In recognition of his many contributions to the joys of motoring, Hagerty CEO McKeel Hagerty is the recipient of the Cobra Experience Museum’s first Global Icon Award.
The Cobra Experience Museum is a 25,000-square-foot facility in Martinez, California, showcasing original Cobras, Shelby Mustangs, Daytona Coupe, GT40, King Cobra, Sunbeam Tigers and a Lotus. Unique to the museum is a 40-seat surround-sound theatre featuring an HD film about the cars and the Ford and Shelby American story.
The award presentation included a day-long celebration of Carroll Shelby, the late racer, designer and entrepreneur known for his involvement with the Cobra and Mustang. Shelby would have been 100 this year.
“I’m deeply honoured by this award, coming as it does from a museum that does so much to preserve and expand the legacy of these iconic cars and the people behind them, including the great Carroll Shelby, who was a role model of mine as a young man,” said Hagerty. ”His leadership earned America its first international sports car world championship and toppled Ferrari at Le Mans. Best of all, he nurtured young people and gave everyone opportunities to succeed.”
As part of the event, Hagerty Driving Experience, one of Hagerty’s signature Impact programs, took over the museum’s parking lot to teach young drivers the art of operating cool, older cars with manual transmissions. Launched in 2011, Hagerty Driving Experience has trained more than 4,000 young people in this skill.
Under McKeel’s leadership, Hagerty Inc. became an automotive lifestyle provider of specialty vehicle insurance, expert car valuation data and insights, live and digital car auction services, immersive events and automotive entertainment. It joined the New York Stock Exchange in 2021 as a publicly traded company under the ticker symbol HGTY.
McKeel is a lifelong fan of great cars and roads. At 13, he and his father restored a 1967 Porsche 911S, which he still owns and is the first car he drives each spring. Among his many recent motoring adventures, he has driven his Porsche to the top of Pike’s Peak, a 1903 Knox in the famed London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, a McLaren 600LT through Tennessee’s treacherous Tail of the Dragon, and in many other tours and rallies.
He also served for decades as a judge at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, which he continues to do in an honourary capacity.