1954 Pontiac Chieftain Steve and Elaine from New Hampshire

Elaine was searching for a present for her husband Steve’s 58th birthday.  She couldn’t figure out the perfect present and she knew "the man didn't need another LL Bean sweatshirt." Elaine refers to Steve as her rock, her everything. Emotions got the best of her as she talked about him. He has stuck by her through it all. She has a 17 year old son with autism and her husband has been the greatest step-father she could ever imagine. He deserved the best present she could possibly find.

This vehicle belonged to Elaine's father. He changes cars like she changes socks. Two and a half months ago, her dad decided to sell it. When Elaine saw this car, she fell in love and she knew she found Steve’s present. He has been working on an old Chrysler antique boat for years and she thinks he needs a new hobby.

She had to sneak around the subject with Steve because she didn't want to spend that much money without going through him first. They are a team and they work together. She told him she had a present for him and it was a certain amount of money. She wouldn’t tell him anything other than it was a family present: It is more of an investment and it was something that they could enjoy together. Steve told her that he trusted her and gave her the 'ok'.

They drove to Maine after I spoke with her for the big reveal and birthday party at her parent’s house. Here is the email she sent me along with the photo:

“Finally, it's the day of his birthday, March 8th. My family is waiting at my Dad's house in Scarborough. We drove up from Derry. When we got off the turnpike exit, about two miles from Dad's house, I got nauseous...wondering what his reaction would be. Have I made a huge financial mistake? Would he be upset with me?


When we pulled into the driveway, I made my husband and son close their eyes.  My family came out of the house.  I walked them over to the Pontiac, prepared my camera, and said, "Surprise!!!" As Steve opened his eyes, I was so grateful for the look on his face. He LOVED the car!


Two weeks later, he has spent nearly every waking moment researching parts for the car and working on her. She has been christened Bonny Blue and is a beloved member of the Hodnett family. We have also joined the same antique auto club, Maine Obsolete Auto League, which my family belonged to when I was a child. We are really looking forward to enjoying the car together.”

Submitted by Ashley, Auto Sales & Service

I moved to Traverse City, MI almost three years ago from the little town of Ortonville, in southeast Michigan. My career at Hagerty began right after I graduated from college and I couldn’t have asked to work for a better establishment; our clients’ enthusiasm for their vehicles and our company is contagious. In my free time, I enjoy being outdoors whether it involves fishing and kayaking in the summer, or snowmobiling in these long Michigan winters. One day I hope to own a ’51 Ford F-1. There’s just something about 1950’s vehicles.