Most Gen-X car guys read about cars more than they worked on them. The author spent much of his time poring through the latest issues of Consumer Guide.

By most accounts, the epicenter of the automotive dark years was 1980. That was the year that the only Corvette Californians could buy was powered by a 5.0-liter V8 saddled to an automatic transmission. The early ’80s was the era of downsizing, sticker shock, and the furtive and desperate shade-tree “desmogging” of under-powered, low-compression engines.

I entered high school in 1979; thus, my formative car-guy years were among the lamest in automotive history. I still came to love the automobile, but perhaps in a different way than folks only 10 years my senior. I didn’t hate front-wheel drive, I accepted the passing of the big block, and I learned that handling could be appreciated as much as acceleration.

Folks roughly my age will understand what I am talking about. We read about cars more than we worked on them. We considered pegging an 85-mph speedometer an accomplishment, and we worshipped German cars as much as we did Hemi-powered anythings. We read Brock Yates before he became a self-promoting jerk, and we knew the difference between TBI, TPI, and SPFI.

In tribute to my kindred car lovers, and with all due credit to Jeff Foxworthy, I have created a list of 10 things that might peg you as a Generation-X car guy. If you can answer yes to five of the following, you might be a Gen-X car guy.

Driving in the 21st Century: 10 Car Things Millennials Will Never Experience


You might be a Gen-X car guy if . . .

  • You remember 35-cent-a-gallon gas, but never paid much less than a dollar.
  • You’ve replaced a starter or alternator, but never the points and condenser.
  • The hottest engine on any new car you lusted after in high school was a 5.0-liter V8.
  • No one you knew had ever owned a real muscle car.
  • You ever argued with anyone about the Ford 302 really being a 4.9-liter engine, and not a 5.0.
  • At any time, you thought the Citation X-11 was one of the coolest cars in the world.
  • You just couldn’t accept the turbocharged 301 as a Trans Am engine.
  • Your drivers ed car was an X-Car or a K-Car.
  • You learned to drive stick on a torqueless piece of crap with no air.
  •  You’ve driven at least a trio of cars featuring some variant of General Motor’s 3.8-liter “3800” V6.

Are You a Baby Boomer Car Guy?

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