Scottsdale, Ariz.-resident Jim Bauder admitted "a lot" of hesitation about turning over the driver's seat in his immaculate 1958 Triumph TR250 to someone who never before had manipulated a manual transmission. But, Bauder said, "I taught my three children to drive a stick and had only one failure" -- when his daughter burned up the clutch. Undaunted, Bauder fixed the car and his daughter tried again, and became so skilled at coordinating clutch pedal and shifter that she not only moved to San Francisco, but bought and drove a stick-shifted Honda Civic.
We share Bauder's experience, and that of other Phoenix-area classic car owners who offered up their manually shifted cars -- including a 1958 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spyder Veloce, a 1969 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and a 1960 Ford Galaxie -- when Hagery Insurance called for cars and car owners to participate in the Hagerty Driving Experience, which the company says is "a rare opportunity to receive hands-on instruction on how to drive some of the most unique and iconic classic cars on the road."
The program starts with classroom instruction and then moves outside for a lesson on routine vehicle maintenance -- including checking air pressure and fluid levels -- before anyone turns a wheel.
Hagerty launched the program to celebrate the inaugural Classic Car Appreciation Day in 2011. Hagerty makes arrangements to block off a section of private pavement -- here in the Phoenix area, it was the driveways in front of the Scottsdale Automobile Museum. Hagerty staff provide classroom instruction and lunch.
In addition to clientele's privately owned classics, the program has become supported by the Ford Motor Co., which provides some brand new cars for the youngsters to drive as well. Driving starts with the car owner or instructor at the wheel. After a couple of laps, instructor and student swap seats.
Yes, the students often chug the cars to a stall. But the car owners are impressively patient.
"He helped me a lot and was very supportive," 17-year-old Paul Heinrich said after repeatedly stalling out Mark Esbenshade's '58 Alfa.
For his part, Esbenshade brushed off any strain on his car's components. "Hey, somebody taught me to drive stick" he said.
Students and their parents offered various reasons for seeking such instruction, though only a few had manually shifted cars at home.
Dorrie Sibley said she brought her 16-year-old son, Breslin, because someday he might be out with friends who've been drinking and regardless of the vehicle they're in, she wants her son to be ready to step in as designated driver and get everyone home safe and sound.
Hagerty has several more such sessions planned this year: April 13 at Houston, June 7 at Denver, July 12 in Orange County, Calif., Aug. 2 at Toronto and Sept. 21 at Las Vegas. If you get a call about offering up your car, please don't hesitate to respond in the affirmative.
Auctions America does $17.5 million at Fort Lauderdale
Auctions America by RM opened its 2013 calendar with a sale at Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that generated more than $17.5 million in transactions. The sell-through rate was 74 percent.
The high sale was $880,000 for a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL gullwing coupe. A 1963 Shelby Cobra went for $553,500, a 400-mile 2012 Lexus LFA brought $319,000, a 1932 Lincoln KB duel-cowl sport phaeton sold for $275,000 and a 1931 Cadillac V12 dual cowl sport phaeton brought $203,500.
Another highlight was the sale -- for $88,000 -- of a 1951 Chevrolet Styleline DeLuxe convertible formerly owned by Steve McQueen.
For further information on upcoming events, along with full results from the 2013 Fort Lauderdale collector car auction, visit auctionsamerica.com.
Auctions America adds West Coast event
Auctions America will expand its 2013 calendar by adding a new sale August 1-3 at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport hotel. The sale will include more than 40 cars from the Jim Carr Barn Find Collection of Napa Valley. More than 400 vehicles are anticipated to cross the block.
"Since launching in 2010, Auctions America has enjoyed immense growth and we are rapidly increasing our client base," said company president Donnie Gould. "From Auburn, Indiana to Carlisle, Pennsylvania and Southern Florida, our events take place in some of the country's leading collector car destinations. The only location missing was Southern California – which is often called the center of America's car culture. Expansion to the West Coast has always been part of our plan."
William Munday collection highlights Barrett-Jackson at Palm Beach
The Florida classic car auction season ends the weekend of April 4-6 with the 11th Barrett-Jackson sale at Palm Beach. Among the featured vehicles are a 10,385-mile 1969 Jaguar SK-E convertible, a one-off 1946 Chrysler Town & Country roadster and a 1960 fuel-injected Chevrolet Corvette convertible, all from the William Munday collection.
Also being offered at the auction is a 1975 Learjet 35 that recently underwent a $2.6-million renovation and technology update.
First '57 Biarritz sells for $649,000
Hemmings Daily reports that the 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz with VIN 000001 sold at the recent Hollywood Wheels Palm Beach Auction for $649,000.
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