One of the best events our pals at Hagerty run is not an event itself, but a program called “Future Drivers Club” at the roughly 9,000 car-centric experiences they own. The Future Drivers Club gives kids a chance to learn a little bit about the judging process, meet some vintage car owners, and get a bright blue hat. My daughter and her friend participated in a Future Drivers Club during the Greenwich Concours de Sport this year and, you know what? The kids are alright.
The way the event is structured is quite smart. You can’t just turn a dozen 8-to-11-year-olds free with hats, pencils, and notepads around hundreds of classic cars and expect anything other than chaos. Instead, the program’s organizers curate three cars and three owners they think have both super interesting cars for the kiddos and are not going to bore them to death.
For the Concours de Sport, which is the slightly more low-key event that occurs the day before the full Concours, the organizers absolutely nailed it.
First up, was the great Wayne Carini (he of “Chasing Classic Cars” and a million other shows). He brought his 1-of-13 Davis Divan and wowed all the kids with its weird three-wheel arrangement. Not only is Carini extraordinarily knowledgable, he has an irrepressible “fun grandpa” energy.
Next up was a couple with a regularly driven Renault R5 Turbo 2. I recognized the car as one recently sold at Retromobile in Paris and couldn’t believe it was at the show. The best part, as you can see in the reel I shot of it, is he got to pull the “Actually, the engine is in the back!” trick.
And, finally, a couple of guys brought out the Volkswagen Acapulco. Here’s a little history of the Thing from LaCar:
The Thing variant was specifically designed for two legendary, high-end resorts in Acapulco, a popular resort city in Mexico and destination du jour for Hollywood A-list celebrities in the 1960s and 1970s. As the Thing was assembled in Puebla, Mexico, the oceanfront hotels used the boxy beach cruiser to shuttle wealthy vacationers from the airport and the city’s sun-kissed shoreline. The Acapulco Thing’s popularity among the hotel’s ritzy, jet-setting clientele led Volkswagen to produce a limited run of the resort cruiser – about 400 cars in total – from May to July of 1974.
Most of the Acapulco things were painted Blizzard White with blue accents on the rocker panels, running boards, bumpers and dashboard, although Volkswagen also made versions with orange, red and yellow base colors. The car had removable side curtains on all four of its doors, and its seats were upholstered with blue nautical stripes, adding to its coastal look. The Thing’s regular soft top could also be replaced by a seat-matching vinyl surrey top on a special high-profile tubular frame.
I sort of assumed the Divan or Acapulco would win but, to my surprise, it was the Renault R5 Turbo 2! Here’s a photo of the winner with McKeel Hagerty. My daughter is the one eating ice cream during the trophy presentation, of course.