Shoot this has been circling in my head for a while now. Let me set the stage real quick: It’s last summer, my buddy & I were riding up to Chattanooga for a Stand-up jet ski thing. We were in his 4Runner with jet skis on the back. Windows down. ZZ Top on the stereo, Dire Straits… that sorta thing. And we were just cruising up i75 feelin’ pretty cool with minimal conversation for the last few miles. Now my mind always wanders psychological & metaphorical when left quiet. So I ended up blurting out, “DAMN MAN these guys were just freakin’ cool weren’t they!” (talking about the bands on the stereo).

“People just ain’t COOOOOL like that anymore!!” 

My buddy paused for a minute. I think he was smoking a cigarette actually… kind of holding in the smoke as he thought. And then he said, “Shoooot me & you are cool I know that much! We’re just cool in different ways that’s all.”

And then he basically went on to say – we’re “cool” in the way that we’re 2 dudes, one dreadlocked & one tattooed in Vans… heading up to Chattanooga to go ride stand-up jet skis & have a good time. And those guys (on the radio) were “cool” in a way that they wore cowboy boots & drove hotrods to bars in the middle of the day. My buddy was like, “Both are cool. It’s just different now, ya know?” And it’s been in my mind ever since.

Now being a car nut, I tie cars into generations & culture more than the average person would.

So I started thinking, “Hmmm maybe THAT’S why sports cars are dying in the modern era.” Maybe it really comes down to a change in life pace & lifestyle. Back in the day, let’s say the 60s… there just wasn’t as much to do on a Saturday. No video games, no cell phones, no computers. Man you cruised! You got a burger & fries. You raised a little hell, talked a little trash, had some laughs… and cruised on to the next spot! There wasn’t any texting “Where you at??”… you just had to show up to know what was going on! Youth culture was very, very car centric. And car culture WAS the recreation! Hanging out was recreational.

But by the ’80s, that was evolving. Car culture & cruising was still very heavy. But additionally, massive new types of recreational sports were exploding onto the scene. Sports were no longer just something you just did with a ball after school. Adrenaline sports were coming into the mix! Skateboarding, snowboarding, dirt bikes & ATVs, jet skis, wind-surfing, mountain biking, etc. Our toys were going from from ball sized to… bigger. And as such, it affected car culture & pop-culture. It became more & more necessary to have a vehicle that was more rugged & versatile. And car manufacturers responded, with vehicles that could support an active lifestyle outside of cars. SUVs had been around on the outskirts of car sales for decades. But by the late ’80s, they were going mainstream. 4Runners, Pathfinders, Jeeps, Samurais, Broncos, Cyclones, Hardbodies, Tacomas, etc. These vehicles checked the ‘rugged & versatile’ boxes… but they were still expressive, stylin’, & cool.

Ahhhhhhh… good ol’ government regulations.

In addition to peoples’ naturally evolving needs from a vehicle, government regulations started running up costs, and killing the party 1 rule at a time. For example, you couldn’t just throw your kid in the passenger seat of a Corvette convertible anymore. Nah, you had to belt ’em down, put ’em in a child seat… and put ’em in the backseat. Backseat?? All the more reason to consider packing-it-in for an SUV. It was becoming more difficult & more selfish to justify a new sports car purchase, especially considering the prices kept ticking up. But here’s the kicker: Once you let go, it becomes almost impossible to come back again. That’s just reality.

And here’s THE OTHER kicker: As time went on, even the SUVs started losing their ‘S’. Tops quit coming off, cabins got quieter, bodies-on-frame went to unibodies, the edges got smoothed out, and colorful graphics were replaced with… nothing.

monterey historics

I grew up in an air-cooled 911. For the entirety of the 1980’s as a kid, it was all I knew. The inconveniences of a small sports car were not inconveniences at all. It was just… life. And in an ’80s Porsche 911… life was good! Now I have absolutely no memory of how my dad got anything home from Home Depot or did other daily chores lol. But the memories of my childhood in that 911 around Jax, FL run extremely deep. For better/worse – it’s absolutely engrained into who I am today.


People naturally search out the path of least resistance.

But every time we take that path… it comes at an unforeseen cost. We lose a little slice of grit, strength, soul, and charisma. Don’t ever forget that. ALSO DON’T FORGET THIS: Inconvenience is a comparative measure. Meaning, something only becomes inconvenient when it gets compared to a more convenient option. We complain about the legroom on an airplane, while people are riding a bus… while people used to ride a horse & buggy getting shot at… and those people were just grateful they weren’t on foot. So where does it stop?? It doesn’t. Comfort & convenience is a never-ending cycle of comparison that won’t stop until you expend literally no effort at all to do anything. That’s how they’re grooming us… oh the great consumers. But is that what you really want?

1984 944

Related Article: Cell Phones killed Sports Cars

DeTomaso Pantera