Yorkshire Modified Car Show

I know what you are thinking. What is a respectable classic car publication doing at a modified car show. Surely they are all modern cars wrapped in metallic colours with big speakers pumping out beats with obscene lyrics. Well if that’s what you think then …….. you would be right.

But there is an interesting thought behind this visit. You will recall that we recently reported on the Haggerty research into the state of the classic car industry. For those of you who didn’t read the report I can summarise it quite quickly. The classic car industry is thriving, but its customer base is mostly white, male and getting older. If we don’t attract fresh blood into the hobby and the industry it will start to whither.

So where will this fresh blood come from? Is it possible that we could tempt some people away from the modified car scene to the classic car scene. And if we could would we want them? So, wearing a knock off Armani T-shirt and a baseball cap I went to investigate.

The cars on show are predominantly from the 1990’s and range from Vauxhall Corsa’s through to Mitsubishi EVO’s and Subaru Impreza’s. These cars are on the threshold of being legitimate classics and within a decade they will be the most collected cars.

If you sift through the dross, and there was a lot of it, then you can find some interesting cars. Many of the cars are run of the mill but covered in the regurgitated contents of an on line accessory shop, finished off with a shiny wrap. In the words of Shania, that don’t impress me much.

But search deeper and you will find some gems. Properly engineered and well put together cars where the modifications were subtle but highly effective. As we queued to get in, a Volvo Estate slammed so low it was touching the ground, rose silently to a drivable height. In side were plenty of mods to the stereo and seats, subtle but distinctive.

20 of the best modified cars were displayed in a tent and these cars showed potential. Good build quality, nice paint and accomplished engine improvements. These are the cars that offer some potential for a transfer into the classic car movement. In fact some of these cars were already classics, including a Hillman Sunbeam, a VW Karmen Ghia and Nissan Skyline.

It goes without saying that they have the Youth market sewn up. But there is also a whole area of girls cars drawing inspiration from Manga and the Fast and furious franchise. Pink cars and heart shaped steering wheels.

It seems to me that there are some prospects for luring some of the modified car enthusiasts across from the dark side. Especially as they get older and more experienced. Perhaps if we really want to ensure the future of the classic car community we should don our earplugs and show them an alternative future.

Just for the record I am not from the classic car school of originality. I like a Hot Rod, a race prepared car, an engine swap and slammed VW. In fact VW seem to embrace all car life with modified’s, classics, rat rods and appeal to a very wide range ages. I wonder if that is because they aren’t just about cars, but lifestyles.

Food for thought.

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