This post comes from Autoblog Open Road, our contributor network. The author is solely responsible for the content, and any opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Autoblog and its editors.
Car culture is not dead! It just needs its definition updated. According to Oxford Dictionaries, the only defining characteristic of car culture is the amount of automobile usage or reliance thereupon.
- (Usually with negative connotations) a society or way of life characterized by excessive use of or reliance on motor vehicles.
Frankly, that definition is archaic. There is so much more to the car culture in today's society. The definition as it stands makes no effort to address the many facets of the automotive community that encompasses car culture today. Additionally, the statement that car culture is typically used with negative connotations is lacking in accuracy today as well.
In its infancy, there was a day when car culture was associated with nonconformists, even a little bit of rebellion. So, at that time the definition may have fit. That was 1950. Today however, car culture is seen just as much at high end concourses and world renowned auctions as it is at the local body shop that has a car club gathering every Friday night. Let's not forget that there are people building their personal retreats heavy with automotive influence. Some are called Garage-Mahals and others are simply known as Joe's Man Cave. If that doesn't speak of today's car culture then what does?
You see, car culture is more than sales numbers and usage, it's about collecting automobilia, family trips to historic drive-ins, the legend of Route 66, experiences such as driving the Tail of the Dragon, going rock crawling with buddies in 4x4s, traveling the Pacific Coast Highway, and Friday night drag strip runs. It's cross generational, cross gender, and across all socio-economic demographics. Basically, car culture is a community of people and its related support industries that appreciate automotive design, craftsmanship, and history. It encompasses industries that allow the average John and Jane to apply their own personal automotive touch to their vehicle, their garage, or even their clothing. But, it also encompasses serious collector's ready to drop two hundred thousand dollars or more on rare vehicles.
It's time the car culture definition is updated. The reality is that when you look at the multifaceted more modern definition of car culture, you'll see a more realistic picture of what it really is today. You'll see that it does not have one foot in the grave, and it is not negative in connotation anymore. No dear reader, car culture is thriving and it's a family affair that people are proud to share with each member young and old alike.
I'm a car nut. I am car culture, and I approve this message!