A New Survivor Car!
A New Survivor Car!
I’m proud to announce the beginning of a new project. A 1961 250GTE that has been parked since 1967! After 2 1/2 years of learning about this car, she was finally delivered to the shop for resurrection!
It all started from a tip from my friend Michael Bradley in Washington state in the Fall of 2009. Michael told me about Carlo Durante, the owner of Alfa of Tacoma, and a GTE he has owned since the late 60s. Carlo bought this car in Italy, and brought it back to Tacoma. One day while driving the car in Washington, some bad fuel clogged up a carburetor and let a couple cylinders run lean. Unfortunately, the lean carburetor burned a hole in one of the pistons. Carlo limped the car home, parked the car, and she had not been moved since.
The engine was removed, but with building a successful business, and the distractions of customer’s cars, Carlo never got back to fixing his 250GTE. Carlo confided in Michael that he was thinking of selling the car, but did not want to see his pride and joy become a parts car for a SWB or a California Spyder replica. Carlo shared my views that a GTE is a spectacular car, and worth restoring and preserving. Michael showed Carlo my website, and suggested he speak with me.
After a couple of phone calls, Carlo and I established a good rapport, but he was still on the fence about selling. Carlo agreed that I would be the first person he would call if he considered selling the car, but for now he would hold on. I continued to call Carlo every few months to see if he had a change of heart, but was alway respectful of his decision. As we talked, I learned there were other people also calling Carlo about the car. Two individuals “that shall not be named” called Carlo often and insisted on him selling the car to them, but Carlo knew their intentions and kept promising me I was still first in line.
As Carlo and I talked about the car, I realized I needed to see this car in person to make sure it was worth chasing. One man’s description might not be another man’s vision, so in 2010, I decided to see the car. I finally arranged to fly to Tacoma Washington to see car. The car was stored in the back of a rental property in suburban Seattle, and within five minutes of seeing the car, I knew it was special. Now it was my job to find a buyer and work out an agreeable price!
As Carlo dropped me off at the airport, he said, “Look, even if I don’t sell you the car, we at least created a new friendship!”
As much as I really wanted to get Carlo’s car, I always respected his wishes. I understood the emotional connection we have with our cars and when it comes time to sell, it can be traumatizing. I was glad Carlo didn’t feel I was only concerned about his car.
I put the word out on my website about what I found, and was looking for the right individual to embark on this adventure. I wanted someone with my sensibilities and commitment to saving and preserving this car on the next big chapter of tomyang.net. I’ve been looking for years for a car to showcase on my website like my 330 America, and all the pieces were falling into place.
This was the first time I publicly announced my knowledge of this car, but there was still a great level of secrecy. With two of the biggest Ferrari brokers right behind me, I was very worried about them buying the car out from under me. I told only my closest friends about the car, and tried my best not divulge more information than was necessary. Within two days of seeing the car, I had an interested customer.
Even though had a customer interested in buying the car, it was very difficult to get Carlo to meet us. Whenever he had a bad day at the shop, he would change his mind about selling the car and I would have to wait for a better day. Finally, my patience paid off, and Carlo agreed to see us. I immediately booked a flight to Tacoma and met my customer at the airport.
The three of us spent a day together and my customer recognized immediately what a great find this car was, now it was a matter of price. We found a Wendy’s fast food restaurant, and negotiated a price in the privacy of the indoor playground!
I flew back to NY knowing this deal was still not completed. Carlo gave us his word, but with interested brokers and the Ferrari sharks circling, I was not getting any sleep until I had possession of the car! After several phone calls and arrangements made to pull the car out of her 40 year parking space, we finally made progress! Carlo moved the car to his shop and installed the engine back in the car for transcontinental shipping. I called for our shipper to pick the car up in Tacoma and bring her out to Francois’ shop.
On the last day of March, right before a pending snowstorm, the transporter unloaded 2259 and I breathed a sigh of relief. 2-1/2 years passed since Michael told me about the car, and I finally got the car! My customer is completely on board with my sensibilities in preserving all the original details on this car while bringing her back to life after over 40 years of sleep. We’re both looking forward to sharing this adventure with everyone who visits this website, so get ready for the next adventure!
I want to thank everyone who was involved with this project, especially Michael, Kerry, and Mark in the Seattle/Tacoma area I couldn’t have done it without you guys for your support and discretion!
Reminder: If you have a Ferrari related project, car, or idea you’d like to explore, I’d love to talk to you. I can also help if you’re thinking of buying or selling. This website represents what I love to do, share, and how I make a living, so if you’d like to do something together, let me know. It all begins with an e-mail!
Save the Date! Fourth Annual Radcliffe/Tomyang.net Spring Car Show on Saturday May 7th 2011. Richard Garre and I are looking forward to planning this show and more details will follow here and the Radcliffe Motorcar Company Website, but if you want to mark you calendar, the date to remember is May 7th, 2011!
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