Well another year is in the books and we made it to 2019. As we look forward it seems like we are at a crossroad in the auto industry. On one hand the push for electric and autonomous vehicles is being forced upon us much like the flavor of the day pop song on the radio bludgeons our ears on non-stop hourly rotation. On the other hand there seems to be a backlash towards the “new techno/eco cars” with the buying public forking out their hard-earned greenbacks on SUVs, trucks and crossovers. What are we to make of this as it relates towards the collector car hobby? Is this the end of the car as we know it? Or will it be business as usual?
Depending on what talking head you listen to, the change to electric and autonomous vehicles is either going to happen in the next few years, or will take place in the far off distant future. With the news of GM’s restructuring (politics and debatable motives aside) towards going “all in” on electrics, it definitely looks like the car industry is going to dictate what we will be buying in the future. Yet ironically, the scuttlebutt everywhere is about the new fire-breathing petrol-based, mid-engine Corvette coming out that will satisfy any horsepower junkie’s addiction. Apparently, the buying public has not given up on tried-and-true internal combustion bliss. Gasoline still runs through our veins!
The retro-styled Dodge Challenger has bucked the odds and has been selling well despite a 10+ year platform that has not changed all that much. I guess the old adage “if it ain’t broke…” resonates with the buyers’ pocketbook. Conversely, the Chevrolet Camaro came out in 2010 and was the darling of the retro-vibed pony car segment. Since then styling cues and platforms changed towards a more modern appearance. On paper the Camaro should blow the doors off the Challenger as an all-out-performer. It has ample power with all the goodies to go around the corners as well. But sales have declined to a point where I fear Chevrolet’s bean counters will once again retire the Camaro moniker in the near future. It’s easy to see the correlation between how the love and familiarity of the classics equates to moving units. Go to any online forum or comment section and you will find many of the brand’s faithful voicing displeasure over the more modern interpretation of the original. Some may like a new look, but not enough to move cars off of dealers’ lots.
So who is right? Will the market or the manufacturers decide what we will buy in the future? Gas prices, environmental concerns, political motives, economy etc. have a huge part in much of this. Has GM rolled the dice on electrics and is just hoping for the best? I sure hope not.
What are we to do as the old car faithful? I say fret not. The future might be electric, but as the current car buying market has shown, there is still a place in our hearts (and pocketbooks) for the tried and true. Our classics will still be viewed with reverence and awe. They are ingrained in our car-loving DNA. There is no reason that in the future the electrics and classics cannot co-exist in the same world. In fact, GM demonstrated as much at the 2018 SEMA show in Vegas by teasing us with a retrofit electric powertrain that they dropped into their eCopo Camaro. The all-electric Camaro puts out an impressive 700 horsepower and 600 lbs.-ft. of torque and is packaged under the hood and connected to a traditional transmission.
So I guess the same advice will still pertain to future collecting: Buy what you love and love driving what you buy. The machine might run a bit differently, but the owner’s devotion will always be the same.