By Jeff Walker, Chubb Collector Car Insurance
One of the best things about my job is that I get to talk about cars with other automobile enthusiasts. Most of the time I’m conversing about cars with Chubb Collector Car Insurance customers or potential customers, but I have found that I don’t have to stray far from my work cubicle to find other car geeks. They’re all around me.
This was made clear when we hosted the 2nd Annual Chubb Classic Car Show in May at our offices in Whitehouse Station, NJ. About 25 Chubb employees brought their favorite vehicles to the show. Some were old, some were relatively new, some cost a fortune and others were quite affordable. But each was as unique as the person who owned them, and each came with a cool story about how they were acquired and why, about what work was done to get the cars ready for the road, and what the car manufacturers had in mind when they made them. Here are some of those stories.
Vicki Rossetti, human resources manager for Chubb Personal Insurance, brought her recently refurbished 1979 Volkswagen bus to the show. How recently refurbished? The rebuilt motor was installed two days before the car show, and Vicki’s husband, Jeffrey Hicken, was putting the interior back together at 4:30 a.m. on the day of the show.
Vicki and Jeffrey acquired the VW bus, which had been stored for the last 12 years, in May 2012 from a woman who wanted to make sure it went to a good home. Jeffrey is president of the Central Jersey Volkswagen Society, so she knew it would be lovingly cared for. Jeffrey got the bus cleaned up and in running condition, and Vicki drove it all summer. In December, the bus was disassembled, the engine was rebuilt and it was repainted in its original two-tone colors—Mexico beige over brilliant orange.
Jeffrey, who is originally from Southern California, said he understands the strong appeal of Volkswagens. “They’re simple, utilitarian, unique and they’re an underdog,” he said. Added Vicki, “They’re approachable.” (Others obviously agree: The VW bus was the People’s Choice winner at the show.) At home, the couple also own a 1979 convertible Beetle, a 1969 hardtop sunroof Beetle, two new Beetles and three Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Driving around in her 1966 Corvette Coupe, Gwen Stinson has become accustomed to seeing flashing lights in her rearview mirror. “I’ve gotten pulled over by police officers who just want to check it out,” she said.
Gwen said the ‘Vette was in good condition when she bought it in 1987. The only major improvement was new paint. Her father was a “motorhead,” and she always wanted a classic Corvette. “It’s just the iconic American sports car,” she said.
But the Corvette is not her only classic. She and her husband also own a 1959 Corvette, a 1967 GTO and a 1933 Willy’s Coupe.
A Solid Investment
There’s no question that Eugene Lim is a car guy. A senior underwriting officer at Chubb Personal Insurance, Eugene owns several collector automobiles, and he brought three of them to the Chubb Classic Car Show: a 1965 Cobra Replica; a 2006 Ford GT; and a Porsche 993 GT2 racecar. Eugene is also a driving instructor for the Porsche Club of America, BMW/CCA, Hooked on Driving and Tire Rack Street Survival, to name a few.
So, how does Eugene view his 2006 Ford GT with its 835hp engine, which isn’t quite one of a kind, but it is one of only 541. “It’s an investment. A good place to park your money,” he said.
To protect his investment, Eugene has kept all the original parts, even though he has added some upgrades, such as a Whipple supercharger and exhaust. The car, which Eugene acquired in October 2012, is garage kept (of course) and has only has 8,100 miles on it.
This article will tell you all you’ll need to know about why Ford updated its classic GT40 and why the new version was a collectible the moment it hit the showroom floor.
So, the next time you’re at a classic car rally on Main Street in your town, stop and ask the owner about their car. I guarantee there is a story to be told and it’ll be worth hearing.
[Source: Jeff Walker; photo: Michael DiPleco]