Feb. 14, 2021

VINNY RUSSO- Supercar restorer. Lamborghini, Maserati, Spyker, Hennessey- former exec

"for me, It's all about the cars and the people that trust me with them."

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0:41 Vinny ran events at duPont Registry

1:56 buy a used car from Jeff Sterns, you get amazing resale! :)

2:25 Jeff: Well, my divorce was a little less amicable little, but quoting the great Tosh.0, "my ex took half my money. So I had to marry a girl half her age!"


6:16 Vinny's dad was a was a mechanic for General Motors brands

7:44 Vinny's 1ft car: 79 Oldsmobile omega

0:10:15 Vinny meets Tom duPont and Steve Chapman at Amelia Island Concour and a career path change...
0:11:58 Vinny got to know his next team from Spyker.

12:55 Vinny compliments Victor Muller, CEO of Spyker and talks about the car and it's background and history.

12:56 on the open linkage in the Spyker
17:13 Vinny meets the Lamborghini people
19:30 Vinny talks about how he made calls as a warranty administrator on what to cover (warranty in effect or not).

21:33 should you "upgrade" or customize your car? ...SEMA

26:22 V 12. world, it could easily be a $100,000 repair.

Jeff 26:25 these trade ins I used to get, that would have the 10 to 20 to 30 to 40 grand worth of upgrades. And, of course, the customer, God bless their soul would be proud of that, and expect more for their car because they've really improved it. And we don't have to reduce its value to put it back to original.

31:28 ("upgrades") Not only are you probably not going to get a dime back. Yeah. But you might even reduce the value.... it doesn't mean that you don't have good taste.

31:28You know, my personal 65 Cadillac coupe is completely different than what I'm surrounded by at work, you know, we're, you know, every day, but it's but to me that, if I want to feel that way, behind the wheel, there is no other vehicle that I can find that's going to make me feel that way.


38:11 Jeff's Dad -would restore model A's. Oh, wow. And the guy Model A George had in his garage, the mohair interior stuff and could paint and how to start it with the spark advance on the steering wheel and all of that business. And my dad would retail these cars restored for $1295. He felt guilty because he was making $400 a car guy and he could barely look anyone in the eye. Because he was making $100-200 a car on a $599 traded in Chevelle.

41:00 Vinny goes to Maserati
43:21 Vinny left Maserati due to health issues and last year went to Hennessey and then to WE ARE CURATED.

43:50 Vinny saw 212 MPH as a passenger...

44:24 Vinny: "you hear 200 miles an hour, you know, and it's funny being car guys, you know, what we watch the police chases on TV, and they're like, they reach speeds up to 100 miles an hour. It's like I did that on my way to work."

44:50 200 miles an hour is a football field every second.

48:33 "The $10k Viper. Road track did an article on it"

52:57 Vinny: We Are Curated. We specialize in vintage supercars

54:05 Gemballa Avalanch 930 Turbo p
54:40 we sold these cars, there wasn't anywhere to get them serviced.

55:30 yellow Mura here in the shop right now that the the gentleman flew to us from Mexico.
56:09 FOR AUDIO- here is a piece that you might want to switch to YouTube for.

57:04 blue 74 Ferrari Daytona - only one ever made in that color. 550 Barchetta....it actually doesn't even have a top, you drive it completely open top. This one is a is a manual and it's actually serial number 01 out of the series of 448 they ever made.

57:52 Diablo VT 6.0 carbon body....Merci coupe. But it's manual transmission, very low miles...purple Diablo, it's a very unique color. ...Ferrari F40 which is the the pinnacle in the early 90s Ferrari supercar....White Countach... Mersi logo that's directly below me here is the only one ever painted in this color. It's a non metallic orange, also manual transmission. '59 Mercedes 300 Sl.

1:00 "how far up can a restoration run?" millions of dollars
1:01:33 I was working on a lotus a 180... It was one of the last Lotus Elise is a factory racecar and the fuel pump went out...shared the same fuel pump components as a Chevy Blazer.

1:04:08 I manage the service restoration department so I handled the whole the whole back of house

1:05:45 Bugatti Eb 110. Countach. Jaguar XJ 220s, they held the top speed for a short while of 217 miles an hour.

1:09:12 it's a labor of love, and I was lucky enough to find a path that led me to be able to be around this stuff without having to just come out of pocket for everything.


Vinny Russo - AUDIO

Thu, 1/14 12:19PM • 1:11:41


car, customer, people, parts, buy, ran, spiker, dealer, lamborghini, lambo, manufacturers, exhaust, dupont registry, boca, warranty, couple, brand, talking, years, miles


Vinny Russo, Jeff Sterns



Jeff Sterns connected through cars, if they're bigwigs, we'll have him on the show and yes, we'll talk about cars and everything else. Here he is now, Jeff Sterns


Jeff Sterns 00:21

I'm with Vinnie Russo at curated with an amazing background now Vinnie, you and I met 18 or so


Vinny Russo 00:30

years ago it's been it's been at least that long. I was running


Jeff Sterns 00:34

the rolls Bentley Lotus Cadillac Land Rover deal and Yep, you are running your part of events at DuPont


Vinny Russo 00:44

Yep. So your your name came up actually the other day so my, my ex wife I if you remember when you were BMW for brief send


Jeff Sterns 00:55

a brief years.


Vinny Russo 00:56

Yeah, just a brief stint. Yeah, I bought that four door Wrangler off of you. And my wife's had it the entire time we got divorced. She kept it you know it was you know, an easy quick divorce. Nothing, nothing, you know, ugly about it but she we had that 10 years. And she just got rid of it just traded it in for a Tesla Model three. But she put 100 and we bought it from you with 3800 miles on it. This story if you remember was that they that was one of your customers a good customer of yours was towing it behind his RV long and he had to get a two door so he traded it in and it was already like all perfect and she drove it she had it we had like I said we had 10 years had dogs in it and all nine yards and the the that she still got huge money for it on trade. It was super happy with it but 125,000 miles on it, kept it maintained it was perfectly fine. had no issues with it, and then it was all good.


Jeff Sterns 01:53

Well let the record state folks, you buy a used car from Jeff Sterns, you get amazing resale. Yeah. Well, I'm happy to hear that that was all amicable. I mean, divorce can be rough. That's for sure.


Vinny Russo 02:06

Yeah, no, we're still friends. Like I said, we just I just saw her the other day. She dropped us in Christmas presents with a dog and that and she's she got her new Tesla, but she was sad to see the Jeep go, but it was a no issue for for 10 years. We're very happy with it. So yeah, so I've actually not only are we friends, I've actually done business with you. And we're still friends. So there you go.


Jeff Sterns  02:25

Well, my divorce was a little less amicable little, but the great Tosh point oh, my ex took half my money. So I had to marry a girl half her age.


Vinny Russo 02:38

Whoo. I like that. I wish I would have heard that before I started dating the current rolling with No, I'm just kidding. Oh,


Jeff Sterns 02:45

no, no, this is this is gonna be public. So speaking of Jeeps, and you know, of course, this is gonna be all about you earlier today. I was having a conversation with Derrick bell. Cool. And he talked about some of the really cool cars. He has a house over in Chichester, you know near Goodwood. Yeah, London, and he lives here in Boca. And so he's talking. I'm asking him what's in his garage? And I say I know your birthday, your late 70s. So is it a DeVille or a town car? And he's like, well, that would be last on my list. This is what what do you have? And he said, Well, I've got this 550 marinello. I've got this 928 forgiving 924 GTS of only 25. Me 350 horsepower. 924 not like the 920 fours my buddies had in high school that you could run faster acceleration. I think those were like 150 horsepower. So he was talking about this cars. This is no What do you have? Like what's your driver? I mean, we don't need to know all about Derek bell. The racecar driver like Derek Bell the guy? Yeah, yeah, he was well over here. There's no reason to have a car you can't drive. I said you don't have a car in Florida, Illinois. I have cars. It's just not worth having a car. He can't or what are they? So his wife's in the makhan So okay, but his daily driver? What reminded me This is a 20 year old turquoise colored Wrangler soft top.


Vinny Russo 04:18

I would never if I pull it an extra light and saw that would never expect to look over and see Derek bell on that.


Jeff Sterns 04:24

It's got to be the only one running around Boca.


Vinny Russo 04:27

Oh my God, that's hilarious. I just saw him at the Palm Beach concor a couple weeks ago.


Jeff Sterns 04:34

Well, God willing with this COVID there'll be more events. I know that he's really missing the social aspect and working. So Alright, we'll get off Boca but I have to give my Boca stick What did the waiter say to the two women having lunch in Boca? Ladies is anything all right?


Vinny Russo 04:55

It's about true. I'm new to Miami. So I can definitely I can I can understand That joke is absolutely true here. Yes. So,


Jeff Sterns 05:04

folks, I'm Jeff Sterns, I'm here with Vinnie Russo and there's a reason that I contacted Vinny and we were working on this podcast about a year ago and Vinnie was one of the few people I call because he's got one of the most unbelievable resumes in the world and he's so unbelievably into cars now. Forgive me I'm going to cheat a little I'm going to look at some notes here so you are with Clear Channel for a long Yeah, that's why you You sound so good even on your


Vinny Russo 05:38

I was I was approached as a marketing director I did a handful of air shifts like in the case of an emergency and produced a couple of shows like on the weekends here and there but I was never to be a DJ at that level you have to it has to be something you want to do in your heart and I did it for fun just to say I had the experience but I was in promotions and marketing so I ran all the events I helped do all the promotions, the free giveaways the concerts that kind of stuff and and it kind of stayed in the background but I liked it because I had my hands and all the free stuff. So that's where that's where it was fun for me


Jeff Sterns 06:09

and so were you a car free yeah you went to DuPont registry


Vinny Russo 06:14

yeah so so what my growing up my dad was a was a mechanic for General Motors brands and so Sunday's were not football days at our house Sundays where we were in the garage, you know, doing side jobs for friends of his or working on project cars and stuff like that. I there was a car when I was a I was born in New York, but I you know, my years of driving started in Florida, like Tampa area. So so your dad was a mechanic in Florida like my dad worked that Yeah, the last job he had was at sunshine Chevy, which was in Tarpon Springs, which is now I believe, Firmin Chevy. That's right. That's right. Yeah, but he was there back when it was sunshine Chevy. And then he, after he retired from that he opened a pawn shop in up in Pasco County. And my mom was a stained glass artist. And so my dad had the pawn shop going up. So I got my hands on some very, very cool toys. And like I said, growing up, we were, we were always wrenching on cars. We were never my dad was never a football guy or anything like that. And I never really ended up getting big into sports. I just we were into cars. And before I had a license, I had go karts and four wheelers, whatever other, you know, fun toys we could have that had motors and was scooping them up. And by the time I got my driver's license, I was 16. My parents let me take the day off school and go to the DMV and get my driver's license. I already had a car, I got my, my, my my license, they took me home. And I drove my car to school that day. And you know, like, right after lunch, I was there and I was all set ready to go.


Jeff Sterns 07:41

What was the car?


Vinny Russo 07:44

That car when I was was a my very, very first car was Believe it or not a 79 Oldsmobile omega, which is basically basically like a nova. Nova Nova, yeah, nobody. And then I went from there to a 78 Chevy Monte Carlo. And then the list goes, I probably couldn't even list all the other stuff I had after that. But what's interesting


Jeff Sterns 08:06

how you could be identified by these cars. I'm sure if we talked to anybody from that era in your life. Everybody knew what you were driving?


Vinny Russo 08:13

Oh, yeah, they would, most of the cars that I had growing up are still well known in the area. So and even, even in my adult life, I've been lucky enough to, to, for me, every car has to have a story. Like there has to be a there's a it's an emotional connection for me, and you know, very rarely had a car that was just simply transportation. So, you know, there was always something that the Monte Carlo that I got was gold, with a from the factory cold with a tan Landau vinyl top. And with it with a brown vinyl interior, and it had very, very low miles and the lady that I bought it off of her son wanted in a contest in 1978, along with the motorcycle and something else. And when when her son took the motorcycle out, and they had it for about a year and he ended up dying in a motorcycle accident, and she couldn't park with the car for all those years. And then in about like, you know, the early 90s she was moving in couldn't keep the car stored. And so she was a customer of my dad's pawn shop. And, you know, my dad's like, Hey, you know, ladies, you know, if you want to, if you want to buy this car, you know, she's, she's got to get rid of it. Go take a look at it. And I fell in love with it. It was just it was so gaudy. And you know, muscly. And I didn't have a car fuel injection until I was I think 19 years old. Everything I had was muscle cars, and, you know, carburetors and whatnot until I was about 19. The the interesting part, I mean, like he said, Yeah, I've been blessed with my career with a lot of, you know, hard work and a lot of being at the right place at the right time. Kind of, you know, networking. You know, you've been in business forever. And, you know, like you You know, we both know a lot of people and I've managed to keep our relationships with them for years and it's it's neat to see how everybody's moved. in different places throughout the year and, or throughout their, their career, and I was, I was in radio and went to the media concore. And always, you know, obviously I was already a car guy, but I was working in radio in Atlanta, and took a weekend off with a couple buddies and I went to the media Concord. And when we were there, I ran into the guy from DuPont registry. Obviously, being a car guy, I knew the magazine went up to the booth, get my free magazines, and, you know, add ads to laboratory live library collection, and started to talk to them. And Steve Chapman was there and Tom DuPont was there and you know, introduce myself and come to find out that Clint Lyons, Steve Chapman used to be in radio as well, which I did not know, up until that point, they actually owned and managed a number of radio stations throughout the country and you know, had been involved in all of that. So once I started talking and told him what I did, as a marketing and promotions director in Atlanta, they said, Listen, we really, you know, we can we know what that position entails, what the skill set is, and being that you're a car guy on top of that, we really could use somebody to help us with our special events and our car shows, really, they were trying to increase their presence at the, you know, the auto shows and the concourses and things like that. And so they, you know, we started talking back and forth. They also happen to be based out of St. Petersburg, which was right there in the area where I grew up from. So over the course the next month or two, we got to talking and they they you know, they offered me a job right around the same time that one of the stations that I was running, was getting ready to flip the Spanish and my Spanish was a not so good weekend. So I so between the offer that they gave me and the opportunity to work, you know, in automotive which you know, we're we're from there in the temp area, you know, your options for automotive are limited. And you either have started your own shop doing customizing and stuff, or you you know, went throughout you did and when retail. I took the job at DuPont move back to Tampa and then I did DuPont for a while. And the guys were amazing. I had some amazing experiences. And while I was there, I got to know the guys from spiker. And when they launched in North America, they they brought me on as their after sales manager. Since I had a little bit of technical background. I knew a lot of the dealers I needed network from working at DuPont. And so there was three of us that worked full time for spiker in North America, Carsten Radha which is our product specialist, and she does a lot of the deliveries and then Carsten kind of ran everything. And then me and then I did that for four years with spiker right up until Saab bought them. So I remember how


Jeff Sterns 12:30

I got involved with spiker, well, I shouldn't say involved how I met spiker was the CEO Victor. Yeah, was trying to get us to take that franchise or at the time it was dim it rolls and Bentley we ended up not getting together. But he was such a super guy and met him also really helpful. He had a car on display at Pebble Beach.


Vinny Russo 12:55

He's a you know, like, like anybody in his in his position and having the responsibility and the position that he did it within this industry in the other industries that he's from, you know, of course there's going to be you know, there's gonna be rumors and stuffs being said, but Victor has been nothing but good to me the opportunity that he gave me with spiker, you know, really launched my unique career in within this industry because spiker was such a unique and for those that don't know what I mean, even car guys, a lot of car guys may not know what spiker is but spiker was an actually a really old Dutch brand that started building, believe it or not like horse and buggy coaches. And they went on to build some of the first automobiles 1907 they ran a car in the Peking to Paris race. They were the first like six cylinder four wheel drive vehicle that they had built. And then when the when World War One started, they started to build airplanes as well. So airplanes as part of their heritage, and after the war ended, everything kind of dried up and they Invicta relaunch the brand around the world with a with an kind of an airplane themed kind of a flavor ish, I guess you could say, to their cars, where it was your turn metal and aviation style gauges and just the handcraftsmanship with a lot of aluminum. And they were beautiful cars very, very limited run. I think they totally made 250. worldwide. They briefly had an f1 team, they ran lamola car. They really did for a while and then they actually were involved with purchasing Saab. That's right. And that whole Yeah, the whole deal kind of fell through it. The timing was really bad with that. And what ended up happening was that one of their investors was was was heavily weighed with investments in China. And at the time, Saab was being bailed out to the US government by GM. And so although everything seemed like it was in place, when it came right down to it, somebody was like, Well, now on paper, this looks like that the Chinese government is buying something from the US government. And it all Just kind of fell apart from there so I felt really bad for Victor nobody really saw that coming but somebody put like a seven degrees of separation Kevin Bacon thing to it kind of a twist and in it they totally took it out of context and and then the whole thing fell apart and we we as car people lost you know lost bike as a result


Jeff Sterns 15:17

so they can't remember but this might just be something my memories inventing. Did Rob elder have something to do with introducing Victor to sob?


Vinny Russo 15:27

Yeah, so Rob elder, we you know, you the I guess the deal with him It couldn't go through and Victor ended up talking Rob elder because they had the, the Aston Martin franchise there. And Jaguar franchise and to spiker in the Tampa area ended up going there. And Rob obviously had, you know, multiple locations in Detroit and Tampa. And so he was he was heavily involved with Saab and Detroit. He had one of the biggest dealerships in the country or


Jeff Sterns 15:54

the listener, Rob elders, the elder family car dealership,


Vinny Russo 15:58

you Right, right. Sorry, but


Jeff Sterns 15:59

am I nuts? Okay. And I think because I got a call in the middle of that sub deal someone looking for a guy named who's an old client of mine, an old rolls and Bentley client of mine named Augie fabella. Does that name ring a bell?


Vinny Russo 16:11

I remember hearing that name. Yeah.


Jeff Sterns 16:13

Someone called me. I don't even know. I think they tracked a car that Auggie had to my old exotic car brokering website and called me thinking that I think he might have owned it for five seconds to I don't know.


Vinny Russo 16:26

So it's still this this this industry like every other industry, but I don't think people really realize how small the world This really is. And with all the technology and things like this podcast, like it's only gotten smaller, and you know, you just you never know who your whose path is gonna cross.


Jeff Sterns 16:41

I do recommend to the listener if you're not up on spiker automobiles I mean even though that was a low production short lived car, it was pretty well pretty performed. Unbelievable. Yeah. And you know that that external linkage on the shifter, you know


Vinny Russo 16:58

that that was the piece de resistance I guess you could coin a phrase that was that was the signature of it was at the expose Lincoln's Yeah,


Jeff Sterns 17:07

and then you went what to Lambo after that?


Vinny Russo 17:09

Yeah, so the right around the whole sob thing kind of falling apart, I ran into the guys that Lamborghini I had a few months earlier at Pebble Beach, we we had crossed paths at you know, all the different auto shows and all the different events. So when you're when you're setting up these shows you you become you know, when you're the guys that are setting the booths up and rolling the cars and and doing the things like that you remember from the Tampa Auto Show days, you get to know the people from the other manufacturers that are doing the same thing. So every you know, early on in the show, first things, you're the first ones to get there and the last ones to leave. So you you know, every every different city, you go to New York, LA Chicago, all these different auto shows Detroit, you see the same people, they're setting up the same booths back and forth. So I ended up being friends with the guys from Lambeau because our booths were always with us with the exotic area. And one thing led to another and so they they offered me a position at Lamborghini to be the East Coast Astro sales manager. And for those that don't know, aftersales is a term that's basically exactly what it sounds like. Anything that has to do with the customer in the car after the point of purchase after the customer takes delivery of the car generally falls into what they call as a an industry term after sales. So your book


Jeff Sterns 18:20

the European snooty version of parts department.


Vinny Russo 18:24

Yeah, well, its parts its warranty, its service. So, you know, we covered the technicians and did all that. And we were in control of all the technical stuff, everything from lemon law, parts was was a big part of it, obviously. But it also had we, you know, we, at Lamborghini, my job was, uh, was basically to review the warranty claims from the dealers that would come in and make sure that they were actual, you know, the right kind of claims, and they were using the right parts and following the right procedures, and then I will approve them and the dealers but you know, would go through and start and do that I also, you know, had to keep track of their parts inventory and make sure they were hitting the right goals for service and whatnot. And I was in charge of what they called goodwill. So if you're ever at a dealership and having a car service, and your service advisor is like, well I talked to my guy the factory and they're gonna cover it for you. It's no problem. I was the guy at the factory that they would call to ask,


Jeff Sterns 19:20

well in meaning goodwill, meaning the cars out of warranty, or what happened is not normally covered under warranty. So if it's goodwill, they're taking care of it.


Vinny Russo 19:30

Yeah. And then that to your listeners and it generally like a lot of people feel like you know, you buy a new car and and you know, yeah, I'm supposed to get a service the dealership and it's just an oil change. I can, you know, do whatever but there's a responsibility as a customer to you know, also continue that relationship with the dealer. You know, the dealer wants to, you know, keep you there and have your car service there but it's not just because they want your money. It's you know, they have the proper tools and proper training but what comes into effect and the customers don't always think about this is that if you're A responsible customer to that dealership. And the manufacturers see that you brought your car into the product at the exact intervals, it's supposed to be brought in that you've done everything the dealer has recommended you to do and, and really, you know, been a brand ambassador, so to speak for your car, we even when your car's out of warranty, you still continue that relationship. And if something does happen, generally the manufacturers will take that into account. And the dealers will also go to bat as well. And we'll say, hey, this guy bought three cars from me, or this is his first car he bought from me with this particular brand. He's brought it in and done everything that we said to it, you know, he ran out of warranty and you know, maybe a year earlier, but he's he's done everything he can And honestly, this whatever broke was not his fault. You know, what can we do here? Or he complained a little about it while I was in warranty, but we couldn't find it. Yeah. Right. Oh, there's a different number of different reasons. So next thing you know, and maybe they can't be the parts, maybe they can't be the labor for free. Or maybe they just say you know what, we're gonna go ahead and fix it. And, you know, and so that's, you know, that's where, you know, taking the car and having that relationship with a dealership, you know, can pay off in the end.


Jeff Sterns 21:06

Yeah. So now the dinnertime conversation, when I'm at dinner, people want to know about the crazy stuff people ask for. So now you're talking about warranty when Lambo, I gotta assume,


Vinny Russo 21:17

yeah, there's all kinds of things. Come on, man,


Jeff Sterns 21:21

this is what we want to hear about. Um,


Vinny Russo 21:23

I mean, you know, there was, there were some, you know, there was all kinds of different things, there was a I mean, you would have, if a customer would may be, you know, put on a set of wheels and tires. So I, you know, being the, the exercise manager for Lamborghini, specifically, you can imagine that a lot of our customers, you know, are at a certain level, you know, with their economic background, and where they where they sit, you know, within the automotive community, a lot of them like to be a little bit different. So they go customize their cars. Now, most manufacturers generally, they shy away from this. Because a lot of the parts are so many parts, it's hard for them to regulate, they want to reuse the way in parts, because that's the cars it has been designed for, but wheels were always a big hot button exhaust for a Lamborghini was a big one. Sure, I would take it a little bit step further. So I would go to, you know, the SEMA show, and I would, you know, get to know some of these manufacturers and get to know a lot of the, you know, who the dealers were using for, for aftermarket parts. And if I, if it was a company that I knew we take the time to properly test and fit their parts, and the customer would use them because a lot of times you could put an exhaust in your car, and you know, the the manufacturer would void a certain portion of the warranty there. So what I would usually do is I would, you know, do a research and if I knew that that brand was properly testing that they were using information that we get from us as a manufacturer, you know, I would take everything into account if the customer ran into issues and we would have, you know, wheels, you know, that they put into way too big and they would blow you know, parts of the drive train brake axles and differentials because they weren't, you know, they weren't properly sized. They would, you know, guys were trying to put open exhausting because they wanted to shoot flames and do different things like that. And they would end up pulling valves and doing engines and some of those guys, we, you know, we we, you know, unfortunately, we had to say, look, you know, I know you did I know what you're doing, you're, you know, you're using the wrong parts, you're using the car, I've seen, you know, shows or whatever. And, you know, we would, you know, it would be a little bit of a heartbreak, but say, look, you know, you know, you have an issue and that's it, but we would get all kinds of crazy stuff from you know, even later on, we'd have mazaraki, I had a I had a customer that he you know, he broke his sunroof. And you trying to tell us that he didn't do anything wrong? Did you just do that. And this was, you know, even early on in social media, we ended up finding pictures of him on the beach with a couple of girls hanging out of a sunroof standing, you know, sitting on the roof with their legs dangling into the sunroof. And, and, you know, and so we had to go back to him and say, hey, look, you know, I know you, you think that you didn't do anything, but you know, this is your car. And this is, you know, two girls that are, you know, way a couple 100 pounds, you know, be a nice, and yeah, and, you know, it's obvious that the issue that you had with the track and your sunroof came from some, you know, something had to push down on it and do the damage that was caused and he tried to get out of it, you know, in every other way he could but like, like, Look, I have to deny this. This is you know, it's it's obvious that this is the case. But for the most part, it was good stuff. I mean, the good stories of it were you know, I had a customer with he had bought a Lamborghini guyardo spider. When it first came out Lamborghini was his dream car when he was a kid. He got himself into a financial position where he could finally buy this car. This was in Long Island dealer was fantastic up there, help them with the car. I mean, he did it right. He went into the dealership, he ordered the color that he wanted, waited for from the factory. It came in they did the whole delivery thing. I mean, this was literally that you know this guy's dream come true kind of a thing and he had the car for five or six years was, you know, was out of warranty. But he he religiously brought it in. Every year, every so many miles did everything the dealer told him to do was a whole story. I mean, he would bring the car out to every event was just an ambassador was so happy with it. And he had an issue with his transmission. That is the eager pump for the guyardo went out and it was a $10,000 repair. And the sounds of the gentleman didn't have the money for it. But the dealer came to me and said, Hey, listen, such and such a customer came in, you know who he is, you know, here's just, you know, here's his background, pulled it up and said, Look, he's a great guy. You know, he's an ambassador for us as a dealer. He's an ambassador for the brand. And once I went back and I remember who the guy was, and I looked at his history of him doing everything that he had asked for and everything checked out and I told dealers like fix it, all of it. Labor parts, everything


Jeff Sterns 25:53

in the bill was ending customers you sending referrals and he's spending money in the shop. Yeah, okay, so one of these Lambo. Well, any make but Lambo it probably probably got more exhaust swaps on Lambo. Yeah, okay. Then on mas harati. You float a valve? Yep, you need a motor? Yep. And that kind of money. For us regular people.


Vinny Russo 26:22

I mean, you know, in the V 12. world, it could easily be $100,000 repair. You know, when you factor in labor, I mean, for some of those cards is 2020 something hours just to get the motor out of the car. So yeah, I mean, it easily could be $100,000. You know, $100,000 repair even something, it's like a V 10. Guy, or you're still talking, when it was newer, you know, somewhere in the 30 to $50,000 range, depending on you know, how much was broken.


Jeff Sterns 26:49

So a guy's got a car in warranty, the, the exhaust shop or the customization shop, or the tuner shop? I'm sure let them know, we do these all the time. Doesn't hurt anything. Yeah,


Vinny Russo 27:03

yeah. That's what they say.


Jeff Sterns 27:06

He's still in warranty. He does this motor damage. And he's staring down in the small car and a gardo, to the big car to the 12 cylinder 30 to 100 G's to repair his car. Yeah.


Vinny Russo 27:25

But there was some there was, you know, if I, if I had met them and talk to them, or they came to me, and they, you know, they made sure that the exhaust had the correct back pressure that was supposed to have that the sensors were in the right places that they needed to be, with or without catalytic converters was always an issue. You know, depending on whether it be the state or not, some guys want a straight exhaust with nothing on there. I mean, there's a lot that goes into it. I mean, these these manufacturers, whether it be whether it's Honda or Lamborghini, they spend billions of dollars in research and development, making sure that the exhaust has the, you know, the correct air, all the pieces have to fit and have to work properly. And if you go changing something, you know, you can't just expect that, you know, even like I said, even even Honda Hyundai, whoever it is, you know, you've lost the exhaust off and change all these things, you know, you can't expect that your corner exhaust shop and your local thing is doing the same research that Honda did when they put this car together. And so that's what what what I would do is make sure that, you know, if I knew that that exhaust was from a reputable company that did the proper testing, and that I knew that it wasn't the case, then we would look into it further. And if we found damaged, we would warranty it. And we were we were one of the few companies that that they allowed us as area managers to make that call on our own. Right, because a lot of that autonomy, yeah, a lot of them would just say up exhausts sorry, nope, by taking and not even take that into consideration. But you don't have


Jeff Sterns 28:56

the relationship with the dealer. Because another thing for the listener, is you may find this hard to believe, but some dealers you can count on to tell you, here's what so and you should believe in the customer. Because there's other times I've told you that even though I said I'd ask, I'm not necessarily pushing hard, because I also know there could be some abuse for that. Sure. So you trust you get your relationship with the dealer. Also, I mean,


Vinny Russo 29:26

you isn't, you know, from your background and being you know, the retail side of things for so long. I mean, you you were in the middle of it every time you know, if a customer would come in you, your customer, your customers unhappy, but ultimately you'd have to go back to manufacturer and you have to forge that relationship and be the middleman in between and say let me ask my guy at the manufacturer and then the customer would get upset and you know, and that's, you know, that's where we're you had to either pitch and say, Look, you know, I'm asking, I had plenty of dealers that came to me and said, Hey, listen, I'm asking because I told the customer that I'd asked. That's right, but that's all right. You know, my word that I'm asking you do what you do. But if somebody asks, I did ask you, and that was it, you know, and that's all. And that's all I'm gonna say about that. We all knew what that meant. Like, right? Yeah. That's right what it is. So yeah,


Jeff Sterns 30:10

you're really bringing it back to me. Cuz now I'm imagining these trade ins I used to get, that would have the 10 to 20 to 30 to 40 grand worth of upgrades. And, of course, the customer, God bless their soul would be proud of that, and expect more for their car because they've really improved it. And we don't have to reduce its value to put it back to original. As much as possible.


Vinny Russo 30:36

It was very, very rare, right? I mean, to get an aftermarket company to do stuff that made the car actually increase in value.


Jeff Sterns 30:45

Not impossible to find, but rare.


Vinny Russo 30:47

No, more rare. Yeah.


Jeff Sterns 30:49

Really? You have a background with Hennessy. Yeah. So when we had a name brand, like, I know, you don't want to get into brands, but


Vinny Russo 30:57

no, no, but that's, you know, that's part of my, you know, my background as well was, you know, with with them, or, I mean, I was thinking companies even like, Brabus. Yeah, right. Some of those, you know, you know, some of those companies like that they actually could, but it's like you said it's far, far and few between,


Jeff Sterns 31:11

yeah, but my brain didn't kick in. But there's another I remember another BMW, that their upgrades


Vinny Russo 31:18

would help. Yeah, like harca. And some of these other ones that were, you know, big, you know, name brands over there. So yeah. So, again, like warning to


Jeff Sterns 31:26

the public. Not only are you probably not going to get a dime back. Yeah. But you might even reduce the value. And probably, and there's a reason for that, it doesn't mean that you don't have good taste. I mean, I've never run into a customer that didn't tell me that the wheels that they put on weren't in great taste. Because it was in their taste. And it doesn't mean that they have bad taste. But here's why a vehicle is worth more. Typically, Bach, stock versus modified. And the reason is, if somebody wants to modify their vehicle, they can take a stock vehicle and do what they want with it. But once you modify a vehicle, you've now narrowed the market to only people that like it like that, and you just reduce your audience. It doesn't mean you don't have good taste.


Vinny Russo 32:18

Well, I can I can share the one of the first things I learned in radio was, you know, you go into radio and in broadcasting, and you're like, you know, you hear Yeah, I worked for top 40 station in Tampa. And, you know, so they played the same 40 songs, you know, on a rotation, it's like, oh, my God, this song is horrible. Why would you play the song dah, dah. And they're like, it's not about you. It's about the 100,000 other people that are listening to the radio station the same time, and just because you don't like a song doesn't mean somebody else doesn't.


Jeff Sterns 32:45

You're not the mind.


Vinny Russo 32:46

Yeah, it's not about you. So in in cars is the same thing. You know, you modify the car, great, you know, make it the way you want it. It's your blank canvas. It's what you want. But it's it's not just because you like it doesn't mean that everybody else likes it. And it's very, very difficult to find somebody else if especially the more unique, you make the car to the way that you want it. It's very difficult to find somebody that shares that exact same taste, you know, do it, have fun with it, enjoy it, it's your car, but don't be upset at the end. If you're like, Well, what do you mean, this isn't everybody thinks this car is cool. Well, not everybody. Maybe me not just because I do. And you know, even you and your position be like, I personally love the car, but I'm not the one have to rebuy it, somebody else has to? That's right. So you know, so yeah, like you said, it's you just have to really think it through when you're when you're doing that I'm all for aftermarket upgrades and customizing the cars and making them your own because again, to me, it's an experience, I was lucky enough to work for all of these brands that were very, very high end. And one of the things that we were taught at spiker, and one of the things that Victor and I had a long conversation about, about you know how to market this car properly. Because it was such a unique car, it was it was 400 horsepower, 2700 pounds, the spikers were, which at the time, you know, other cars or 500 horsepower and all this other stuff. And you know, the numbers were quite there, but it was almost like it was art first. And one thing you learn in the high end, you know, in the high end automobile and you know this too, but for the you know, for your your listeners would one thing that I was always taught was that when you're buying a vehicle like that, it's generally not transportation. You know, you're buying your your Vipers and your Corvettes and your Lamborghinis or Ferraris. That's not a car. It's not transportation, what you're paying for the experience. And what I used to always tell my customers is, you know, buying a car at that level is like deciding where you want to go on vacation. So if you want to go scuba diving, you go to the Caribbean, if you want to get snow skiing, you go to Utah or Colorado. It's not that one of those vacations is better than the other one. They're just different. And once you get that in your head, you start to realize that that's why somebody collectors or maybe your neighbor has you know, all of these different cars and motorcycles and all these things like oh my god Why would they do all this? Why why, you know, you can only wear one hat at a time, you can only drive one car at a time. It's like, Yeah, but to me, this car gives me this experience. And this car gives me that experience. And so that's why I have these because I want a different experience, you know, I'm going to listen to this song, because I want to feel this way. You know, and so it's an emotional thing that everybody has to kind of because there are a lot of people cars are just transportation. And there are that, you know, in the vacation version of that is going to see the in laws maybe or something, you know, so that your minivans and your your daily drivers. But if you're passionate about it, and you're emotional about it, and it could be motorcycles, it could be horses, it could be art, whatever, whatever it is, you're passionate about, you're drawn to that because of the emotion that you feel behind it. And so to to understand that the car guys mentality, it's the same thing. You know, my personal 65 Cadillac coupe is completely different than what I'm surrounded by at work, you know, we're, you know, every day, but it's but to me that, if I want to feel that way, behind the wheel, there is no other vehicle that I can find that's going to make me feel that way.


Jeff Sterns 36:07

And it's not all about the most expensive either.


Vinny Russo 36:10

No, not not ever. So I mean, the most fun I've had in cars sometimes are under $1,000.


Jeff Sterns 36:16

Okay. Well, but the feeling that you talk about, I mean, it's often nostalgia. Yeah. I get into certain cars. Like I could imagine a 65 Cadillac or a car from that era. The smell that the Oh yeah, yeah. Whether it be exhaust or the interior smell. You know, my grandmother. Yeah. My dad was a dealer. In Detroit. As a matter of fact, which side can I point backward? That's my dad's car a lot in the mid 60s. And it I mean, a different era. His when he got into it, his entire inventory was about $2,000. All in all, and I mean, there was a lot of 50 to 100 to $200 few year old us Corvair few year old. Yeah, you know, whatever it was,


Vinny Russo 37:05

you could buy a car for 100 bucks legitimately that ran.


Jeff Sterns 37:08

Right. And I but I think is heavy stuff. Well, his the cars that he felt when I went into when I disappointed him and I went into car sales. Cuz he sold his lot in Detroit moved to Florida, when I was 12, or 13. And my little brother was a few years younger, to ensure that we would become real citizens, like veterinarians and CPAs or something and not car guys. Yeah, he was a good guy. I mean, he was phenomenal reputation, but he really didn't like anyone that he dealt with buying cars at dealerships. And you know, he was he didn't love the crowd. Right? So he didn't want us near it. But when I went into selling cars, and let him know that I made a dealership made a couple $1,000 on this new 86 Mustang. He was having a real moral problem with me. Like, oh my god, you're making that much on a car because the car that he felt the guiltiest about he used to tell me Is he used to have a buddy that would restore model A's. Oh, wow. And the guy Model A George had in his garage, the mohair interior stuff and could paint and how to start it with the spark advance on the steering wheel and all of that business. And my dad would retail these cars restored for 12 $195. He felt guilty because he was making $400 a car guy and he could barely look anyone in the eye. Because he was making 100 200 a car on a $599 traded in Chevelle.



Crazy though, you know at the time,


Jeff Sterns 38:54

but so we get off on the stand. But I would go to work with my dad a lot and get in all of these cars from 38 Oakland to his 48 Bentley to Oh, speaking of this 48 Bentley, do you know that 1953 Corvette body that goes on then six or seven that goes on the newer?


Vinny Russo 39:14

Yeah. Rob?


Jeff Sterns 39:16

Yeah, that was a guy named Pasadena. He still is a guy named Pasadena who made those bodies put those. That's the signature on this painting. My dad was sitting outside in the summer in Royal Oak, Michigan. This was his summer driver. He said drivers to school when it was nice out in the car. And this fellow who was a General Motors design, young intern or something asked, could I paint your car? And my dad said sure, knock yourself out and he sets up His easel and when he was done he hands the painting to my dad. Oh wow. He didn't even he was just practicing. And so this has been on my wall and most places that I worked at Certainly when I was running Cadillac and rolls and Bentley and certainly at the BMW store on the wall, I've talked to him recently he's gonna do one of these podcasts because I tracked him down and I sent him a picture of this. And I said, Did you hate this? And it was the guy doing the 53 vet.


Vinny Russo 40:15

Bond. Great story.


Jeff Sterns 40:17

small, small world but getting in your 65 I mean, I've had I mean in my own cars 65 Mustang va 67. Cougar v eight force be well, I think they're all the AIDS but for speedcar 53 Plymouth. Belvedere because it looked good with my windsurfers on top, of course, and of course, I had to put brake fluid in every third light jump out and pop the hood and that'll be another story for another day where I crashed into a liquor store with it. Now it's just done windsurfing, so my jeans were wet. Everyone thought I'd peed myself because I crashed into the side of the building when I got out but 62 old Starfire cool car. Oh, phenom.



cool car.


Jeff Sterns 41:09

Yo, yeah. You mentioned I think you mentioned Amelia Island. Yeah. Well, were you met Steve Chapman and yeah,


Vinny Russo 41:17

Tom DuPont DuPont line everybody.


Jeff Sterns 41:20

And I bought a Amelie I bought a fake 32 b model, but a a 31 Ford Model A highboy. Boy Flathead. But getting a vehicle car. Oh, yeah. And my son now I mean, talk about the smells the the smell when you get nice. Love it. He has a 1971 Ford F 100.


Vinny Russo 41:44

Yeah. Fabulous car. Getting to be a classic now too,


Jeff Sterns 41:49

for sure. He's cool. So you went from Lambo to Mazda? Roddy.


Vinny Russo 41:56

Yep, did Mazar it for a couple years, any


Jeff Sterns 41:58

clashes with dealers, any clashes with bosses, executives?


Vinny Russo 42:03

No, no, not at all. So I, unfortunately, I stepped away from the beginning for some health issues and got those under control and then started with Mazar Adi, back into the game. You know, that it was nice, because I, we did share a number of the dealers, or at least the dealer groups, you know, being in that high end kind of a market. And of course, you know, that the salespeople, the managers, and everybody kind of floats around back and forth to different locations. So it was neat to, you know, to kind of see where everybody ends up. So I did that for a couple years. And then I went out on my own and started my own kind of a PR event company, and, you know, kept DuPont on and a client and I took on clients like john Hennessy. And, you know, all these people that I had forged relationships with over the years, and you know, I would help find them ways to be more effective that a lot of these events were just kind of what I specialized in. And, you know, so I would, you know, bring a team of guys in there and come in and help them set up their booths and negotiate their contracts and make sure that they weren't spending too much money as they didn't need to, or they didn't need to be at the event or if they shouldn't be at this event. She did that for a while and then moved out to California. Because that was the heart of everything. And did that until COVID hit. And then this past year, I spent a number of months at at Hennessey's headquarters in Houston. Working for him, and then I got this opportunity to be here at we are curated in Miami,


Jeff Sterns 43:33

whatsoever. I mean, Hennessy, but I could have been another mix. What's the fastest you've been in a car? Driving?


Vinny Russo 43:39

206 driving? Yeah, it wasn't a Hennessy. Yeah.


Jeff Sterns 43:46

God, and how about his passenger? Faster, slower?


Vinny Russo 43:50

Uh, no, I mean, I've done to 12 or so as a passenger, which is, you know, in its own right, scary. Always, in some way scarier. I mean, it's just because you have to really trust who that person is.


Jeff Sterns 44:06

100% scarier?


Vinny Russo 44:07

Yeah, sometimes always. Yeah, yeah.


Jeff Sterns 44:09

When you're in the passenger seat it past 20


Vinny Russo 44:13

Yeah. And then for the same reason, I won't I won't go that fast with somebody else in the car because I don't want that responsibility of something, you know, something happening. So they, for the listeners out there, you know, and you know, you hear 200 miles an hour, you know, and it's funny being car guys, you know, what we watch the police chases on TV, and they're like, they reach speeds up to 100 miles an hour. It's like I did that on my way to work.



You know, can we deal but 200 we


Jeff Sterns 44:38

don't suggest driving 100 miles an hour and we do


Vinny Russo 44:41

not know. But when you're in Texas and when you get to work and there's a quarter mile drag strip sitting there outside of your office, you know, it's at least a little bit different perspective but 200 miles an hour is a football field every second. Yeah, 100 yards every second. And you know, when you when you have that record In your head, and you realize how fast and far that really is, it can really be intimidating and scary and fun. If you do it right, so, yeah, I've been lucky enough to be able to break that that barrier on a couple of occasions. So we'll see now, you know, John's new car, the f5, he's gonna break 300 in that car, so I'm sure when you get a chance to drive it, you know, in a controlled environment, hopefully i can i can break my own my own personal record,


Jeff Sterns 45:31

where would he do that?


Vinny Russo 45:33

You know, it, it's going to depend on time of year and weather conditions. Obviously, his first choice would be, there's a couple of toll roads in Texas, that he would love to be able to, to be able to pull that off at, you know, because what people don't really see with, you know, then there's been some controversy over top speed runs over the last couple of months, people don't realize that it's not just the length, but the width, you know, you're going that fast, if the car drifts a little bit here or there, you really need to have more than two lanes to be able to compensate that and john learned that when his last run that he did it NASA, which is another option to do is that you know, because you know NASA is landing a field This is extremely wide, and you know, they can see the car would move almost a full lane one way or another. So we get caught the winds or something. So you really need to find a place that's not just flat, not just straight, that there's nothing that you can run into nothing that can come out and, you know, run into you mean like animals and things like that. So a lot of times you see that out in the desert, because it's you're very you know, you're not likely to hit anything or have anything that's gonna, you know, block your vision from seeing what's going on.


Jeff Sterns 46:43

Not Bonneville,


Vinny Russo 46:44

no, Bonneville? with a with a production car like that you have to have cars that are built specifically for Bonneville they're very very difficult on cars, which is why you don't see a lot of these cornice eggs and you know, Pagani ease and even Lamborghinis to run, run there because the the salt just peppers the car and completely ruins it. It's not as predictable even though it's fast and it's open, there's nothing to hit. And you would think, if the conditions aren't completely ideal when you you know, when you get into those speeds on on what to call a streetcar, it's just not it doesn't quite do what they needed to do. Plus you know, if you're going to be gunning for the Guinness record of a production car, you know, it needs to be in you meet a certain number of conditions. And Bonneville just doesn't always meet those conditions, depending on what the record is that you're trying to go for.


Jeff Sterns 47:37

Got it? So I want to talk about curated because Yeah, we got we got to know what you're doing now and extremely interesting. Well before so you have the 65 Cadillac. Yep, that's not your daily driver.


Vinny Russo 47:54

But it's not no but I could daily it.


Jeff Sterns 47:56

What are you driving?


Vinny Russo 47:58

I've got a Land Cruiser at Ceres Land Cruisers, my technical daily 83 the it's an 80 series is 96


Jeff Sterns 48:06

Okay, so that's not the square headlight. No, I love those.


Vinny Russo 48:11

I do I do too. I had one of those years ago and I was really upset that I got rid of it. This is my fourth Land Cruiser. So okay, that's always my go to for a daily I just there's something about them that just I love.


Jeff Sterns 48:23

Yep. And you had a viper?


Vinny Russo 48:26

I had a viper that gave me some recognition within the car industry as well. So we called it the 10 k Viper. Road track did an article on it that I had purchased this, it was a generation two 2001 rT 10 Viper I purchased from a gentleman who as best we can guess ran the car with low octane and ended up floating a valve and causing some damage to the heads. And I purchased the car for $10,000 from him and did a series along with Rob Freddie from Super speeders about 10 can you buy an exotic car and repair it and not lose your ass basically right can you fix the repair and so I was able to you know, dramatically improve the car fix that the issues wrong with they improve the performance on it. And the only thing I hadn't gotten to at the point when I finally did sell it was was cosmetics I just I didn't paint it and it could have used paint but I fixed it for like nine grand and it was amazing to learn how much sharing dodge did back and forth where the hubs from the car came from the Dodge Dakota the there were parts of the suspension that came from the Dodge Neon the power steering pump came from the Jeep Cherokee the I mean they literally parts bend everything on that car they could that wasn't Viper specific even the brakes in that on that car were shared with the Ford Cobra.


Jeff Sterns 49:55

But I think the production of that car. I mean, why not? I mean, why does it All these parts, you know? No, I mean, unless you want to ask twice as much for the car. No,


Vinny Russo 50:04

  1. And in retrospect, I mean, now that the guys have them, and they have to maintain them and use them, it worked out great, because, you know, whereas if you go to dodge, and you buy a power steering pump for that car could cost you upwards of $300. But the exact same pump you could get from Napa for the 4.7 Grand Cherokee, and it's 40 bucks. Right? So, so yeah, so that was kind of neat. So I did this, we, you know, we call it a 10. k Viper, I ran it at one of the top speed events that they held that they held in Orlando, on my 40th birthday, ran 143 miles an hour in the car, which is respectable for basically a car. And, and then I had a gentleman bite off me that owned a custom car place in Orlando. And he actually just sent me pictures that it was just on the cover of this, dodge this monthly dodge magazine, and they did a whole spread on him that he he wrapped a car in orange and did the interior with like touch pads and full stereo and custom lights everywhere, everything that he did everything to it that I never got a chance to do. So he's very, very happy with it. So it's kind of neat to still see it.


Jeff Sterns 51:08

Can you say what you got for it?


Vinny Russo 51:12

Or should you not? No, but I did good with it, you know, he he was very happy with the amount of you know, because that was one of the cars that called in a number of favors for certain things. I had kW suspension on it, and I had stoptech brakes and I had you know, all of these different parts that I had over the years, you know, we have these relationships, I just never call them a favorite any of these guys. They said, Hey, I'm working on a project and you know, now I need a favor called in and so I had a


Jeff Sterns 51:36

guy so the reports on it not everybody could have gotten away with nine grand with no,


Vinny Russo 51:41

no, the nine grand was strictly was didn't include the customizing the stuff that was fixing the things that were wrong with it, that having the heads redone, adding a new clutch that it needed, you know, doing the power steering, doing the suspension pieces, like the bushings and the steering that it needed, all of the upgrades was not included in the nine grand so that would have that would have taken the price to a considerably higher amount than that. So when the the gentleman that bought it off VP, you know, he knew what all that stuff was worth. And since I didn't you know, didn't have retail pricing out on it. I mean, I paid for the stuff but I did get a good deal on it sure that I got you know, he he was getting he was very happy with everything he got with a car at the price of the data that I was happy to, you know, to make a little bit of money beyond everything that I had put into it. So yeah, but it can still be done. You just you have to do the research, you know, and just do the work.


Jeff Sterns 52:38

Okay, now you're a curated Yeah,





Jeff Sterns 52:43

My linear not a car person, not a factory person. general public that likes hearing about the car business or car industry I should say not retail. What are you doing? What's going on there?


Vinny Russo 52:57

We are curated. We We specialize in vintage supercars so your Lamborghini koonta ashes and things like that. So we the cars that we broker in here are cars that are you would have seen on somebody's posters in their bedroom as a kid. And very, very rare, very, very low miles, you know, cars that you know, 400 miles 2000 miles, you know, maybe one of 150 made maybe one or 10 made so that we kind of specialize in that cars that would be considered art in some circles, and very, very collectible things that we have here. So that's not not anything more modern than you know maybe the late 90s early 2000s you're not going to see an event a door here you know, unless we are brokering a deal with it, but mostly it's Diablo miras comm Tosh is vintage Ferrari Daytona Testarossa


Jeff Sterns 54:01

939 30 Yeah,


Vinny Russo 54:04

we have a dibala avalanche 930 planos turbo here right now, which for you know, for people who don't know it's a from a customizer in the mid 80s. That was a German guy that took a Porsche and made it completely obnoxious. Everything The 80s was about was a very rare car. We have that kind of stuff here. Very, very rare Lamborghinis, and Ferraris and whatnot. So I was brought on to help with the expansion of the service and restoration department. So I run the service restoration department here and have a number of very skilled techs that work here with me and because what had happened is as they sold these cars, there wasn't anywhere to get them serviced. You can't take a mirror to a Lamborghini dealership, their technicians most people have never even seen one in person, let alone been trained properly to work on them. So we saw that, you know, once we sold these special cars, these customers they needed a place to be able to take it and you know, even if vintage supercar still needs an oil change. So whether it be that we're you know, fixing something major and doing a huge engine out with a clutch or something along those lines, some a lot of what we do is just simple, you know, spark plugs, tuneups, but on cars that you can't just go to Jiffy Lube and get your oil change. So that's kind of what we do. And we're you know, we're known all over the world for that kind of stuff and being a specialist on it.


Jeff Sterns 55:21

And when you say you're known all over the world, I know you're selling all over the world, but are people returning cars? Oh, yeah, yeah,


Vinny Russo 55:29

we have a we have a yellow mirror here in the shop right now that the the gentleman flew to us from Mexico. Because it had a kind of a unique problem that his his technicians in Mexico couldn't figure out. So he had it shipped to us to have us go through it. And he actually just showed up, he's here today and to see the car running for the first time that in a couple of months now.


Jeff Sterns 55:49

This is going to be on YouTube. Now some people will be listening audio only. So can you show us a little bit around? Yeah, and it's true. Try to make it like, you know, announce it. For the people that aren't watching. And if you're not watching, this might be the piece that you want to switch to YouTube. And take so let's uh, because this is unbelievable, but


Vinny Russo 56:15

I'll flip the camera around here.


Jeff Sterns 56:17

And I really feel privileged because when I stay in touch with my old cronies, Vinnie, whether it be DuPont registry, whether it be Lambo, whether it be some of your old cronies at spiker, your name continues to come up. And definitely in a good light.


Vinny Russo 56:32

I've worked very hard to maintain that status within the industry. So that's one of the reasons I'm lucky enough to be looking at what your your YouTube viewers are looking at right now. So what I've done is I'm up the on the second floor, we have a lounge type area that we know we do our meetings and we bring customers up and things like that, and you're able to overlook a portion. And this is just a small portion of the showroom, but you're able to overlook the showroom and see it and just in just in this frame to go down the list of cars that we have later in the show. We've got a you know, in the corner, there's a blue 74 Ferrari Daytona one for ever made in that color. And most people would know that car from the was the black convertible, they had Miami Vice down here, this red car is a 550 bar shadow, which is actually a pretty rare car. For the viewers out there. barsha is basically mean boat, and Italian and it's a it's a roadster type of a car, it actually doesn't even have a top, you drive it completely open top. This one is a is a manual and it's actually serial number 01 out of the series of 448 they ever made.


Jeff Sterns 57:38

I sold one of those mini.


Vinny Russo 57:40

Yeah. And this one just the customer is actually picking it up tomorrow. And we've gone through and done a you know, made sure all the mechanicals are right on and everything's good on it and he's gonna come pick it up and add it to his collection. We also have this yellow car here in the center is a last year, Diablo Vt 6.0 carbon body, very rare to have a yellow with the yellow accents on the interior manual transmission obviously because it's Diablo and it's just a beautiful car. Most people don't see those in yellow very often. And it's kind of a hit or miss whether you like it or not, but it really is it's actually quite beautiful. We have a another yellow car next one is a mercy coupe. But it's manual transmission, very low miles. Swinging down over here, we've got a purple Diablo, it's a very unique color. Almost, I don't wanna say lavender, I don't know what you would call it, like it almost has a great bubblegum kind of a look to it. And to make it even more unique, or, you know, to each to each his own your taste, it's got a blue suede interior. So this was a special edition car that they did for their 30th anniversary, they only made 150 in this color combination. And we actually have two here behind that is the Ferrari a 40 which is the the pinnacle in the early 90s Ferrari supercar v a turbo. It was the the the poster child car and you know, in the early 90s that everybody just kind of wanted it's a it's an amazing design car, both in visual and mechanical. And it's uh, you know, it's it's a huge collector car for everybody to have. So and it goes on from there. We've got a little peek out of the bottom you got a white and white kutak the Mersey logo that's directly below me here is the only one ever painted in this color. It's a non metallic orange, also manual transmission. And so it goes on and on from there you can kind of see peeking in the corner we've got everything even that's a that's a 59 Mercedes 300 Sl. Most people would know the SL is the going Mercedes and Cary Grant type type style. This one happens to be a convertible which got the hard top on it. But it's still you know, would consider one of the more beautiful cars ever made.


Jeff Sterns 59:55

Any What Can somebody spend, not necessarily on a car unless you've got A notable notably expensive car, but what could somebody spend on restoration


Vinny Russo 1:00:05

from? Oh, gosh, I mean, it I'm in Montana on the condition, time and money. I mean, literally, you could go up two years and you know, even in some cars millions of dollars, it really kind of depends on the condition of the car, how hard it is to find parts. Thankfully, nowadays, you know, with 3d printing and scanning and sourcing and the information that we have on parts being cross referenced, of, you know, the manufacturers keeping records of what they did, and you know, where they took parts from or where they got them from, and, you know, what vendors they used. And we're able to now with the internet track down the the actual craftsmen that originally made some of these parts and some of these, you know, smaller workshops in Italy, and we're able to, you know, we're able to find them and they may still even have a little shop and you know, they may even still have the molds of the parts that they made back then. So we've, when you're restoring your car, you you leave no stone unturned to be able to try and you know, maintain authenticity, and try and keep, you know, keep things the way they were when they originally came from the factory. You can easily on some of these cars, the miras and the 300 sL, you could spend seven figures and it could take literally years, I mean literally years it's you have to be patient. You know, because we're having to recreate hearts, these are not cars, you can go to AutoZone and just grab some parts from although there are some cars that you can just do that. I mean, I was working on a funny enough I was tobacco. Funny enough, I was working on a lotus a 180 x It was one of the last Lotus Elise is a factory racecar and the fuel pump went out. When we pulled the fuel pump out of the car to inspect it and test it we you know me and one of the other technicians realized that it was actually originally from it shared the same fuel pump components as a and this is gonna sound hilarious, but a Chevy Blazer. And we were able to for testing purposes to make sure that that's what it was, we were able to go to AutoZone and pick up a fuel pump for Chevy Blazer cost 30 bucks. And, you know, and we were able to get the right parts that we needed from that make it work into Lotus, so that we knew that it's what it was. And then later on, we were able to source an actual, the proper brand of it. But in some cases, if the customer you know, didn't care about authenticity in a car, if it wasn't that special, we would No, absolutely leave it in there and just you know, just run it. So some things can be cross referenced like


Jeff Sterns 1:02:29

that once in a while, once in a while,


Vinny Russo 1:02:33

you know, and again, it depends the customer's preference and what the car is, if it's, if it's a car with more miles on it, it's not a show car, and they're just driving and say look, I just want it to work. And I don't want to have to spend six $700 in this particular part, if you can get it for 100. You know, and we know about it, and that's what you come to a shop like this for is that we have the experience of being able to say, you know, I know what's wrong with it. And you know, we're not going to have to spend all this time testing, you know it and you know, I know that I can integrate this part into there, we're using a lot of vendors all over the world for things like seals and O rings and gaskets and having things reproduced and remade that you just can't get anymore. And we're able to take the measurements from them, send them out and then within days get you know head gaskets and O rings and things that you just can't get from the factory anymore because they don't exist. And in 3d printing a lot of this a lot of the technology with plastic, a lot of the you know the plastic gets very brittle. I mean, anybody who's ever gotten an older car knows that you know, so you're able to if you can keep that piece intact enough to where they can scan it, reproduce it, they've got these carbon impregnated plastics that are UV resistant and they're stronger than metal in most cases. And so if you can reproduce certain parts surrounds around switches and certain things around gauges and whatnot, you know, you could have a part that allows you no longer than the original one in with maybe better quality materials but it still looks exactly the same. So it's kind of neat to you know, to be able to you know, have those those resources and and and use them for something as amazing as what some of these cars are


Jeff Sterns 1:04:03

now what's your role there I don't see bondo dust all over you or anything so what do you


Vinny Russo 1:04:08

I managed the service restoration department so I handled the whole the whole back of house which if you wanted to I could probably


Jeff Sterns 1:04:16

walk over there I mean are you so you're not out securing more business not that you'll turn it down we


Vinny Russo 1:04:24

we don't we don't really have to there's a waiting list at this point to even get into here we expanded the shop out another 3000 square feet I took on two new technicians for new lifts and we are full and we are for for most bigger jobs we're on a waiting list we may be able to take in a couple one z two Z's for you know tires or you know quick oil change or something like that before anything that requires anything major that's a waiting list and you know, we we probably aren't taking any any new cars in new customers until probably early February at this point. So


Jeff Sterns 1:04:55

what is back of house mean? So are you putting the production schedule what goes In front of what?


Vinny Russo 1:05:01

Yeah, I mean, basically, I got, I've got these technicians here that I have to that I manage. So I help source the parts. I use my contacts throughout the industry to help find, you know, solutions to some of these problems that are hard to do. And I, I basically support the guys back here that are there doing the restoration. So here's our here's our shop here. You can see the, the yellow mirror here. Yeah, which is a vintage Lamborghini the most would consider it the first supercar. This little blue thing here is a V 16 zetta. Most people have never even heard of that. But that came from the Sultan of Brunei his collection and it's actually one of the few modern cars that use a V 16 motor in it. We got to toss up on the lift and back here Bugatti Eb 110 another Khun Tosh. There's a couple of Jaguar XJ 220s, which are, you know, early 90s supercars, they held the top speed for a short while of 217 miles


Jeff Sterns 1:05:58

an hour. Remember that?


Vinny Russo 1:06:00

Yeah, there's a Ferrari a 50 that we're doing an engine out restoration on so you know, where we have the capabilities here of being able to handle just about anything with with any of these special cars, this is a this is the engine and drive train from an extra 220 that's coming out to get tightening belts and belts cover gaskets and do their six year service on that.


Jeff Sterns 1:06:20

Now, you're not turning away business. I understand there might be a weight but you're not in the position. No.


Vinny Russo 1:06:27

We're not turning away. I mean, we we do, there are certain things that we may say that we don't do a lot of Porsches only because there are some very, very good Porsche shops out there. And it would most of the time, unless it's something simple, it wouldn't be it wouldn't be worthwhile to the customer for our time to try and make us you know, do something that wasn't quite our specialty. We our bread and butter is really the vintage Italian stuff. The older Ferrari's the lambos some of the British things and whatnot. But, you know, they're like I said, there's some, some very, very good Porsche technicians and shops, you know, both in this area and around the world. And so is that kind of stuff. So we may not turn business down, but we, we also aren't going to be silly and taken anything that is going to be you know, it's just going to waste our customers money and our time.


Jeff Sterns  1:07:19

Got it, but no one needs to bring you some 100 year old bottle of something to get on the list. We're not?


Vinny Russo 1:07:29

No, no, couldn't wait, we would do. It couldn't hurt. But no, we wouldn't do that.


Jeff Sterns 1:07:34

No. Okay. So you're accepting. So, Vinnie, I can't tell you how much I appreciate. I mean, you have a busy day there, you got a busy business. It's intricate, amazing background. I mean, from radio. I mean, it's funny, because even DuPont registry, all of us have obsessed over that magazine. And I don't know a guy that hasn't taken that on an airplane, or whatever, right.


Vinny Russo 1:08:02

I mean, we all grew up with it. I mean, that was a, you know, that was just we, we know danger. And we went from, from the auto traders and then and then to DuPont registry, as our as our eyes got bigger, and our wallets, you know, gained a little bit more weight to them.


Jeff Sterns 1:08:20

So, right, subject to divorce.



Yeah, of course,


Jeff Sterns 1:08:27

mine, like,


Vinny Russo 1:08:28

there's a number of different ways. I mean, if anybody, you know, my whole thing was I love these cars. And you know, and I could have taken a career path that would have led me to something that maybe I could have afforded to be on the other side of this. And just been able to buy and sell and broker these, but I took a different career path. And I've been lucky enough to be able to I mean, I've gotten to do things that no matter how much money you would have had your you would have been able to experience them. And, you know, being around the cars that I have here, I mean, you you literally couldn't buy some of these no matter what your, your, your bank account was, and I get to be around them every day. So you know, there's, there's a will there's a way if you want to be around if you want to be involved in is it Yeah, so it's a labor of love, and I was lucky enough to find a path that led me to be able to be around this stuff without having to just come out of pocket for everything. So


Jeff Sterns 1:09:20

I think for the last almost 20 years, it's been one after another ways around this. Yeah.


Vinny Russo 1:09:28

I mean, I you know, you bring up the that might, you know, my name comes up every once in a while everywhere. So I made a name for myself in this industry that to be trusted with these vehicles to be, you know, lack of a better term of curator of some of these. So, you know, people would would hand me the keys of their vehicles at events or, you know, companies would hand me the keys to their cars and you know, and they knew that I, you know, could be trusted with with driving them with, you know, promoting them with presenting them in a way that was beneficial to their company and to the brand itself. And so that was you know, I actually almost enjoyed doing that more than you know, having just saying, Oh, I can just buy that car and I drive it, it's fun, I sell it, whatever, that's great as well.


Jeff Sterns 1:10:12

The people connection of being validated that somebody would trust you to the extent of here's the keys to one of the most valuable things in my life not that people are so out of whack on values because of course your family and everything comes first. But these cars really are people's babies, no question about it, and hand you the keys is a huge compliment to trust the character to integrity and that's what you're about I think that's what I associate


Vinny Russo 1:10:41

that's what I've that's what I've worked towards my whole career was to be able to have somebody and you know with your standing in the in the community as well to that I've earned your respect and and I've managed to keep it over these years and it's something that'll nowadays a lot of people just they forget that that's important.


Jeff Sterns 1:10:59

Well, I appreciate everything. I hope our listeners got a little more insight into the industry and got some enjoyment out of this Well yeah, hopefully they got what you're doing, which is just being around this stuff and loving it.


Vinny Russo 1:11:13

Yeah. And for the ones that are listening and not watching on YouTube you know if you go to we are curated calm or our Instagram page, you can see some of the cars that we you know, that we were talking about on the podcast. You know, we're we're active on social media and you can see everything there.



This has been Jeff Sterns connected through cars

Vinny RussoProfile Photo

Vinny Russo

Supercar restorer, director of communication, CMO, Regional Marketing Officer, Director Of Business Development, Aftersales Mgr

Supercar restorer at WE ARE CURATED

Director Of Communications
Company NameVF Engineering

Hennessey Special Vehicles
Chief Marketing Officer
Oversee $1M annual budget and 4-person marketing organization that has generated revenue of $5M.

Champion national marketing team focusing on increasing brand awareness and consumer confidence throughout the entire Hennessey product line for both consumers and strategic business partners.

Selected Contributions:
• Spearheaded the global launch strategy for the Venom F5. Collaborated with media partners and outside vendors to debut the vehicle at the Geneva International Auto Show, SEMA, and Pebble Beach, resulting in the most successful launch in the brand’s history with 21M impressions and multiple owner deposits.
• Developed a network of new prospects and built key relationships leading to positive business growth outcomes within the high net worth

Venom F5 at Thermal Race Track
Venom F5 at Thermal Race Track
Maserati North America
Regional Marketing Manager
Company NameMaserati North America
Oversaw $2M annual budget and 3-person marketing organization that generated regional revenue of $10M.

Marketed entire product line with responsibility for vision, strategy and planning as well as executing the organization’s retail campaigns on a national and regional level with a focus on the first-ever Maserati SUV.

Collaborated across functions with individuals at all dealership organization levels including the Dealer Principals, General Managers, Sales Managers, Marketing Managers, and after sales personnel.

Selected Contributions:
• Garnered 7% increase in market share in year-to-year comparison, 4% higher than national average.
• Developed, planned, and executed the launch of Maserati’s first ever SUV, the Levante, introducing it to
the dealer network.

Maserati | Luxury, sports and style cast in exclusive cars

Company NameHennessey Performance

Testing @ Lime Rock

Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.
After Sales Manager - Eastern North American Region

Oversaw $3M annual budget and 6-person after sales organization that generated revenue of $19M.

Supported the strategic development of the after sales business to increase customer satisfaction, encourage repeat business, increase workshop efficiency, and lead and develop dealer personnel.

Selected Contributions:
• Achieved 2nd most profitable dealer aftersales part network revenue in the U.S.
• Added multiple new dealers, implemented proper systems, trained dealer staff on processes, and
established marketing plans based on each dealer’s unique set of parameters.


Spyker Cars
Dealer Relations Manager - North America
Company NameSpyker Cars

Oversaw $5M annual budget and 5-person organization that generated revenue of $15M.

Supported dealers by facilitating product training for all new models and after sales updates.

Maintained customer support, oversaw after sales organization, and managed promotional events.

Selected Contributions:
• Introduced all after sales activities to the 12-dealer network in North and South America. Identified, created and implemented the aftermarket strategy within the new dealer network resulting in $15M in revenue.

• Played an instrumental role in introducing the Spyker brand in North and South America to both dealers and consumers.
• Managed international auto shows related to the Spyker brand introduction and exclusive, private events for consumers ranging from private hanger parties to in-dealer launch events.

Robb Report

Schiefer Media
East Coast Manager - Special Projects

Employment Duration1 yr 8 mos
LocationNorth America
Act as point of contact for all east coast clients. Work with Account Executives to develop new ways to meet the needs of current clients. Help develop relationships that lead to new clients. Represent company needs during meetings, shows, and events when management is unable to attend. Creatively solve any problems that develop throughout the day.

Reduced Speed Ahead

Ford GTX1 Prototype

duPont Publishing
Special Events/Marketing Director

Amelia Island Concours

Clear Channel Communications
Promotions Director