Forgotten Places: Classic Car Club Manhattan

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It’s a good day to be a fan of small semi-regular amateur car blogs, everyone! Welcome to a new recurring segment on Forgotten Metal, in which I visit an interesting place related to cars or car culture. In a fit of creative genius, I’ve decided to call it “Forgotten Places.” I’m a regular Hemingway, I know. In our inaugural post, we take a look at a hidden gem in SoHo: Classic Car Club Manhattan.

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Classic Car Club’s story begins in London, 1995. This is significant because it is, crucially, not Manhattan. The club was founded on the belief that cars are meant to be driven, no matter how costly or temperamental they prove to be. Ten years later, CCC opened their New York City branch. Owners Michael Prichinello and Zac Moseley started with a decidedly capricious 1970s Aston Martin V8, and soon expanded to the club’s now almost 50 cars. Needless to say, these guys have done a great thing, and what makes it better it that they seem like genuinely kind, knowledgeable people. I know I won’t do their history justice if I try to tell it, so here’s their story, as told by them (seriously, click that link-it’s really cool).

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300 club members (mostly 30 to 40 year old males) pay anywhere between $4,500 and $13,000 for membership, depending on their level of involvement. So, what does the cost of a small Hyundai get you? Well, you get to reserve (the word “rental” is apparently never used) anything from a 1965 Shelby Cobra to a 2012 McLaren MP4-12C to a 1969 Porsche 911T. You can also participate in organized rally drives, in which a group takes a selection of the cars on hand to a scenic location outside of the city. Classic Car Club has seen its share of starpower as well, counting names like Robert Downey Junior and Tracy Morgan among its ranks. Jay-Z allegedly belongs, but has never participated.

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Classic Car Club Manhattan is a special place for gearheads, and there’s two reasons for that. First, the owners don’t marry themselves to a specific make, model, era, nationality or level of exclusivity when it picks its machinery. There seems to be only one requirement to be featured in CCC’s garage: the car has to be interesting. This sense of welcoming opens the club up to a wide variety of people, all with diverse interests and tastes. It’s also not something you see everyday when it comes to car clubs (looking at you, Subaru).

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The second reason this is such a memorable place is the simple fact that the owners, employees and members care about these cars. It’s a communal place to celebrate your love for the automobile, and everything that goes along with it. These cars are driven all over pothole-ridden New York City and it’s surrounding countryside, then taken back to the garage and cared for. The amount of work that goes into any classic car, let alone fifty, is simply staggering, but you can tangibly sense that they do it because they are committed to the belief that cars are meant to see the open road as much as possible. I couldn’t agree more.

Additional Thoughts

  • BMW debuted its i3 and i8 concept cars at Classic Car Club Manhattan.
  • Oliver Stone decided to set some of 2008’s “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” starring Shia LaBeof and Michael Douglas, in the club itself.
  • Do you know what a Microsoft Kin is? Neither do I, but it was unveiled here, apparently.
  • The next few Forgotten Metal posts will come from this trip, as I couldn’t resist taking pictures of some of the cars they had on display. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited.
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