HomeCar CultureStudents learn to shift for themselves in concours cars

Students learn to shift for themselves in concours cars


Jed Rapoport lets a student take the wheel of his 1951 Allard K2 | Hagerty photos
Jed Rapoport lets a student take the wheel of his 1951 Allard K2 | Hagerty photos

Imagine learning how to manipulate a manual transmission in a car worth a million dollars?

But that’s what happened the morning before the third annual Arizona Concours d’Elegance when several concours participants shared their vehicles with students at the Hagerty Driving Experience.

Student driver in the Allentown Classic Motor Car's 1933 Stutz DV-32 Monte Carlo
Student driver in the Allentown Classic Motor Car’s 1933 Stutz DV-32 Monte Carlo

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime driving experience,” McKeel Hagerty, chief executive of the classic car insurance company, said in a news release. “Not only are these incredible show cars, but this event emphasizes that all vehicles are enjoyed most when they are driven.

“We owe huge thanks to the collectors who shared their cars and to the students who show such passion and excitement for collector vehicles. They are the future stewards of the collector car industry.”

The cars offered up to the student drivers were an 1898 Jeanperrin Vis-a-Vis, a 1931 Bugatti Type 40A, a 1933 Stutz DV-32 Monte Carlo and a 1951 Allard K-2.

Students were from Phoenix-area high school and college automotive programs and McPherson College’s Automotive Restoration Program.

While several hundred adults attended a series of seminars in conjunction with the concours, the students heard the history and provenance of each of the four cars, as well as each car’s special mechanical features. The car owners also shared their best-care practices.

The students then took turn driving each of the cars on a closed course.

“The 1898 Jeanperrin was the most interesting vehicle to learn to drive,” said Jorge Hernandez, 16 of Dysart High School in El Mirage, Arizona. “The transmission was very different than anything I’m used to and I had to learn to double clutch for the first time.”

The students were invited to attend the concours, where they saw those four cars and many others on display.

“Young people need to know the joy that old cars bring when behind the wheel,” said Alan Travis, owner of the Jeanperrin. “This 1898 Jeanperrin is virtually the oldest driving automobile in the world and I can have anyone, including a group of students, drive it with just a couple minutes of instruction.”

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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