Auto Buffs Showcase Their Offbeat Rides

NORTH PALM BEACH – The four auto enthusiasts sat together on folding chairs, ribbing each other about their cars and occasionally fielding questions about their cool rides.

The crowd flowing into Cars and Coffee Palm Beach, used to a steady diet of high-end exotics and super-charged muscle cars, noticed they were offering something different.

 A rust-encrusted 1950 Ford COE (cab over engine), a 1937 Chevrolet Coupe,  a 1927 red Ford T-Bucket and an imposing white 1955 Chevrolet sedan delivery were creating a buzz that set them apart.

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Tony Magri poses with his 1950 COE, a truck he built with parts from eight vehicles.

 “It is what it is. I don’t want to fix it,” said a grinning Tony Magri, when asked about his rusty farm truck with the words, “Wilbur Pleasant, Pearl City, ILL” on the drivers side door. “Give me your car, $6,000 and 60 years and I’ll give you back this truck.”

 The way he sees it, his custom rust bucket is seasoned to perfection.

 ‘Knuckleheads Car Club’  Composed of Fun-Loving Auto Enthusiasts

Meet the Knuckleheads Car Club, an unofficial group of fun-loving car buffs who tinker on vintage rides, poke fun at each other and revel in the thrill of rebuilding. Florida Fine Cars spoke with the group to find out more.

 Lantana resident Art Rauch’s hearse-like white 1955 Chevrolet sedan delivery was pure eye candy for the car lover who favors something different. The 16-foot long station wagon — built like a tank — is one of three registered in Florida, two of which belong to Rauch.

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Art Rauch’s 1955 Chevrolet sedan delivery is often mistaken for a hearse.

“The frame is stock all the way to the back. The car has been back-halfed,” Rauch explained. “It brings the frame in narrower so you can put wider tires on it.”

Admirers posed for pictures with the car, nodding in admiration.

At first glance, Magri’s reconfigured tractor trailer appeared to be a vintage farm truck. But it’s really a surprising patchwork of auto parts.

Magri, a former truck driver who owns Tony’s 561 Garage in West Palm Beach, bought the rusty old semi truck from a farmer who used it until 2010 to transport a corn shucker. Magri converted the cab to a pickup truck and rebuilt everything else. The end product is the result of about 400 hours of work, he said.

When he started, the hood of the truck was about 10 feet high. The truck is built on a Dodge dually chassis, with a Dodge transmission and a Dodge engine.

“It’s a combination of eight vehicles. The cab is Ford, it has customized 1957 Chevy bumpers, the turn signals are from a Harley Davidson and the hood emblem is from a 1950 Buick,” Magri said. “The visor is off a 1949 Pontiac, the tail lights are from a 1959 Cadillac and it’s all built on a 1972 Mini Winnie motorhome chassis.”

What’s not to like?

“I LOVE it,” said passerby Mike Hartsock, of Hobe Sound. “It’s a classic.”

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Tony Nardullo’s 1937 Chevrolet Coupe was originally used as a delivery vehicle.

 Nearby, Royal Palm Beach resident Tom Nardullo’s sleek black 1937 Chevrolet Coupe was turning heads.

 The 1950s hot rod has been modified and sports an engine with three carburetors and gleaming chrome air filter covers. The car has a single bench seat.

“It was originally used to deliver things.They were called a ‘business coupe.’ They would put things in the trunk,” Nardullo said.

The gas mileage?  Terrible, and it leaks oil constantly.

“It’s messy to keep in the garage,” Nardullo confessed. His wife hates it.

Johnny Tortorella’s 1927 red Ford T Bucket is a showstopper but you wouldn’t know it by talking to Magri. Magri refers to the car as a “dune buggy” to get a rise out of his friend.

 Tortorella hits back by lobbing insults at Magri’s rusty old truck.

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This 1927 Ford T Bucket was built from a kit. No, it’s NOT a dune buggy!

“We make fun of each other’s cars all the time,” Tortorella chuckled.

The T Bucket is a replica of a Model T Ford that was “chopped up” to look like it is today. The car has a 300 HP motor and weighs just 1,500 pounds so it’s pretty quick.

There’s no door so you have to jump in. Tortorella built it for about $20,000 from a kit. It’s equipped with a a 350 HP Chevrolet motor.

Florida Fine Cars Simplifies Used Car Shopping 

Florida Fine Cars offers more than 1,500 quality used cars priced thousands below retail at its four locations combined. Florida Fine Cars dealerships are conveniently located in West Palm Beach just north of Palm Beach International Airport and just off Florida’s Turnpike, and in MargateHollywood and Miami.

Used car shopping has never been so easy. Stop by Florida Fine Cars today and test drive the car of your dreams.

#knuckleheads #hotrodsrule #rustbuckets

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Revolve: A Luxury Car Membership That Makes It Easy to Drive in Style

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Revolve co-owner Asoka Veeravagu stands next to a BMW i8, one of many luxury cars available to Revolve members.

NORTH PALM BEACH – Ever wish you could take a BMW i8 for a spin without coughing up a whopping $150,000 to own this classy ride?

And what if you see a car you like better and wish you’d shopped around more before signing on the dotted line?

The answer is “Revolve,” a luxury automotive subscription service and the brainchild of former GM engineering director Asoka Veeravagu, the company’s co-founder and CEO. The service allows members to drive the luxury car of their dreams for a few months and then switch it out for something else.FFC Logo New Car

Try out a Tesla and if it turns out to be too high tech, swap it out for an Aston Martin, Cadillac, Corvette, Maserati, Mercedes, Audi or Jaguar. Just pick your ride and hit the road.

Florida Fine Cars caught up with the company’s founders at a recent Cars and Coffee car meet to find out more.

How the Idea of a Car Membership Evolved

While at GM, Veeravagu’s employee ID and executive status gave him had access to a warehouse of high-end cars for personal driving. The idea for Revolve was born out of that business experience, he said.

“Why doesn’t this exist for consumers in the real world?” Veeravagu wondered. So he and co-owner Scott Blando made it happen. They opened the business in May 2017 and have been going strong ever since.

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Asoka Veeravagu, co-owner of Revolve, at a recent Cars and Coffee car meet in North Palm Beach.

Their customers are people who love to drive but may not want to own the same luxury vehicle for three years, Veeravagu said.

“Revolve provides flexibility and variety where it’s never existed in the auto world if you’re a car lover and you appreciate fine cars,” he added.

Don’t expect to find a Volkswagen Beetle or a Mazda M3 at Revolve.

Cars Available Via Revolve Membership Pack a Punch

“All of our cars are what we call ‘Wow’ cars. All are special and all evoke emotion,” Veeravagu said. “The BMW i8 is gorgeous and it looks like a spaceship just landed. But not everyone wants to own it for three years.”

A marketing brochure describes Revolve as a “revolutionary driving experience” and a “frictionless automotive service.”

“With our premium vehicle subscription service, you don’t choose one luxury vehicle, you can drive them all,” the brochure says.

Membership Means Hassle-Free Driving

Vascular surgeon David Feldbaum of Plantation has been a Revolve member since the day it opened and loves it.

He owns several exotic cars but doesn’t like to drive them regularly. He has three young children and he likes large luxury cars for daily use. So joining Revolve made sense.

“The reason why I like this company is it’s hassle free. I basically pay one fee and they deliver the cars to me. They pick it up if it needs any maintenance. They will swap it out for another car. It is really nice to know they will meet me where ever I am,” Feldbaum said. “They also include the insurance so I don’t have to worry about contacting my insurance company every month about changing vehicles.”

Feldbaum also likes the variety of changing vehicles every two months. So far he’s driven an Audi RS7, a Mercedes s550, a Range Rover and a Porsche Panamera.

“I look at these cars as carefree driving of luxury car on a daily basis. I work in it, I take it back and forth to the gym and the grocery store. It’s also a nice car to take the family out to dinner,” Feldbaum said.

How a Revolve Membership Works

  • Joining Revolve requires a $500 membership fee
  • Participation costs $2,300 a month
  • Vehicles can be switched every two to three months
  • Drivers can put up to 2,000 miles per month on a car
  • Insurance is covered
  • Membership can be cancelled at any time

“There’s no commitment,” explained Marketing and Communications manager Melissa Daniels.

“A lot of our members are surgeons, doctors, CEOs or have their own business.”

The most common question, Daniels said, is how much does it cost?

“We explain to them that the car is not for sale. It’s a vehicle membership program,” Daniels said

Revolve’s website describes the membership service as a four-step process:

  1. View the collection and prioritize your favorite vehicles
  2. Car is delivered to your home
  3. Drive it for a few months like it is your own
  4. Return the car to Revolve and get another

Shop Florida Fine Cars at Four Convenient Locations

Florida Fine Cars offers more than 1,400 quality used cars for sale priced thousands below retail at its four locations combined. Florida Fine Cars dealerships are conveniently located in West Palm Beach, just north of Palm Beach International Airport, and in HollywoodMiami and Margate. Stop by and drive home your dream car today!

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Florida Fine Cars Finds Some Cool Rides at Monthly Car Meet Up

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Cars & Coffee Palm Beach offers a huge array of cool cars to check out.

PALM BEACH GARDENS – You never know who you might meet or what you might see at Cars & Coffee Palm Beach. The enormously popular car meet up at the Palm Beach Outlets Mall attracts high-end car collectors, hobbyists and lots of regular folks who love to look at cool rides.

Florida Fine Cars caught up with a few of those car enthusiasts during one of the recent monthly events. Here’s what we found!
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Meet car buff Larry Jones, a retired boat captain who loves to show off his custom 1950 Mercury Coupe, a sleek black custom head-turner painted with ferocious flames that lick at the hood. Jones acquired the car about eight years ago partially customized and has continued to do more work. Talking about it makes him smile.

“It has a Chevrolet engine, a big block Chevrolet. It has a lot of power. It’s got probably 500 horsepower,” Jones said proudly. The stunning paint job was created by Crazy Horse Painting in Waxhaw, North Carolina. It’s called “live fire” and it’s meant to stop traffic.

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Car buff Larry Jones pops the top on his customized 1950 Mercury Coupe at Cars & Coffee Palm Beach.

“I’ve chopped the top, I’ve channeled the car (brought the floor up 4-inches) and it rides on air bags,” Jones explained. “It has air bags on all four corners. It’s a better suspension and then you lower it and it looks cooler.”

The car sports a chrome grill from a ’56 Chevy, and the headlights are “frenched,” or recessed into the body of the car.

Nearby, Jeff Bye parked his yellow 1966 Ford F-100 pickup truck, no ordinary ride by any account! He rebuilt the lowrider with a 2008 Crown Victoria front end, a 5-speed transmission from a 1998 5.0 liter Ford Mustang and installed buttons on each side that shoot out fire.

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Jeff Bye stands by his 1966 Ford F-100 that he customized himself.

“Some people think you should restore it the way it was,” said Bye, who rebuilds Porsches and Ferraris for a living. “It’s either like love or hate. I’ve had people tell me I’ve destroyed the truck.”

You’ll always know when Bye’s truck is on its way: it doesn’t have a muffler or pipes and the noise is really, really loud.

But that’s all part of the fun.

According to John Zeilinga – one of the founders of Cars & Coffee –  the popular monthly car meet up usually attracts about 1,400 cars car owners during the slow months. During the Season, you might find as many as 2,500 cars on display and 20,000 spectators in attendance.

“We have everything from old Model T’s to brand new Lamborghinis, hot rods, race cars and hand-built garage cars,” said Zeilinga, a firefighter/EMT for Plantation. “We get people who just want to learn about cars and people who have been working on cars for 40 years.

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Brandon Gasparini sits atop his mud-spattered 1997 Jeep Cherokee X5.

Brandon Gasparini is one of those car buffs who works on cars. His Jeep Cherokee is a marvel with the rugged-looking, textured spatter that distinguishes from all others. But Gasparini didn’t pay a penny for the look. It’s mud, not paint, and it draws crowds every time he wheels into Cars & Coffee to show it off.

“Best paint job around,” yelled a passerby, who gave a thumbs up. “We like this one the best!”

Gasparini’s 1997 model Jeep Cherokee X5 has nearly 300,000 miles on the odometer and is  spattered with so much mud that many spectators mistake it for a custom paint job until some of the texture rubs off on their fingers.

“I haven’t washed it in a month,” said Gasparini who works for Jeep. “It runs like a dream.”

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The mud coating on Gasparini’s Jeep gives it a custom look that many mistake for paint.

The mud buggy has removable doors, a 4.5-inch lift and 33-inch tires.
Gasparini takes his Jeep mudding in some secret holes in Port St. Lucie that he’s been digging since he was in high school.

“It takes hours to wash it which is why I don’t,” he chuckled.

Across the way, Joe Zahradnik was showing off the brand new 2017 Shelby Baja Raptor, one of only 50 to be manufactured and the first of four to be sold to the public: the first went to the Shelby Museum in Las Vegas, the second to the Ford Motor Co. and the third to an undisclosed business executive.

Crowds of truck lovers were “oohing: and “aahing” at the huge blue beast, built with a redesigned front bumper, special suspension work and custom LED lighting that can be angled as you drive.

“Amazing! When can I take it for a test drive,” cooed one admirer as he peered inside.

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2017 Shelby Baja Raptor was a crowd pleaser at a recent Cars & Coffee. The vehicle is #4 of 50 and the first being offered for sale to the public.

Sticker price? $115,000.

And at Cars & Coffee, there’s a likely buyer somewhere with the means to take it home.

At the back of the lot, Said Sauder fielded questions about his fire-engine 1969 modelred T-1 Porsche transporter, which has the cab of an old Volkswagen bus and the rear of a car transporter.

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Interior of 1969 T-1 Porsche Transporter.

“Back in the ’60s and ’70s Porsche had to take their cars to races and that was the way to go in style,” Sauder explained. But Sauder’s transporter has a longer bed – he stretched by seven feet.

Back in the day, the vehicle was used to transport a Porsche 550 Spider to races and back, he said.

It’s quirky mix of Volkwagen charm and longbed truck drew admirers all day long.

“This is the only one of its kind in the U.S.,” Sauder said. “There’s two in Germany.  It’s supposed to have a Porsche Spider on it but it’s not ready. Three people told me it’s the best car in the show!”

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Said Sauder poses with his 1969 T-1 Porsche Transporter.

Florida Fine Cars Makes Used Car Shopping Easy

Florida Fine Cars offers nearly 1,000 quality used cars priced thousands below retail at its three locations combined. Florida Fine Cars dealerships are conveniently located in West Palm Beach just north of Palm Beach International Airport and just off Florida’s Turnpike, and in Hollywood and Miami. 

Used car shopping has never been so easy. Stop by Florida Fine Cars today and test drive the car of your dreams.

#floridafinecars #raptor #jeep #ford #mercury #carsandcoffee #porsche #volkswagen

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Photographers Make Florida Fine Cars Picture Perfect!

NewFCCLogoEver wonder how those detailed photographs of the interior and exterior of every car for sale at Florida Fine Cars make it to the web site?

Meet Abantu Marshall and his team of talented car photographers, who spend eight hours a day, every day, carefully photographing the Florida Fine Cars used car inventory. The detailed pictures of everything a prospective buyer would want to see are available at the click of a mouse because of them.

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Florida Fine Cars photography director Abantu Marshall oversees the photography of all the cars on the company website.

“Photographing cars is hard work,” said Marshall, as he scanned through a series of interior car shots that had just been uploaded to the computer where he reviews them. “A simple car like a Nissan Altima that doesn’t have that many special features may take 20 minutes to shoot 30 pictures. But a fully-loaded Mercedes E350 might take 30 minutes and 60 pictures.”

That’s a lot of pictures.

Consider this: photographers at Florida Fine Cars’ Miami store usually photograph around 25 cars a day. If they shoot about 40 photos per car, that’s 1,000 pictures a day, which then have to be uploaded to the Florida Fine Cars website.

“That’s a lot of pictures,” Marshall conceded. “I enjoy it because I learn something new every day whether it is something about lighting or maybe about the car itself.”

Marshall’s photographers typically take eight exterior shots including the front, the back, both sides and every corner. Interior shots include doors, seats, steering wheels, controls, odometer, radio and seat controls.

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Florida Fine Cars Miami photo team, left to right: Alfred Butler, Larry Jackson, Darrel Laidley, Maiko Alcidas , Willis McKnight, Abantu Marshall (supervisor)

 

It can be tedious and shots sometimes have to be redone if they are not taken on the correct angle or if they are blurry or poorly lit.

“If a shot has to be redone, it has to be redone. When it comes to pictures, we are looking for perfection,” Marshall said.

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Florida Fine Cars photo director Abantu Marshall reviews photos that were uploaded to the company website.

And in the case of used car buying, a picture truly is worth a 1,000 words.

On this day, photographer Willis McKnight is busy shooting a Nissan Altima. Although his subject never moves, it’s not always easy getting the right shot at the right angle. But when he gets it just perfect, he knows HIS photos truly contribute to the sale.

“When a customer comes in, they already know what they want. They have already seen the details up close (by looking at the online photos),” McKnight said. “We help bring them in!”

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Photographer Kito Alvin prepares a car for a photography session.

While McKnight photographs the Nissan, Marshall and Darrel Laidley are busy picking fuzzy dandelion seeds off the jet black ragtop of a hot white 2015 used Chevrolet convertible Camaro. The seeds apparently floated in a breeze.

 

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Florida Fine Cars photographer Willis McKnight preps a used car for a photo shoot in Miami.

“You never know who may have a big screen and these imperfections would show up,” said Marshall, as he examined the car’s convertible top for any fuzzy seeds. “It would look terrible.”

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Photographers Lee Casas and Johnson Calvaire  take thousands of car photos every week for the Florida Fine Cars website.

As Marshall and his crew photograph the used car inventory, they keep detailed notes on any rubs, scrapes or scratches. They mark down the imperfections and send their notes to management. Repairs are made, if deemed essential, before the cars go up for sale.

The turntable is the diciest part of their job.

To make it easier to photograph each car from different angles, Florida Fine Cars installed rotating turntables that can be operated with hand controls. The system allows the photographers to quickly and easily move the vehicle they are shooting to a different angle with the push of a button.

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Florida Fine Cars Miami photographer Darrel Laidley takes a detail shot of the interior of a car.

But a prolonged squeeze of the hand control can send the car spinning around too quickly. It’s accidentally happened in the past and the results were damaging.

“It could turn at an inappropriate time,” McKnight acknowledged. “It gets touchy.”

Maria Rivera and Marisela Briceno take most of the photos at Florida Fine Cars West Palm Beach.
The pair are all smiles when it comes to talking about their work.

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Florida Fine Cars West Palm Beach photographers Maria Rivera (left) and Marisela Briceno pose with the cameras they use to get their job done.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Rivera said.

“We love it,” Briceno added.

McKnight said his work is rewarding.

“You feel proud. You feel good. Especially when you have a customer come in and say ‘I love the photos,’” McKnight said.

Florida Fine Cars offers nearly 1,500 quality used cars for sale priced thousands below retail at its three locations combined. Florida Fine Cars dealerships are conveniently located in West Palm Beach near Palm Beach International Airport and just off Florida’s Turnpike in Hollywood and Miami

#floridafinecars #usedcars #carshopping #carinfo #mercedes #nissan #chevrolet

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