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At Work Naples Classic Cars

At Work Naples Classic Cars

FINE: Tell us about your background, where you are
from, what other cities you may have lived in, your
family, etc.?
Al: I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. I grew up
in a large Italian family. My wife and I met when I was
just 20 years old. We’ve been married for 39 years and
have two wonderful daughters who work with me in
the businesses.
FINE: What first brought you to Naples?
Al: Starting in the 90s, we would spend our Easter
vacations in Marco Island and Naples. Around the
same time, my parents also retired to Ft. Myers. Shortly
after they moved, my father was diagnosed with
lung cancer and I was coming down to Florida every
other week to be with them. The more time I spent
in SWFL the more I dreaded returning to New York.
I was burned out from my daily commute, the cold,
and the rat race. On my visits, I began to search for a
business so I could be closer to my parents and plan a
permanent move for my family. Between Marco Island
and Ft. Myers, Naples seemed like the ideal location.
I purchased the car wash on US 41 in Naples. Finally,
living and working in paradise was a reality. I often tell
others that I added 10 years to my life by moving to
Naples.
FINE: How did you first get into the car business or
classic car restoration business?
Al: All my life, I’ve always been driven by a passion
for cars. In school, I used to get detention for hiding
my Hot Rod magazines in my textbooks during class.
While other kids were riding their bikes, I was working
on cars with my father. He taught me everything about
life and restoring cars. He guided me through building
my first car, a 1932 Ford Hot Rod, in our driveway
in Brooklyn when I was just 12 years old. I went to
college to be an architect and quickly realized I wanted
to pursue what I really loved which was working on
cars. I worked many jobs as a mechanic at Pontiac,
Buick, VW, Porsche, Audi, and Chevrolet dealerships.
With my savings and a loan from both my father and
my father-in-law, I had the opportunity to buy my
own business in November 1975. I purchased a Shell
gas station and repair shop and subsequently added
a car wash to the property. In 1990s, I opened two
state of the art car washes in Long Island with detail
centers and a Jiffy Lube. When I moved to Naples, I
purchased Waterfalls Car Wash. Several years later, I
was fortunate enough to expand and buy the Auto Spa
on Pine Ridge Rd. My family still owns and operates
Auto Spa, Naples best full service car washes and
detail centers.

With my roots firmly planted in Naples, it afforded me
the time and means to pursue my true and lifelong
passion of car restoration. I began buying 1970s era
Ferrari’s and taking them apart in the garage. When I
fixed or replaced one part on the cars, I realized other
things needed attention. This began a domino effect
and before I knew it, the cars were completely apart in
my garage. I began to restore them, refused to take
short cuts in the process and did a ton of research.
The restoration process proved even more exiting
to me than the finished product. The satisfaction of
bringing a car back to life was priceless. This was
the moment I realized I could turn my passion into a
business.
FINE: With Naples Classic Car, what is the main
business model? Are you seeking out certain brands
of cars to buy, restore, and sell?
Al: Naples Classic Car specializes in classic, low
mileage, luxury and exotic vehicles for restoration and
for sale. We only purchase the finest vehicle. We are
always looking for classic and exotic cars that would
be good restoration projects or cars that people ask
us to find for them to restore. Ferrari’s and Porsches
are currently our main focus. We are selling our cars
all over the United States and globally as well. I
personally travel all over North America and Europe
looking for cars.
FINE: You buy and sell many different brands of
cars, but there is one car in particular that has a
very special story. Can you tell us about the blue
Ferrari Dino 308 GT4 that sits behind ropes in your
showroom?

Al: That is a very special car! I was
looking for Ferrari Dino 308 GT4s at
the time and found this particular one
on EBAY. I almost looked past it, but
noticed something odd about the
description. The seller listed it as a
1976 308 Dino, but my knowledge of
the cars VIN number told me it was
a 1973 Dino 308 GT4. This car is the
FIRST V8 FERRARI EVER MADE and
was used as the model prototype from
which Ferrari manufactured all of the
future Dino 308 GT4s! This was the
car that was shown at the 1973 Paris
Motor show. Scott George of The Revs
Institute (Collier Museum) actually helped confirm
the vehicles identity through their collection of
historical photos. We hope to be invited to show the
car at Pebble Beach when they allow 1973 vehicles
to be represented.
FINE: Can you tell us about the awards you have
won with this car?
Al: I have won the 26th Year Platinum Award and
Best V8 Ferrari Award at the Cavallino Classic in Palm
Beach, FL. However, I have won many other awards
with my vehicles over the years. Here is a small
list….
• Cavallino XV — Dual 1st in class platinum awards.
• Cavallino XVI — Dual 1st in class platinum awards.
• Cavallino XXII — Dual 1st in class platinum awards.
• Cavallino XXV — Best V8 award and Dual 1st in
class platinum awards.
• Cavallino XXVI — Best V8 award and Dual 1st in
class platinum awards.

FINE: Can you tell us about any of your other
special projects right now, or any unique cars that
might be coming available to purchase or to show?
Al: I just got back from California and Texas where I
purchased five classic Porsches. We were there for
three days, drove over 1000 miles, and found two
great one-owner, low mileage original cars. We are
in the process of restoring a one-owner 1971 Ferrari
365 GTB4 (Daytona). I would encourage anyone
interested to come down to my showroom and see
them in person.
FINE: Can you tell us a
little bit about your staff,
their backgrounds, and
experience?
Al: Our skilled team
of craftsmen carries
out world-class vehicle
restorations in our state
of the art facility, along
with our exclusive and
established network of
external suppliers. Our
mechanics collectively
have more than 100 years
of experience working
on the finest and most
challenging cars. We
ensure originality and
authenticity, the integrity
of our work, as well as
our clients’ investments.
Our work has won
major Concourse prizes,
accolades, and awards.
The thing that sets us
apart from everyone else
is that everyone here started out as a mechanic.
Most other places just buy and flip cars. We are
passionate about what we do and it is all about the
purity of the car itself! !
FINE: You could have this business anywhere – what
are some of the reasons that you choose to be here
in Naples? What are some of the aspects of Naples
or SW Florida that you like the most?
Al: Obviously, the weather is incredible! Also,
Naples has some of the nicest people I have ever
met in both business and social circles. I really love
downtown Naples and the beach. Naples is the
perfect place for my family and my businesses!
FINE: What are some of the your favorite restaurants
in town?
Al: I like several different restaurants in town. I
go to Cosmo’s and Pastrami Dan’s for lunch. My
favorite restaurants are Molto, Sea Salt, Barbatella,
Bar Tulia, Alberto’s and Andre’s Steak House.

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