By Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY
As teenagers lose interest in learning to drive -- why should they when they can just text their friends? -- the classic car industry is worried that it may run out of future customers.
After all, many among the young today may never have even ridden in a car with a stick shift and clutch, much less driven one.
So one outfit is trying to do something about it. Hagerty Insurance, which specializes in policies to protect classic cars, put on a one-day class for young drivers in Philadelphia last month to try to drum up interest.
That meant trying to teach them about something that they thought they would never encounter: stick shifts and clutches.
During the Hagerty Driving Experience, the 15- through 25-year-olds learned to operate manual transmissions on the vintage automobiles that they could take for a quick spin. Sounds like it was fun. Says Hagerty:
After 30 minutes of instruction in car basics, the participants got behind the wheel of classic cars for 15 minutes, navigating a closed course. Some of the rare vehicles were a 1930 Ford Model A, a classic 1966 Ford Mustang, a sporty 1974 Karmann Ghia and a pint-sized 1960 Austin Healey Sprite.
"As summer comes to a close, it's been great to educate kids about classic cars before they head back to school," said McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty Insurance.
Hagerty Insurance had held the clinics in other cities as well.