As 2023 draws to a close, and we take our foot off the gas to indulge in the annual festivities, it’s a good time to reflect on the year in motoring.
We’ve covered the biggest classic car stories, the most important new vehicles launches, events, road trips and so much more. If it matters to the car community, it matters to Hagerty and, through our stories and videos, our events and our products we will always do our best to support you.
We thank you for your support in return and hope you continue to join us on this journey into 2024 and beyond. In the meantime, let’s take a look back at 2023…
2023 started in spectacular style with the arrival of the Porsche 911 Dakar – a car we never thought we’d see coming straight from the factory.
We announced a carbon-offset scheme to allow classic car owners to reduce the environmental impact of their hobby and offered tips on how to apply for road tax an MOT exemption for your pride and joy.
We spent some time with Richard Hammond, talking cars, bikes, and motoring mishaps.
Unfortunately, fellow petrolhead Jay Leno also had a motorcycle accident in January, but made a speedy recovery. The original Hoonigan Ken Block was not so lucky and passed away after a snowmobile crash. RIP you tyre-smoking legend.
Looking forward, we met the world’s youngest car magazine editor, hoping to inspire the next generation of enthusiasts.
In February we took a look at the coolest car show – The Ice at St Moritz in Switzerland, looked back at 70 years of MG badge engineering and drove the only Jaguar XJ13 in existence. In the future we might look back just as fondly at the Toyota GR86 which could well be the last of its kind.
March was full of surprises. In a major upset Top Gear announced that it was ceasing production, after presenter Freddie Flintoff had an accident, but there was good news too. AC announced it was reinventing the Cobra for the 21st Century, while a small firm in Wales started selling ‘new’ Metro 6R4s and we found out that a Morgan Plus 4 makes mincemeat of mountains. Two other shocks came in the form of an electric Porsche 911 and the Ferrari Purosangue – and we liked them both.
April marked 70 years of the Mercedes-Benz SL Pagoda which we profiled and reviewed. It was also 50 years since Caterham first took on the rights to build Colin Chapman’s Lotus Seven, while a new future-facing roadster was announced by MG. We expanded Hagerty’s offering with an online store, offering a wide variety of cool car merchandise, as well.
MG celebrated its centenary so we looked back at the company’s greatest hits. We also discovered that King Charles III has an Aston Martin that runs on wine and cheese, but that the new DB12 will need more conventional fuel and that Porsche added some extra oomph to the 718 in the form of the RS Spyder.
After 44 years the Aston Martin Bulldog finally achieved its 200-mph dream, while Nik Berg had a fantasy come true when he drove a Lamborghini Miura for the first time as part of Lamborghini’s 60th anniversary celebrations. Nik also drove the restomod KAM Manufaktur 912c – a Porsche from an alternative universe.
The Prodrive P25 showed how even cars from the 1990s are now ripe for the restomod treatment, Aston Martin marked 110 years with the Valour and Lotus unveiled its most powerful four-cylinder model ever. Caterham showed a different approach, revealing an electric concept car that looks set for production.
Hagerty’s annual Power List was announced, tracking the impact that celebrity-ownership or movie stardom has on classic car values. We also announced the opening of our Clubhouse at Bicester Heritage. If you didn’t make it along in 2023, we’d love to see you in 2024.
It was the Festival of the Unexceptional, of course, and thousands of fans of mundane motors gathered to honour the ordinary. Next year will be the tenth anniversary of this amazing event and it’s set to be bigger and better than ever, so get your tickets early!
Hagerty’s other great gathering was Radwood where aficionados of all things automotive from the 80s and 90s get together. If you love pastel colours, side-strakes and massive mobile phones then come along in 2024! It was also the more traditional Goodwood Revival where classic and vintage race cars get driven as intended and while the weather still held we scooted off to Snowdonia to discover the best of British folly on four, three and two wheels.
75 years ago Citroën’s 2CV made its debut – is now the time to buy, we wondered? We also looked back at the often-maligned Triumph Stag, and got our hands on another British classic, the MGB, recently given a restomod treatment by Frontline Cars. Mazda hinted a future for the rotary engine, and we took a look at sustainable fuels which could offer an alternative to electrification.
November was an expensive month! A Ferrari 250 GTO became the second most expensive car to sell at auction when it fetched £42 million, we piloted a £3.5m Bugatti Chiron Super Sport, a half-million pound Helm Jaguar E-Type, a £200,000 EV-swapped Mustang and compared the BMW 2002 Turbo with the latest M4 CSL. It’s a good job we’ve got insurance!
Aside from the festivities, for many of us car fans the biggest event of December is the release of Michael Mann’s Ferrari and we got the inside track from actor-racer Patrick Dempsey. We looked back on 30 years of the Aston Martin DB7 and put the case for the MGTF as a future classic.
So that was 2023. What were your highlights of the year in motoring and what would like to see more of in 2024? Let us know in the comments.