36 Hours in Los Angeles

A couple months ago, I wrote a blog post about a crazy month, and it never seemed to stop! Right after that post, I was asked to fly out to Los Angeles to inspect a Ferrari 250 Lusso being serviced at GTO Engineering. Located on La Cienega, you wouldn’t expect to find a Vintage Ferrari Shop in the middle of LA, but it’s true! The work they do at this location is repair and service.

The buyer is a customer of mine, and he asked me to help him find a good Lusso. I often find there is no one looking out for the buyer. Brokers, dealers, auction houses, and even sellers, are really looking out for themselves, so it helps to have a neutral party that can help with the decision making. I get paid by the buyer so my decisions and choices are not swayed by the seller. Whenever I am put into the role of the “buyer’s advocate” I can look after the buyer’s best interest knowing whichever car we should buy, it’s the best one no matter what the seller, broker, or shop says!

I had heard a long time owner of a Lusso was thinking of selling his car through a broker, and we arranged for an inspection by GTO Engineering while it was there for some minor repair work. It seemed the Pre Purchse Inspection brought on more questions than answers, so the buyer and I decided it was best for us to go and see the car together.

I was hoping not to travel to LA by having GTO handle the inspection, but there were some bodywork changes that we really wanted to see in person. Sometimes nothing beats seeing, touching, and driving a car in person, so out to California we went!

The paint meter showed us some places on the car that would eventually need some work, and the buyer and I took turns trying to find a decent place to drive the Lusso on LA streets. We both liked the car, but were now armed with in-person information to make a reasonable offer on the car. I’m always concerned with providing value for my customers, and a two day trip to Los Angeles for me to inspect a car wasn’t cheap, but with the information we gathered and the agreement to a lower price made the trip well worth it despite my lack of sleep and rest!

I would have posted about this trip earlier, but I wanted to make sure this deal was completed before writing about it publicly. The challenge of buying a Ferrari is tough enough, but buying one out of Los Angeles with every broker, dealer, and auction scout looking for cars to sell and buy, a certain amount of discretion is needed. We have big plans for this car, so you may see it at my some sometime in the future!

I spent about 36 hours in Los Angeles, but managed to see some friends, starting with Eric Sanders who works at GTO. As a fellow mechanic, I speak to Eric every couple of weeks about cars we’re working on, or simply to complain about a particular aspect of our business. The outside world sees what we do as something extraordinary, and it often is a lot of fun, but that doesn’t mean it’s full of challenges and struggles. Eric and I can secretly commiserate about our struggles while letting the rest of the world think we have “the coolest job in the world!”

I stopped by Rex Nuegen’s shop not far from GTO Engineering to see what he was up to. Rex saved me from packing my paint meter for this trip, and I got to see what cars he was working on for Pebble Beach. Rex worked at various shops in the LA area before opening his own shop prepping cars for the Concours circuit. With mechanical work done for him like GTO, Rex focuses on the details in paint, chrome, and the thousands of details that goes into a show winning car.

I managed to squeeze in one last meal before heading to the airport for the red-eye home. Tarik and Mike are both Vintage Ferrari owners along with several other vintage cars, so you can imagine what the dinner conversation was about! I’ve spoken to these guys and emailed them many times through the years, but there is nothing better than sitting down and having a meal together. The internet may have brought us together, but it’s the in-person gatherings I cherish the most. Great to see you guys!