My Classic Cars: Lindsay’s life on wheels (part 3)

The Laffords with their 8-cylinder Pontiac |Lafford family archives
The Laffords with their 8-cylinder Pontiac |Lafford family archives

Editor’s note: This is the final part of  a series of stories about vehicles owned and ridden or driven by the late Lindsay Lafford, Lord of Ridley who passed away in April 2014 at the age of 101½, after a brief illness. One of Lindsay’s sons, Peter, is completing the task of preparing these stories as a Father’s Day memorial. More about Lindsay Lafford is available at http://Lord-of-Ridley.com. (Here are the links to the first and second parts of the series.)

On returning to England in the spring of 1939 I found that my father had somewhat wrecked the Riley San Remo I had left in 1935 (he was a great cyclist who never quite mastered the automobile) and now had an Austin 7. I quickly set about flogging this for an extensively used Riley Alpine 6.

This is the car Annie and I drove with my father to the dock in Southampton in September 1939. My wife and I boarded the Cunard Aquitania to the U.S., though our sailing was delayed while they mounted guns on the foredeck. I would not see my father again for 15 years.

Soon after arriving in Haverford, Pa., we bought a 1936 Pontiac Business Coupe, a two-seater. When we decided to take Uncle Hugh and Auntie Fof on a drive to Williamsburg, Annie volunteered to ride in the trunk, there being room in the front seat for no more than three people, and tight at that.

We removed the trunk lid and put in a mattress and a tarp, and she nobly rode all the way there and back — at great risk, we now know, of getting gassed. She endured the discomfort, the noise, the dust, and the occasional rain with no complaint. At one toll bridge she even evaded paying toll; the toll taker never thought to look for an extra body in the luggage trunk.

In 1939 we bought a Pontiac 8-cylinder sedan, a demonstrator loaded with such goodies as a Kleenex container and an umbrella container (with umbrella). It also had a mechanically operated antenna.

In contrast to our previous Pontiac, where one accessed the engine through folding sides of the hood, one now had a hood that opened at the front, reminiscent of the gaping upper jaw of an alligator. To open it one gave the Indian hood ornament, which was translucent and illuminated, an uppercut under the jaw.

We acquired this car just after Pearl Harbor, before a rationing system had been set up. We needed four new tires, but they were not to be had, so we traded the Pontiac 8 back to Ardmore Motors, at a great loss because of the tires, and were miffed to see our car in their display window the next day with a complete set of new tires. To replace this car we had two vehicles: A Model A Ford bought from a student of mine for $25 and an Indiana V-twin motorcycle.

The VW Vanagon
The VW Vanagon

About a year later, I learned of a car being sold by the wife of someone who had been drafted and needed money, so we sold the Ford and the motorcycle and bought a 1934 Chevrolet sedan, which carried us through the war years.

After the war, we lived in the U.S. but often with summer-long assignments in Europe. Noteworthy among them:

  • a 1951 Studebaker V8 (driven in Europe, where people thought we were driving an airplane that had lost its wings),
  • A number of cars picked up in Europe, and brought back to the U.S.:
  • a 1961 Panhard PL-17 two-cylinder, (picked up in France)
  • a 1968 Fiat 850 Coupé, (picked up in Italy)
  • a 1972 Opel 1900 (Ascona) station wagon (picked up in Germany), and
  • a 1985 VW Vanagon (also picked up in Germany.)
  • Then began a long string of eight Honda products over 21 years. Special among those were:
  • my third and last yellow car — a 1989 Honda CRX Si five-speed that rode like a stone boat. (Editor’s Note, when asked for clarification of the term “stone boat,” he explained it as having a stiff suspension.)
  • a 2000 Honda Insight Hybrid I enjoyed very much
  • a 2005 Honda Accord Hybrid
  • and my last car, a 2010 Honda Accord V6 Coupe.

    Lindsay and his Honda Insight
    Lindsay and his Honda Insight

Eye Candy: Dream Cars at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta

Photos by Larry Edsall

What I saw as a problem turns out to be a wonderful thing for the folks who run Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, where the featured exhibition through September 7 is “Dream Cars: Innovative Design / Visionary Ideas.”

My problem was that there were so many people eager to see the cars that comprise the heart of the exhibition that it was difficult to take photos without the people getting between me and each of the 17 vehicles.

You might think people hereabouts might have gotten their fill of automobiles as art four years ago when the High staged its “Allure of the Automobile: Driving in Style 1930-1965” exhibition with 18 classic cars, including a 1934 Packard and 1935 Duesenberg, each formerly owned by actor Clark Gable, a 1937 Bugatti Atalante coupe and a 1948 Tucker, among others.

“I wasn’t here when we had our last cars exhibition, but it brought in new audiences for us,” said Kris Delaney, the art museum’s director of marketing and communications. “A lot of those new faces became members and have become long-time members since then.

“As a result,” she added, “we are expecting this exhibition to bring in new audiences again, (including) people who have never been to a museum before.”

Like Delaney, Sarah Schleuning, the museum’s curator of decorative arts and design, is new to the staff since Allure and wanted this automotive display to focus on designers who were ahead of their time, propelling the automobile into its future with their concepts and dream cars.

In part, Delaney explained, the cars for this exhibition were chosen so that visitors departing from the museum might “look at art in a new way, will see art and design all around them.”

Some of those cars came from the design departments of major automakers, such as General Motors, which has four cars — the 1951 Le Sabre, 1953 Firebird I, 1956 Buick Centurion and 1959 Cadillac Cyclone — in this exhibition. Some came from exotic Italian styling studios, such as Bertone’s 1970 Lancia Stratos HF Zero, Pininfarinia’s 1970 Ferrari 512 S Modulo and Ghia’s 1955 Chrysler-based Streamline X “Gilda.”

Others were produced by automotive free thinkers, with the exhibit including Norman Timbs’ 1947 Special and aeronautics engineer William Bushnell Stout’s 1936 Scarab.

The museum also hopes that people coming to see the cars won’t leave the facility until they wander through the museum’s non-automotive art collection of paintings and sculptures and such.

“We’ve been growing and expanding our permanent collection,” Delaney said. “It’s something to behold.”

So are these cars, provided, of course, all the people coming to see them don’t get in your way.

(To see what people are tweeting about the exhibition, check out the #dreamcarsatl hashtag on Twitter.)

My Classic Cars: Lindsay’s life on wheels (part 2)

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of stories about vehicles owned and ridden or driven by the late Lindsay Lafford, Lord of Ridley who passed away in April 2014 at the age of 101½. One of Lindsay’s sons, Peter, is completing these stories as a Father’s Day memorial.

Mrs Lafford and MG
The future Mrs. Lafford and the MG | Lafford family archives

After the Austin Seven came a Morris Cowley convertible and a Riley San Remo, but then I left for Hong Kong, where my first car was a Morris Minor, a two-seat convertible that was real fun, but not sporty enough.

MGs — a J2, a Magna six-cylinder and a T — followed. The Magna was a four-seater, but I had a body shop convert it to a streamlined two-seater with sort of ducktail rear end.

Much bigger and thirstier than the MGs was a 1937 Studebaker coupe. I was living near a fishing village called Taipo and had to drive a twisty mountain road surmounted the “Gow Loong” (Nine Dragons) range of hills and led to another twisting road following the coastline. The Planar suspension was death on the front tires with all these curves and scrubbed off the tread in no time.

The Stude had a freewheel transmission which could be locked for going down the steep hills. When locked, you could shift gears without using the clutch, simply letting the car coast while shifting.

Lindsay Lafford at the wheel
Lindsay Lafford at the wheel

My next car in Hong Kong was a brand-new MG 1½-litre. Mine was the first in the Far East, ordered from England and shipped during the Italian-Somali war and thereby costing extra for war-risk insurance while traversing the Red Sea.

The car was a four seater, but very sporty and innovative. Body: yellow (again), leather upholstery: red. Wire wheels: silver. (All the MGs had the Rudge-Whitworth quickly detachable wire wheels, with the big 2-eared screw-on hub, and a copper mallet in the tool kit for knocking them off. Screwed on lightly, they were self-tightening as one drove).

This car had Luvax hydraulic shock absorbers adjustable by the driver with a 5-position switch on the dash. The fluid pressure was maintained by a pump attached to the rear axle, whose up and down motion operated the pump. You could adjust the suspension from very soft to very firm while you drove. In addition to all the other usual gauges there was an oil temperature gauge.

There was also an oil capacity gauge incorporated with the gas gauge: push in a button and the meter switched over to read the oil capacity instead of the gas. It had a 15-gallon fuel tank (imperial gallons at that) as had all the other MGs, and grouped lubrication. In those days all sorts of things had to be greased, particularly all the spring shackles, front and rear. Normally this had to be done on a lift, but the 1½-litre had all the lubricating nipples located on the firewall under the hood. One was supposed to use, every 500 miles, heavy oil rather than grease, which was then conveyed to the appropriate point by fine copper tubing.

This was the car I had in French Indo-China and with which I lured Anna Pohl, a translator for a German industrial company in Shanghai to become engaged to be my wife.

The 12-volt system — new, then — was supplied by two 6-volt batteries under the floor on either side of the shaft tunnel. One of these sustained a hole from an Indo-Chinese rock, and thereafter would not hold enough charge to last overnight. Fortunately MG had provided a starting handle, unlike Studebaker.

All these MGs had two SU carburetors, one to each pair of cylinders (or, in the case of the Magna, to each set of three cylinders). The SU had a large dashpot with a piston attached to a tapered metering needle floating in the jet. Vacuum made the needle go up or down, opening more or less of the jet.

The compression ratio was such that with normal HK gas it would knock, so I patronized one particular station which kept a large can of Shell Aviation gas for me — then very special at 100 octane — and mixed this with the normal to alleviate the problem. In French Indo-China the gas was very bad and with no aviation fuel; but the MG had a vernier control on the ignition which allowed one to adjust the spark. I was able to retard it enough to minimize the knocking, but, of course, lost power in the process.

One wonderful innovation on this car was a built-in jacking system. Four hydraulic jacks mounted permanently on the four corners of the car were linked to a hydraulic cylinder under the passenger’s footwell. Lift a little trap door, dial in whether you wanted the front, or the back, or all to lift, tighten down a valve, fit on a handle from the tool kit, and simply sit there and pump. Very stable and civilized.

When finished, one released the pressure valve and the whole car sank gently to earth, the jacks retracting to their normal housings. And this was 1938!

This was the car I left in Hong Kong. I wonder how much we could get for it today?

Tomorrow: Coming to America

Pebble Beach Concours adds 2 new classic car events

 More classic car activities happen during the week leading up to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance | Kimball Studios / Pebble Beach Concours

More classic car activities happen during the week leading up to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance | Kimball Studios / Pebble Beach Concours

The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance has added two new events to its already busy calendar for Pebble Beach Automotive Week on the Monterey Peninsula in August – the Pebble Beach Classic Car Forum and the Pebble Beach Classic Car Expo.

With 2014 marking the 64th year of California’s world-famous Pebble Beach Concours, the new events are designed to provide new sources of information and more opportunity to enjoy some of the greatest automobiles ever created.

The Pebble Beach Classic Car Forum, presented by Credit Suisse, will feature luminaries of the automotive world discussing pertinent issues facing the collector car hobby. Panels and interviews, most of which are free and open to the public, will take place from Thursday, August 14, through Saturday, August 16, in a special pavilion on the edge of the first fairway of The Links at Spanish Bay on Pebble Beach’s 17-Mile Drive.

Confirmed speakers include racing greats Jochen Mass, Stirling Moss and Jackie Stewart; automotive designers Chris Bangle, Moray Callum, Shiro Nakamura, Ed Welburn and Andrea Zagato; appraisers and vintage racers Leigh and Leslie Keno; media leaders Wayne Carini and Keith Martin; and respected collectors Miles Collier, Manvendra Singh Barwani and Derek Hill, who also is a race driver and son of the late world champion Phil Hill.

“This new forum, presented in partnership with Credit Suisse, brings to the fore some of the people who have created or made history with or spent a lifetime caring for these cars,” said Pebble Beach Concours chairman Sandra Button. “We hope this forum is a place where we can come together as a community, tackle some of the tough questions facing the car world and draw knowledge from experts in the field, all while encouraging new automotive enthusiasts.”

The inaugural Pebble Beach Classic Car Expo will be paired with the forum and located at the Spanish Bay Tennis Pavilion. Guests will be able to view and purchase authentic and unusual vehicles from top classic car dealers. The Expo will be open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 14, through Saturday, August 16.

Pebble Beach RetroAuto, now in its 10th year, will relocate to the ballrooms of The Inn at Spanish Bay. RetroAuto is a marketplace for the automotive enthusiast, showcasing rare collectables, historic automobilia, art and literature, as well as luxury items, technological tools and auto parts. The schedule for RetroAuto will mirror that of the Classic Car Expo.

A complete calendar of events for Pebble Beach Automotive Week, including the schedule for the Classic Car Forum with the latest information regarding speakers, times and dates, is available on the concours website at www.pebblebeachconcours.net.

Pick of the Week: 1963 Mini Penny Car

The Mini Penny Car gleams in copper-encrusted homage to ‘Penny Lane’
The Mini Penny Car glows with copper-encrusted glory.

“Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes.”

And on my car, apparently, in this awesome tribute to The Beatles’ classic hit of 1967.

The 1963 Morris Mini Minor has had approximately 4,000 British pennies glued and grouted onto its surface in gleaming homage to “Penny Lane” by a woman in England whose father was a professional panhandler and left her a pile of the coins, according to the seller, MotoeXotica Classic Cars of Fenton, Missouri. That would be a tough story to make up.

Around 4,000 British pennies are attached to the Mini
Around 4,000 British pennies are attached to the Mini

“This extremely rare and unique 1963 Morris Mini Minor Penny Car” has coins attached to it that range in year from 1860 to 1969, the seller adds, raising the possibility of some valuable finds among them.

The unnamed British woman who created the Mini penny car was inspired by others who sought to memorialize the popular Beatles song.

“These Penny Cars were made to commemorate and promote The Beatles Penny Lane track,” the seller says. “Beatles lead singer Paul McCartney had two of these Morris Penny Cars commissioned for himself. One is at Cornish Goldsmiths in Cornwall, England, and the other is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in San Francisco.”

But here we have the only known Mini penny car that’s available today, and if you’d like to find out the price tag – in dollars, not pennies – you’ll need to contact the seller. See the ad in ClassicCars.com by clicking Mini penny car. 

The coating of pennies only adds about 200 pounds to the weight of the tiny car, and it is still fully drivable, although it was a car used in England so it has right-hand drive. There are a few minor dents, dings and missing pennies, but the car is presentable as is or it could be brought up a notch by any dedicated Beatles fan.

80 years later, Talbot repeats Alpine Trial victory

Classic cars race 600 miles through the Alps | Gerard Brown photos for ERA
Classic cars race 600 miles through the Alps | Gerard Brown photos for ERA

Eighty years after a 1934 Talbot won the original event, a 1934 Talbot 105 Alpine scored the victory in the Endurance Rally Association’s inaugural Alpine Trial, a 600-mile test in the shadows of Europe’s Monte Blanc. The course included the historic the Route Des Grande Alpes and the Col De La Colombiere.

The British team of Gareth Burnett and Jeremy Haylock won the 3-day trail and had the only car with a “clean sheet” at the end of the competition.

The Talbot that won the original rally was driven John Rushton and Michael Birch and finished seventh 80 years after its 1934 victory.

Second place this time went to the 1937 Bentley Derby with a 1929 Ford Model A Speedster third.

Several special awards were given:

Americans drive off with Concours award
Americans drive off with Concours award
  • The Spirit of the Rally went to Ludovic Bois and Julia Colman and their 1938 Peugeot 402 Legere.
  • The Against All Odds award was presented to Peter Little and Louise Cartledge for finishing in a 1926 Bentley with no clutch.
  • American’s James and Dawn Gately won the Concours trophy for their 1937 Cadillac 75 Series car.

The Endurance Rally Association has staged more than 60 international events, including the Peking to Paris Motoring Challenge.

Talbot takes the title in 2014 Alpine rally
Talbot takes the title in 2014 Alpine rally

The next Alpine Trial is scheduled for September 2015.

My Classic Cars: Lindsay’s life on wheels (part 1)

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of stories about vehicles owned and ridden or driven by the late Lindsay Lafford, Lord of Ridley who passed away in April 2014 at the age of 101½, after a brief illness. Born in Gloucester, England, he was appointed organist and master of the choristers at St. John’s Cathedral, Hong Kong, in 1935 and moved to the United States in 1939, where he taught at several U.S. colleges. He was is an accomplished composer and conductor who had done performances around the world. One of Lindsay’s sons, Peter, is completing the task of preparing these stories, and is pleased to provide the series as a Father’s Day memorial. More about Lindsay Lafford is available at http://Lord-of-Ridley.com.

Lindsay Lafford aboard a Rudge, circa 1930 | Lafford family archives
Lindsay Lafford aboard a Rudge, circa 1930 | Lafford family archives

My first motor vehicle, obtained in 1926, was a 1914 Triumph belt-driven motorcycle, a weird and wonderful way to get introduced to the motoring world. It had bicycle pedals to help it up the steeper hills (and to pedal down the road to get started), acetylene lighting (always hoping one had a match), and one had to remember to pump a shot of oil into the engine every five miles.

To help with starting on a cold morning one opened a little tap under the tank and dribbled a few drops of gas into a funnel on top of the cylinder; the funnel also had a tap to open to let the gas in, then it had to be closed to keep the explosion in!
Mine had an addition called an NSU gear. Like the continuously variable transmissions that have become so popular, it worked by squeezing the shoulders of the engine pulley or relaxing them. Operated by a handle mounted on the upper side of the gas tank, it permitted one to fully relax the belt, or gradually to tighten it, thus changing the gear ratio and helping greatly on hills.

The 1926 Aston Seven Saloon
The 1926 Aston Seven Saloon

After four motorcycles, I transitioned to a Morgan three-wheeler and then to my first four-wheeler, an Austin 7 saloon (which is not an establishment for drinking but what the British call a sedan).

A successful maker of Wolesley engine-powered sheep-shearing machines, in 1906 Herbert Austin launched into cars . He would introduce the revolutionary vest-pocket sized Austin Seven in 1922 and eventually received knighthood.

My Seven — it was yellow — had been owned by many former owners (I could afford only the cheapest of cars). Because of its long hard use and so much up-and-down vibration, the two large doors, which opened at the front, had ground away their latches. Bolts had been added. However, if one forgot to fasten a bolt the wind pressure would eventually spring the door open with a startling bang (and a big lurch of the car).

The rear quarter of the body had little holes punched in it where the door handles had been swung back with force.
The two roof pillars on either side of the upright windshield also had fractured at the cowl line, so the roof and the rest of the body would pound up and down as one went over bumps.

There was no luggage compartment (or, boot, in English), but there was a built-in fold-down luggage rack at the rear. When any weight was put on, it tilted back the body, lifting up the windshield pillars quite considerably. I sought a partial cure by having the pillars welded, but the forces proved too much for the welds; so plates were screwed on. This worked, provided one tightened the screws regularly.

There was no heater. One wintry day, returning home from London over the Cotswolds with my late cousin Benita, the only way to effect any visibility was to keep one’s hand pressed against the inside of the windshield to provide a little thawing for the wiper to work.

I remember reading about an improvisation by a team taking part in one of the rallies then popular — from Murmansk to Monte Carlo or some such. Crossing the Alps they encountered icing and, using their trusty metal shears, they cut vents in the hood to allow some of the engine heat to flow onto the windshield. This is how great inventions are born.

Tomorrow: Hong Kong, cars and Nine Dragons

1955 Vincent Black Prince motorcycle scores record auction price despite being in pieces

The scattered pieces of a 1955 Vincent Black Prince sold for a lofty price | Bonhams
The scattered remains of the 1955 Vincent Black Prince achieved a lofty price at the British auction | Bonhams

We’ve all seen motorcycle “projects” stored  in various boxes, a wheel here, gas tank over there, the engine propped up against the wall. Generally speaking, this can be a fine way to obtain a bike that you otherwise could not afford in one piece. You just have to put it all together.

Of course, we’re talking about regular motorcycles, not the vaunted Holy Grails of two-wheelers.

Over the weekend, the Bonhams auction house in England sold a  rare 1955 Vincent 998cc Black Prince “project” for £91,100 ($153,000), even though it was essentially a pile of rough-looking pieces. That princely sum was four times the pre-auction estimate and a record price for a Black Prince at auction, including those that had been restored.

In a typical auction scenario, there were two aggressive phone bidders vying for the Black Prince, each of whom decided that he just had to have it. According to Bonhams, the under bidder owned a lesser Black Knight in his youth and always wanted a superior Black Prince, while the one who won the auction was born in 1955 and wanted the birth-year Vincent for his birthday.

This restored Black Prince sold last year for considerably less | Bonhams
Bonhams sold a restored Black Prince for considerably less | Bonhams

The phone bidders battled back and forth until the bidding reached the staggering final figure and the Black Prince was carted off in boxes to its new home. According to the auction house, the Vincent had been disassembled around 1967 for a restoration that never happened.

Putting that price in perspective, Bonhams sold a restored 1955 Vincent Black Prince for $125,000 at its January 2012 sale in Las Vegas. This past January, also in a Vegas auction, MidAmerica sold a completed Black Prince for $125k.

The Black Prince model was a last-ditch effort by the failing Vincent motorcycle company to boost sales with a fully faired two-wheeler covered in stylishly streamlined panels which separated the rider from the grimy mechanical workings in the style of motor scooters but powered by Vincent’s famed performance V-twin.

The Black Prince was made for only two years, 1954 and 1955, before the Vincent Motorcycle Company closed its factory doors.

Three other Vincent motorcycle “projects” also scored large numbers well over estimates at Bonhams. A 1951 Black Shadow project achieved £54,050 ($91,000), a 1951 Rapide project went to £28,175 ($47,000) and a 1952 Rapide project was bid to £23,000 ($38,600).

Bonhams’  auction in Gaydon reached a total of £2.4 million ($4 million) in classic car and motorcycle sales, nearly double the total of the 2013 auction, with a 93 percent sell-through rate. There were 115 motorcycle lots sold, with a total of more than £700,000 ($1.175 million) for a group that included two legendary Brough Superiors from the 1930s that sold for £48,300 ($81,000) and £33,350 ($56,000).

There were plenty of other “normal” motorcycles sold during the auction, including British stalwart BSAs, Triumphs and Nortons, in various stages of completion that sold for considerably more-attainable amounts.

Eye Candy: Cars ‘R’ Stars at Packard Proving Grounds

Photos by Steve Purdy

Local farmers and we few photographers appreciated the intermittent light rain that fell all morning, albeit for entirely different reasons, but the organizers and participants in the Cars ‘R’ Stars show… not so much.

Formerly known as the Carnival of Cars, this show, officially Cars ‘R’ Stars at the PPG, supports the goals of the Packard Motor Car Foundation and its efforts to preserve, develop and maintain the historic Packard Proving Grounds, located some 22 miles north of Detroit.

Opened in 1927, the Packard Proving Grounds was a marvel of technology and beauty in its day with buildings designed and built by the most prestigious architect of the era, Albert Kahn. Historic buildings remain, as does the tall water tower and a section of the test track that includes the historic timing tower.

Attendance of both participants and spectators for the show and swap meet suffered because of the weather this year, but there were enough vehicles to bring you some fun photos, especially of the featured historic commercial vehicles.

For more on the foundation’s effort to preserve the proving grounds, see www.PackardMotorFdn.org.

 

LeMay museum selects McKeel Hagerty for Bulgari award

David Madeira (left) presents Bulgari award to McKeel Hagerty | LeMay photo
David Madeira (left) presents Bulgari award to McKeel Hagerty | LeMay photo

Noting his progressive and innovative leadership of the collector car community, the LeMay — America’s Car Museum has presented its Nicola Bulgari Award to McKeel Hagerty, president and chief executive of the family-owned insurance company that specializes in insuring classic cars and boats.

“McKeel has been one of the most progressive and innovative leaders in the automotive industry,” museum president and chief executive David Madeira said in presenting the award during the LeMay’s annual Wheels & Heels Gala. “He has demonstrated a deep commitment to the preservation of America’s car history, founding the Historic Vehicle Association and supporting educational institutions and shop programs that are dedicated to the future of classic cars.”

Nearly 20 years ago, Hagerty was called back from his seminary studies to take over the family business. At the time, the company employed some 30 people. Under his leadership, the company has grown to the world’s largest insurer of classic cars with 500 employees.

But more than just his company, Hagerty has become a respected leader in the classic car community. Among his projects has been the Collectors Foundation which already has awarded $2.75 million in scholarships and grants to prepare the next generation of automotive preservation and restoration specialists (the program recently has renamed the Hagerty Education Program). He also has been active in the Historical Vehicle Association, working to get federal recognition and protection for vehicles with significant social history.

The mission of the LeMay – America’s Car Museum, which opened June 2, 2012 in Tacoma, Washington, is to explore how the automobile has fulfilled a distinctive role at the core of the American experience and shaped society.

Its Nicola Bulgari Award is given to people who make outstanding contributions to preserve America’s automotive heritage through education, car restoration and collecting. Bulgari is known globally for his family’s jewelry business but also is well-known within the classic car community for his collection and his museum in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

We must be more disciplined in protecting our automotive treasures so they can be celebrated and enjoyed by future generations.”

— McKeel Hagerty

 

“I have been fortunate to build much of my life around my love of cars,” said Hagerty. “They embody so much: freedom, beauty, technology and culture.

“However, personal transportation will look very different to future generations as autonomous cars and other technologies take the automobile from an object of desire to a mobility appliance. We must be more disciplined in protecting our automotive treasures so they can be celebrated and enjoyed by future generations.”

Previous recipients of the LeMay’s Bulgari award were Dr. Frederick Simeone, founder of the Simeone automotive Museum, and Ed Welburn, vice president of global design for General Motors.