Supply Chain Problems with Classic Car Mechanics
By Mike Thies – Certified Vehicle Appraiser
The shortage of automobile mechanics to work on classic cars is a growing concern among collectors and enthusiasts. Classic cars require a unique set of skills and knowledge to maintain and repair, and there simply aren't enough trained professionals to keep up with demand. Let’s take a closer look at the reasons why there is such a shortage of mechanics to work on classic cars, and what can be done to address the issue.
Age and experience: One of the primary reasons for the shortage of mechanics to work on classic cars is the age and experience of the current workforce. Many of the mechanics who are skilled in working on classic cars are older and are either nearing retirement or have already left the workforce. This means that there are fewer experienced mechanics available to work on these vehicles, and fewer opportunities for younger mechanics to learn the necessary skills.
Specialized knowledge: Working on classic cars requires a specialized set of knowledge and skills that are not taught in most automotive training programs. Classic cars often have unique and rare parts that are no longer in production and may require custom fabrication or restoration. This means that mechanics who work on classic cars need to have a deep understanding of vintage engines, transmissions, and other mechanical systems, as well as the ability to source rare parts and materials.
Competition with modern car repairs: The demand for skilled mechanics to work on modern cars is much higher than for classic cars, as there are more modern cars on the road, and they require more frequent maintenance and repairs. This means that many mechanics choose to specialize in modern cars rather than classic cars, as there is more demand for their services.
Lack of training opportunities: There are few opportunities for young mechanics to receive training in working on classic cars. Many automotive training programs focus on modern car repair, and there are few programs that offer specialized training in classic car repair and restoration. This means that young mechanics who are interested in working on classic cars may not have access to the necessary training and experience to develop the required skills.
So, what can be done to address the shortage of mechanics to work on classic cars? There may a few potential solutions, including:
Increased investment in training and education: To address the skills gap in the industry, more resources should be dedicated to training and education programs that teach the specialized skills needed to work on classic cars.
Mentorship programs: Experienced mechanics who specialize in working on classic cars can mentor younger mechanics and help pass on their knowledge and skills.
Promoting the field: The automotive industry and classic car community can do a better job of promoting the field and attracting young people to careers in classic car repair and restoration. Hobbyists need to take their cars out to show in places where young people can see them. Hot rods and restomods need to be seen to be appreciated.
To address this issue, the hobbyists and the industry that supports them need to invest in training and education programs, mentorship opportunities, and do a better job of promoting careers in classic car repair and restoration. The Georgia Street Rod Association advocates for all hobbyists and businesses and invites all clubs to join in supporting Hot Rodders of Tomorrow and the scholarship programs they have for Lanier Technical College and South Georgia Technical College. These efforts are wonderful, yet they’re just a small part of what is needed.