• May 9, 2006

The Wall Street Journal is reporting on a rather disturbing trend among younger buyers of new and used cars - the tendency to buy outside of the culturally acceptable boundaries of age and generation. Why, there's an absolute epidemic of young adults, some not even yet out of their teens, cruising around in Oldsmobile Cutlass Supremes, Buick Park Avenues, and Chevrolet Caprices! Buick's Lucerne appears to be one of the heirs to the throne currently occupied by Chrysler's 300C, and there are more than a few youngsters roaming around Cadillac, Lexus, and Lincoln dealerships as well.  

We mock the WSJ only because this isn't a new trend (despite the CNW marketing data - specifically, its "stodgy index" - that shows the emergence of this buying habit). The release of the Chevrolet Impala SS in 1994 attracted buyers that were an amazing 10 years younger than typical Caprice owners, and lit off a B-body customization craze that continues today. Older RWD cars, including the large number of retired police cruisers that hit the market every year, are a blank canvas for the custom crowd. Want to throw it on bags and "lay frame"? No problem. Do you have a desire, as misplaced as it may be, to lift your car four feet and throw on a set of monstrous 28s? Go right ahead - it's as easy as lifting a pickup truck. There's also some serious performance potential. And for those going for a more subdued look, a clean set of dubs on an mid-nineties Buick Riv or Ford* Lincoln Continental is an easy and affordable way to stand out from the sport-compact crowd while still giving yourself and three or four friends plenty of room to stretch out during road trips. Of course, there's an ironic tinge to all this, what with so many pensioners going after 'youth brand' cars like the Scion xB.

In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that the author of this Autoblog post owns two vehicles with wire-spoke hubcaps and stand-up hood ornaments.

[Source: The Wall Street Journal]

*Thanks to the reader who pointed out my error - apparently, driving old-people cars can also cause slight dementia.



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  • 108 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      I have a 1975 Caprice Classic convertible with 32,000 miles on it. No dents or scratches. I wouldn't trade it for a stinking fuel economy car. A one hour drive in that car is worth a year of sessions with a therapist.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #4, I'm a young, college graduate and I love the big, body-on-frame cars. And for all the same reasons listed in the article. Can't say I fall in the 24" wheel crowd though.

      #8, I second the '96 Buick Estate, last of the great ones. There's something about the ride and capacity that you can't get in newer, more "sophisticated" sedans. I'm dreaming of an LS7, 6sp auto Buick Estate.
      • 8 Years Ago
      One thing these cars are good for- a healthy laugh.
      I am referring to the mid 80's battered, rusty, and crusty cars with $500 paint jobs, $5000 in rims and tires, and a $1500 stereo that sounds like shit.
      Oh, I forgot the video monitors on the back of the headrests.

      On the other hand, I saw a beautiful Caprice wagon last week, monochromatic paint job, dechromed, shaved door handles, and rims and tires that actually fit the car.
      Much more creative than a "me too" ghetto cruiser, and I'm not referring to race, but an attitude.
      Grace
      • 8 Years Ago
      confirm my 18th May comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Well I've been into older cars all my life I currently own and restoring a 72 Cutlass Supreme. When i drive on the highway and see newer cars immobile on the side of the I kinfa smile. There is a cost to replace the body panels but overall the cost to replace and maintain is very much lower than these new cars. Hurray for the muscle cars!
      • 8 Years Ago
      #3, What exact make/model of what I drive is irrelevant.
      Point was that most Vic's, etc owned by the younger crowd are in terrible shape, banged up and mismatched panels, etc.

      Here's an example of one of the better ones:
      http://www.craigslist.org/pen/car/157907773.html

      BTW, my the color on my car's panels all match and are still shiny since it's always parked in the garage. All the lamps work as well! Wow, what a concept!
      B.R.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Yes sir i new the media and demo watch dogs would see this trend. I first want to say its a lifestyle shared by many people not just poor or rich. Some guys like to keep there "slabs" or "scraperz" stock some guys go all out I got my 66 caprice already hopped up wit the hi output 396 with all the bolt ons I added plenty of stuff it was stolen though lost about 15gs plus so when i got my 73 olds 98 2dr i kept it stock i also bought a house so i could garage it. You can say what you want but nothing drives like the cars from that era! I have driven everthing from 18wheelers to my 99 ws6 pontiac. Nothing holds the road like my olds the torque is unbelievable most people dont know how fast these cars go it easliy does low 14's in quarter mile i spank my boys out here in Oakcliff Tx all the time in new cars with mods!
      Charlie
      • 8 Years Ago
      While I may drive a sportier BMW (325is), I just love their 7-series; much like American land yachts, these German thoroughbreds are comfortable and pack a powerful punch- especially if you opt for the 750. There's just nothing better than stomping a "riced-out" Civic or Eclipse in a big, stock sedan!
      marcus mcmark
      • 8 Years Ago
      I started buying 69 chevy 2 and four doors, esp.impalas and caprices (2-2 door impalas, 1 69 caprice 4 door and a 69 impala 4 door. Why, you mau ask? 1) insurance is cheep and with minimal restoration pay for collectores plates that are cheap.
      Lousy gas mileage is a factor, but the cars are easy to fix with no computer modules to blow at $500apriece. There are more than enough aftermarket manufacturers for most parts and they all take BIG 60 series tires. a restored to factory original may cost 12-15 thousand BUT THEY ARE A PIECE OFAUTOMOTIVE HISTORY that will never be seen again. with 327and 350 ehgines they can blow the doors off most current detroit/yokohama "shrinky-dinks"and if you ever get hit head on at 75 mph, the guy in the ciation/civic/tercel is gonna cone out if it in far worse shape than I am! And I'm not gonna spend 70000 for aa new "big car"when a fully restored 69 caprice with the Supersport package can be acquired for 25-35k, and look better to boot. Allow me the pleasure of announcing the newest stable mate, my 1981 Poniac Parissiene Brougham with 95000 kilometeters (about 58K miles: a fine four door with power looks and wide seats!And I'm not a ypung guy (49): all my kids think dad drives hot wheels! and classy rides for promnght!Thanks,I'm finished now! Mark
      JOSEPH
      • 8 Years Ago
      VANS-----I HAVE HAD THREE VANS IN A ROW. IN 1984, I BOUGHT (ORDERED) AN ( CARGO ) NO WINDOWS IN THE BACK. NO WINDOWS ON THE SIDES, EXCEPT THE DRIVER'S AND THE PASSENGER'S WINDOWS OF COURSE. F-150 FORD VAN, WITH EVERYTHING I COULD GET ON IT AT THE TIME. I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY THEY ARE NOT MORE POPULAR WITH THE YOUNGER CROWD THAN THEY ARE. I HAVE A LINCOLN TOWH CAR, MY THIRD ONE, I HAVE A 1980 280ZX, THAT I BOUGHT NEW, GARAGE KEPT. IF I HAD TO GET RID OF ALL OF THEM BUT ONE, I WOULD KEEP MY VAN----REASON----YOU CAN DRIVE IT, SLEEP IN IT, CHANGE YOUR CLOTHES IN IT, GET LUMBER IN IT, MOVE IN IT, GO TO THE BATHROOM ( IN A PROPER CONTAINER ) OF COURSE, PICNIC IN IT, CAMP OUT OF IT, PULL A BOAT, TRAILER WITH IT, AND THE LIST GOES ON AND ON. TRY DOING SOME OF THESE THINGS IN A Z CAR, OR A TOWN CAR.
      IT IS WITHOUT A DOUBT, THE MOST VERSATILE VEHICLE I HAVE EVER HAD.
      VANS VANS VAND, MAKES SENSE TO ME, ALL AROUND USE.
      I HAVE HAD HAPPY DAYS ( AND NIGHTS ) IN THAT BABY.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Dude, like there's no such thing as a FORD Continental. It's a Lincoln, bro. And for future reference should you write another grandpa car related article, just in case, there's no Buick 98, Olds Caprice, or Plymouth New Yorker, either.
      • 8 Years Ago
      this is my kind of posting i love old cars especially my 1979 pontiac bonneville its a B body car its a black 2 dr with a beige landau top.my vw jetta diesel nor my dodge ram 1500 can compare to the ride that this car gives me it has coilover shocks in the front and delco air shocks in the back with a goodwrench 350 high output motor in it.if gas was not 3.09 a gallon in jersey this would be my daily driver.
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