What Happened to Car Culture?

Have an interesting question for all you car folks here. What happened to the car culture of the 90's?

For some context, when I was growing up and getting into cars, car culture was really different to what we have these days. For most people I know, their first car was a beater that would manage to get them to uni on a good day, but tough luck if it was too cold. When we managed to get a bit more money, we'd be looking at something like the Supra or maybe the MX-5, that was a super cool chic car. There would always be some kid who got his hands on a Lancer (maybe RalliArt) and tried to convince everyone it was an EVO.

I still remember the halo cars were the RX-7, Integra Type R, 300ZX, WRX STi, EVO. I dreamed of an R32 Skyline when I was first getting into the car scene. Remember at uni, there would be car clubs, we'd go to car meets, spend the weekend in the garage fixing our cars, looking at ads of new cars for the next big project…etc. It really seemed like cars were a big deal back then. People actually loved what they drove and it wasn't just a status symbol.

I recently went back to uni to give a presentation and I had a walk through the carpark to see what students were driving these days. No cool cars anymore. No old cars anymore. Seems like everyone drives a Corolla, Mazda 3, bunch of people drive SUVs (never got the appeal of SUVs). The cool kids now drive Golfs, if you're a bit cooler, maybe a BMW or Merc. Seems like the car culture of the 90's is dead and cars have just become a fashion accessory. It's all about the brands and cool features, not about how nice it drives or how much time and effort you put in to make it work.

Seem to see some of the same culture on here when people are looking for car recommendations. People care about things like fuel consumption (never really saw anyone care about that back then), safety features, whether the interior looks "modern", rather than how quick the cars are or how it handles on those windy mountain roads in the wet.

Am I just being nostalgic or have people's tastes about what cool cars are really changed that much? When did all this happen?!


  • +17

    RX-7, Integra Type R, 300ZX, WRX STi, EVO. I dreamed of an R32 Skyline

    1. A $40,000 hot hatch goes faster than these things now. Without the panels rattling off.

    2. Speed limits, increased enforcement, increased penalties.

    3. Old Japanese imports are a dime a dozen, and they don't cost much more than that either. When the entry cost is that low, it attracts a certain crowd. Not everyone wants to be a part of that crowd or even mentioned in association.

    4. Great cars still exist but the relative cost always moves up as the boundaries are pushed. Think 911 GT3RS. That's the new price of entry.

    • +3

      A $40,000 hot hatch goes faster than these things now. Without the panels rattling off.

      I agree with this point the most, I think that car manufacturers came round to realising that they could make a car that was both practical and fun. Ultimately, there wasn't really space for both. That said, my curiosity is more about how cars became more about the cachet and fashion rather than the cars themselves.

      Speed limits, increased enforcement, increased penalties.

      Yes, though I would say there's a difference between a person who enjoys cars and a hoon zipping down a suburban street at 100km/h in a '95 Commodore.

      Old Japanese imports are a dime a dozen, and they don't cost much more than that either. When the entry cost is that low, it attracts a certain crowd. Not everyone wants to be a part of that crowd or even mentioned in association.

      The crowd I used to be a part of when I was younger. Sure, there are morons in any crowd, but I've met some really great people in the car scene. Gone on some fun drives and had a great time.

      Great cars still exist but the relative cost always moves up as the boundaries are pushed. Think 911 GT3RS. That's the new price of entry.

      Maybe, that's a sad thing for cars though.

      • Maybe, that's a sad thing for cars though.

        Quite the contrary. All the avant-garde non essentials eventually become the territory of the rich. It is natural progression. When a niche attracts money, the entire industry gains a boost. That's why we have $40,000 hatches going faster than a souped up Supra. Technology trickles down.

        It's a sad thing only for those with an ego without the wallet to match.

        • Out of curiosity, how fast can a modded supra do 0-100?

          • +7

            @Tech5: How long is a piece of string.

            I would say that if you poured enough money into it, you can get a Supra engine in a Supra body shape to do 0-100 in 2.4s (that's about the lower limit of ground based acceleration).

            • @tshow: In my head I was thinking of those 21-22 year old ricers with a loud exhaust. So I guess a budget of 20-30k. Just comparing with my car to see if I could win a race if it came to it haha. Don't want to be embarrassed

              • +4

                @Tech5: I honestly don't know the going market rate of the rice mill cars but assuming 30k spent on mods, nothing custom, no nitrous, fully road legal and not overboosted to the point of popping…

                I'd say high 4s.

                For those unstable cars that spend more time with the engine out, probably high 3s but it would be a terrible drive mostly because the boost would lag and kick hard, and the subconscious waiting for the engine to blow up.

                • @tshow: Okay thanks for the info! Really interesting

                • +2

                  @tshow: For the turbo model stock it already does the sprint in a bit over 5 seconds
                  30k in mods, could probably at least double the stock output, i reckon high 4's is pretty conservative

                  • +1

                    @cille745: I reckon a good example can do lowish 4s but a lot of the power will be lost in the drive shaft and dependant on human gear shifting which doesn't scale as linearly as modern dual clutches.

                  • +2

                    @cille745: 30k ? nah, you don't even need to touch the internals.. for 500hp

                    simple bolt-ons + tune is all what a 2jz-gte need to get to 500hp easy

                    30k can do 1000hp supra

                    • @phunkydude: Good luck controlling traction off launch!

                      I had the chance to ride shotgun on a 1000hp RWD 911 (actually an RUF) on a drag strip. It was modded for the sake of modding and sure, it got the blood pumping but was still 11s on the quarter on semi slicks.

                      Lost a lot of time controlling traction off the launch. This was a professional drag racer.

                • @tshow: I'm not trying to be rude but I don't think you have any idea what you are talking about.

                  I grew up during the glorious over-engineered Jap engine phase and I had friends with Supras putting down 400-500HP without even opening the engine, as in mere bolt on upgrades and tune for 500hp.

                  In my 1989 GT4 ($5k purchase price lol with maybe 5-7k worth of mods I was able to run a low 13s 1/4 Mile with no prior drag experience and a seriously rotund backside.

                  Sorry if I come off as rude, but I think your information on what can be achieved from some of these engines with relatively minor effort and spending is a bit off.

                  • @h0mbre: There is a huge difference between 13s and 11s.

                    And you lose a lot of time when you slip at launch. More power doesn't mean faster when traction doesn't match.

                    (And this was timed and a proper drag strip).

          • +1

            @Tech5: it's limited by traction/grip from rwd

            cheaper to just go with an evo


        • +1

          Going faster than a modified supra? Hahahahaha

      • +5

        Watching Eric Bana's film "The Beast" immortalizes the origins of car cultures of the past
        Key take away was that the car symbolized freedom and independence.
        The discovery and learning science; It was an exciting time in discovery as engineers were discovering new sciences around car power transfer, efficiency and mechanical pioneering.

        Today the car today are to a point the manufacturers have reached a plateau in science as near halted mechanical RnD.

        i for one grew up in the car field but Science has moved to discovering new things about Nature, Disease, Health, Biologicals, food production and digital computing almost daily. and most of all they do not have the high entry cost to get involved with the latest innovations <$2k
        to get latest incremental innovations in cars we are to a point you must buy a >$50k new car every year.

        • +3

          "Key take away was that the car symbolized freedom and independence." I miss those days. Helicopter parenting has created a generation that is afriad of freedom + independence; everyone thinks they are special and wants to be coddled by the government. People are never given the opportunity to develop on their own; they never really mature.

          • @Thaal Sinestro: More like the massive increases to cost of living (especially housing) coupled with a poor job market means young people can't afford independence any more. You'd have to be the most entitled, out of touch boomer to think kids still want to live with their parents instead of striking out. Anyway, with all the cuts, it looks like the boomer generation with their fee free tertiary education, early pension, cheap housing, and negative gearing were getting the biggest government coddling out of all the generations.

      • Interesting topic - thanks!

        I'd argue that there are still relatively affordable cars that exhibit greatness. Maybe not GT3RS-great, but more than entertaining enough at their price points…you just have to look. They're seriously outnumbered by a lot of boring dross out there too, but that's always been the case - Kingswoods and Coronas have become SUVs and fashion-utes, not everyone drove an XU1 or E38 when I was growing up.

        Car culture has definitely become more virtual - the "car guys" at work are more interested in their PS4/XB "vehicles" and how "fast" they go than what they actually drive. That's sad.

        I agree it's much smaller than in the past, but there is still most definitely a real car culture out there - monthly cruises, multi-club meets, etc - and most groups are really open to new people. It helps if you drive something interesting (but not essential).

    • +11

      - 5. Defect notices.

      - 6. Videogames.

      - 7. Social media.

      • +2

        Damn. I forgot those exist.

        And defect notices too since none of my cars were ever affected. (Bikes OTOH…)

      • +14

        # 8 - Cars are always getting harder to work on. In the 70s all you needed was a socket set and you could swap the crankshaft/pistons and add a turbo. In the 2000s if you swap the incandescent brake light for LED it will refuse to start with a cryptic error code. In 2020 the oil filters will have ID chips to confirm they're genuine.

        • +1

          I worked on a Ford something or another with a V8 from the 1980s.

          I leaned over the bonnet and nearly fell through. No wonder they say animals could be living in the bonnet.

          Performance cars these days require fan force to push air through those tiny spaces between components.

      • +4
        • Also 120 hour learners permits.

        I know several kids who waited to get their Ps until they turned 21. Just because they didnt have the access to get 120 hours. Both parents working, good access to public transport, high cost of paid instructors. 120 hours by the time you turn 18 is a significant effort.

        • Really depends on the person i guess, if someone were to get their license at 16 and go for P's when 18 that gives them 730 days to do 120hrs. About 10min a day

      • +2

        Yep, defects played a massive part in killing aftermarket car mods.

      • +1

        Exactly, it was the lack of other entertainment options for the most part. If you got sick of watching the telly on the weekends, you got in the car and went on a tear somewhere because thats the only alternative there was. Thats why the roadside attractions were able to make money (the Big Pineapple, Banana, Prawn etc) - nowadays they struggle to get a crowd.

    • This. Don't get me wrong I'd love even a more modern Japanese sports car like an R35, but for similar money I can get a much more comfortable C63S or GLC63S which are reliable, practical, have resale value, less (or different) stigma, etc… and that's the same trend at most price points IMO. Also reflective in insurance and running costs too.

      My Evo was great in the day in 2008 (although required six monthly servicing and had plenty of little issues which I lived with) but for similar money, I'd pick an A45 or even the higher spec A class/1 series (doesn't have to be pure AMG/M) and enjoy hassle free motoring (both mechanically and from the attention).

      I do miss the JDMST scene but then I'm a bit older now and would rather have a quiet night in.

  • +2

    Why buy a beat up car if I can afford something modern, less likely to have problems and most importantly be more safe?

    You can get really good deals on ex rentals or even single owner cars that are a few years old.

    • +38

      Think the culture has changed. When I was growing up, me and my mates had $10k and would spend $3k on a car and put the other $7k elsewhere. These days, it seems like kids still have $10k, but end up spending $25k on a car with finance. I think people tend to want expensive cars more these days, criteria for a good car has changed.

      • +12

        I tried to go budget on my 2nd car and paid $5k for something from the 90s. It was good for the first year until there were issues with the electric windows, transmission, radiator house, brakes and so forth.

        3rd car was $12k and only released nearly 2 years prior. 3 years later it's still going strong and hasn't had a single issue, unlike my second car.

        Spending that extra was a good investment in my case. There are so many reasons why paying more is sometimes better than cheaping out.

      • -3

        soy milk makes men into females with dicks.

      • +1

        You got it so wrong, When I grow up, me and my mate had $2K, spend $500 on a car and spend $1.5K on the sound system and drive it like we own the road.

      • I started a thread a while back about what was the best sh*tbox car that people ever owned:-


        When I was a kid we owned heaps of different types of cars, weird European things like Citreons and whatnot, even vintage stuff like a Daimler and old Chevys. Before everything went electrical, stuff was pretty simple to fix and before roadworthy certs came along, people would swap cars like they were biscuits. If they died, we would just buy another old flogger of a car. I remember the first car we got with EFI, I would have been a teenager and I remember how strange the exhaust smelt, it made me sick. Most of the cars we drove the rego was worth more than the car.

  • +5

    Petrol costs way more now so fuel efficiency is a bit more important.

    True though… i don't really know many people who are into cars anymore!

    • +7

      People have been complaining about the cost of petrol for decades. It's a national pastime.

    • +7

      In real dollars petrol cost more in 2009 than now. Even at $1.70 last year it was still cheaper than the 00s.

  • Give me enough money to buy one of those cool looking cars you're on about and you'll see me going up and down with one. Even better, give enough such that I can have enough to deck out the car so it looks unique compared to its stock variant…..that's what you want right? ….which is also what I want too but no money….. sadface

    • Was what I wanted growing up, not really into it all anymore.

      • awww why not? How old are you anyways….?

  • +13


    My dream car…Suzuki mighty boy, magic bit of kit

    • +2

      Used to hear about it from my dad and the first time I looked it up online years later, I had a wtf moment. It's grown on me now but I'm eyeing a Jimny.

      • I used to be in new car sales.
        My ex had a family member that bought one and thankfully not via me or the company I worked for.
        They went with a place that had a promo at the time of giving a 'love it return' it guarantee, within xx days n klm..

        They ended up not liking the Jimny, they said it was gutless, they returned it and bought something else.
        don't know what the later models were like and if they had advances in power.
        they were fairly new to the market at the time.

    • Had one of these in baby crap yellow about 8 years ago. Was fun and cheap on fuel…
      But a 20l tank and I was filling it up every second day :(

      Not to mention people use to pick it up and put it in a garden when I was at work all the time and then some idiot would park me in

  • +42

    I'm an older driver, and years ago I used to enjoy a good thrash in the quiet back blocks of Victoria - fun and not much risk.
    Roll on several decades, I now dislike driving as the ever present cameras across the country have ruined the occasional excess!!.
    So now, yes it's the SUV, the death of motoring is upon us, spend more time looking at the speedo, rather an intensive look at the vehicle surrounds!.

    The police had the option to give you a good telling off, I had that twice and never forgot the first one when I was 18. Now the cameras have no discrition, just "Give me the Money" is the electronic mantra.

    Also, if you look at the road toll, it is so much less now than in the 70/80's, many more vehicles on the roads, vastly better vehicles from the safety angle, yet " Speeding Kills " is the endless mantra.

    Inattention, slow highway speeds, phones/drugs/booze and speedo watching are often culprits!.

    • +12

      You're spot on, definitely agree with you here. I think there's also been a real shift in the way people perceive those into cars and those who might like to drive fast.

      There seems to be some association between people who like cars and hoons, which honestly is not the truth. There's also some view that someone zipping along a straight back country road with not a car in sight is somehow as morally reprehensible as an idiot mowing down a local street in front of a school at 100 km/h in his '95 Commodore. It's this sort of lack of discretion that's made everyone so narrow-minded about speed and not focus on other things like driver distraction.

      • +6

        IMO car culture of the type you reminisce and speeding are statistically related even if not necessarily, but it's not a bad thing.

        I don't know what happened but drivers these days, even "speeding enthusiasts," display less driving (specifically speeding) skill on the road than in the 90s. The number of times I've seen cars speed up only to sniff the rear of the car ahead and then tailgate, rather than execute a few smooth but sharp lane changes and actually get ahead, is mind boggling. The way I see many fast cars take corners with hard braking deep into the turn, or otherwise not preempting conditions or showing inagility and just relying on heavy use of the accelerator and brakes in straight lines, makes me wonder what has happened to drivers in the last 20 years. It's almost as though an "art of speeding" has been quashed and all we have left is brute and brain dead accelerating. This seems commensurate with a decreasing general affinity for custom cars and working on them personally. Yes, there are still car enthusiasts and special shows and organized race meets, but I don't see an organic bunch of car lovers just meeting on a Sunday afternoon, maybe finding some quiet streets to show off a bit and trade stories, perhaps some drags or a few good burn outs for entertainment, and waiting for the cops to come - that seems to be gone. I'm not calling whether that's a good or bad thing, but it was a lot of fun in the 90s, and yes, "car culture" has definitely changed.

        • +2

          I completely agree with you, I think what's happened is that as the fines and penalties for speeding have gone up, people who are intelligent but liked to go fast decided that the risk-reward tradeoff is no longer worth it, so they decide to no longer speed. That leaves the more idiotic drivers to continue speeding, so you do have a bit of a selection issue there.

          Yes, there are still car enthusiasts and special shows and organized race meets, but I don't see an organic bunch of car lovers just meeting on a Sunday afternoon, maybe finding some quiet streets to show off a bit and trade stories, perhaps some drags or a few good burn outs for entertainment, and waiting for the cops to come - that seems to be gone. I'm not calling whether that's a good or bad thing, but it was a lot of fun in the 90s, and yes, "car culture" has definitely changed.

          Yes, that's what I mean. There are still a few places around where I live which are a magnet for car enthusiasts. We have a kebab joint nearby where there's some congregation. I'm not terribly interested anymore though since I have a family now, but I agree that the organic nature of it all is gone as you say.

      • +3

        There seems to be some association between people who like cars and hoons, which honestly is not the truth.

        Whether rightly or wrongly, that subset of petrolheads basically made owning a stereotypical rice rocket from 1998 onwards, like an R31-34 Skyline, WRX STI, an S13-15 Sylvia, a 180-240SX, 300ZX, Supra, RX-7, etc, a sure-fire way to become very familiar with your local police officers.

        I used to have friends who owned rather mundane ricer cars back in the day, like a Nissan NX Coupe, a Civic or a Honda Prelude, nothing close to a shouty, modded-to-death Supra, and they basically had a 50% chance of random stops and breath tests when going out on a Friday or Saturday night to any trafficked area of the city.

        That definitely put a dent in the car culture of the 2000s. The guys who did roll around in the really gaudy, "catch-me-skidding-after-9PM" Skylines and WRXs, definitely attracted some highly charged attitude and harassment from their local cops (and it went both ways to be fair, some of them were Fat Pizza-esque caricatures genuinely asking for it and others were just normal guys people minding their own business) and that gradually filtered down to anyone and everyone driving anything Japanese, lowered, loud with a fat exhaust.

        It's probably lessened up a bit these days, but the anecdotes you heard from guys who owned anything moderately powerful and Japanese from around 2002-2010, were definitely off-putting if you wanted to get yourself a rice rocket during the peak of import/modded car culture.

        • +1
          • don't forget that in the early 2000's all these cars then had the 'fast and furious' tax applied to them. Some of the prices on these cars today are beyond ridiculous
    • phones are a big one too, so many retarded people texting while driving. shouldn't get their licenses back when they lose them either.

  • +3

    Can honestly say my uni was nothing like that unless you aren't looking for the right thing. Helps I'm ex Formula SAE so theres a part of the carpark for the car people essentially haha

    You probably won't see many of the cars you listed because they've shot up in value but they are around. The car group started by my uni friends, whilst not being entirely uni people now, has at least 1 of everything you listed (maybe not the merc, and cant think of a 300zx but probably). I can also think of a new civic type R regularly in the uni carpark separate to us. These guys are predominantly into track days though so not as much on the street as back in your day, though they do daily the cars.

    I ended up with a mk2 Megane RS, really not the best as an everyday car, tons of interior rattles and not the most modern interior (it is 12 years old I guess). But jeez it's fun to take for a blast through some twistys and sticks like you wouldn't believe, it's an extremely underrated car so also cheap :) . Went for a drive with a bunch of friends yesterday doing just that so yea the culture is definitely there, just not as obvious as the whole ricer aesthetic back in the day haha

    Edit: Somehow thats my first comment despite lurking around for years… lol

    • +2

      Congrats on your first comment. Maybe I should have stuck around to see more of uni, but that was just my cursory "walk around the carpark". But yes, the ricer aesthetic is definitely gone. I still remember there was this guy on my street with a bug-eye STi, I lived at the beginning of a long straight stretch of road, so I could hear and feel it every time he sped off. Good times.

  • I go to QUT in Brisbane, there's a car club and plenty of people in it have JDM classics. See quite a few dope cars parked at uni too.

    • Still repping cars in -4 degrees?

  • +2

    I think every generation is just different to the previous one. Like you, when I first started driving the cars I lusted after were GC8 STis, silvias, GTRs, FD RX7s, EK9Rs and the like because they were the relatively affordable sports cars in the late 90s - let's say 40k. Now for 40k seems most younger enthusiasts are into hot hatches - since all the fun turbo RWDs are pretty much extinct at that price bracket, and things like R34 GTRs are just ridiculous money now. That said now I'm well older I'm still into 90's cars p mainly because they're pretty cheap, easy to work on, parts are plentiful and a massive amount of fun to drive. I'm lucky enough to have a couple of euro sports cars in the garage now but still look forward to fixing up and driving my S15 silvia - growing old but not growing up!

    • You're lucky, I wish I had that sort of dedication. I was about the lay down the money for a WRX STi, culmination of years of lusting. Found out that day I was going to become a dad. Couldn't financially go through with the purchase, but waiting for my son to get his license to get an excuse to get back into this car business once again.

      • You're better off buying one now because manual cars are becoming a rarity. I have owned 95 celica and 06 MPS but now have a EVO 8 MR as weekend. Over a year ago I was looking for a daily comfortable and relatively sporty manual car and could tell you that I struggled. Had a budget of $10k and had my eye on Lexus is250. At the time, 318 for sale on carsales with only 5 being manual. I then came across a 2010 manual Audi a3 S-line for under $10k and got that instead. Have to say as a MT, it feels more electronic than the good old Japanese mechanical feel. In addition to the culture, the whole emotion, spirit and experience out of driving is taken out.

    • Weren't you driving a Prelude a decade or two ago and on MCCR or have I mistaken you for someone else on there? Your nick does ring a bell that's why…

      • lol yep had a eucalyptus green prelude waaaaay back in the day, haven't heard of mccr in decades either :)

    • i remember when r34 gtrs were 30k. oh boy i wish i seen the price increase coming.

  • +8

    I don't think its limited to car culture, it seems to be everything. A car used to be a gateway to things, something you could use to avoid staying home on a friday night flipping between 7,9, and 10 when you already knew there was nothing to watch. With the rise of the internet and self entertainment options like netflix or instagram, there's less boredom to drive things like that.

    I think there's also a general air of hopelessness around too. Makes it hard to get excited about things like fast cars. You still need to get places so you end up playing it safe and getting the corolla.

    • 70s corollas were cool.

  • -3


  • More police presence

    Lack of Autosalon

    Cheap power

    I remember guys putting Evo engines in standard Lancers, because evos were expensive. Now they're not. Power is cheap. Any p-plater can afford to buy a high powered V8 or turbo for their first car.

    MCM have done well recently showing the lack of the old "sex spec" Autosalon cars. Cars that were made to look pretty, and were mainly inspired by Fast n Furious. Now everything revolves around just making it go fast, looks are fairly secondary.

    Add to that the increased police presence, never knowing if a radar is behind a bush.

    I was part of the car scene when I was younger and it was certainly fun! But yeah I miss seeing that level of modification

    • +1

      I remember guys putting Evo engines in standard Lancers, because evos were expensive.

      Don't forget the guys putting Evo bodykits on a Lancer just to make it look the part.

      Power is cheap. Any p-plater can afford to buy a high powered V8 or turbo for their first car.

      To be honest, power was important, but it was never REALLY about the power. As a car guy, I'm sure you know what I mean. It's almost as if it's about looking fast as much as it is about being fast.

      But beyond that, cars were a canvas for people to express themselves. There were someone's pride and joy, not something you just buy off the shelf and push hard on the throttle to make it go faster. I think you allude to some of the issues, but I think Euro car companies have engaged in some level of class warfare. The message being sent by guys like Volkswagen (with their Golf R), Mercedes and BMW is "you can go fast, but with a classy car, unlike those hoons in 90's era bangers". They've really been able to tap into this market who like fast cars, but don't want to be seen driving an RX-7.

    • Mate, adding wheels and lowering your car is a full on build now. full on body mods and all sorts of whacky shit from the early 00s

  • 1994 nissan pulsar sss or a suzuki gti in my era, with change left for rebuilds. Seems to be everyone these days has a stock amg. Either there perfect from the factory or no1 has money left for an upgrade. What's the point of a car club etc with a stock car.

    • +1

      There are still people who mod the cheap econoboxes and get good track times/performance out of them. I do relate to what you say about stock cars being fast and capable, a lot of car clubs I know are littered with people who have mostly Euro cars and have never worked on it but feel they are an enthusiast.

      It is hard to deal with as someone who enjoys the work that goes in to these cars and the personality they develop as their own modifies them. These people really just bring nothing to the table and they are hard to relate too. I don't want to say they aren't enthusiasts, it's just hard to appreciate their opinions and cars.

      The death of forums, the quick and popularity based nature of social media and the cost have all contributed to the decline of "car culture" imo.

    • Had more time and less fiscal responsibilities in my younger days to coordinate and finance a engine/dogbox in a WRX or an odd thing goes wrong in the GTR. The AMG's just keep going like a champ and had adequate performance. High visibility policing aren't helping.

  • +10

    Internet became mainstream.

    • +1

      Video game graphics also increased.

      • +5

        Genital size reduced or is that only me.

        • Probably more selection bias of the male "stars" seen in certain internet material…

      • +1

        tinder was created.

  • How did you not see the Suzuki Swift in the car park? The most popular car at my Univeristy.

  • +2

    Many universities have a larger percentage of overseas students than before, who have a different attitude to driving and cars. They also don’t bring a lot of mechanical stuff with them, or can drop round to a mate’s dad to borrow them.

    It’s easier for them and more practical to buy a standard car as the op outlines.

    Btw This is an observation, not a criticism or judgement, and is an attempt to give a possible partial answer to the op’s musings.

    • By standard car you are referring to the Camry?

  • +1

    I understand what you're talking about. The scene most likely stopped because the cars did. You don't see the cars you mentioned anymore. They must've taken a hit and gotten to old to repair.

    I remember in my early 20's around 2006-10 it was still a big thing.

    If I see a gtr or a rx7 now, I saw wow. Acting like it's a classic.

  • +1

    I still feel there is a car scene but I don't know if it is less popular than before.

    Nearly every weekend there's some kind of car meetup in Melbourne.

    The last one I went to a week ago must have had around 300 cars.

    • +2

      Yep. A lot of car culture stuff has moved to private FB groups or online forums so unless you join these groups it's largely hidden from view. But there are heaps of car club meet ups and cruises every weekend.

  • +6

    Uni was buying a beater and spending 3 X the price on a stereo and upgrades to personalise it.

    I agree that that culture has greatly diminished. For me it was shifting all my spending to travel instead of cars.

    Now people spend more on their phones than I spent on my cars. The digital age has helped to turn us into sheep.

    • +8

      The good old days when a mate rocks up with a second hand Alpine on a Friday night at 11PM and the tools come out.

      • +3

        Can confirm, have taken around an alpine unit to a mates house late at night on the weekend.

  • +4

    Nostalgia is for older people. Kids want new stuff, those cars mentioned were the latest things then. Now the market is more hatches and boring sensible cars. New generation are not that into cars these days, I can see why market isn't really interesting also really expensive. I drive a new WRX STI, even that has changed, more focused on lux rather than a teeth chattering extreme performance car. However I like it as is now, more refined to be honest. People don't do big builds anymore either, usually some minor mods and that's it.

    Also blame Lamebook for destroying car forums. The community use to be great; heaps of heros, chest thumping, flame wars, trolling and lots of fun.

  • +2

    Am I just being nostalgic or have people's tastes about what cool cars are really changed that much?

    Yes and yes. It's both the above.
    Priorities have changed while you were busy with life post-Uni. Now it's as you wrote; airbags, electronic nannies whether the MMI has a clear screen and CarPlay/Android-Auto.

    When did all this happen?!

    When you stopped buying Fast4s and Max Power. It's YOUR fault :P

  • +6

    There is still a car culture, but maybe not as obvious as it used to be. Most conversations these days are done online through forums etc. But regular meets still do occur. Cars and coffee is a regular occurrence as well.

    My wife and I have an agreement of always having at least 1 sports/fun car in our household no matter what. Nature says I have to grow old, but I refuse to grow up.

  • +1

    I'm now in my 30s and have alwyas loved cars. I would be the kid buying Street Commodores, Hot 4s, In Car Entertainment and Wheels etc. I've had my Torana, VK brock mock and then a 2JZGTE Aristo. I would go along to large organised cruises, would do laps of town and then the longer drives to cool spots. I would modify, repair and research with alot of my spare time. But then I got older and wanted a house. Sold the fun cars and bought something new, reliable and cheap. It's been 8 years but I'm now looking for a fun car as I have some money.

    I still do things to the cars I have (mainly stereo) and still research and like knowing a lot about the cars I have.

    I think the biggest things these days is cars are very technical and hard to play around with.

    • I've seen a Torana or at least what looks like one (didn't even know what it was called until I google that name up…hah…) - twice; one at about a few months ago and the other about two years ago…the car looked fully sick, similar looking to the one showcased in this article: https://www.whichcar.com.au/features/holden-lh-torana-511-cu...

      It was amazing, it was loud (I could hear it even at 10 to 15 cars behind at the traffic lights) and the lope tune was godly…… I really wanted to get out of my beater and take pictures of it whilst stopped at the traffic lights…haha…

      But it wasn't green, think it was a creamy colour and the blower(or whatever you car heads call it, I just only know it from playing NFS which had this option as a hood install mod aesthetic….lol) bit wasn't as high as that but still noticeable. And that feeling when it took off at the traffic lights….

      I also saw someone driving down in what looks like a Dodge Challenger RT somewhere down at Freo or around there a while back. It was chrome green with black racing stripes……modest looking build too and not overly done.

      I saw a few parked Nissan GTR, Super Snake, a nice well done up WRX STi, and a R34 nismo variant….

      Have seen a nice porsche carrera GT speeding down the freeway at one point….also saw a ford gt on the freeway as well.

      …man just talking about these and I'm sooooooo jelly…..hahahaha

  • car culture is still around m8

    Go out into Sydney's west - still see very clean R34 GTR's, RX7's and silvia's etc

  • +10

    I think you spent your youth immersed in a subculture. It became your world. It wasn't everyone's world.

    You've compared that immersion with a wander through a campus.

    Perhaps car culture has decreased or changed, but you don't have a solid data set yet to draw that conclusion. Asking the question here is illuminating though.

    • While your reference to nostalgic and / or confirmation bias is definitely something to be considered I do think there still exists enough data to draw some conclusions. Forget the street meets, even just the lesser amount of custom cars on the road generally on a daily basis is noticeable. On a drive into town on a Friday night they are just not there on the road like they used to be. In some ways I also think it sometimes encompassed various ethnic and other cultural (eg doof doof vs metal at the lights often meant it was on!) rivalries that aren't there (or as obvious) any more.

    • +2

      Perhaps car culture has decreased or changed, but you don't have a solid data set yet to draw that conclusion.

      You could probably get some sales figures, but I spend around two hours on the road every day and have been for a really long time, I've seen a lot of the shifts in people's car interests. Things I've noticed:

      • Less medium sedans (Commodore/Falcon/Camry class)
      • More very small cars (Yaris/City/Rio)
      • More SUVs, especially small SUVs
      • More hatches vs. sedans in general
      • More Euro cars
      • Less JDM cars
  • +2

    Still see something similar on the 4wd scene with people of all ages buying new and old 4wds to modify.

  • +4

    Cheap 90s JDM performance cars are not a thing anymore. They are now collector classics.

    I've attended a couple of large car meets in Melbourne, even though I'm "old" compared to that crowd, the culture still seems quite alive. See a lot of kids there with Toyota 86s, Golfs, Hyundai Velosters etc. Lots of MX5s too since they still cheap. I walk past groups and overhear the exact same conversations we had 20 years ago :)

  • +4

    Police and Media. Car culture is still very much alive in other parts of the world.

    Police because of the strict enforcement of rules for speeding, hoon laws… etc. Yes, our road toll has gone down as cars get safer but so has every other modern country and places like USA who do not enforce speeding to the same level as we do here.

    We also have an entire generation of kids who grow up watching ACA labeling any car with a modified exhaust (or even a loud stock one) doing a pull and being labeled as a Hoon. So we have an entire generation who thinks modified cars = criminal and anti-social.

    • i havent seen an ACA hoon special in years, last one i watched was an XW and XY getting defected for random shit and the lady calling the blue evo a subaru that doesn't matter. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbGSLFAwbig

      • HAhahahahahahaha…kinda left me a bit piss at the cops for minuscule reasons for fines….

        and read the comments too…hahaha

  • +2

    Car culture is dead, three main reasons IMO:

    1) Theft/Insurance: everyone wanted a 'cool car' and so they were getting pinched and stripped (re birthed if rare enough), which made the owners fearful and also pushed up the price of insurance.

    2) "Collectors": I remember looking at FD Rx-7's and drooling over them. Have you seen the price of them now? Jesus F'ing Christ! And lets look at the VK Commodore… What the hell!?

    3) Disposable income: I mean this is just one bit of data but unless you are been subsidised by someone, people just don't have the cash anymore.

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