Want to know something kids today can’t get enough of? Dogs. Especially really cute ones with sad eyes. Gen-Zers are also into—get this—hot drinks on cold days. Some like cilantro, but others hate it. Spend enough time on TikTok and you’ll get the sense that many teens—gosh, this is so weird—crave the approval and affection of others.
OK, I’ll stop. My point, in case all that wasn’t obvious enough, is that lots of people tend to be into lots of the same stuff, regardless of age. The ballyhooed “generation gap,” although grounded in certain realities of our fast-changing world, is largely a figment of marketers’ imagination.
Hagerty’s demographic data tell a similar story. When someone calls us about insurance on a particular car, we ask for basic details like their age. Since we get thousands upon thousands of these calls every year, we have a pretty solid sense of what enthusiasts in each age group are into. Turns out that whether the caller is 16 or 101 (actual ages of our youngest and oldest callers) there’s a really good chance they’re asking about a Chevrolet Corvette or Ford Mustang.
Of course, there are differences, and we’ll get into some of them below. In the interest of presenting a fuller picture, I’ve shown two metrics for each generation—first, the vehicles that age group calls about the most, and second, the cars for which it represents the highest percentage of interest. The latter metric helps us spot trends early on but it also, in isolation, can be very deceiving. For instance, looking solely at generational share, you’ll see that Gen-Z represents 44 percent of insurance quotes for the 1989–1994 Nissan Laurel. Woah! Before you start filling warehouses with the JDM sedans, though, perhaps I should tell you the raw total of calls that represents: 24. In contrast, some five thousand kiddos called us about Mustangs. (Note: In the interest of avoiding such misrepresentations, I have in the sections below excluded vehicles for which we received fewer than 100 calls from a particular age group.)
Read on to see what each generation craves, but don’t forget the key takeaway: What we share in common far outweighs what separates us.
Pre-baby boomer (1920–1945)
Most-called-about vehicle: 1928–1931 Ford Model A
Highest share of calls: 1950-1953 MG TD
These shouldn’t surprise anyone. Not only are both cars, um, old, but they’re also the two archetypes of the attainable classics favored by younger generations. In the Ford Model A, we have a passenger car that, due to its ubiquity, charisma, and association with a time and a place, found its way into enthusiasts’ hearts. The MG TD, meanwhile, was the sports car that made Americans love sports cars—every Corvette, Miata, and Boxster produced owes it a small debt.
On that note, we all owe a debt to these older collectors. They founded the car-collector hobby and, to a large extent, created car culture as we know it in this country. The greasers who popularized hot rodding, the tweed-wearing East Coasters who brought over British roadsters, our pantheon of American racing greats, including Phil Hill, Carroll Shelby, Dan Gurney, and Mario Andretti—all of them hail from the generation born before 1945, and all continue to resonate today.
This generation also continues to throw a lot of weight around the collector car market. Although its ranks, sadly, are thinning, pre-baby boomers are still more numerous in our insurance quote data than
Baby boomers (1946–1964)
Most called-about vehicle: 1972–1984 Chevrolet Corvette
Highest share of calls: 1969-1976 Triumph TR6
If you’re reading this article, based on our stats, you’re likely a baby boomer. For all the obsession with the growing youth contingent, baby boomers still represent the lion’s share of interest in cars: Nearly four out of every ten people who called Hagerty for a quote on insurance in the past year come from that generation. This is to a large extent a by-product of wealth—baby boomers control more than 50 percent of it in the United States, per the Federal Reserve—yet there’s no denying that the generation which came of age in the 1960s has a unique connection to the automobile.
When it comes to what these enthusiasts crave most, there’s no contest. It’s all about Corvette. The most-produced Vette, the 1972–1984 C3, naturally tops the list, but the C2, C4, and C5 all make the top ten.
What sets American baby boomer enthusiasts apart, however, is their fascination with British sports cars. The folks who grew up with The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and The Who have a special relationship with the cars from that country. Four out of the ten cars for which Baby Boomers represent the highest share of insurance quotes are Brits, topped by the venerable Triumph TR6.