There is a belief among the senior citizens of car collecting that young people don’t appreciate such vehicles and that the hobby likely is in its waning days. But does that perception reflect reality? To find out, The Classic Car Trust has conducted what it believes is the first scientifically organized survey.

In the past year, interviews were conducted with 500 people attending classic car shows in Italy, England, Germany, France and the United States. Interviewed were 250 people yet to reach their 30th birthday and another 250 ages 55 and older.

“The young are much more passionate about them (collector cars) than the old tend to think, and all of them — the aged and the youthful — are confident about the future role of collecting, and indeed are prepared to promote the preservation and appreciation of our four-wheel heritage,” the survey revealed.

However, the summary adds, “They (the young) need to be involved first hand in events that tie in with their expectations and language.”

Both age groups expressed strong passion for cars and optimism about the hobby, though perhaps for different reasons.

“Age is… not decisive in appraisal of the future of car collecting,” the survey discovered. “All are convinced of the role of classic cars in preserving a historic heritage and the way collecting expresses a true passion for automobiles.

“Another common consideration is the fact that the more cars become self-driving, the greater the appeal of driving the ‘real’ cars of yesterday will be.”

Regarding passion, the survey found while the 55-and-over contingent’s passion is driven by memories, the pleasures of driving and the taking part in events, for the younger generation, “classic cars bear witness to a cultural heritage to discover and preserve,” as well as bearing witness to the evolution of style and technology and “speaking for what are perceived as happier years."

Young people also see ownership of “non-contemporary” vehicles as a way of being different, “of getting out of the mainstream.”

Those interviewed were asked to list their favorite collector vehicles. The Mercedes-Benz 300SL “Gullwing” topped both lists, with the Lamborghini Miura and Aston Martin DB5 among the top 4 on each group’s favorites list.

Early Chevrolet Corvettes, the Jaguar E-type and “Pagoda” Mercedes also were among the favorites of those 55-and-older while the younger audience preferred the Porsche Carrera RS, Lamborghini Countach, BMW 2002 turbo, Ferrari Testarossa, early Ford Mustangs and Lancia Delta Integrale.

Among Bugattis, older interviewees preferred the pre-war T35 while the younger audience preferred the EB110 of the 1990s.

As you might expect, younger people preferred vehicles more recently produced than those favored by their older counterparts.

The interviews were conducted at Retromobile in Paris, Retro lassic in Stuttgart, The London Classic Car Show, the Los Angeles Classic Car Show and Auto e moto d’epoca in Padova, and the summary was reported in the recently published 2019 edition of The Classic Car Trust’s magazine, The Key.

This article, written by Larry Edsall, was originally published on, an editorial partner of Motor Authority.