Ever wondered how the garage of the world’s leading classic car and vintage vehicle insurer looks like? Conner Golden, writing for Automobile magazine, paid a visit at the world headquarters of Hagerty Insurance at Traverse City Michigan. Though he intended to know more about the 1967 Sunbeam Tiger Series II restoration project that Hagerty was working on, he can’t help but glance and even stare at some of the others impressive range of classics that he saw at the garage.
True enough there were plenty of eye candies lying around Hagerty’s unbelievably cool garage, but there are five masterpieces that are worthy of mention not because of good looks, but also the stories behind each of them. Here is Conner’s take on the five coolest classic cars that he stumbled upon inside this global leader’s garage.
1933 Cooper Marmon V-16 Indy Car Replica
In 2008, John Hollansworth came across a Marmon V-16 engine, with a lineage that can be traced back to the Cooper-Marmon Indy racer of the early 1930s. With original specifics at hand, embarked on a restoration project and had the V-16 fitted into the replica. Impressive as it is for being a genuine replica of the Indy racer, the real treasure of this classic speedster is the Marmon V-16 engine. The 330 cui, 5.4 L V-16 dishes out 200 horses belting out a glorious roar befitting of such power. This replica caught the expert eye of Hagerty when Hollansworth proudly drove the Cooper-Marmon at the race tracks in 2012. Hagerty acquired shortly afterwards.
1956 Ford Thunderbird
This Ford Thunderbird has an interesting underdog story to tell. It has the most basic package when purchased new by an unmarried school teacher back in 1955. It has a base 2952 cui, 4.8 liter V-8 engine and comes equipped with manual brakes, manual steering, manual windows and seats, and a manual transmission with no overdrive. Our guess is that weather conditions (and probably entertainment) is not much of a problem where the original owner lived because this Thunderbird does not come with a heater, air conditioning, or even a radio. Frank Hagerty eventually crossed paths with this Thunderbird in 1960 when he discovered it in a junkyard with front-end damage. He found it worthy of restoration and has been using it as a daily driver for 30 years. Unfortunately, it had another bout this time with a telephone pole and a deer. With a 50,000 at the clock, the roadster was slated once again for another restoration back in 1990 and went on to win many national awards.
1917 Peerless Speedster “The Green Dragon”
The dawn of the 20th century saw the rise of what most considered as the most influential cars of that period. Dubbed as the Three P’s, the cars that were manufactured by Packard, Peerless, and Pierce-Arrow were hailed for being the highly coveted automotive wonders of their time. Hagerty was keen on having one as well with the 1917 Peerless Speedster that it restored during the 1990s. Prior to this, the Green Dragon has already competed in more than 15 cross-country rallies. Under the belly of this Dragon lies a 330 cubic inch, 5.4 liter V-8 block that churns out a modest 80hp – an engine introduced by Peerless in 1916 in a move to drive sales away from the fledgling Cadillac. It now has seen 80,000 miles since its restoration.
1964 Buick Electra 225
When a farming couple brought their new 1964 Buick Electra 225 during the early 60s, the car didn’t stayed long with the family when the husband suddenly passed away leaving the disinterested wife with no other option but to allow the car just sitting in the garage until the late 1990s. Hagerty made an offer to buy the Buick and since then, was restored having the all-original surviving interior and the remaining 40% of its original painting. The Electra in this line comes with the standard Buick 6.6-liter (401 cubic inch) V-8, which produced 340-350 hp. This car now comes with all the desirable options options like air conditioning, cruise control, a radio antenna, tilt steering, and a remote trunk release. It currently has a 19,000 original miles at the odometer.
1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
Needless to say, the name Shelby says it all. Carroll Shelby’s passion for the craft created the most capable and hottest muscle-bound cars that his generation have ever seen, and probably until now. Out of these fine creations emerged the drag strip king of all: the GT500. This particular Shelby inside Hagerty’s garage is powered by a 7.0 liter, 428 cui Cobra Jet V-8 engine maxing out at 355 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. When production was eventually passed on by Shelby to Ford in September 1967, it didn’t take long before fans noticed the relative disinterest of Ford Motors in establishing the Shelby line-up. Thus, many would agree that the 1967 GT500 may well be considered as the “pure and unadulterated” Shelby ever produced during the era.
What do you think of Conner’s find? If you want to see something inside Hagerty’s garage, what will that be? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.