I agree wholeheartedly. I think brand loyalty is fun but sometimes it goes overboard and really marks the difference between someone who is a true enthusiast and someone who isn't.
A while ago I posted this to a traditional hot rod forum I frequented:
**!!WARNING!! UNPOPULAR OPINION FROM NEW GUY**
[previous post] underscores what I see as a major problem with the traditional hot rod "scene."
I hang out with what you guys would probably call "ricers." I've spent many late nights in the garage, just like you guys, tuning and tweaking. I've spent a good percentage of my adult life hanging around gas stations with other guys just chatting about cars, just like you guys. I've helped friends paint cars in their driveways, just like you guys.
My friends all drive different cars than me, but we all get along, because we like everything. Just because my buddy drives a Subaru or a BMW dosen't make him "wrong," it makes him different. I've got Mazda rotaries, a late-model Mustang Cobra, and a Cutlass Supreme. Some of my best buddies have even more diverse stables than that. What we all have in common is that we are car enthusiasts. We are enthusiastic about cars - all cars. We'll geek out over Curved Dash Oldsmobiles, chopped and channeled Model As, Tri-Five Chevy gassers, GTOs, Beetles, Pacers, Deloreans, Supras, Mustangs, Mitsubishi Evos...you name it. While it may not be our cup of tea, we can enjoy it, and appreciate it for what it is, and the work that went into it.
So when a guy like me parks his RX7 next to a clean traditional rod and tries to strike up a conversation with the owner, it's pretty damn disconcerting when he acts like you don't know squat about cars - or are a lesser car guy - or that your car is a pile - because you have a different badge than him, because you drive "ferrin junk," "Jap scrap," because "you can order the whole damn car outta a catalog"...I've heard it all.
Maybe the next time you're sitting around, wondering what went wrong, wondering who will carry the traditional hot rod torch when you're dead and gone, just remember that you had your chance and blew it. Maybe the next time a kid pulls up in a neon-colored import showing genuine interest in your hot rod, be a car enthusiast and tell him about your machine. He'll listen. And maybe one day, the kid with the RX7 will sell off a few projects and build himself a proper jalopy.
1980 Toyota Celica
1984 Porsche 911
1988 Mazda RX-7
Ex-JNCs: 1980 Datsun 510, 1979 Mazda RX-7, 1986 Mazda RX-7, 1992 Mazda Miata