‘I had so much fun driving so many different cars, though my favorite had to be the 1962 Chevy Bel Air,” 15-year-old Micah Hemenway said after her recent Hagerty Driving Experience.
Hemenway and her family drove more than seven hours from Pittsburgh to the western Chicago suburb of Aurora so she could take part in the program that not only exposes young drivers to classic cars, but actually puts them behind the wheel of collector cars with manual transmissions.
“My instructor bought his Bel Air when he was just 16 and has only trusted a handful of people to drive it since,” Hemenway said in a Hagerty news release after the event. “Today, he’s let over 30 of us kids get behind the wheel. It’s amazing that these instructors love classics so much that they’re willing to put kids in the driver’s seat of their cars.”
According to Hagerty, the classic car insurance and collector car valuation-tracking company based in northern Michigan, research indicates that more than 70 percent of drivers aged 16 to 34 agree that driving a classic car is fun and that 60 percent of them would like to own a classic car at some point in their life. According to the research, 60 percent agreed that classic cars are more interesting, stylish and cooler than the cars being produced today.
Hagerty’s driving experience provides classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction in manipulating a manual transmission, with clients volunteering to serve as instructors in their own classic cars. For many of the young drivers, it is the first time they’ve driven with a manual gearbox.
Launched in 2011, the Hagerty Driving Experience has staged more than 20 events in the U.S. and Canada with more than 600 young drivers taking part.
The next event, and the last scheduled this year, is September 17 at the LeMay — America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington.