I was in Towson, MD visiting my mother and other family for a few days before flying to Detroit for the Meet-Up. So while I
put together a post on that event recuperate from the nasty influenza I picked up either here in Towson or on the way there (and exposed others to in Detroit), let me just share a few shots of one of the resident parking lots at Pickersgill Retirement Community.
Needless to say, there’s a predominance of “gold” in the paint jobs. Only one SUV/CUV, an elderly Explorer.
Three Camrys, an Accord, a Jetta and a Buick. Have we reinforced stereotypes sufficiently?
Thanks to stereotypes, marketing firms assist advertising agencies in targeting the proper markets for products. Still, this is funny. Who am I to laugh? I am almost 74 and I drive a GMC Acadia. Thanks for the fun, Paul. You see? Stereotypes! Old people think that your remarks are funny! Yours in mirth (and my girth), Tom Merjnaian
Ok, Did you really expect folks living in a retirement village to be driving Exotic’s?, Mustangs, Dodge Vipers, Corvettes? These are people that grew up post great depression. They had parents that lived through the the depression and WWII. To them, a car was / is, an appliance like a toaster, or refrigerator. A means to get from point A to point B. Easy to drive, economical, easy to maintain. Don’t actually see the point of the post, really. Surprised you didn’t post a pic or two of a stereo-typical TV or movie version of “an old fart” with the waist of their pants up to their armpits, walking a yappy little dog.
It’s not senior enough, because there aren’t Lincoln, enough Buick, or Chrysler, neither is white wall tires.
A senior care facility in Waterford, Michigan on Telegraph Rd though, there is often a black Lincoln Mark VII. It’s typical and not typical at the same time
I think that the standards of the eastern seaboard might skew the general [elderly] population away from domestic and towards Toyota. Or VW. Even in the heart of the midwest, Camry is King. After all, how long has it been since Buick built a LeSabre?
2005 was the last year for the LeSabre, so quite a while.
de facto replacement for LeSabre, is LaCrosse.
However the diversity of vehicle choice is higher these days and there isn’t a single model commanding a single demographic before like LeSabre or Century.
That parking lot almost looks like the one in my university. Ouch!
My 90 year old father was quite upset last year when he needed new tires (for the first time) for his 2003 Lincoln Town Car. The problem? He couldn’t find whitewalls anywhere. Last time I checked the odometer it had 47,000 miles. It’s a Signature model in that light goldish color popular at the time
I understand. Usually when I need to change my tires, it takes me quite a while to order a set of white wall tires. Just a short while ago, Cooper offers a full range of white wall tires, but affordable end of the market is recently occupied by Hankook and some smaller brands.
However to the 2003 Lincoln Town Car, original provider Michelin still provides the white wall tires.
It definately seems that way – Elderly people, at least in my grandmother’s case, don’t want to be spending a lot of money on cars – they tend towards reliable, and not flashy. My 89 year old grandmother still drives her last new car – a 2001 Chevy Prism (Toyota Camry.)
I think the Prizm is a rebadged Corolla.
Right, my parents and their friends are in their 70s and I’m not seeing any shift towards the classic retirement-mobiles. (CUVs, yes.) In fact. people who drove Buicks and Oldsmobiles back in the 1980s are now in Mazdas and Nissans.
There are also no “late model” Grand Marquis.
When several of my uncles “got up there in age” they moved from sedans to minivans, as they were easier to get into and out of. Now like most everyone else, their surviving spouses have moved on to CUVs.
Down here in Texas, the parking lot at my parents’ retirement community was full of Camrys, Accords, and the occasional La Crosse or Taurus. Oddly enough, there were also several Chrysler minivans, two VW Passat wagons and a Volvo V70 – perhaps these members of the Silent Generation never fell out of the habit of buying family haulers.
So many sedans, whoa!! Where are all the dents including infamous Camry Corners?
Not to mention what looks like a predominance of wheel covers vs. alloys… Surprised there’s not at least one genuine CC in the lot – there usually was at the retirement home where my Mom and Grandmother lived.
Yup, I noticed that too. This picture sure does speak a thousand words to me. Those wheel covers vs. alloys (meaning “LE” vs “XLE, “LX” vs “EX”, etc) are so indicative of an overall skew towards restraint and frugality with an eye toward quality and good value, or “Conservative Value Spending”. Even if this had been a wordless outtake my mind would have gone immediately to: “Retirement home parking lot in conservative mostly-white upscale Mid-Atlantic suburb”.
I think this would definitely be more of an upper-middle class place by the looks of it.
I live in a mostly working class suburb in the midwest, and the parking lots of the couple of retirement homes in town seem to have mostly gone toward compacts and subcompacts, and away from the Camry/Grand Marquis dominance of even 10 years ago.
At this point, I think of an Aveo/Civic/Mirage as more of a typical retired persons car than a Buick.
Throw in several design cycles’ worth of feature creep past what these buyers are impressed by. If even the base models have fripperies like power windows, FM radio and a/c, why spend more?
You want the real common denominator for this scene?
Cars for People Who Couldn’t Care Less About Cars.
Everything here is nothing more than four-wheeled white bread, nice comfortable transportation, get from point A to point B without noticing what you’re driving, or caring about the road you’re driving on.
While unlikely, several of the cars (Accord, Jetta, Cobalt, Saturn Ion, older Camry) at least have the possibility of being equipped with a manual transmission.
Actually I expected more Buicks. Their ad campaign must be working.
Or more like it ISNT working anywhere outside of China. Here in the PDX area, you never see buicks that are any less than 10 years or so old. But then again, Buicks are invisible to me unless its a G body Regal in T Type or GNX trim so theres that…
They effectively changed their target demographic. The problem is that the new demographic isn’t buying.
Actually upon further thought I don’t know what their target demographic is anymore.
They may have changed the target demographic yet the product line hasn’t been redirected to reflect that. They have what, one CUV and the regal does offer a turbo and manual the rest are all normal sedans. All of it slathered in chrome and painted in the same conservative and muted colors as always. As a GenXer, being stuck driving ANY modern Buick amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.
I used to think most babyboomers in USA drive cars from BIG 3.apparently i was very wrong.
Baby Boomers were main buyers of imports since the 1960’s.
In the Midwest and down south, youd be absolutely right. On the coasts, Boomers love some Toyotas it seems.
These aren’t boomers; they’re the parents of boomers. This is a facility for older folks; I suspect almost all are 80 and above. This is not a place to “retire to”; it’s where you go when the house has become too much of a burden to deal with.
“it’s where you go when the house has become too much of a burden to deal with.”
And bland sedans with reputations for being easy to drive and take care of are the cars you choose. Some probably recommended by their children. I’m a late boomer child, and my father fits this demographic to a tee, right down to the bland mid-size sedan – a first gen Chrysler 200.
Who needs AWD and a nav system when you refuse to venture out during even rain, and your major trips are 10 miles to your heart specialist?
We baby boomers were the ones who rejected the Big 3 in droves after witnessing first-hand from our parents the utter junk produced by the domestics as the 70s wore on.
Yes, I’m a senior, and I’m not laughing as I fail to see the humour. What I noticed was the lack of CUV’s, other than the Explorer. Perhaps we could say that seniors in this lot don’t update their vehicles as often as some.
Stereotypes are usually funnier if they’re not aimed at you.
Yeah, see my my post above. I too am now “an old guy” (64) Love cars, will be driving something nice and non-bland till I die. So I failed to see the humor as well.
Not one sassy Grandma or Grandpa with a red car? Those folks in Maryland are so buttoned down. 🙂
Well, I’ll offer my mother-in-law as an example of a Senior Outlier. She’s 83 and drives a 22-year-old Jeep Wrangler — manual transmission, manual steering, and no air conditioning. It helps keep her young.
And if you haven’t guessed, she’s a hardy Midwesterner.
My mom gave up driving 4 years ago at 80, not because she couldn’t drive anymore (she was always a great driver and never had a ticket) but because her Escort wagon had suffered from one too many Cleveland winters and the rear shock towers had rotted out. Did I mention it was a stick 🙂 ?
Okay… who let the guy with the Jetta in? Or does it belong to some visiting grandson?
Can anyone tell me in second photo what is that car next to prius(on right side).never seen tail lights like it before.
Final generation Pontiac Bonneville
Thank you for cleaning that up.we didn’t get it downhere.looks interesting.
Pontiac Grand Prix, or is it a Bonneville?
Ein Bonneville, genau.
This is way more depressing to look at than the physical effects of aging.
As boring as white and silver can be in large quantity, nothing tops beige champagne gold metallic in even solitary blandness. No car has ever “popped” in this color.
My late father (who would be in his mid 70’s and a candidate for a place like this by now if still with us) was sold on the virtues of beigey-goldish-blah-metallic, and had several vehicles in that color. You see, that particular hue is apparently the single easiest color to keep looking clean. My own non-scientific sociological study has shown that folks of his generation are rather obsessed with not having to work too hard to keep cars looking clean. Dad had no problem owning Jaguars or Corvettes or “The Good Car” in various shades of candy apple red, glossy black, etc., but the car that he took to the office was most likely some variation of beigeish gold. I chalk it up to a lifetime of scrubbing whitewalls, cleaning those blasted wire wheel covers, trying to get the filth out of the crevices in vinyl tops, etc. Blah Beige never looks good, but it never looks too dirty either. In some folks’ minds that’s a plus, I suppose.
It can also be interpreted that they always looks dirty. Like a silver car pulled from a murky pond.
Funny you mention color in that regard; this past weekend my Father and I went looking at new vehicles on his shopping list for his “retirement” vehicle (his last day after 40 years is next Tuesday). At the Honda dealer he was particularly attracted to the new CR-V in a shade called Sandstorm. It looks very much like cup of mocha cut with a lot of milk, and even though it is metallic, appears nearly matte. I asked him why he liked it so much, and he responded “Look how well it hides dirt!”.
Car guys will make jokes, but your time will come, 😉
Enjoy yourself. It’s later than you think!
Yeah, and my Dad told me that I would be driving a sedan or station wagon when I had kids. Nope, didn’t happen. No Minivan, either. I have told my friends who question my car choices that as long as I can crawl into the driver’s seat I will still drive a Mustang. Black is my color of choice, too. I will turn 70 in December, by the way.
My Dad bought his first Mustang at 75, the beautiful 2014 pictured below. He just turned 79, and traded his baby in on an Accord. In a pewter metallic color (if you want to call that a color). His ‘stang developed a water leak into the interior he couldn’t trace. Of course this is a man who trades his cars in before the original tires wear out. When I asked him, “Why an Accord?”, he said it was time for something more practical. At least he bought a nice one with leather and alloy wheels and cool creature comforts like Apple Car Play and Climate Control. I guess since his other car is a well appointed Acura RDX, he probably didn’t want to go too far down the Sloan Ladder (or whatever it’s called in Honda speak).
Nice Mustang !
I can’t see myself in an Accord or anything like that, but that’s just my taste. My younger brother drives Accords and loves them. We do share one thing about our cars, he always drives black coupes too. Your dad’s car sounds pretty nice. My dad who would have been 94 this year had a Mercury Grand Marquis ( naturally) for his last car. It was a kind of pinkish, beige, champagne color. Of course, I couldn’t see myself driving one of those either. He and Mom sure liked it, though.
All my 3 siblings and I have different taste in cars. However, every one of us has owned at least one Mustang.
I got to borrow Dad’s Mustang last year while the transmission was being rebuilt in my 2007 (black like yours as we’ve discussed before). I took this picture of the two of them together after getting my car back, and waxing up his as a thank you before giving him his back….
…that was all 6 days before I picked up my own new Honda, but in my case, I kept my Mustang.
I’m surprised this lot has not even one Lexus and only one prius. Those are the Buicks of today, along with the Cammaccord.
I assume there’s a century and grand marquis in there somewhere as well.
The Buick Century was last made in 2005. By this point, many of them have been passed down to the heirs of the original owners. They are either already beaters, or rapidly approaching that status.
One of my grandmothers drove an orange BMW 2002 Tii, before that a 1600 Ti. The image of her getting into her car wearing a fur coat and Italian sunglasses is permanently ingrained in my mind. The summer before I started high school, I went to visit her in Germany. My permanent love affair with the Tii started on the ride back from Frankfurt Airport. It was so exotic for an American kid to see a Blaupunkt shortwave radio in a car.
After she was widowed in the 50s she had a Karmann Ghia and then a FIAT convertible. When she turned 75 (living in the states at that point), my dad helped engineer her into an Accord. I think a part of my grandmother died then day the BMW was sold.
At my grandparents’ Florida condo complex in the 80’s, when minivans were popular, it was against the rules to park overnight there any “truck”. Their definition of truck included not only pickups, but SUV’S and any van, including the mini ones. My grandparents left there in 1992, but I’m sure the rule has been changed by now.
When I would visit, I would like to take my grandfather’s bike and ride around theirs and neighboring complexes carspotting. I still have the photos I took. I was looking for anything old and there were always a few 60’s cars and quite a few 70’s. The other, typical cars were almost entirely domestic two and four door sedans.
Of course, it’s a new generation of retirees at these places. Many of the folks who were abandoning Detroit to buy imports in the 60’s- 80’s are now retired themselves and populating 55+ condos. I disagree that the parking lot Paul shot is stereotypical. I still think the stereotype is large and domestic sedan, not so much compact import. Perhaps that stereotype is getting outdated?
“Marvin, come quick. There’s a big strange looking guy outside taking pictures of our cars. What’s the phone number for nine-one-one?”
I’m allowed to make “old” jokes; I just turned 73.
(That’s even old to most other baby-boomers.)
By the way, back in the 1990s I was on a Digital Equipment tech team taking part in a Q and A session with the City of New York about a pending request for proposal for a new 9-1-1 telephone system.
Someone called the system “nine-eleven”. The City rep quickly warned us to never call it “nine-eleven” because some people would not be able to find the “eleven” button on the phone dial.
(This was years before the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001).
Getting old has some down sides, but it sure beats the alternative.
To a certain extent what’s in the parking lot is a reflection of geography and SES as much as age. Here in SoCal people may care a bit more about what they drive (and American brands are not as popular). I’m 67 and drive a G37 sedan, one of my best friends is turning 80 and drives an A4, my cousin-in-law is 75 and drives a 911 Carrera 4S cabriolet, other friends just bought new E-and C Class sedans, a new Jaguar XE, and yet another nearing 80 person drives her long-time BMW 325CI (her two long-time cars before that were a 911 and an XKE). Granted many of my “aged” crowd do drive ES350s,RX350s, i.e., more stereotypical cars. But as Syke says above, this parking lot reflects those who don’t care about cars.
If anything the millennials here drive more boring cars (and many have no car and use Uber and Lyft). At one point there were five identical black-on-black 328is (well, one was a diesel) leased by millennials in my building’s underground garage. But that’s another generalization that is easily dispatched by millennial CCers who post here about their diverse motoring interests.
I’m surprised there’s nary a PT Cruiser, Chevy HHR, or Kia Soul in sight.
Here in Virginia, seniors seem to prefer their Camrys in blue. I took this picture last year outside of our local Senior Center:
Fleet purchase? LOL
I always thought a big Ford or Chevy would be good for when I got older (70 now). My wife was hospitalized recently and had trouble getting in a big car but easily gets into and out of my 2011 Subaru Impreza. The seat is about 2 inches closer to the door frame than my Dodge Caliber making it easier to get in and out.
One plus — nary a carriage roof in sight!
The last remnants of the Great Brougham Epoch may finally be leaving us for good.
Unless you live in Florida.
My mother is 73 and rocked basically that exact LeSabre for 13 years. How I hated that color.
I am 72 and wife is 71. Over the past 50 years we have owned more than 30 different cars, some pretty interesting and others that were winter beaters but still interesting. We had a 2007 Volvo V70 from 2011 to 2014 and loved it except for heavy repair expenses and gas running through it faster than I could fill it up. We live in a southern California retirement community of ranch homes, some attached and some free standing. All together there are 1289 homes in our community which includes a golf course, huge pool and many other amenities. I see quite a variety of cars around the community. Our current car is a dark gray 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid that replaced the Volvo in August 2014. Our gasoline expense went from an average of $365 per month to $80 a month and repair expenses dropped from about $2400 a year to $0 so far and we are at 29,000 miles on the Fusion. The Volvo was over 50,000 miles when purchased and around 90,000 when traded. Across the street the couple owns a recent Charger in Black as well as a Ford Focus in black. Next to them is a widow with a gold Ford Taurus at least 12 years old but perfect. Then another couple that drives a white Toyota Camry fairly recent model and beyond that a couple with a new Nissan Pathfinder in bright maroon. Right behind us around the corner is a couple with a brand new Toyota Hybrid RAV4 in white and also a 2015 Toyota Hybrid Highlander. Next to them is a widow with a gold Honda CRV about 10 years old. Cars last a long time in California when serviced properly. We have returned to the dealer for oil changes each time, the first 4 were free.
In my 55 and over community in Freehold, NJ, the Panthers-Crown Vics AND Grand Marquis are the kings.Over 23 in my community alone, most are mid level trim, and quite a few feature padded landau tops. For the most part, they are well maintained. Next are minivans, and Camrys, but I don`t notice them.There are a few collectibles too. A `55 Cadillac Coupe De Ville in blue with a white top, and a 72-i guess- Buick Le Sabre convertible in showroom condition.
Move to the Austrian equivalent and you’ll see things like Toyota Aurises, Nissan Pulsars, various Koreans and of course the odd CUV like a RAV4, X-Trail and similar, none of which are big sellers on the general market. Yes, you will have the usual VW Golf or a Tiguan but when your income is finite, you convert to the virtues of reliability first and forget those VWs with their unreliable auto boxes.
When I met my wife, her Dad, then about my age now, drove a bright red Subaru Turbo wagon (Loyale type), stick shift. Now in his mid 80’s, he drives a silver Elantra automatic. Her Mom drives a CRV. In between were a lot of Mopar minivans, including at least one with a stick shift and a yellow one with Dynoc wood grain.
FWIW i have taken possession of a 98 buick century after my 97 year old grandmother passed. I am shocked at the easy visibility out of the buick compared to modern cars; no headrests, taller (i guess) windows.
Also, very very simple user interface. No touchscreen. two dials for HVAC. one guage. column shift. power everything. Perfect for an older driver. Even the huge knobs on the stereo make sense.
Contrast a current buick or lincoln – lots of small flush mount buttons on shiny plastic (hard to see and read) and complicated touchscreen based everything. Absolute fail for the current older driver who never fully embraced computers.
As a data point, a recent poll over on the Chev SS forum revealed that nearly 20% of SS owners (that voted) are over 55. The average is closer to 35-40, which makes sense.
My grandmother’s last car was an ’83 Mercury Marquis that she willingly gave up when she was around 92. Mom’s was an early ’90s Sentra, IIRC (still being driven by my nephew who received it after she passed in 2010). Dad’s last cars before we moved him to a dementia care facility last Autumn were a ’97 LeSabre (went to another nephew, who initially turned his nose up at it, but now loves it) and a ’95 Ranger (that went to my youngest brother).
My mom is also in Pickersgill. Actually, a very nice facility. Right across the street from…
Little did I guess that when we used to roar by at 60 after school that one day I’d be staying there, visiting my mom. One of the residents asked me if I was a new resident. Oh my…
And I noticed all the speed bumps on Chestnut; gee, I wonder why? 🙂
I have no idea! Remember I was dating beautiful blonde from Dulaney High, she’d bring her ’57 Ford convert to pick me up on Thursdays, pull in to the lot and I’d wait until a crowd built up around the car, then go down to the lot, get behind the wheel and tear out up Chestnut. Once out of sight, I’d pull over and she’d take over…I had no license!
i think that age is not the primary factor of the car choices in this parking lot. the design of this particular retirement community looks very practical but not very aesthetic. the type of place that sensible middle class people who have prepared for retirement would choose, if they don’t want to stand out from the crowd. the cars perfectly match the architecture.
Parents last car (Mom died 2010 age 81, Dad 2013 age 90) was a light blue ’93 LeSabre, they went into assisted living in 2007. I took the keys and brother got the car, it was in perfect condition (recent rebuilt trans and AC system), perfect interior but the body looked like the surface of the moon due to Dad’s hit and run driving technique toward the end of his driving days.
I do remember about 12 years ago visiting the local casino on Indian land when buying fireworks, the parking area was an endless sea of various Buicks, many of them the same light blue shade as the LeSabre. Camry’s and Malibu’s seemed to dominate the parking lot of the assisted center in 2013.
I will never, EVER own a beige car. Ever.
I think that as folks get older unless they were car people to begin with, they probably want a car with a reputation as being trouble free, easy to find service for, and with good resale value. They are past the point of looking for status, and would rather disappear on the road rather than call attention to themselves. At this age they are well past daily commuting and road trip vacations so their cars accumulate very little mileage. A lot depends on their financial situation, many have to be very careful with their finances.
I figure I’ve only got another fifteen years of so to keep having fun with cars, so I still want something that is different and interesting.
One of the nurses in my Mom’s retirement/assisted living center says he’s his social circle’s car connection. When a resident decides to stop driving, he usually knows about it before, as they talk about it with staff. He then looks around to see if anyone needs a car…and when the decision is made, makes the family an offer about 20% below Edmund’s or BlueBook. He’s put several families in low-mileage LeSabres and Camrys for a good price….including my Mom’s (I live overseas and my sister was glad not to have to sell it herself.) The resident doesn’t need to worry about selling, and he knows the cars haven’t been flogged.
One thing about the gold color- it doesn’t grab your attention like other colors. Maybe old folks are easily bothered by too much sensory input? Also, I expected to see just a raft of Corn Vics or similar V8 RWD gonzo sedans. That’s the all-time Old Person car to me. Keep in mind also some could be cars of visitors, likely younger family members.
Back in the mid-90s I once observed a Guards Red Boxster in a handicapped spot; as much as I liked the car (first one I’d seen in person), I didn’t like what the driver was doing for the reputation of Porsche drivers (was driving a 944 at the time). All concerns evaporated when an octogenarian in a red Porsche hat shuffled out through the mini-mart door.
I complimented the gentleman on his choice of ride, to which he replied, “thank you, sir… it’s a lot of fun.” He fired up the flat six and was transformed… leaving a patch as he drove away.
I want to go like that…
When my mom came down to Fort Myers to spend her last two years or so, the assisted-living facility parking lot had a surprising number of residents’ cars. Many of the residents were still ambulatory, they just required more constant medical attention. (Mom, thank God, had her license revoked years before due to senile dementia so she wasn’t a menace to the community.) I once counted over a dozen Buicks, almost as many Lincoln Town Cars from the 1990s, a smattering of Toyotas – and a 1958 or ’59 Corvette in mint condition, which I was told belonged to a 90-year-old resident who only still could drive it as it was equipped with the 283/Powerglide drivetrain combo. (I drove one once with a 4SPD; no way an old guy could work that clutch!) Apparently, he was a widower who was a hot ticket with the gals in residence. 😀