Are car enthusiasts also in the entertainment business?

David S.
By David S. Wallens
May 9, 2024 | Column, Blog | Posted in Columns | Never miss an article

Photography by David S. Wallens

She looked maybe 14. Of course, she might have been 12. Or 17. Or older or younger. The person beside her looked to be her dad.

My wife and I were at a punk show. We got there early enough to land right at the barrier and hear both openers, including a new trio called UltraBomb: Finny McConnell (The Mahones) on guitar, Jamie Oliver (UK Subs) on drums and Greg Norton (Hüsker Dü) on bass.

After their set, Finny reached over and handed his Gibson to the young woman standing beside us. She looked a bit overwhelmed.

Talk about making a mark on a fan.

What we do with cars isn't much different. In a way, we’re also in the entertainment business. How’s that? When we’re out and about–whether or not we’re even at an event–are we not also making impressions on the rest of the world?

Does the sight of your car cruising by ignite a flame within a young kid? Or push someone with the disposable income to finally make the leap into ownership? Or, at the very least, make someone realize that cars can serve as more than basic appliances?

A good friend of mine owns a few seriously cool cars–the kinds you don’t normally see in public. He’s a bit protective about them, too, as they’re worth a few bucks.

But at public gatherings, he’s also quick to put an interested kid behind the wheel. Like he says, it’s our duty to pay it forward and keep the hobby rolling.

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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/9/24 12:29 p.m.

And some appropriate music.


Coniglio Rampante
Coniglio Rampante Reader
5/9/24 1:52 p.m.

These boys and their parents were sure entertained.  Jeebus, I think they're both in college now.  I guess it's true that time flies like an arrow and fruit flies like a banana.

Toyman! GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/9/24 2:42 p.m.

Every chance I get, I put a kid or young adult in the seat. 


We also participated in vehicle day at the local elementary school for many years. 


10 or 15 years ago, a young guy came to an autocross with his 240. It was his first event and on his first run, he snapped a rear axle. My son was driving the Abomination at that event. He let the guy ride every run he made. That guy was so stoked by the end of the day there was no way he and his wife weren't coming back. 15 years later...

He still has the 240. And a 200SX, and a 1500 Roadster, and a B210 Lemons car we built together. It's been a pretty good friendship. 



Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
5/9/24 2:47 p.m.

In reply to Toyman! :

That vehicle day at the school is way rad.

Toyman! GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/9/24 2:52 p.m.

In reply to Colin Wood :

We usually had the favorite vehicle because we would let all the kids climb in and around the car. My wife would give each class a short presentation. Then one year the local rescue squad showed up with their Life-Flight chopper and an air boat.  

It was always a favorite event for us and another of those Covid shut down that haven't cranked back up yet. 


Tom1200 PowerDork
5/9/24 3:55 p.m.

We most certainly are in the entertainment business; kids love to see and hear about cars.

Caprigrip Reader
5/9/24 4:06 p.m.

Many years ago, on a road trip with my old 911, I pulled into a Bucees and saw a group of young enthusiasts in their anime cars.   I was excited to see their art and they were drooling over the Porsche.   I put them behind the wheel and even let one of the kids take it around the gas station.   They were elated and I got a cool pic that I still use as my screen saver on my phone.   So yes, we are stewards and our excitement rubs off.   We were all those kids once and a lifetime of memories can come out of one brief encounter.  

DavyZ Reader
5/9/24 4:19 p.m.

Somehow I would not have been brave enough to give a young enthusiast the keys to my Porsche (if I had one).  You, sir, are a better man than me.

theruleslawyer Reader
5/9/24 4:26 p.m.

If you want there to be a next generation you have to keep engaging young people.  I don't know about entertainment, but educators, sure.

te72 HalfDork
5/13/24 10:37 a.m.

I got to sit in a C8 for the first time yesterday at an autocross. It made a big impression on me, that car just wraps around you in such a nice way. That and the way it launches off the start line? Amazing.


Now's the part where I mention I turned 40 last year, and have had 20+ cars over the years, and have been into racing my entire time behind the wheel. I'm no stranger to this sort of thing.


...but that C8 was still an inspiring experience. Doesn't matter how old you are. =)


I also have had countless kids go for rides around the cones in the Exocet. They all have a smile getting into the car, and a bigger one getting out. I'm doing my part.

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