– Millennials are getting into car collecting, and they are changing the hobby and the idea of what vehicles are worth owning and preserving.

This year, for the first time, millennials are responsible for more collectible car activity than the pre-baby-boom generation, according to Hagerty Insurance, the largest insurer of collectible cars. Roughly speaking, millennials are the generation born between 1977 and 1995.

Contrary to popular belief, millennials drive and enjoy cars, Hagerty Insurance CEO McKee Hagerty said, but the vehicles that fire their imagination are more likely to be pickups, SUVs and performance cars from late 1960s to early '90s.

Get ready to see more Cutlass Supremes, Land Rover Defenders, Mazda RX-7s, Ford F-series pickups, Datsun 260Zs, Chevy Monte Carlos, BMW M3s and VW Corrados at classic car gatherings.

It's a progression that happens as every generation reaches the point where they have the time and money to collect and restore cars. A classic car is generally considered one that's at least 25 years old, so a new set arrives every year, along with a generation who grew up admiring them. My '69 Pontiac GTO Judge could be my niece's '89 Nissan Skyline GT-R.

It's happening again, to a different set of cars.

"Cars nobody thought twice about 10 years ago are generating great interest at auctions and museums," said Matt Anderson, transportation curator at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. "People like to collect cars that were popular when they were kids or in high school; 1980s Firebirds, especially Trans Ams, are having a resurgence.

"A lot of it is driven by popular culture, too. There's no reason the DeLorean should be collectible, but the 'Back to the Future' movies gave it an incredible second life. I have a theory that just like every '69 Dodge Charger was converted into a General Lee 'Dukes of Hazzard' car, every existing DeLorean will eventually be converted into a time machine."

DETROIT FREE PRESS