and I watched the meets grow 4X what they started with.
Riding isn't for everyone, and there's current riders that shouldn't be riding. It's been enjoyable to me though. My bike is great, I keep my head on a swivel and I constantly practice.
bhtooefr last edited by bhtooefr
I'm not convinced that forums are actually dead, though. It's true that a lot has moved to Facebook, but ultimately it's just a matter of which forums are active.
Hell, I'm a member of a car forum where I cannot keep up with just one of the many subforums on it because the post volume is just too high. (The trick is that it's Tesla Motors Club.)
And, let's be real here: attention seeking tryhards were a problem 15 years ago, too - especially ever since the first Fast and the Furious movie. CarDomain was the name of the game instead of Instagram, but really, it's the same energy - it's just that millennials grew out of it, just as zoomers eventually will.
EngineerWithTools last edited by
I don't have much to add about car culture, but I have a few big picture thoughts...
"...tryhards focused more about "clout" and scene points..."
I think this is true almost universally, not just in car culture. Getting noticed/clicked/liked/shared seems to be the objective and the reward, at least for those that, by definition, shout over everyone else.
Separately, people much smarter than I have made the case that the automobile changed culture more - and more rapidly - than anything else, pretty much ever. If you're correct and cars stop being vessels of personal freedom through community, corporate or public ownership and control, I think the entire culture will change again, somewhat unpredictably. While it's hard for social - engineering types to put the personal mobility genie back in the bottle, they will still try, and do much damage in the process.
(Note: Not a political thing, the social engineering impulse is very much alive in all political flavors.)
Poor_sh last edited by
I had a long reply but instead ill just say the jist. I think as the car world changes and enthusiasm shrinks then it will actually be stronger. Essentially a strong core of passionate knowledgeable enthusiasts will survive the exodus and then fill in the gaps with stronger but fewer ties.
RallyDarkstrike last edited by
This is part of the reason that my love for cars has shifted a lot to classics.....I can't see classic cars as being banned, they're like antiques in your house. Nobody''s going to come along and say that 1800s vase on your table has to be destroyed.
My only worry there is that eventually ICE engines would be banned completely and that would be a huge blow as converting classics to Electric is A. hugely expensive....and B. kills the soul of the car.
A 2CV or classic FIAT 500 or VW Beetle without it's original engine just wouldn't have the same soundtrack, feeling, or soul...
CarsOfFortLangley last edited by
My biggest concern is the "brain drain". Every year, less real mechanics who can work without computers, less guys who can rebuild a carb, less guys who can do metal body work.
Poor_sh last edited by
@carsoffortlangley very true, but at the same time the knowledge they had is being recorded and becoming more widely available. The tools they had are becoming more affordable. And we can remake old parts more easily with new tech
@rallydarkstrike I really don't think that will happen in our lifetimes. The electrical grid cannot support us all driving electric cars. Do we really think the governments are going to be able to coordinate and sustain the monumental expense and effort it would take to make that happen? I certainly don't.
RallyDarkstrike last edited by
@shop-teacher I don't either...but with the changes to the climate I've already witnessed in my own lifetime, as much as I love cars, I hope they can.....even if I dread some of the changes that could happen to automotive culture as a result...
Zaphod's Heart of Gold last edited by
In 2011 I joined mazdaspeedforums.org, a self-sustaining community that was absolutely wild in the way it carried itself. Those who understood the rules thrived, the rest were weeded out. The information came quickly, the builds got insane, and people truly bonded outside the forum.
6 years later it was a shell of its former glory, not at all helped by the death of new production of the vehicles themselves. Younger kits were picking up older models and the focus turned from performance to appearance. A few die-hards hung around, I would visit often but there was not much new. As time went on it was just a sad thing to see.
This year the site crashed completely, and with it over a decade of consolidated knowledge. I have needed that information from time to time, but it it nowhere, just gone. Seemingly forever at this point.
The death of that forum felt like the death of a small part of me. The friends I have met locally have largely come from that forum. One of them was in my wedding. A bunch of us have started a Lemons team. We take vacations together, we throw parties together, work on cars and houses, have a group chat used daily. We bonded over a specific car then all became real, true friends. The death of the place that helped that along hurts. I don't know what my life would be without that forum.
@derpwagon I get where you're coming from. Things are certainly in flux right now. Hell, just about every aspect of culture is in flux right now. People have been lamenting the death of car culture for literally decades now, but it's still around. Car clubs went away. Forums came, and are mostly gone now. Car culture is smaller and different, but still viable. I don't know what the next "thing" will be, but the rapid adoption of the hyphen is a strong sign of life.
Also, come to think of it, a lot of the forums that have died are for things where the car itself went away, or the fandom for the car itself faded.
You've also got things like Cars and Coffee as a relatively recent phenomenon, for car meets...
DipodomysDeserti last edited by
@shop-teacher And as some of the replies to you illustrate, most people that express concern about our environment really just want someone to make a change for them.
@shop-teacher Mmm, the changes aren't anywhere near as big as some people claim, especially with a lot of off-peak charging. Sure, if people charge their cars right at peak demand, that's a problem, but that's not too hard to design around.
There are changes that need to happen as part of moves to renewables (a lot more storage needed), but that's independent of EVs. Deployment of endpoint charging infrastructure needs to happen, as well. But, the grid itself? Eh, it doesn't need anywhere near as much as people think.
MybirdIStheword last edited by
@carsoffortlangley the cars that require alot of that work are also becoming more scarce as they age.
@bhtooefr I'm not convinced of that. I see things crashing on hot summer nights, when everybody is cranking their AC, and charging their cars at the same time. Also, when will apartment dwellers charge their cars? At work, during peak hours? There are a lot of questions with complicated answers.
BTW, I am not anti-electric cars at all. I just don't buy the current narrative that everything will be electric in 10 years. I think it will be a long slow change.
@shop-teacher Peak hours are afternoons/evenings, not mid-day, though, and mid-day is when there's usually a solar surplus, too (and even generation curtailment).
And, cars can be set to charge later than they're plugged in (and newer charging equipment can be dynamically controlled based on load/up-to-the-minute pricing), so they can be plugged in when you get home, but then wait to charge until after peak hours.
So, charging on base-load surplus at night, or better yet, on solar surplus during the day is good. Charging in the evening is bad.
@rallydarkstrike I don't think an electric future will kill car culture. There will always be people that car about cars. There will always be people that care how they look, how they perform, and how they make us feel. Will car culture change again? Undoubtedly. Will it die? I don't think there's a chance in hell of that.
It's entirely possible that I am a relentless optimist.
TexturedSoyProtein last edited by
People complain about the scene changing but the scene always changes. I was in the import tuner crowd before F&F happened and then everybody moaned about the newcomers after it dropped. People migrated from forums to comment sections, facebook groups, hashtags and subreddits. Shit's still happening, it's just different.
WhoIsTheLeader last edited by
@exage03040 Cross posting to Drive Tribe gets the clicks/visibility but not really the engagement of on Oppo proper.
My experience with motorcycle culture is pretty limited but I've seen plenty of bad behavior.
@bhtooefr I remain unconvinced, but time will tell. I am actually optimistic, despite my questioning.
spacekraken last edited by
@derpwagon I think you'd be as surprised as I was that there's a super active forum for... the Kia Niro. One of the worst cars I've driven, completely soulless and mechanically enough of a pain that I sold it for a used VW and sighed with relief.
If something that bad can have a pretty good community around it, gives me a bit of hope that car culture will kick around just fine. Probably not in the forms we're used to from a few years ago, but it'll still exist.
I also know as a 20-something all my friend's "dream cars" are from the 60s-80s so I doubt those cars are going away any time soon. People love the design of classic muscle cars, aircooled Porsches, Jags/Astons, etc.
@RallyDarkstrike I'm sure the restomod crowd will go more electric over time but I really can't see that as a bad thing-you can only remachine parts on a 60 year old engine so many times. Not that different from LS swapping a classic muscle car, really. As long as it keeps cars on the road I'm all for it. Having seen an electric restomod Beetle, it still has tons of character and really the stock engines on those cars are terrible at being engines
@Shop-Teacher FWIW charging an EV slowly takes the same power draw as running a microwave (800-1500w). Faster charging is the same as a hot water heater or small furnace, give or take (7500w max, some are 3600). So it's not as huge of a project as it might seem to support said network-in most cases a typical house heating/cooling already takes more energy than charging a car. (then again I live in a state that has a continuous energy surplus from hydroelectric so I can't really talk haha)
TexturedSoyProtein last edited by
@spacekraken Hey what's so bad about the Niro? Been seriously considering one as my wife's next car based on it being one of the few mainstream brand cars in the size she wants with driver's seat memory. We'd likely get one CPO with an extended warranty but curious about your experience.