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Younger generation of classic car enthusiasts, new technology pave road for new business opportunities

Younger generation of classic car enthusiasts, new technology pave road for new business opportunities
  • Restoring older vehicles with modern-day parts and amenities is on the rise, according to new SEMA research

With more than 9.4 million pre-1990 vehicles estimated on the road today, more consumers and businesses report that they are modifying classic cars with modern parts and technology. While a significant number of consumers and businesses continue to restore classic cars to their original factory specifications, a growing number are customizing the vehicles to include upgraded engines with enhanced performance, increased efficiency, and modern-day comforts (a practice often referred to as “restomodding”).

The “Classic Cars, Modern Markets” report from SEMA Market Research reveals new data on market sizing, purchasing habits, and vehicle usage of classic car vehicle owners and explores how modern consumers feel about, work on, and engage with their fellow enthusiasts about classic vehicles.

“Classic cars and trucks have been a key part of the specialty automotive aftermarket since it began, and for many people who own older vehicles, fixing them up or modifying them into something new is a passion project that can span decades,” said SEMA Director of Market Research Gavin Knapp. “This report will help businesses understand this unique customer base, how to reach them, and where the current and future opportunities are for the vintage and automotive restoration aftermarket.”

The report, which researched classic car owners and businesses, found:

  • A growing number of businesses (62%) see restomodding on the rise and, on average, say that half the work they do on classics is part of a restomod job
  • Younger classic car owners are more likely to seek a restomod build, with 38% of owners under 45 going for a restomod, compared to 22% of older owners
  • Owners tend to view a classic as a long-term investment, with 44% saying they want to keep the vehicle forever
  • While 50% of owners use their classic vehicles for running errands, classic vehicles are much less likely to be used as commuter vehicles with 15% of classic car owners doing so (compared to 64% of the general population)
  • 80% percent of classic owners are comfortable doing at least some of the work on their vehicle on their own
  • Unrestored ‘60s muscle cars and pony cars remain popular barn finds among collectors, but the emerging market for ‘70s and ‘80s vehicles represent an important opportunity
  • Despite loving old-school cars, classic owners are not shy about going online to learn and shop for parts – especially younger owners

To learn more about the current state of the classic vehicle market and where the opportunity is for your business, download the “Classic Cars, Modern Markets” report for free today at www.sema.org/market-research.