Hot rodders pass on their cars and their passion to the next generation

Jul 15, 2023, 4:00 PM | Updated: 9:47 pm

LOGAN, Utah -- Car Show season is in full swing this summer. The Cache Valley Cruise-In had more th...

Kyle and Carson Reed at the Cache Valley Cruise-In (Brian Champagne/KSL NewsRadio)

(Brian Champagne/KSL NewsRadio)


LOGAN, Utah — Car Show season is in full swing this summer, bringing hot rodders from all over the nation. The Cache Valley CruiseIn had more than a thousand cars over the weekend. But the owners of those classic hot rods from the 50s and 60s are getting into their 70s and 80s.

Will the hot rodding die out when the original hot rodders do?

V-8 engines and music from Utah’s Car Show Godfather JC Hackett set the scene at the Cruise-In.


JC Hackett (Brian Champagne/KSL NewsRadio)

“Been doing it since 1980 and we have a lot of fun doing it,” said Hackett. “The majority of the people that come out to our shows are probably 60 and up.”

Hot rodders from the 19551975 heyday are now between 66 and 86 years old, or worse.

“We have friends who have passed on, or gotten old enough they can’t take their vehicle out anymore,” Hackett explained. He said one of the things keeping the younger generation out of hot rods is how much the old cars cost now.

The kids are alright

In 2013, an editor at Grassroots Motorsports magazine lamented that fewer teens were into racing, or driving at all.

However, if you went to the show, you’d hear the sound of Colton Vanderbeek’s Nissan revving his 300 ZX. The car is 35. He is 17.

“Gonna put a bigger engine in it, and a bigger turbo to make some more power,” he said. 


Colton Vanderbeek with his Nissan 300 ZX (Brian Champagne/KSL NewsRadio)

Vanderbeek was parked next to 17-year-old Hayden Hoopes 2010 Mustang GT.

Hayden Hoopes with his 2010 Mustang GT (Brian Champagne/KSL NewsRadio)

“A lot of cars here are sweet, they’re all unique in their own ways, they’re all loud in their own ways,” Hoopes said. “So I think we’re fulfilling our jobs pretty good.”

The Specialty Equipment Market Association, or SEMA, represents 7,000 companies that make stuff you can add to your car, truck, or anything with an engine. They do camps and contests to reach out to pre-driving-age kids.

SEMA said their industry passed 51 billion dollars in sales last year, and half of the people modifying vehicles were under 40.

Hot rodders passing on the love

Walking along the grass, Kyle Reed can easily point out the differences between Dodges. He was with his 15-year-old son Carson, who inherited his love for hot rodding.


Kyle Reed with his son Carson (Brian Champagne/KSL NewsRadio)

“He got a job at a body shop so he’s learning bodywork and stuff like that,” Reed said. 

“It’s just something cool to work on,” added Carson. “And it just feels like you’re actually doing something to help.”

Among the crowd of families admiring the show of vintage and modified rides was 10-year-old Bowen Lambson, there with his dad, Dan.


Bowen Lambson with his parents (Brian Champagne/KSL NewsRadio)

“I’ve always helped him fix cars my whole life, since he’s a mechanic,” said Bowen. 

Hackett said the interest, along with the cars, gets passed down. 

“This show in particular I can probably think of twelve cars that’s here that have been passed on to the next generation.”

Though Vanderbeek wouldn’t say the same about the music.

“It’s definitely oldperson music.”

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Hot rodders pass on their cars and their passion to the next generation