My name is Adam Martin and I’m excited to share my behind the garage experiences as I travel the globe insuring some of the rarest cars in the world. Along the way I get to drive and explore the wonderlands where these cars and motorcycles live. Join me as I lift the veil on valuable, and sometimes misunderstood, insurance coverages and how they may apply to you.
Like many enthusiasts, I was born into a family that enjoyed classic cars. My father used to take me for joy rides around town in his old CJ5 Jeep. We drove around with no doors and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. When I was 10 we traded up for a roman red with white coves 1961 Chevrolet Corvette. From an early age I was fascinated with anything mechanical. My father taught me the love of working with my hands and the appreciation of fine craftsmanship.
With the hook set I knew I wanted cars to be a part of my life. While in high school I took day classes at the local technical college in automotive machining. I saved enough money from working at the local pizza joint to buy my first car at 16. She’s a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro also known as Lucy. After high school, I skinned my teeth on oil changes and tune-ups at a local independent service station. I enjoyed the work, but I loved working on older cars. About a year later a friend told me about McPherson College in Kansas. My life forever changed after my parents and I took a 10 hour road trip from Minnesota to McPherson, Kansas to visit the school. I was in awe of the expansive restoration facility - complete with designated labs for all disciplines, such as disassembly, machining, upholstery, fabricating, body and paint. What sealed the deal for me was turning the last corner into the final assembly lab and seeing a fully restored granada gold 1967 Chevrolet Camaro. I enrolled that fall and began my restoration career.
While at McPherson I focused on a new internship experience every summer. As a recipient of the Fred S. Duesenberg Memorial Scholarship sponsored by Jay Leno, I had the privilege to intern with the foremost Duesenberg restorer, Randy Ema of Orange, CA. Another internship that has come full circle for me was with the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, CA. I learned they had never had an intern, so I drafted and proposed a program and soon after became their first. I spent that summer preparing cars for exhibits, taking them to shows and even taught myself how to ride a motorcycle in the vault in my spare time! Years later when I lived in Los Angeles, I had an office at the Petersen. Today, I’m a member of and sit on the Executive Committee of the Checkered Flag 200 Club, which supports the museum.
Also while at McPherson, I was President of the C.A.R.S. club and helped organize the first annual C.A.R.S. Show on campus. This year the C.A.R.S. club will host their 20th annual Car & Motorcycle Show! As a student I met some of the program’s National Advisory Board members including McKeel Hagerty of Hagerty Collector Car Insurance. McKeel always took time to meet with students and swap car stories. The summer following graduation I crossed paths with Mckeel at the Meadowbrook Concours in Detroit where he offered me an opportunity to work for Hagerty in their Private Client Services department. I accepted and began the next chapter of my automotive career.
At Hagerty I specialized in insurance for clients with large complex collections as well as representing Hagerty at automotive events around the world. I also helped lead the team that started the Hagerty Institute, which oversaw all of Hagerty’s collector vehicle data and intelligence. Our most widely known output was the Hagerty Price Guide and VIN Decoder for classic cars. I eventually rose to be their youngest Vice President at the time and shared 10 wonderful years with Hagerty.
2015 was a milestone year for me as I parted ways with Hagerty and opened my agency, Martin International. Shortly thereafter, I also met my future wife, Anne, at Monterey Car Week of all places! Martin International focuses on private client insurance and risk management for collectors, restorers, dealers and other automotive businesses. I still proudly represent Hagerty among other carriers specific to our client’s needs.
Anne and I love to travel - you’re likely to find us at many automotive events throughout the year, from concours and auctions to rallies and racetracks and all in between! I hope you enjoyed my little backstory and I look forward to sharing more with you through Garage Style Magazine.