Anniversary Party

McKeel Hagerty


I can hardly believe it’s been 10 years since we published the first issue of Hagerty magazine. At the time I felt like a little boy with a new puppy. It was only 24 pages, had just two feature stories, and advertising was still in our future. But with lots of great four-color photography, it was a real magazine going out to almost 100,000 clients. More importantly, it was our magazine. We needed it partly because when people asked what industry we were in, I’d never say it was the insurance business; I told them we were in the “car business.” And if that magazine wasn’t proof, nothing was.

I’d wanted to develop a way we could communicate with our clients on a regular basis about stuff for car guys and gals. We’ve stayed true to my original goal of never really talking about insurance. Instead, we’ve used the best automotive resources available to give readers the best stories. In short, I was making the magazine I wanted to read.

In fact, when I’m meeting a business contact for the first time, it’s the best business card I could ever hope to have.

As proud as I was of that first magazine when it came out in mid-2006, I was thrilled to see it gradually grow as we added pages and features, before eventually reaching its current length. Along the way, we’ve been fortunate to add some of the greatest writers ever, like P.J. O’Rourke, David E. Davis, Beverly Rae Kimes and Karl Ludvigsen, and we hit important milestones like 300,000 and then 400,000 subscribers. Now we’re printing more than 450,000 copies of each issue while other magazines struggle, and we are the world’s largest classic car magazine by circulation. Within the next year or two, Hagerty magazine will surpass any of the regular car magazines in circulation.

I’ll never forget when one of our friends from the UK, who is a publisher of one of the largest classic car magazines, happened to be in the room in Monterey the day we announced the magazine launch. He came up and said, “You are now the biggest publisher in the classic car space in the world.” I just smiled and said, “Well I guess that makes us partners then.” His joy did not match my own.

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