- May 9, 2006
Young drivers going after "grandpa cars"
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.