One of the potholes in producing an ongoing column is lamenting what I’ve mentally nicknamed “roadkill” — the fun ideas or useful information readers could use, but get left in the ditch due to better topics coming along, awkward timelines and other logistical issues.
The following items are sitting dead ahead, staring me in the headlights, with time running out — and they’re too interesting to be kicked to the figurative curb. Better a brief mention than nothing at all:
Money for auto mavens. It’s been said for several years now that automakers face an uphill battle when it comes to young people and their sometimes-tepid interest in automobiles. Compared to their avenue-cruising, chrome-buffing, backseat-snuggling parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, the teens and early adults of today prefer smartphones to steering wheels, analysts say.
Perhaps in the general sense, but — especially in our neck of the woods — there still are plenty of young women and men who have inherited a love of cars and their makers. One college-age friend recently couldn’t wait to show off the silver new-to-him sporty sedan, and spoke as learnedly of the features under the hood as he did of the USB ports and syncing functions in the passenger cabin.
For those who not only enjoy the consumer angle of cars but want to join the business side as well, options abound — the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics lists more than 50 broad job categories in its online Occupational Outlook Handbook (www.bls.gov/ooh); the database lets you search various jobs by median pay, projected growth rate and other factors. If you click the letter A on the A-Z index, you’ll find more than 50 auto-related categories with vocational possibilities.
Automakers, of course, have well-established scholarship programs for employees and their offspring, but it doesn’t stop there. Many industry organizations like the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) to the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) offer cash as well. Search harder and you’ll find other opportunities like AmericanMuscle.com’s $2,000 awards for those who aspire to the custom car industry, or the Car Care Council Women’s Board scholarships that not only include thousands of dollars in school money, but for some, a free trip to the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo in Las Vegas.
Students, start your keyboards! Right now is when those planning a car-oriented career should be filling out scholarship applications; many are due in October and November.
Happenings with horsepower. Autumn weekends fly by and it’s easy to lose track of interesting happenings and opportunities. One way for car buffs to keep up is by subscribing to the weekly e-newsletter of the Motor Cities National Heritage Area via MotorCities.org. It lists upcoming events and links to the organization’s main website, where a searchable calendar will lead you to activities ranging from tours to brown-bag lectures — as well as car-related events that are a little bit off the beaten path.
This Sunday, for example, the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings ensemble will stage a unique concert, “The Echo of Tin Lizzie.” Billed as a musical journey through the Roaring ’20s, the event features David Buck, the principal flutist of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and pianist Amy I-Lin Cheng.
The concert is slated for 3 p.m. at Orchestra Place — Casgrain Hall in Detroit; visit DetroitChamberWinds.org for program, ticket and parking information.
Rolling mansion. Ever wonder what it would be like to live in a $740,000 house? Now imagine if it had wheels — eight, to be exact — powered by a 600-hp Cummins engine. Those are some of the vital statistics of the American Coach Eagle 45-A motor home on display right now in Novi at the MARVAC Fall Detroit Camper and RV Show.
It’s the most expensive RV ever displayed at the show, said MARVAC, an industry trade group, and it includes two bathrooms with radiant heat flooring, glass tile, Bose audio, a curved TV, three size-enhancing slideouts and more. And despite the price, the exhibiting dealer — Veurink’s in Grand Rapids — has sold about five of them this year, according to sales representative Sean Pollard. You can check out his video tour of the Eagle at the dealer’s website, VeurinksRV.com.
Or, see it and dozens of other coachers and trailers live at the MARVAC show, which runs today through Sunday at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. Check MARVAC.org for times and discount coupons.
Melissa Preddy is a Michigan-based freelance writer. Reach her via Melissa@MelissaPreddy.com.