27 October 2009

How to Drive Like the Mad Men: Top 10 Cars of the Mad

Traverse City, Mich. (Tuesday, October 27, 2009) - Since its premiere in 2007, the popular AMC show “MAD MEN” has renewed an interest in the sophisticated lifestyle of the early 1960's. MAD MEN-inspired fashion, cocktails and themed parties have sprung up around the United States, giving fans a chance to embody the lifestyle of the sleek and stylish professionals MAD MEN follows.

For professionals in the 1960's, the ultimate sign of success was a new car. Hagerty, the country’s leading provider of collector car insurance, has put together their picks of the collector cars that the most powerful and influential professionals of the MAD MEN era would have driven.

“Collector cars are a unique way to show off your sense of style and express your personality,” said McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty. “The early ‘60s especially were an era when quality products and cutting-edge design still ruled in America. The ten cars on our list are great examples of the understated and sophisticated design style of this period, and their solid value today makes them a smart way to capture the essence of MAD MEN era.”

Below are Hagerty’s picks of “How to Drive like the MAD MEN: Top 10 Cars of the MAD MEN Era.”

The leading collectible car price guide, Hagerty’s Cars that Matter, has determined approximately what each vehicle is valued at today.

  1. 1963 Buick Riviera ($28,000-$36,100): When Cadillac decided against producing the Riviera, Buick enlisted McCann Erickson ad agency to convince GM brass that the car should be a Buick. GM styling chief Bill Mitchell drew inspiration from Rolls-Royce and Ferrari. Owners knew the value of a powerful, yet beautifully understated car with plenty of room for the mistress and weekend’s luggage. And the iconic 1963 Riviera certainly filled the bill. 

  2. 1963 Corvette Sting Ray ($61,000-$74,000): The 1963 Corvette was perhaps the last truly elegant Corvette before the muscle car era arrived with all its ducts and scoops. A man could “expect a subtle, extra measure of attention and respect” by arriving in such a potent machine.

  3. 1961-63 Ford Thunderbird ($35,000-$45,000): With the 1955 Thunderbird, Ford introduced Americans to the concept of a personal luxury car. By the early sixties, the boys from Dearborn had perfected the notion. Big power, big comfort, “suddenly, you’re in Thunderbird Country.”

  4. 1961-63 Lincoln Continental Sedan ($18,000-$24,000): Conceived just before the beginning of the design-by-committee era, Elwood Engel’s magnum opus was the last mass-produced automobile to be designed by a single man. A 1963 print ad showed the Continental, with doors open in welcome. Below, the tag-line stated: “For 1963, we have enlarged your private world and provided you with added power.”

  5. 1961 Chrysler 300G ($59,000-$67,000): The G’s styling was unabashedly 50’s. But with up to 400 horsepower available and one of the best suspension and brake packages available, the big Chrysler was more than met the eye. Though outwardly traditional, its looks concealed inner fury.

  6. 1963 Studebaker Avanti ($23,000-$31,000): Studebaker was among the last of America’s independent auto makers. Styled by a team led by famed industrial designer Raymond Loewy, the Avanti was Studebaker’s last gasp. A Hail Mary Pass of a European-style GT, the Avanti was a lasting icon of an era when the fiercely independent were heroes. While Studebaker succumbed to a creeping death, Avanti production continued into the 1980's.

  7. 1962-63 Cadillac Coupe De Ville ($14,000-$20,000): No list of great 1960's cars is complete without a Cadillac. The Coupe De Ville was a neon sign announcing the “arrival” of a top executive. Young businessmen did not want or even yearn for a new Cadillac, they aspired to one.

  8. 1962-64 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk ($27,000-$32,000): Although Studebaker went out of business in 1966, it wasn’t because their products lacked style. The GT Hawk was fast, elegant, and understated. Though larger and more staid than it’s Avanti stable mate, the Hawk was still a bold statement of independence.

  9. 1963 Buick Electra 225 ($13,000-$19,000): Though it was built by GM’s “near luxury” division, the Electra 225 carried plenty of prestige. Four vents on each front fender indicated Buick’s largest available engine and the big 401 cubic-inch V8 provided enough power to make even Cadillac owners think twice. Though not as flashy as the Cadillac, the Buick was grace and style made manifest.

  10. 1963 Ford Galaxie XL Convertible ($31,000-$36,000): If the world or even the solar system simply wasn’t big enough, there was the Galaxie. With a whopping 119” wheelbase the Galaxie convertible wasn’t a car you wanted to parallel park in Manhattan. Which is why the French invented valet parking. True story, sweetheart.

Hagerty Insurance Agency, Inc. is the leading insurance agency for collector vehicles in the world and host to the largest network of collector car owners. Hagerty offers insurance for collector cars, motorcycles and motorcycle safety equipment, tractors, automotive tools and spare parts, and even “automobilia” (any historic or collectible item linked with motor vehicles). Hagerty also offers overseas shipping/touring insurance coverage, commercial coverage and club liability coverage. For more information, call (800) 922-4050 or visit www.hagerty.com.