Volume 18 • Issue 29 | December 2 - 8, 2005

Notebook

Luxurious speeding in fantasy cars

By Wickham Boyle

There is a sexy, exhilarating sensation driving a fabulous car. Come on, we all know that there is a direct link from gear shift to human drive shaft; from sleek classic car to sultry partnering.

If you don’t know this, all you have to do is make a visit to the new Classic Car Club on Hudson St. tucked into a side street that slips into the Holland Tunnel.

I visited the club on the most perfect Indian summer day imaginable and could only consider driving a convertible. I spied the 1965 Shelby Cobra, and since it is my 17-year-old son’s favorite car, I thought I’d swing by his high school and pick him up, and perhaps raise my cool quotient and his simultaneously. The club director, Michael Prichinello, was a most relaxed host, he gave me some basic pointers, and trusted that I wasn’t lying when I told him that in fact I had raced classics at Limerock in my youth and had owned an Austin Healy 3000 and an XKE.

I roared up Hudson St. and the thrill was palpable. Was I enthralled? Of course, but everyone I passed from young hunky men to women with strollers waved, gave me thumbs up and I felt positively young again. I revved the engine outside of school and my son hopped into the car, carefully avoiding the super hot pipes that line the bottom of the car. We zoomed down to the highway and I let her out screaming between gears, hitting 85 as we passed the Seaport. The ships bobbed on the East River and we careened into the tunnel where I down shifted for the fabulous effect of the big vibration inside the tube.

We passed our neighbors, who all wondered how we had snagged this miracle, and eased back into the show room. We were smiles ear to ear. As if that weren’t enough Prichinello rolled down the top on the Rolls Corniche and Henry swung up Hudson St. We returned to have Prichinello take us out on a hair raising romp on the West Side Highway with him driving the 1967 Chevelle Super Sport that popped and jumped and roared at any driver crazy enough to get near us.

Most of us will never have the capital, garage space and insurance puissance to possess 20 classic beauties the way the Classic Car Club can, but a few well-heeled individuals or corporations will, I predict, flock to join.

Prichinello, himself a super-smart, classy, gear-head, says, “our membership lets you take cars out for days so you can take the 1989 Rolls Royce Corniche and drive to California and back, a road trip fit for a king.”

The idea for the club began in England 10 years ago and became popular in the spawning ground for great classics. Prichinello, who runs a successful P.R. company flacking for the likes of Comcast, Bausch and Lomb and “Harry Potter,” created a joint venture with the British Club and partner Zac Mosely, a designer for Jean Georges. This group opened the club across the pond in Tribeca on July 20. They already have 78 members who ring up and set aside any of the 20 vehicles available at 250 Hudson St., including the Lotus; 308 Ferrari; 65 Shelby Cobra; Rolls Royce Cornice; 1988 Porsche 911; 2005 BMW M3; 2005 Ford GT, a $180,000 super car; 68 Lincoln Continental with suicide doors or the muscle cars Camaro, Chevelle or Mustang.

Prichinello also has a juicy list of cars he lusts after including a 2006 Aston Martin V8. And to care for them all there is a mechanic named Michael Gallegos who has owned nearly every car in the club and has a nearly supernatural relationship with them. Gallegos’ ability to trouble shoot and fix everything from engine to body to perfection is a great asset to the club. Every car comes with a full list of instructions for the idiosyncratic marvels; I needed to refer to it to find the directional signals on my jaunt.

After piloting the Cobra and squiring my son around town, he pronounced, “This is the best story you ever had to write.”


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