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Unveiling Hidden Automotive Gems

Contributed By Hagerty Drivers Foundation

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The Hagerty Drivers Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit launched in 2021 by Hagerty. With the purpose of shaping the future of car culture while celebrating our automotive past, the Hagerty Drivers Foundation provides scholarships for students in the automotive field of education, as well as students seeking formal driver education training. In addition, the Foundation continues to build a federally recognized program – the National Historic Vehicle Register – that documents and records the important history of our automotive past.

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It’s not every day that the veils of automotive mystery are lifted to reveal treasures so rare that they seem almost mythical. Yet, in an exploration of an unassuming warehouse belonging to the Detroit Historical Society, that’s exactly what happened.  A collection so unique it transcends the term ‘car storage’ was discovered, and includes some of the most influential vehicles in American automotive history.

Under this one roof, vehicles are preserved in “car capsules,” which highlight their invaluable status and the lengths to which their owners have gone to protect them from the elements of aging and time. Among these treasures, two stand out, not just for their rarity, but for their significant contributions to automotive design and culture: the Bordinat Cobra and a pre-production 1963 Ford Mustang II.

Bordinat Cobras, named after Ford’s Vice President of Design, Henry Bordinat, represent a pivotal moment in the evolution of the iconic Cobra. These vehicles were Ford’s exploration into the future of the Cobra, featuring a body crafted from experimental materials and boasting design elements that were ahead of their time. The Bordinat Cobra exists as a metaphor for the spirit that has driven the automotive industry forward.

The 1963 Ford Mustang II also stands as a symbol of what would become one of the most beloved and enduring models in automotive history. This pre-production prototype, with its handcrafted details and unique features not found in later production models, offers a glimpse into the genesis of the Mustang legend. Its existence within the warehouse is a rare opportunity to understand the meticulous care and creative energy that fueled the birth of an icon.

Visiting this collection is a pilgrimage for car enthusiasts, historians, and dreamers alike. In these capsules of time, history is not just preserved; it’s alive and exists to fuel the dreams of future generations and push the boundaries of what’s possible on the open road.