Never Stop Driving #75: 8 Things I’m Grateful For
We don’t need a holiday to be grateful, but since it is that time of year, I thought I’d share a sample from the scroll of things I’m thankful for. Perhaps my list might inspire you to create your own, a reflection that I humbly suggest is always worthwhile. Okay, here goes.
You, the audience
Thank you for reading, watching, and engaging with all of Hagerty Media’s material—we exist to serve you. About a year ago, I started using an old saying to describe myself: a “painter who’s gotta paint.” I have no idea where my passion for cars came from but consider it a gift. I lean into that passion, scratch an acute curiosity itch, and then share what I’ve learned, an often fraught but joyous process. Sharing with like-minded passionate people is invigorating. Thank you for helping us reach more car folks.
New sporty cars
There’s plenty of handwringing that the cars made for people who love driving are being sidelined in favor of autonomous pods. I don’t buy it. For one, we just dropped this video about several current cars that are made for enthusiasts. We’ll also highlight another cluster in an upcoming issue of the Hagerty Drivers Club magazine, which you can get here. Furthermore, millions of existing interesting machines, from across the decades, are still owned and lovingly cared for by the faithful, aka our people. Which leads me to …
Older fun cars
Next month, we’ll debut our seventh annual Bull Market List, a roundup of cars poised to rise in value. We started the list to encourage people to take the plunge: buy a vintage car, enjoy it for a while, and then perhaps resell it for about what you paid or maybe a little more. The automotive landscape is changing and one of the positive changes is that old-car depreciation eventually levels off. More and more cars retain their value, which makes owning them cheaper and more accessible. Fantastic!
I’ve driven plenty of EVs, like the Tesla Model S, that are far from sterile. Jason Cammisa waxed positively about the thrill of the Lucid Air. EVs are different, sure, but is that bad? Change is the one constant in life. The canvas will evolve, but there are enough passionate people making and driving cars who want more than a boring pod. We will continue to be served by carmakers offering sharp design and engaging driving dynamics.
When I started racing karts decades ago, I recognized that racing, uniquely, provided a huge range of emotions, from absolute elation to crushing disappointment. I also recognized that my hobby was just a hobby that invoked those emotions yet didn’t really affect the rest of my life. That’s a bit of a stretch because my bank account was certainly punished as were my ribs after one wreck, but I haven’t found another activity that’s provided the same richness. I’ve also shared racing with my kids, and we bond not just on the track but also in the garage preparing our machines. That is a lucky thing. If I could go back in time and walk a different career path, I would consider professional motorsports. No one in that industry is there just to have a job—they are there because they love it, and it is wonderful to be around those people.
Mechanics and craftspeople
While my DIY Ferrari restoration is currently more pain than fun, it’s allowed me to learn from the pros. I’m continually impressed with not just the skills and knowledge but also the passion of those professionals who keep our vehicles on the road. To many, the trades were a calling that they’ve dedicated their lives to. As I’ve written before, the ranks are dwindling, and we need more programs like the McPherson College automotive restoration degree. Send your favorite tech a thank you note this holiday season.
The incinerator smokestack
In July 1993, as a freshly minted mechanical engineer, I was working a job where I had to regularly climb the smokestack of a Baltimore garbage incinerator. That hot summer, the aroma was so pungent I didn’t just smell it, I tasted it. Also, I’m terrified of heights, so my palms oozed sweat, making me even more terrified that I would slip off the ladder and fall to a miserable death. Those Baltimore climbs were the kick in the rear I needed to quit and find a new path. Next, I figured out how to defer student loan payments for a year, which meant I could afford to work for five bucks an hour as a Car and Driver gopher. Getting that lowly job is a long story for another time, but would I be here, gratefully writing to you, without that incinerator gig?
We’re here to build a business that funds our purpose, which is to save driving and car culture for future generations. With that mission, we’ve built a talented team to serve you and it’s an absolute joy to work with these folks. Thanks for being with us.
In the interest of honoring your time, I’ll stop there. If you find yourself with some free time over the holidays, I hope you’ll enjoy our huge volume of articles and videos, all of which we provide for free to help spread the passion. This newsletter will take a pause next week. May you and your families have a warm and joyous holiday.
Never stop driving!
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