Hagerty kicks off Driving Gratitude initiative to benefit small businesses
As many small businesses are struggling in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hagerty is pairing with SCORE, a non-profit organization powered by volunteers that offers training and resources for small businesses. Starting with McKeel Hagerty in Hagerty’s home base of Traverse City, Michigan, we’ll follow six enthusiasts as they pay tribute to small businesses that help keep the car community strong.
We’ll be sharing updates on our Instagram page and also on YouTube, and we encourage you to do the same: Share your favorite small business, car-related or otherwise, with the hashtag #HagertyDrivingGratitude. For each Instagram post with the hashtag, Hagerty will donate $25 to SCORE, up to $25,000.
McKeel kicked things off in Michigan, but he’ll be joined in other parts of the U.S. by a diverse group of folks: actor Sung Kang, whose Gratitude Drive we’ll feature in this article; professional driver Patrick Long; automotive enthusiasts Luke and Melissa Ditella and Brendan Fallis; and Courtney Hansen, host and executive producer of The One That Got Away.
In one of the first Gratitude Drives, actor Sung Kang, known for his role of Han in the Fast and Furious franchise, picked up a 1971 Alfa Romeo Montreal from DriveShare and visited three of his friends in Southern California who operate their own small businesses.
Erick’s Racing Engines in Baldwin Park has been a fixture in the import tuning scene for more than 20 years. Erick Aguilar is a racer at heart and has helped build and tune countless street and race cars during his time in the business. While Aguilar is perhaps best known for his expertise with Honda engines, it was a rival Japanese project—a Nissan S30—that brought Kang into Aguilar’s orbit.
Part of what Kang appreciates about Aguilar, he tells us, is Aguilar’s willingness to teach others and to help solve problems. We got a quick look at some of Aguilar’s customers’ cars, as well as his personal projects, before heading to our next stop.
Next up, Kang visited Shahar Algazy, an avid car enthusiast and dedicated Fast and Furious fan who lives in Los Angeles and runs a remodeling contracting business. Algazy grew up in Israel and had always been interested in cars, but strict vehicle codes in his home country kept him from realizing his dream of modifying and customizing cars. A few years ago, Algazy emigrated to America and embraced his custom car passion in a big way.
As soon as he arrived, he bought his dream car, a Dodge Viper. Soon, his collection swelled to include tribute cars he built of the star cars from the Fast and Furious movies. Algazy’s collection includes a clone of the Supra, the RX7, and the Eclipse from the original movie as well as the Eclipse Spyder from the first sequel.
Kang’s final stop was at Spoolfool Productions in Costa Mesa. This shop’s crew specializes in bumper fillers, spoilers, and other composite parts for the Buick Grand National. Owner Mike Barnard is a turbo Buick fan and has been keeping the blown G-bodies looking their best since 2012. Kang’s personal 1987 Grand National brought Spoolfool to his attention; its small team of fabricators makes parts that are impossible to find elsewhere, and their products also look and fit much better than the originals.
Go out and show the world your favorite small business, add the hashtag #HagertyDrivingGratitude when you share it on Instagram, and remember to wear your mask!