You wrote: “Certain car clubs and magazines used to limit to pre-49… recent issue of Street Rodder had a first gen Camaro on the cover. Limit your audience with a date cut-off you limit your audience.”
You are so right. I was a member of the NSRA for many years. I knew when they would not allow any vehicles after 1948 as part of their requirements, they would paint themselves in a corner some day and they did. They had to eat a lot of crow and lost a lot of pissed-off members when they changed their golden rule.
Along those same lines, the town I live in has a huge cruise once each year for 1972 and older vehicles. Why this cutoff? There used to be a lot of cruising by kids nightly here. So much so that the merchants requested the traffic pattern be changed from 2-way streets to 1-way. The change was made in 1972 and the cruising was killed.
So, in 1992, the decision was made to set aside one day each year to let the former cruisers and anyone else re-live yesteryear by closing the streets to allow '72 and older vehicles to cruise the town. I was there in 1992 and have been there for most of those cruises.
At first, it was great! We all saw old friends we hadn’t seen in years. Hell, a lot of the guys from back then still owned the cars they cruised with in the old days. But as the years have ensued, I have noticed a definite shift in the interest in it. There used to be huge spectator crowds in 1992 and for the next few years but that crowd has dwindled as onlookers became bored with the same old same old. And the audience has grown younger and can’t relate to the same cars we can.
At last year’s cruise in 2018, there were fewer participants than ever (several I knew had passed away) but many of the ones there left early. There just wasn’t that spark that used to be. So sad.
So, let this be a lesson to any of you who are responsible for any type of automotive events. Nothing lasts forever. Embrace the younger fans in their newer vehicles with open arms. Or else lose it all.