2013 August 14
From The Daily Summer: Classic Car Club's Road Runners
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(NEW YORK) Need a sweet set of wheels in a pinch to impress your jaded neighbors? Michael Prichinello and Zac Moseley of Classic Car Club Manhattan have got you covered. Their luxury fleet has all the Ferraris, Maseratis, and Bentleys you could ever dream of borrowing. The Daily Summer hops in for a ride...
BY PAIGE REDDINGER
How did you guys get into cars?
Michael: When I was nine-years-old my parents took me on a road trip from San Francisco to Mexico. We went to Carmel for the Concours d’Elegance and every car on the street was a supercar. It literally melted my mind.
Zac: My dad was a greaser and would drag race with his buddies. He had a Corvette that he smashed up and rebuilt, but, by the time he had me, he had to sell it and buy a station wagon to haul the family around. But he took us to car shows to lust after the rides we couldn’t have, so I always grew up loving cars.
How did the two of you meet?
Zac: The first Car Club started in London in 1995. We had both heard about it separately and wanted to do something similar in New York. They had hired Mike to do PR because they were planning on coming to New York and they ended up introducing us.
Michael: Our third partner is Phil Kavanagh, who started the club with his brother in London. I showed up to a meeting with Phil with a Moleskine book with no lines on the paper, and Zac had the same book with graph paper. I think that’s a good analogy for our partnership. Phil was smart enough to pick up on how similar we were, but how different we were in talents. I don’t even know how to use Excel! It’s a classic case of right brain, left brain.
How does the club work?
Zac: The basic membership is $165 a month, and then you need a points package. There are several different subscription levels. The more points you buy, the more time you have in the cars. The packages start at $4,500 and go up to $13,000. Most members are probably spending about $10,000 a year, on average.
Michael: And for that you go on our insurance policy, and you have access to all of the cars. Plus, between happy hours here, and trips to Europe and race days and everything else, we produce about 60 events a year. All of our members get 24-hour access to the place.
Do you have a lot of members looking for flashy cars to drive out to the Hamptons?
Michael: A lot of our members are out there, for sure. Zac tried to get away once, and he went to Sunset Beach for the weekend, but when he pulled up it was literally a Classic Car Club fleet out front!
Zac: Yeah, it was hardly a getaway. All our members were there.
Michael: Ya know, you go out to the Hamptons to be seen. Otherwise, you’d have a house upstate! And, hey, it’s nice to be seen in a vintage Rolls Royce, which is where we come in.
What’s the most popular car in the fleet?
Michael: Usually, the guys will want to take something that’s racy and cool. A loud exhaust might be something a woman wouldn’t want. But they’re all out there. If I were going to the Hamptons I’d pick a modern convertible, like the Maserati or the Bentley GTC. Or, I’d leave Thursday night at midnight and I’d wait for all of the other cars to disappear, and then I’d grab that Ford GT40 [pictured, left].
Zac: Yeah, that’s the way to do it. Plus, if you pick the Maserati, there may be 12 other Maseratis out there that weekend. Take the GT40 and no one’s ever seen anything like that in their life!
What’s the most expensive car in your fleet?
Michael: The McClaren and the 548 are just shy of $300,000.
Which gives the most bang for the buck?
Michael: The Fiat 500. We have some cheap cars, because the club isn’t about being ostentatious.
Zac: Actually, the most bang for the buck is the golf cart.
The golf cart?
Zac: We have a Garia 2+2. It’s a low-speed vehicle. It only goes 25 MPH, but you can drive it in the city.
Michael: We’d show it to you, but one of the members is out in it right now. It’s a really fun way to get around town. But the biggest value really comes from the classics, like the Shelby Cobra. When we started in 2005, we had seven cars, all of which we’ve long since gotten rid of, except for the Cobra, because it’s incredibly beautiful.
Zac: At the end of the day, we’re selling our members an experience. Sure, driving a supercar is an experience, but once you’ve driven one or two of them, the experience is pretty similar, whereas with the classic cars, it’s different for every single car. You can take out a 1960’s Mustang convertible and go rolling around Soho and the way people look at you, and the way you see the city, is a completely unique experience that you’ll remember.
What’s the craziest request you’ve ever had from a member?
Zac: Because we handle the complex logistics of operating a car club in Manhattan, they figure we know how to do everything.
Michael: We’ve arranged seaplanes for members who didn’t have time to drive to the Hamptons, and helped several of them become competitive racecar drivers. It’s a lot more than just, “I need to be at this restaurant by 6. What do you have available?” We have a member who was dating his wife-to-be and wanted to pick her up in a car for their dinner at Lever House. It was a rainy night, and he wanted to take the Shelby, which is not a car you want to drive in the rain, but he didn’t care. I knew it was a bad idea, but he was on an important date and insisted. The Shelby doesn’t have gaskets to keep the water out, so it sat outside and the ignition got soaked and he couldn’t start it. We told him to take her for a nightcap, and in ten minutes we showed up with a Ferrari 360, parked it out front, and gave the keys to the doorman. Then Zac and I pushed the Cobra down the street in the rain to a garage. You never want to leave a corpse at the scene of the crime!
How many female members do you have?
Zac: About 300 in New York.
Michael: Women are much more fun. They’ll look at a car and be like, “I want to go to the Hamptons in that this weekend.” Guys will be like…
Zac: ...crunching the numbers. We find that women end up enjoying the club more, actually. They’ll blow off work, grab a convertible and speed off to Woodbury Commons with their friends.
Michael: We’ve also never had a woman call and say that they smashed a car up.
How many wrecked cars have you had?
Zac: Not many, considering we have 40 cars on the road just about every weekend. Recently, one of our Ferraris got t-boned in a parking lot. It was light damage, and on any other car you could just buff it out, but on a Ferrari it cost $40,000. The member was driving through a mall parking lot and some guy blew a stop sign.
Michael: Imagine getting out of your car and being like, “That’s the car that I had to hit?” It’s a $300,000 vehicle.
Zac: The good news is, no one was hurt, and it wasn’t the member’s fault so he came back the following week and drove something else. If he owned that car, he’d still be crying!
What’s next for you two?
Michael: The plan is to open up in Miami and L.A. We’re also re-launching our Upper East Side club on September 15th, with Duncan Quinn. You’ll be able to go get a custom suit, drink a cocktail, and take a car for a spin. Maybe not in that order!
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