The email from Hagerty Insurance seemed like a joke at first,
inviting the policy holder to put his most prized possession in the
hands of a group of teenagers who had never operated a stick shift
before, at an event scheduled, naturally, for Friday, July 13. You
know, Ferris Bueller meets Jason Voorhees in the driver’s seat of your
356. Your webmaster had the cursor on the Delete button and his
finger poised to click, when a little angel (or was it a devil?) landed
on his shoulder and said, "You talk a good game about how you want to
pass your hobby on to the next generation. Here’s a chance to do
something about it." But they might burn up my clutch, strip my
gears, or drive my car over a cliff! "So what?" said the voice.
"It’s just a car, and cars are meant to be driven." Oh, all right.
So I signed up for the Hagerty Driving Experience, in which I joined half a dozen other classic car owners at U. S. Cellular Field's parking lot to teach a couple of dozen young people how to drive our cars. A closed course was marked out with pylons, and blue-shirted Hagerty staffers were everywhere to keep everyone safe. The kids were all very respectful of the cars, and the biggest challenge I faced turned out to be getting them to go fast enough to be able to put the car into second gear. They were also very enthusiastic and appreciative. One of my drivers, a sixteen year old girl who had traveled to Chicago from Ohio with her mom for the event, told me that she would remember our handful of laps around the course for the rest of her life. Call me sentimental, but that made my day.
Fortunately for our club, the Cell is in Wally Wright's neighborhood, and he spent the day enjoying the festivities with us. He brought his camera along and took a lot of photos, a selection of which is posted here. (Other media people were on hand as well, and their accounts of the event have shown up on The Daily Drive and on Facebook.
The back straight.