An American in an Italian Suit

September 25, 2021

I specialize in Vintage Ferraris a my shop and rarely deviate from these cars unless they are my personal cars. It works out for both me and my customers because I’m familiar with the challenges of the old Ferraris, and the customers are not paying me to learn on something I’m not familiar with, but occasionally I will make an exception. A good customer of mine owns a special 1959 Chevrolet Corvette that is one of three cars built back when these cars were new. Three Corvette Chassis were sent to Scaglietti in Italy to design and build bodies that would use the American underpinnings, and this the first version that was completed.

The car was restored several years ago, but the rear exhaust pipe had rusted out and the owner asked me if I could fix it. We agreed this was something a local muffler shop could easily fix, but with a delicate aluminum body, and the high value rarity of this car, the owner didn’t feel comfortable sending it to just any shop.

I certainly have installed exhaust systems, but they are usually complete systems made to fit a Ferrari, but repair work like this required measuring, bending, and fitting, which I would take more time. I explained this to my customer, but his comfort knowing his car was in good hands won over the cost of the extra work.

When I went to my local muffler shop to get pipes bent to match what rotted off, I learned my local shop didn’t have the right pipe for bending, and a second shop’s technician who operates their machine was out sick. After these frustrations, and finding out the exhaust tube they were using was such poor quality, I decided to call my normal exhaust supplier and have him bend the pipes in stainless and ship them to me.

I still ended up taking the pipes that came in the mail to the local muffler shop for them to expand the ends to fit onto the old exhaust system once I cut and tacked everything in place, but these extra steps allowed everything to line up perfectly.

While I was under the car, I noticed the rear axle seal was leaking. I knew the owner was going to ask me to do it since the car was already at my shop, but I would have to delve into something I only had not done on a Corvette before. As I said this, I realized my Mustang was sitting in the background, proving I work on American cars, but it was still something I had to learn. Luckily, I had still had the special brake drum tools in the back of my tool box to make taking the brake assemblies apart so I could remove the axle.

A previous shop had welded the retainer ring to the axle so I had to cut the welds to take it all apart, but eventually I got everything apart, replaced, and back together. Now I can get back to working on Ferraris again!

Replica TR

September 18, 2021

I think it was ironic that last month, I was in Monterey riding around in two real Testa Rossas, a 1958 and 1959 examples, and now I’m back in NY working on a Replica of the ’59!

I got a call from a shop in near me that had this 1959 TR replica that was built from the chassis of a 250GTE with an engine from a Series I 330GT 2+2. The conversion was done many years ago in the UK, and the body from first impressions seems very accurate. The car was running rough, and the shop taking care of the car asked me to come up and help diagnose the issues.

We found a couple bad spark plug wires and ignition points needing some phasing, so I will be addressing some of these issues for them. It’ll be interesting to see how this car compares to the real ones I rode in out in Monterey.

I’m kind of on the fence with these replicas. On one hand, who wouldn’t want a beautiful race car that celebrates Ferrari’s successes in racing history?…but on the other hand, it is a copy of the real thing. Just like in art, there is only one original, and anything else is a fake. I look at the Shelby Cobra as an example. This car is probably the most commonly replicated car with so many versions from super accurate copies to VW abominations. For those few individuals that own real Cobras, they are often asked if it’s a “real” one because it’s more common to see a fake. I feel the replica market dilutes the rarity and preciousness of the originals. In the Replica Ferrari market, most fakes use an original chassis and engine. The most common donor for this endeavor is a 250GTE or a 330GT 2+2. These cars are the cheapest of the candidates, and have many of the parts needed to make the replica. The replicas are not inexpensive, and oftentimes cost more than a good 2+2, but once a donor car is made into a replica a real Vintage Ferrari is lost forever. Today, however, there are now complete cars being scratch built, so there is no limit to the number of replicas in the future.

I can see both sides of the story, and have friends that own them, build them, sell them, and now I work on them! Let’s see if this experience changes my opinion.

Last Day In Washington State

September 12, 2021

On the last day of my trip out west before flying out of SeaTac, I wanted to stop by the Lemay Museum in Tacoma. Two good friends recently joined the organization and I wanted to check out their new digs! Tabetha met us and gave us a nice tour of the museum. Thanks Tabetha!

This purpose built Museum has a spectacular main atrium along with several lower floors to display their extensive collection. Saleen was the featured marque so the main floor had some rare cars on display.

I of course managed to find the GTE on display. The Lemay not only has a large collection of their own, but also stores and displays local cars for owners. This was a nice Vintage owned by a someone in the Seattle area.

I asked Kerry Chesbro to meet us at the LeMay since it’s been years since we’ve seen each other in person. I’m sure you know, Kerry runs the Registry, and has been doing his website for as long as mine has been around. We went from the new guys in the Vintage Ferrari world, to the long haulers, working on 20 years of friendship. As much as we talk every month or so, it was nice to see Kerry in person and catch up.

From the Lemay, we followed Kerry over to Puyallup, WA (I still don’t exactly know how to pronounce this!) to see Dennison International where his PF Coupe is getting restored. I’ve communicated with the guys at Dennison for years, and have always wanted to see Butch’s shop, and he was so generous with his time to meet us on a Sunday afternoon.

Kerry’s Ferrari has a sunroof installed. We’re not sure when it was installed, but it’s a rare sight on a PF Coupe.

Kerry’s engine had a problem with a head stud which caused it to come apart again. His plan was to take the car to Monterey, but there will always be next year!

Although Dennison International will work on anything, they seem to have an abundance of Ferraris even if the space is shared with a couple of Lamborghinis!

Thanks Butch and Kerry for meeting us!

What lies Underneath the Paint: Ferrari 330 Color Change

September 11, 2021

I stopped by the Paddock in CT to check on a couple of 330GTs getting prepped for paint. You may remember this one I had at my shop a couple months ago when I shot a before video.

This car looked pretty good and presented well enough for the owner to buy the car. When it arrived at my shop, I could see there were some signs that there could be some body issues underneath. Seeing what lies underneath paint is very difficult, and even with a paint meter, it doesn’t take much plastic filler to not register on a paint meter. Without a reading, filler can be 1/8 of an inch thick or 2 inches thick, the meter can’t tell.

We decided to send the car out for media blasting to see what was actually under the paint and we were surprised how bad it was. Areas of accident damage was crudely patched and smoothed out with lots of plastic filler.

Some of the patches showed just plain laziness. I can’t imagine the amount of filler that was needed to cover this type of bodywork!

Even patches the previous shop spent some time making up was still substandard with holes for water to get into and rust out.

There are many reasons why this kind of work is done on a car. Most times, it is simply a matter of money. Either the owner doesn’t want to pay for the work to do it properly, or the shop doing the work is offering to do the work for a price point, but there is a third reason. Some shops just simply can’t do this kind of work! Massaging a reproduction fender to fit a car is far different from fabricating compound curves from flat pieces of sheet metal. Ferrari fenders and body panels are not available, so any sheet metal work has to be fabricated from scratch. A small patch can be pounded out on a sand bag with a relative shape, but a whole other level of skill is required to make a lower valence like this, especially one that does not require several pounds of plastic filler to smooth it out and match the rest of the car.

Here’s the video of the car after we removed the paint. The current owner is committed to getting the body work done right, and we will have the photos and video to prove it!

It’s been brought to my attention that many of you may not know I have more videos on YouTube. If you’re reading this blog, then there is a good possibility that you’ve been on this journey with me for many years and look to this blog knowing that I try to post something Ferrari related at least once a week. I still try very hard to keep this schedule, but have recently noticed people have been looking to other sources for their entertainment, and blogs have suffered. I’m not trying to be the next media sensation, but my goal is to attract like minded Vintage Ferrari Enthusiasts to share information and our love for the cars. If I’m not getting to as many people as I can, then my work in any media may not be as effective. I also recognize the video format is great for describing some of the things that don’t translate as well in still photos. This body work video is a prime example. I think the video shows the scope of the body damage far better than the stills.

At the beginning of this year, I made a promise to myself that I would try to create a new video and try to upload it to YouTube once a week. They’re not long, but represent what kind of work I have at my shop and thoughts I have with some of the cars I have. I occasionally post links on this blog, but sometimes the timing of my blog posts do not coincide with the release of a new video so the best thing is to check my channel at: Even better subscribe to my channel so you’ll get notifications when I post a new video. Just like the popularity of this blog, I believe the channel will grow organically if people like what they see. YouTube wants people to like, comment, and subscribe to raise traffic to the channels, and I certainly agree, so do what you can to spread the word. I’ve been creating content for over two decades, and I thrive on positive response, so I hope you like what you see. Thanks!

West Coast Trip towards Sea-Tac.

September 5, 2021

After Monterey, I met my kid at SFO to continue up the west coast for a week of college tours. Some of you may have met Ellie a couple of years ago the last time I was in Monterey , but she’s now a senior and looking to go to college next year, so I was put to the task of looking at some schools on the West Coast. Although my wife and I would love to see her stay on the East Coast, as parents, part of our job is to let our kid grow up and make their own decisions while trying not to be overbearing with guidance! Ellie wants to study Botany, with an interest in Ag/Sci, and there were some schools to see out on the west coast. I’m not one to ask for help, but if you have any input in the field or have advice for me, or Ellie, let me know!

Ellie would have loved to have bummed around with me during the week in Monterey, but the consolation was a drive up the west coast while looking at some colleges. Like most tourists, we pulled over each evening to see the sun set because for us East Coasters, it’s a rare for us to see the sun so near the ocean at a reasonable time!

We had a lot of ground to cover with the colleges on our list. Berkeley, UCDavis, Humbolt State, and OSU were spread over four days of traveling, but we also managed to jump on the coast when we could.

I couldn’t do any trip without squeezing in a couple of car related excursions, and Salem had the perfect place to visit: The Brothers Collection.

I met Bart Colsen, one of the brothers that is the Namesake of this museum in Salem, at Amelia Island when Charley Hutton asked if I could help show his 275GTB alloy car for the show in June. After the show in Florida, Bart invited me to see his newly opened Museum in Salem, Oregon, so a plan was hatched!

Bart and his brother started collecting several years ago and amassed a huge collection of cars. The count in the museum itself numbers over 350, and that’s not including in an adjacent warehouse! Bart is the Ferrari fan of the two brothers, and has an impressive collection.

In his quest of good cars, he also has a nice collection of memorabilia from personal effects of Enzo Ferrari to the ceramic tiles manufactured in Modena for the Ferrari factory.

The museum was massive with sections housing impressive numbers of real cars. This was the Cobra collection, all real cars with documented CSX numbers.

The Corvette section had almost every model and type all the way up to the modern era. I’m sure there was a C8 Corvette somewhere!

With so many cars in this collection, it was easy to take rare cars for granted. Both Bugatti Veyron and Chiron were on display.

Between the two brothers, their interests covered all makes and models, and the museum benefits from the variety. Bart was just as excited about the Tucker in his museum as he was in the Porsche Carrera GT!

Do you like Oldsmobiles? They got ’em!

An American collection of cars would not be complete without an area for Mustangs. Everything from Shelby GT350s to Boss 429s were on display.

The Brothers also worked really hard at collecting very rare Pontiacs and bought them one after another through the years. I think they had 6 of the 8 1969 Trans Am convertibles ever produced!

How could we forget Mopars! There was certainly no lack of Chrysler, Plymouth, and Dodge products from the muscle car era.

One very neat display Bart Designed himself was a collection of every color of AAR Cuda ever produced loaded onto in a three tier rack. From across the hall, it looked like a life sized “Hot Wheels” collection! He had a couple place holders in the rack because he was missing a couple of colors, but he’s still looking!

After touring the museum, Bart took me to the other side off the property to see the warehouse where they stored the overflow and newly acquired cars. This Ford Pinto had super low mileage and sported a color combination I’ve never seen. For better or for worse, these cars represented a part of Automotive history, and I had the chance to explain to Ellie its significance and problem with their fuel tanks!

Only the 70s could they have put an interior so groovy in a car!

The car Bart wanted to show me was this 330 America SN 5107 because he was excited to hear I owned one. His car was being listed on Bring a Trailer any day now, but I had a chance to look it over.

It started and ran, but honestly needed a full restoration. I hope she goes to a good home and I hope to keep track of this car where ever she ends up.

I can’t thank Bart Colsen enough for spending all the time with me and Ellie. He and his brother created this museum to share their passion for cars and collecting without any outside help or consulting, and yet it has the feel of a well curated collection. They opened their doors just as the global Pandemic hit in 2020, and immediately had to close their doors to the public. They managed to invite private parties from Car Clubs in the region to allow access to the cars, and it’s been working out well. After having the Pacific Northwest Ferrari Club in for their first tour, there has been a steady stream of car clubs coming in for visits. Contact the Brothers Collection to book a visit! Thanks Bart!

Moving Ferrari Engine Parts

September 4, 2021

Before I headed out for California in August, I strapped down the Ferrari 330 engine block to the back of my truck and headed to my machine shop.

After delivering all the parts, from the block, to the heads and crankshaft, the machine shop will check all the dimensions and we will decide what will need refurbishing and what will need replacing. This will give me some time to go back to may shop and work on another part of this car!

Monterey 2021 Part VI

August 30, 2021

I arrived super early to help uncover some cars that were showing on the lawn at Casa Ferrari.

Just outside the entrance to Pebble Beach, Ferrari invited a selection of cars that were made by Ferrari from the 50s, all the way to the modern cars. They were parked in age order, surrounding a group of new Monza SP1 and SP2 cars celebrating the sports racers from the 50s. These cars were special order cars sold to special customers that showed the enthusiasm that Ferrari liked to see, and they rewarded them with the opportunity to spend even more money!

The 1958 and 1959 Testa Rossas that we were driving earlier in the week were invited to show at Casa Ferrari, so I benefited from this invitation by sharing in the food and drink Ferrari provided with access to Casa Ferrari. Thank you Ferrari!

One of the benefits of attending the Concours at Pebble Beach are the displays the manufacturers bring to show at Monterey. I found this Ford display interesting comparing the original GT-40 to the modern Ford GT that it inspired. Look how large the newer Ford is to the original!

I made it out to the Ferrari section out on the main lawn at Pebble beach to see my friends Greg and Parker. Greg won third in his class which is very impressive for a world stage!

I was excited to see the “Triposte” Ferrari, a 365 Prototype Ferrari once owned by Luigi Chinetti Jr. This car is just back from a full restoration, but I remember over a dozen years ago when this car was at Francois’ shop getting a tune up!

The McLaren F1 may have three seats, but this car was one of the first to do it in the 60s!

I won’t name names, but anyone who has shown a car has been caught in a compromising position trying to rectify a problem with a show car. Good luck guys!

Francois and his wife Pam were also hanging out at Casa Ferrari, so I managed to get a picture of us. I can’t express the love I have for these two people and how much they changed my life in the world of Vintage Ferraris!

I met Jim Glikenhaus several years ago on the commuter plane between LA and Monterey during Monterey week. Before I had a chance to tell him how much I was entertained by his posts about his cars, he told me how much he liked reading my website! We’ve been friends ever since. While he was showing a Pebble, his Hyper car was setting fastest times at testing for Le Mans!

I finally got a chance to catch up with my friend Jeff with the yellow Monza. Being the only yellow one with the center stripe, I kept spotting the car all over the Monterey Peninsula, but no Jeff. We finally got to spend some time around the car on Sunday, the last day of car week. Jeff was heading back East, but had one concern. The cars were not allowed to leave the lawn until later in the afternoon, but his flight out was before the cars were allowed to exit. I offered to drive the car to the transporter parking lot after juggling around my schedule. He handed me the keys to his $1.7 million dollar car and headed to the airport!

The Ferrari people herded all the cars parked on the lawn in front of Casa Ferrari and we exited the show field. It must have been quite a sight to see over 25 of these cars leaving together.

I caught some confused looks from friends I knew who spotted me behind the wheel of this yellow Monza SP2. At least they were nice enough to snap a picture to document the occasion!

I realized after delivering the SP2 to the transporter lot, I would still need a ride back to my car. Since my friend with the Testa Rossa was leaving Casa Ferrari, I called Steve for a my ride back to the rental car! I also took the opportunity for a impromptu photo shoot with the two open sports racers in the same hue. Where else but Monterey can you call up a ride and real 1958 TR shows up. That’s one hell of an upgrade in an Uber XL!

If you haven’t seen the video from an earlier post, here’s the ride back from the transporter lot.

Both TRs were tucked away as I got ready to head out to the Bay Area and eventually home. It was a fantastic week with some memories that will last quite a long time. Of all the images I took during the week, I think this will be the one that will always remind me to Pebble Beach 2021!

Monterey 2021 Part V

August 29, 2021

I was excited to go to Concorso in Seaside CA just north of Monterey. It’s been two years since this show was last held, and I was looking forward to seeing some Italian cars and some old friends.

I arrived super early before the crowds so everything was completely covered dew.

I grabbed the chance to take some photographs.

Some people were able to load their cars on the lawn the day before, so their covers were still on.

A familiar face was sitting on the lawn waiting for her owner to come back. It was Tom Mingle’s 275GTB/4 that he’s owned for 40 years. She shows all the marks of a well used car and history with Tom. Some people would love to restore this car to brand new, but I like the patina this car wears. Obliterating all the history would be discounting everything this car and Tom shared through the years!

The judges were in full force looking over the cars here for the show.

I spent some time with Tom Martinez going over his 330GTC and the recent work he had done on the car. He’s an active member to my forum and contributes his experience to the Vintage Ferrari community. It’s always fun to catch up in person as we’ve all been relegated to virtual connections for over two years!

A very interesting car was found across the lawn in a section for modified cars. From far away, it looked like a familiar NART Spyder Francois looks after in CT, the original one seen in “The Thomas Crown Affair,” and won its class at 12 hours at Sebring driven by Denise McCluggage and Pinky Rollo, but I knew this was was back in CT with the owner’s collection.

Under the hood of this imposter was something very impressive, a 550 Maranello running gear!

The engineering that went into this car was outstanding, and I heard it was completely fabricated from scratch. No 275s were supposedly harmed to make this recreation and yet it seemed correct in shape, size and proportions. The center tunnel was a little higher to fit the torque tube of the Maranello drivetrain, but the execution was top notch.

I even peeked underneath to see if I could spot a hint of it’s old chassis, but I found a fabricated rear section as well, so I would have to believe what I heard.

After getting home and looking my pictures of this car, there was something strangely familiar and yet something not right about this car. Besides the fact that it was a “tribute car” to the original NART Spyder, there was something in the shape that didn’t sit right with me, then I realized what it was. The grill opening is more similar to that of an E-type than a 275GTB!

Here’s the nose of the real 4-cam 275GTB with a long nose. The opening is curved in an arc following the curve of the bumpers. When you look at the yellow car, it is flatter as you would see on an E-type. Also, take a look at the marker lights. They’re sitting differently. A lot of work went into this car, and yet there are subtle differences that are not quite right.

If there was one picture that spoke “Ferrari Fan” at Concorso that would be this one. The woman in red would be a close second.

Monterey 2021 Part IV

Walking into Laguana Seca on Friday morning of Monterey week, I was met with a line of Ferrari Monzas, the two or one seat sports racers that Ferrari are building in limited numbers and made available to special customers. These cars were seen parading around the Peninsula all week as Ferrari shuttled them to some of the events like Quail, the Historic Races, and Pebble Beach. I spotted this yellow one belonging to a customer of mine.

It felt good to be back at the track after a two year hiatus due to the Pandemic. I felt attendance was down due to the lack of spectators from Europe, the UK, and other countries that were banned from coming into the US without a quarantine. I also felt some people may have stayed home domestically just to be safe.

It’s aways good to hear a Vintage Ferrari at full tick echoing off the hill at the Corkscrew!

One of the joys of going to Monterey during car week is to see the special cars that people bring to showcase their work. I found this car in the paddock that caught my attention. It started life as an original Mini, but is now a rear engine, rear drive, Japanese powered custom car built in Vancover Canada called a Spectre Type 10.

Singer did this type of high level customization to Porsche 911s, and these guys took this concept and applied their talents to a Mini.

The level of design, fabrication, and execution was impressive.

Monterey 2021 Part III

August 28, 2021

Friday of Monterey week started with the Werks Reunion at the Blackhorse Golf Course in Seaside CA, just up highway one from Monterey.

It’s a free event for spectators and it brings out hundreds of Porsche fans and owners. If you like Porsches, this is like going to heaven. In certain parts of the country Porsches are not that common, but Californians love them, so you can imagine how many turn up for a car show! Almost every model and variation was represented. I myself started as a Porschephile, so it was easy for me to slip back into the Porsche lingo, and blend in.

Even the car park was filled with hundreds of 911. After a couple of hours of immersion, I was ready to look at something else!

What I chose to look at was Ferrari parts! T Rutlands opened a branch of their parts business in Monterey right by the airport next door to John Bagioli’s shop Forza Motors. I stopped in to say hi to both shops and take a peek at what they were up to.

T Rutlands is constantly acquiring inventory from other shops and retiring technicians, so their used parts is always changing.

Just seeing the parts laid out reminded me of several customer’s cars looking for particular parts.

If I were next door like John’s shop, I would be over here every day picking through their inventory!

If you need anything, call Dave at T Rutlands.