Driving a Classic
Hagerty Connects Youth to Older Cars
Larry Jewett - November 15, 2012 09:49 AM
The Atlanta Motor Speedway was recently full of automotive enthusiasm and it had nothing to do with a NASCAR race. For the first time, the Hagerty Driving Experience made a stop in the state of Georgia.
Dozens of young adults, aged 15 through 25, gathered in the parking lot of the race track to participate in a classic car driving experience. During the Hagerty Driving Experience, participants enjoyed both classroom sessions and hands-on driving lessons, learning how to operate manual transmissions and experience vintage automobiles.
Recent research collected by Hagerty shows that young people have less interest in driving and likely possess less driving skill than teens three decades ago. According to the Department of Transportation, only 49 percent of 17-year-olds have their driver’s license, a more than 25 percent decrease since 1978. Fewer than 10 percent of the currently produced vehicles are equipped with manual transmissions, a technology prevalent on classics. Hagerty’s program was developed to excite young people about driving by introducing them to cool classic cars and passing on the skills to properly operate a manual transmission.
After 30 minutes of car basics, the participants had their turn on a closed course behind the wheel of several classics, including a Corvair, a 1967 Ford Mustang and a 1965 Dodge Dart.
“The future of the classic car hobby is dependent on young people gaining an appreciation for vintage vehicles and an understanding of how to use them,” said McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty Insurance. “We’ve found our Driving Experience program introduces the thrill of driving a stick shift to a new generation in a way that’s rewarding to young drivers and classic car owners alike.”
“It’s more skill-based, which is what driving is all about,” said Brad Jessup, 19, of Atlanta. “It’s about machines, not transportation.”