Home » The World’s Richest Car Collectors Are In The Middle Of A Big Fight This Weekend

The World’s Richest Car Collectors Are In The Middle Of A Big Fight This Weekend

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This weekend is the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, a fancy car event for fancy car people (and also for us last year). It’s also ModaMiami, a new fancy car event that was started specifically out of spite toward Hagerty and the now-Hagerty-owned Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Oh boy.

The car world you see on Instagram reels and YouTube videos isn’t real, or at least it’s not entirely reel. There are grudges and discontent. It’s not something we talk about often because mostly it doesn’t amount to much and isn’t ultimately that interesting, but every now and then it bubbles to the surface like it is right now.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Also coming to the surface is a move by new leadership at Stellantis to basically abandon the Wagoneer sub-brand, a move that makes obvious sense to, I assume, everyone.

Rounding out The Morning Dump we’ve got new IIHS safety test results and a Toyota recall that I’m going to be keeping my eye on this year.

‘I Started ModaMiami to fuck around with Hagerty’

Opera House
Screenshot: The Gilded Age

I guess you can’t swear in Bloomberg articles? It’s not something I noticed before, mostly because there isn’t much swearing in financial news, even though there’s a lot of swearing amongst financial people in my experience (I worked in the MBS market out of college, which is a whole other thing).

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I mention this because our old pal Hannah Elliott has a whopper of a story in Bloomberg Businessweek with the headline “A Florida Grudge Match Splits the World’s Richest Car Collectors.”

Here’s the money quote:

The overlap is no accident. In 2021 car insurance giant Hagerty Inc. bought the Amelia concours for an estimated $6.5 million as part of a bold growth plan to own more segments of the vintage car market. Hagerty promptly installed Broad Arrow Auctions, a business it had recently started, as the only auctioneer on-site. That meant booting RM Sotheby’s, which had long occupied the prime spot.

To add insult to injury, key members of the RM Sotheby’s team had left to launch Broad Arrow, including President Kenneth Ahn, a surprise defection that Rob Myers, its chairman, took personally. “I started ModaMiami to f— around with Hagerty,” Myers freely admits. “When they did that s— with Broad Arrow … it was, ‘OK, let’s compete.’  ”

His choice to host a car show on the same weekend as Amelia Island is calculated to force the country’s wealthiest collectors to choose between them. Their decisions on where to show and consign their vehicular assets will determine which company gets the hefty payouts (premiums usually add up to about 20%) when these exquisite vehicles trade hands.

Bolding mine. What isn’t mentioned in the Bloomberg piece is why the RM senior folks left to form Broad Arrow.

Was any of this inevitable? Hagerty has been on a buying spree the last decade and has worked its way into most of the automotive world, including media, events, driver’s clubs, auctions, et cetera. Have there been grumbles? There have been some grumbles.

Part of Hagerty’s strategy has been to bring a lot of the disparate parts of the automotive world under one umbrella. Is that ultimately good for the car world? In the short term, it probably is. The larger Hagerty organization does a pretty fantastic job of running events, promoting them, and executing them.

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In the long run, it really depends. If the people in charge of Hagerty lose interest, change their minds, or give in to financial pressure then we’ve now got these treasured automotive eggs in one basket, which is not ideal. But what’s the other option? Private Equity? Hagerty might be the best-case scenario for a lot of these operations and Amelia seems to be thriving.

Plus, for the moment there’s no sign that Hagerty CEO McKeel Hagerty is any less interested in car culture than he was ten years ago. Hagerty’s stated mission is to save driving and car culture, which is also our mission, and I’ve seen little to imply that will change. Oh, I guess we should give him a chance to respond via the article:

“I don’t think about Rob or his grudge match,” CEO McKeel Hagerty wrote in an email. “I think about ways to bring the car community together, not compete against one another. It’s a shame he is thinking about that, versus how to best create a great experience for car collectors.”

To translate:

Mad Men Meme
Screenshot: MadMen

It is kind of a bummer that two great events are happening at the same time, since one of the perks of Monterey Car Week, for instance, is that most people play nice enough to spread out the events during the week so people can attend most of them.

I asked someone going to one of the events with a big collector what he thought:

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“Some people are saying Amelia is dead, but I think it will still draw the purists” they told me. “Moda seems more geared towards the supercar/younger enthusiasts.”

Amelia for the purists and ModaMiami for more of the Supercar Blondie set, I guess?

If there’s a winner here it’s probably the collectors and car sellers themselves now that the different auction houses and events have to bend over backward to give the best experience.

Also, hilariously, this is exactly the plot of the second season of HBO’s The Gilded Age.

IIHS: Hyundai Motor Group Is Killing It Saving Lives

Hyundaimg
Source: Hyundai

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has been slowly ratcheting up the requirements for vehicles to earn the organization’s various awards in the hopes of continuing to push cars to get safer.

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According to the IIHS, here are the big changes:

Last year’s biggest change was the replacement of the original side crash test with an updated version that uses a heavier barrier traveling at a higher speed. Initially, an acceptable or good rating was enough to garner the lower-tier TOP SAFETY PICK award. In 2024, a good rating is required for either TOP SAFETY PICK or TOP SAFETY PICK+.

In addition, vehicles now need an acceptable or good rating in a revised version of the pedestrian front crash prevention evaluation to qualify for either award. The new version replaces the earlier daytime and nighttime tests with a single evaluation that includes some test runs in daylight and some in the dark. Last year, vehicles could earn the lower-tier award regardless of whether they could detect and avoid pedestrians in the dark.

In an even bigger change, the updated moderate front overlap test has replaced the original evaluation in the 2024 TOP SAFETY PICK+ requirements. Vehicles now need an acceptable or good rating in the updated evaluation, which adds a second dummy seated behind the driver and emphasizes back seat safety. A good rating in the original moderate overlap test is still needed for the base TOP SAFETY PICK award.

So how’d everyone do?

Overall, pretty well, though the standout so far is Hyundai Motor Group (Hyundai + Kia + Genesis) with six Top Safety Pick+ awards and 10 Top Safety Pick awards.

Wagoneer Is Back To Being The Jeep Wagoneer

2024 Jeep Wagoneer 4
Source: Jeep

Not to get all John Proctor on you, but a name is important. The Jeep name is important. Arguably, Jeep is the best brand name any American automaker has.

So why did Jeep try to start a new sub-brand called Wagoneer for its big crossovers? I don’t really know, but the Jeep Wagoneer S electric SUV is going to be a Jeep again.

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From MotorTrend:

And it might be the last new vehicle to include Wagoneer in the name with Jeep’s decision to abandon its efforts to make Wagoneer a sub-brand under new Jeep Brand CEO Antonio Filosa. It was a strategy that was confusing to customers, was heavily criticized, and never really took off. Which is why the Wagoneer S now has “Jeep” written across the back instead of “Wagoneer.” And all members of the Wagoneer family will be branded as Jeeps going forward.

Well, that was a fun waste of time.

Toyotas Being Recalled For Unexpected Movement

2023 Toyota Tundra Sx Package Magnetic Gray Metallic 001
Photo credit: Toyota

I spent about a year at the old site tracking down various stories about Toyotas driving when they weren’t supposed to be, so it didn’t escape my notice that something similar is happening again.

Per Reuters:

A U.S. auto safety regulator said on Tuesday Toyota will recall 280,663 pickup trucks and SUVs and issue a software update to address concerns over unexpected movement caused when vehicles are in neutral and brakes are not applied.

Dealers will issue a free software update on impacted vehicles for the transmission control ECU (electronic control unit) software, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.

This recall affects certain 2022-2024 Tundras, Tundra Hybrids, and Sequoias.

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What I’m Listening To While Writing TMD

I can’t believe it’s been 12 years since the first Best Coast album. Time moves fast. Enjoy your chill California rock and Volvo 240s.

The Big Question

Where would you go this weekend? ModaMiami or Amelia? Or would you just try to do both?

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Marty Densch
Marty Densch
1 month ago

Interesting idea from some automotive media friends of mine. Stellantis should have branded the Wagoneer a Chrysler and, of course, called it something else. The Chrysler brand needed it more than Jeep did and with front and rear Chrysler styling cues vs. Jeep styling and a resurrected name like Newport it might have gotten some traction. (Pun intended.) Heck, maybe Dodge could have gotten its own version, too, as a Dodge Monaco or Polara.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
1 month ago

Aww, that Best Coast video with the quinceañera is so dang cute.

I’m a fish out of water at concours-type events. Hard parking plus a ton of snobs? I think I’d probably stay home. Amelia probably has more of what I want to see, but I genuinely prefer seeing cars in use. And supercars, whatever. There’s a Lambo dealership along my usual coffee run. We have supercars at home.

I do want to hear the gossip, though. I’m definitely curious about the RM Sotheby’s exodus—was it more from Hagerty (guessing here given their wages elsewhere) paying handsomely over at Broad Arrow or a Jalopnik-type situation where there’s a damn good reason to leave?

Admittedly, I don’t know much about the inner workings of RM Sotheby’s, but Hagerty buying up a ton of things and later laying a bunch of people off left a gross taste in my mouth. It seems like they didn’t have a real plan for the long-term beyond cornering the market for various enthusiast events and services. Sure, they’re not rotten to the core like a private equity firm, but even a good owner who believes in the things they buy isn’t all that good if they can’t afford to keep what they buy (or expand, in the case of their media side) going at full steam. I think it would’ve been better for them to focus on a few things they’re good at and branch out gradually than doing a big spending spree all at once.

Last edited 1 month ago by Stef Schrader
Austin Vail
Austin Vail
1 month ago

I like Hagerty and insure both my old cars through them. However, sometimes it is very obvious they are still fundamentally an insurance company and value/price trends over time are something they think about a lot and place a huge emphasis on in what they publish. Aside from the over-emphasis on money kinda bothering me though, I do think they’re one of the few insurance companies that actually cares to some degree about what it is they are insuring, so there’s that. And it makes perfect sense that they would start an auction company as they probably have more data on what it is they’re auctioning than anyone else.

RM Sotheby’s however, I couldn’t care less about. I just see that as the wealth club for the people making enthusiast cars more expensive so average folks can’t afford them. If they want to start a competing show out of spite, then I really have no desire to go. Maybe it will fizzle out, maybe not. Who cares?

Jj
Jj
1 month ago

I am a fan of Miami and can find my way around without much trouble. That’s probably where I would go.

NosrednaNod
NosrednaNod
1 month ago

“Hyundai Motor Group Is Killing It Saving Lives”

A huge percentage of Chicago’s murderers are getting a huge assist from stolen Hyundais and Kias. So Hyundai Motor Group Is ALSO Killing It Ending Lives.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
1 month ago

“…unexpected movement caused when vehicles are in neutral and brakes are not applied.” So, rolling? Or is it moving *under power* when it is supposed to be in neutral? Because in the former case that’s driver negligence, product functioning as intented. If the latter case… O.o

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago

Okay please correct me if I am wrong, I know you will. But isn’t all this over the air update fixing just fixing the problems of having cars being too controlled by computer? It was supposed to be better, it isn’t, way too many issues and repairs by OTA are only to fix problems they wouldn’t have if they didn’t go all computer. It doesn’t fix any car issues, it doesn’t fix any maintenance issues. Why was this a good idea?

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

“Okay so this part of the transmission needs to move to shift gears. Option 1: Make the driver move it via linkage. Marketing says we can’t do that because they don’t want it. Option 2: Make a fancy mechanism based on engine rpm, hydraulics, and clever engineering to make the transmission shift at about the right time on its own. That sounds like a lot of work. Option 3: Just stick an actuator on there and make it the programmer’s problem. This lets me be done with the transmission now. I choose option 3.”

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago
Reply to  Austin Vail

Yes

AssMatt
AssMatt
1 month ago

“A fun waste of time” is a valid description for everything I’ve ever seen in a Jeep commercial.

It’s also my dating profile header.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
1 month ago

“Wagoneer Is Back To Being The Jeep Wagoneer”
Now all that is left to do is put Ram back to being The Dodge Ram.

“Where would you go this weekend? ModaMiami or Amelia?”

Well after reading that story of corporate nepotism, I think I would go to ModaMiami.

And regarding the IIHS and the replacement of the original side crash test with an updated version that uses a heavier barrier traveling at a higher speed.”… am I the only one who actually sees this as bad news in disguise? Clearly this will contribute to vehicles becoming bigger, heavier urban assault vehicles.

And ultimately, what this will do is it will make drivers in places like Dubai safer… which is one of the places many of Hyundai’s easy-to-steal vehicles end up.

I think what we need is for IIHS to take a step back from making crash tests ever more stringent and look into some new areas like vehicle security, hackability and theft-deterrence

Last edited 1 month ago by Manwich Sandwich
Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago

I agree with what you are saying and I find myself desiring a sloppy joe.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago

Appreciate it but a Manwich or Sloppy Joe is a loose meat hot sandwich. A burger is a meat sandwich with both hot and cold additions. Figure the McDLT, the hot side hot the cold side cold. Once you add cold condiments lettuce ???? you have a burger. Just my opinion

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Well warm up the condiments in the microwave before you put them on and that problem will be solved!!!

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago

Dude you don’t heat lettuce and tomato. Now salsa you put maybe warm tomatoes but not in a hamburger use. Even tacos salsa lettuce and tomatoes cold.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Well maybe I won’t… but YOU could!! You could be a Sloppy Joe innovator!!!

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago

Try heating and eating lettuce it sux.

Jj
Jj
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

It’s the saddest part of left over Taco Bell.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago
Reply to  Jj

Refer to my problem of doing maintenance and ground clearance. There is no left over taco bell. Heck if the nacho cheese sticks to the bag I’m eating the bag.

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
1 month ago

This might be a hot take, but I think cars are plenty safe now. They don’t need to be safer. We just need to start crashing less, and none of the “driver aids” are actually helping in that regard. If anything, cars could stand to be a bit less safe so they’re not so friggin’ expensive.

If the IIHS wants to actually do something helpful, they could make pedestrian crash safety standards part of the overall safety rating of trucks and SUVs so you can’t get that desirable, oh-so-marketable high safety rating if the vehicle is disproportionately more dangerous to pedestrians than a normal sedan.

Sturzer
Sturzer
1 month ago

I mean, RAM is a sub-brand but people STILL call them Dodge Rams after they split off around 15 years ago. Good luck de-coupling Jeep Wagoneer, a mark that has been around since the 60s.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
1 month ago
Reply to  Sturzer

For real. I just saw a writer call it a Dodge Ram the other day—and they work in media, for Pete’s sake.

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