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Why Videogames and Toy Cars are creating more petrolheads than before

How Videogames and diecast models are doing a superb job introducing younger petrolheads to cars from the past.

I unlike many people my age didn't have internet until I was 12, therefore my main source for car information; which was a growing passion ever since I knew what a car looked like; were either magazines or videogames.

I must've read hundreds of magazines between age 6 and 12 before I eventually got internet and I already knew a lot about cars, because I of course paid more attention to that kind of reading than to my school materials. And it was because of magazines that I found my love for so many european cars that almost nobody except car people knew about back in the day, such as the Pagani Zonda, the Koenigsegg CC8S, and the almighty Bugatti Veyron.

But it wasn't until I got Internet that I really got to learn a lot about cars from the 80's and 90's, cars that were conceived in a time before worldwide information got to the palm of your hand in a matter of seconds. It wasn't until after that, that I fell in love with the entire culture dedicated to High Performance Wagons, classic rally cars and pretty much every interesting car conceived before 2002.

And it dawned on me, Kids have it a lot easier these days!

It isn't a complain, but more of an exciting statement, because I think one of the greatest fears of everyone past their youth is that what they once considered cool, may never be relevant again, which is of course what nostalgia eventually profits of, and the reason of this article.

Kids these days are playing Forza and learning at the same time, sure they know already what a Ferrari and Lamborghini are, but playing they learn about such majestic cars, like the Mercedes CLK GTR, the Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale, and even the freaking Reliant Robin. Cars that otherwise may never be that interesting to them.

Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale in Forza Horizon 4

Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale in Forza Horizon 4

Videogames are pushing to build a richer car culture by appealing to every type of car people existing, and by doing so, are in turn teaching kids about a lot of cars they never couldn't even imagine. These are great news to every type of petrolhead around the world, because not only it depicts their favorite particular type of car, but are also expanding the amount of people who love it.

Hot Wheels and many diecast companies are of course jumping into this trend by selling many iconic cars from the 80's and 90's, and their main goal of course is people who grew up idolizing these cars, like the GMC Syclone, which is and entire icon for pickup enthusiasts, sleeper enthusiasts, turbo enthusiasts, but never as popular among younger kids like supercars. Now because of this, Kids will grow up loving a truck that existed decades before they were born, which was an honor only iconic sports cars and supercars really had.

GMC Syclone Hot Wheels Premium

GMC Syclone Hot Wheels Premium

Hot Wheels premium is of course focused towards older clients but let's be honest, every age of petrolhead buys HotWheels, so Kids are also buying classic cars, iconic Rally Champions, Supercars from the 70's and 80's, and are unknowingly preserving a culture that has existed since their own parents were their age, uncanny, but wonderful nevertheless.

In order to learn about cars before, you really had to like them in order to read about them, you had to like magazines, and specifically learning about your dream car required you to search sometimes exhaustively for information about it. Nowadays, just videogames alone have a lot more information regarding them than magazines used to print about them, which is something nobody could've foreseen 35 years ago when they were the main source for information.

The current age of technology is delivering petrolheads every minute, since the moment they can google the name of a car, a little kid becomes hooked into this entire culture, no limits on the information they can find, and driving them in the virtual world is an easy thing to do on pretty much any modern videogame available. Car culture is expanding and is lovely to see 10 year olds learning about cars like the E30 M3 or the RS2 in a way that they can see how much have they evolved and to appreciate them for what they stood for all those years ago.

Truth be told I envy these kids a little, because at 8 years old I would've loved to learn about the mythic pickup who beat the Ferrari 348 on a drag race, or about the legendary Lancia who beat Audi right when they were the Rally Champions. Let's just hope these kids keep Car culture alive in the years to come, as with the current and future landscape aiming to replace all cars with electric vehicles, we're gonna need true petrolheads to keep this passion burning and pass the torch to the future generations.

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Comments (16)

  • My love of cars started for me at a young age. It was the early 80's, and it seemed every show on TV had a flashy ride screaming across the small screen. My favorite car of all time is the '69 Charger, and that is due solely to my unhealthy addiction to the Dukes of Hazzard as a kid. Knight Rider had the new-at-the-time Firebird which looked amazing. Magnum PI had the Ferrari 308. A-Team had the brutish GMC Van. When I would stay up and watch shows I wasn't supposed to, I saw two more Ferraris draped in the neon of the Miami city scape on Miami Vice. Smokey and the Bandit was showing on TV by this time, making 5 y/o me fall in love with that huge bird on his hood. My poor young brain was sent into car overload by the time Cannonball Run was playing on my Grandparent's HBO. By the time I was seven y/o, seeing a Delorean in BTTF just seemed commonplace. All of these cars on the screen stimulated that gear portion of my brain. But it needed more...

    And that is where the diecast cars came in. Anything I could get my hands on. While there may not have been many cars with the rich history behind them available at the time, there were still plenty of amazing cars to get my hands on. I had my share of American muscle and European supercars sharing garage space in my room. Posters of the Countach were available at every school book fair, I just had to convince my mom that I needed to use my money on a poster and not a book.

    Recess in the schoolyard playground was home to the original diecast trading, long before the internet would give us eBay, Instagram and Facebook Groups. Like minded kids that had smuggled their cars in their pockets or backpacks were busy slinging their product like seasoned car salesmen. That was usually where we learned about our cars. Not any information that could be backed up by tangible facts, mind you. But man, did you know that red Ferrari could go almost 300 mph? And on test tracks it flipped into the air because it went so fast? We didn't have an internet enabled smart device in the palm of our hands to fact check these fast talking know-it-alls. And honestly, we wanted it all to be true. We would find out the truth in the years to come, or when you tried to spew your newly learned information to your family and they laughed you out of the room. But until that moment, your Ferrari was flying on the track and in the air.

    Kids today have it too easy. Unfortunately, many don't take advantage of the knowledge at their fingertips. Hopefully some of these small metal cars can get their juices flowing and they can fall down the rabbit hole of car knowledge, perpetuating the next generation of gearheads.

      7 days ago
  • Forza Horizon 2 started my unhealthy addiction to a daily dose of V8

      9 days ago
  • Accessibility is the crux of the progress and the reason why it's easier than ever to raise a petrolhead. The Internet is the biggest overall driver -- every video and blog and magazine comparison feeds children a whole load of information that they can brag about and legitimately experience at some level. And it cascades from there: they see a trailer for a racing game and they'll pester their parents to go buy it, which only serves to further suck them in because the graphics look real and the driving physics have reached a point where even arcade-y titles can reasonably give a taste of how well they drive. Also, 1:64 cars have gotten down in price enough that, details permitting, it's not as painful a purchase, as, say, a comparable 1:43 of the same car. And because they look more like the cars seen on real roads, they don't look as daft, so a parent will look at it and go "eh, I can probably spare the kid this one, heard he likes it". Heck, if the parent owns the real thing, it's incentive to give the kid a toy version. No, really. It used to be that Koenigseggs weren't even licensed in anything smaller than 1:3x, yet Hot Wheels makes one for one dollar (US$1, yes!) when a comparable premium version goes for US$50 or more. Now the kid has something tangible to hold onto, which is an even more solid way to reinforce an idea. It's those toy cars that started me here, so it's not some placebo.

    That accessibility is why it's easier for children to be gearheads. They can enter any niche, get out of it, and get back in with just enough parental supervision on their devices to ensure they don't end up with some reprehensible ideas, but rather come away with a fever for cars. And you can't ask for any more than that.

      9 days ago
  • I think that a lot of kids are becoming more interested in all types of cars thanks to models and games. I know I sure am. I’m still a kid. And I love all kinds of cars from all kinds of different origins.

      10 days ago
  • I find that kids who are actually interested in cars like the classics. The rest just go after Chrome Lambos

      10 days ago
    • I mean I like some classic cars. But I'm usually into cars thats 1980's+

        10 days ago
    • I would consider 80s classics nowadays. Maybe. It's debatable

        10 days ago