In the Rearview Mirror: A New Day for Hagerty

January 31, 2022

Hagerty Drivers Club Magazine
McKeel Hagerty

There I was, on the dais of the New York Stock Exchange last month, overlooking a sea of computers and traders on the floor below. It felt unreal, like being on the set of a movie. As I was taking it all in, someone behind me said, “It’s time,” which was my cue to ring the famous bell to signify the start of a new trading day and, on this day, Hagerty’s debut as a publicly-owned company.

I can still hardly believe it. I know for sure that Frank and Louise Hagerty (to me, Dad and Mom) would never have imagined such a thing. It’s been 37 years since they started Hagerty in the basement of our home, selling policies to wooden-boat enthusiasts who had trouble finding insurance because the industry considered wooden boats to be high-risk piles of wood and gasoline. (Not an ideal mix, I admit.) Ever since, to slightly paraphrase Jerry Garcia, what a long, strange—and wonderful—trip it’s been.

I’ve been asked numerous times why we made the decision to take Hagerty public. The answer is honestly quite simple: It lets us do more for our members and our team. More financial resources will help us double

down on our mission to save driving and expand car culture for future generations through our “ecosystem” of cool automotive services, events, and entertainment offerings, including the magazine in your hands right now. (The best in the biz, in my view.)

To me and everyone at Hagerty, our mission statement isn’t just a cute slogan—we mean it. Like you, we can’t get enough of cars. We love the look and sound of them. We love driving fast. We love going slow. (Is there anything better than a top-down cruise through the countryside on the first warm spring day? I think not.) Most of all, we love talking about them with other car people.

That’s no small thing these days. Social media, the experts tell us, is making us feel lonelier and more isolated from one another. I think more shared experiences are the answer to that problem. That’s the neat thing about cars. They bring us together. They get us out of the house. When you’re a car lover, you’re part of a community in a sense, and that feels awfully good.

Which brings me to the point of this article. Preserving and, yes, expanding the

car community isn’t our mission alone. It’s yours, too. You have the power to expand the hobby by sharing with others the car experiences that give you joy. Especially with the young. Teach them how to change the oil. Show them how to drive a stick. Take them to a car event whether it’s a race, a parking lot meet-up, or a fancy car show.

They’ll catch the bug, I promise. Case in point: the late, great John Campion, the collector who was a big believer in getting kids up close and personal with cars, even at fancy-schmancy events. At one of his last concours, John encouraged a 12-year-old girl to not only get behind the wheel of one of his prized Lancias but to fire it up, as well. When she did, the look on her face said, “Wooow, did you hear that!”

“She got tears in her eyes,” John told a film crew recording the moment.

John knew: That girl will now be a car fan for life. And she might just buy a Lancia someday. That’s a dream worth working hard for.

Let’s all be like John. Happy New Year, everyone. Onward and upward.