Hagerty Driving Experience
Larry Jewett - July 26, 2013 01:00 PM
A new generation learned the time-honored skill of how to operate a stick shift as the Hagerty Driving Experience Powered by Ford visited Orange County, California. Young residents of Anaheim and the surrounding communities, aged 15 through 25, were offered driving lessons and classroom instruction about vehicle maintenance by Hagerty experts as part of a multi-city tour organized by Ford.
“It was great to celebrate National Collector Car Appreciation Day by teaching young drivers the art of handling a manual transmission,” said McKeel Hagerty, Preisdent and CEO of Hagerty Insurance. “Orange County is full of auto enthusiasts, but it’s still important to make sure younger generations have the opportunity to experience classic cars in their purest form. It’s our way of giving back to the hobby we care so much about.”
Angel Stadium’s parking lot was transformed into a closed course, where participants took turns behind the wheel of several classics, including a 1965 Ford Mustang, 1 1964 Chevrolet Corvette and a 1960 Triumph TR3. In addition to the historic vehicles, Ford provided several new 2013 models, including two Mustang GTs and a Focus ST, giving the participants the opportunity to compare 21st century clutches to those of past decades.
“It’s so different from a contemporary car,” said David Kha, 25, of Orange, California. “These days, the steering is electronic, the brakes are electronic, the throttle is electronic, the transmission is also electronic. I’ve never had this experience, but I have always heard about it. When you drive a vintage car, you feel connected to everything that’s going on. Classic cars feel direct and visceral.”
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 a University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute study, only 46 percent of 17-year-olds in America have their driving licenses, a 33 percent decrease since 1983. Additionally, 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 help excite young people about driving by introducing them to cool classic cars and passing on the skills to properly operate a manual transmission.