7 October 2014

Our Cars: Norm Lee’s 1985 Mercedes 380SL Coupe

Norm Lee grew up in Detroit, so it seemed only natural that he would become a car guy. It wasn’t quite that simple, however. Since no one in Norm’s family loved cars like he did, he didn’t have a mentor to share tools with. Still, Norm dreamed of working in the auto industry, and eventually he did just that, first for General Motors and then Ford. After marrying a northern Michigan native, Norm accepted a position at Hagerty, which is headquartered in his wife’s hometown of Traverse City. The Lees have three daughters, age 6, 9 and 11, and the girls love seeing the classic cars on display in Hagerty’s lobby.

Name: Norm Lee

Position at Hagerty: VP of Business Development and National Accounts

Years at Hagerty: 5½

Vehicle1985 Mercedes 380SL Roadster

Why did you choose a 1985 Mercedes 380SL Roadster? It was the car I dreamed of owning when I was 17. About a year ago I was looking at some classic cars with some friends, and when I saw the Mercedes I said, “That’s my dream car.” The guy who owned it said, “Make me an offer.” We agreed on a price and I bought it.

Repairs and Modifications: I just had the engine rebuilt a couple months ago, along with new brakes, a sway bar and timing chain. It sounds and runs great!

Greatest and Worst Moments: The girls love the Mercedes. Prior to the last school year ending, they each wanted to be driven to school by themselves with the convertible top down. So I granted each of them their wish, even though the temperature was only 50 degrees.

So far I’ve put more money into fixing it and making it right than what I paid for it – but I still love it, especially on warm, sunny days.

Favorite Drive: I love driving on the Old Mission Peninsula (on Lake Michigan in Traverse City, Mich.). It’s absolutely beautiful out there.

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