Hagerty acquires California Mille sports car rally

Founding family will continue with sports car rally under new ownership program

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California Mille
Cars launch on the annual 1,000-mile rally through northern California | California Mille photos

Hagerty has acquired ownership of the acclaimed California Mille for its portfolio of collector car events, with the historic road rally joining the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance and other programs owned by  the Michigan-based and family-owned insurance, valuation and automotive-lifestyle brand.

The California Mille traces to the early 1980s when northern California car dealer and collector Martin Swig and automotive journalist John Lamm participated in the Mille Miglia rally in Italy in Swig’s 1955 Alfa Romeo 1900 Zagato.

Nine years later, Swig launched his own version of the vintage sports car rally and it became the benchmark for such events in the US.  

Swig died in 2012 and his sons David and Howard took over management of the 1,000-mile sports car rally. The Swig family will continue to be part of the event management team.

Martin Swig

“Our father founded the Mille as a way of celebrating cars and the community they attract,” David Swig was quoted in the Hagerty announcement. “There is no other steward whose appreciation of and vision for the Mille are as directly in line with that of our father and our family than Hagerty. We look forward to continuing our participation in this very special event and helping to maintain and preserve its legacy.”

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The California Mille is open only to vehicles that either ran or could have run in one of the original Mille Miglia series in Italy, run from 1927-1958 except during war years. California Mille entry is limited to 65 cars each year.

“We share the belief that cars are about more than just getting from Point A to Point B, they’re about connection and a sense of camaraderie,” said McKeel Hagerty, chief executive of his family owned company. 

“We are thrilled to welcome the event and its participants to our family and will always ensure the California Mille stays true to its roots of ‘important cars, little roads, and wonderful friends’.”

 The 2021 California Mille is scheduled for April 25-29.

The rally is the latest collector car-related acquisition by Hagerty, joining the Greenwich concours, Hagerty Drivers Club, Hagerty DriveShare rentals, Hagerty Garage + Social vehicle storage, among others. 

During the coronavirus pandemic, Hagerty also offered grants to smaller car-related businesses to help keep them afloat.

For more information, visit the Hagerty website.

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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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