The following story is one of the entries for Hagerty's "Car Guy Search," a campaign to find the star of our next "Car Guy" print ad. For information on how you can submit your own story, see below.
My story begins with a 31 year search for a particular car. When I was twelve years old, I accompanied my father and my 18-year-old brother to go look at a car for my brother. My oldest brother and I always liked cars.
We built models, had Hot Wheels, slot cars, etc. and waited 364 days every year for the one stock car race shown on TV back then, the Daytona 500, of course. Anyway, we went to a small shop in the small town we live in, the gentleman came out and shook my dad's hand and they chatted for a couple of minutes. Then, the man went over and opened the shop door. I can remember my how my heart started racing the moment I saw that car. It was a black 1967 Dodge Charger with white interior in near perfect condition, and it was the most amazing car I had ever seen. This was about 1977 and even then these first generation Chargers were so rare I'd never seen one until that day.
Unfortunately, the asking price for the car was a whopping $1400 and my brother only had $800. He asked my father to loan him the other $600, but my father didn't have the money to loan him, and we drove away from the most spectacular car I'd ever seen. The gentleman that offered the car for sale never sold the car, and still has it today, as well as several other ultra-rare Mopars.
Around five or six years ago, I felt I was in good enough financial shape to begin searching for a first generation Charger. It was also then that I found out just how few of these cars were built and how few remained. I even broadened my search to consider '66-'69 fastback Barracudas. In five years, I only found four or five Chargers that were even worth a look, but all of them would have required more to restore than they would ever be worth, especially considering the rarity. Because so few first generation Charger were built, there is next to nothing available in the aftermarket to restore these cars.
I'll cut to the chase. About two years ago, I found a '67 Charger in one of the major antique car magazines that described the car in "good" shape. The ad stated the car had a 383 that would idle but not drive. The car is fully optioned with power steering, power brakes, AC, and vinyl top. The price implied the car must be in pretty bad shape, but I called the seller. We e-mailed pictures and spoke back and forth for three weeks, until I decided to purchase the car sight unseen, except for photos. (The car was all the way across the country). The car arrived on a rainy January night and I was sick with strep throat. From 100 feet away, I could already tell I was getting way more than I expected. The Charger is near original, with a repaint, and that's about it. The original interior is in really good shape, and the car even has its original vinyl top in very good condition.
Hagerty led me to a miracle on the car. One of my favorite features of the '67 Charger is the turn signal indicators integrated into the chrome trim on the hood, but the ones on my Charger were gone. The 1967 Charger is the only model that uses these particular lenses, as they are shaped to match the chrome trim. There were approximately 15,600 Chargers built in 1967, and about double that in '66 Chargers, but they don't have the hood mounted signals. Mopar Muscle claims approximately one thousand first generation Chargers are left, so odds are about 333 of them are '67's. No one is going to build aftermarket components for such a small market. I tried everything I knew to find a decent pair of lenses with no luck, and was on the verge of attempting to make them myself, and then I read about Hagerty's concierge service, so I gave them a call. They gave me a few places to contact, and eventually that led me to a company that does actually make about 20 sets of the lenses a year
Hagerty is amazing! The cost of Hagerty insurance is unbelievably low, yet the insured get so much more than just a policy.
Hagerty's involvement in the collector car world, the newsletters, the electronic newsletter, the concierge service, and on and on. I don't think my car could be in better hands and I openly talk to people at car shows and the like. So many are paying double and triple for insurance that's not even close to what Hagerty offers.
I know this is a lot more than 300 words. Sorry! The truth is, if you want someone to promote your product, you won't find a more satisfied customer than myself. I'm a toolmaker by trade, but a natural born salesman on things I believe in. I even come with a bonus. My family has been in journalism for at least 5 generations and my brother is currently Editor and Publisher of our city's newspaper. If I were to be in a commercial, it would make the front page. I've got a rare car and the best insurance company protecting it. What more could you want?
Ed from Franklin, KY