Good points there. I'm 50. When I grew up cars were of course the thing to have. I think the big difference between now and then is that back then, no one my age had a credit card and they didn't go buy a huge expensive vehicle on a seven-year loan at the expense of their young family. We bought fixer uppers and did it ourselves and what we ended up with was unique and something we put our own blood sweat and tears into. My brother and I fixed up several cars and loved them. But we worked for the money and saved our money until we had the part we needed. Then we installed it ourselves. That is the lore of the American Hot Rod--probably the same experience you had.
But what I see today is not what I'd call a Hot Rod. The young Americans today go buy a large pickup off the lot with their seven-year loan. No fixing up, nothing special nor unique about their "rig" other than it is huge--their large truck is just the same as all the others. They come standard with huge engines, large tires and lift kits and "tuned" exhaust pipes to make their noise go as far as possible. This modern attitude is what I call the 15-year old teenage girl syndrome--"I want to be different" just like everyone else.
I love hot rods and custom cars--they are America.