Heaven on Wheels: "Bricks-and-Motor" Embodiment of a New Online/Offline Community for Classic Car Lovers Opens in the Hamptons


Grand Prix Cafe (GPC) (select to view enlarged photo)

SOUTHAMPTON, NY--June 10, 2013: If the word "garage" conjures images of a windowless space with oil spots, Grand Prix Cafe (GPC) is about to blow the doors wide open on that notion. Offering an array of top-notch technicians, services and social networking, GPC is a social hub for those who are passionate about classic cars and demand five-star treatment for their vehicles. It's also a symbol of a wider community being built--both offline and online--for those who love classic cars and motorbikes.

GPC's introduction comes at a time when the classic car market is accelerating globally. The recent Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index, part of The Wealth Report, highlights an astonishing 395% value growth in classic cars over the last decade among high-net-worth individuals. These "investments of passion" are cited as more engaging than, say, collecting gold bars.

Preparing classic models for sale and locating a dream machine for customers is part of the plan, connecting to global collectors and auctions on the Web. Says founder Julian Ellison, "Buyers and sellers of these types of vehicles are often like-minded." He's an avid collector himself, with a 30-car collection ranging from early Jaguars, Mercedes, Ferrari and Jensen to modern classics such as the Porsche GT3 RS 4.0 (only 600 exist). An entrepreneur who founded the successful live-bidding technology platform LiveAuctioneers, Ellison showcases some of his auction finds, such as Michael Schumacher's 7th Championship-winning driving gloves, as part of GPC's interiors. Customers can watch auto races in the sleek lounge or admire the classic beauties on display while their vehicles are serviced--from maintenance, repairs or upgrades to full restorations--in the back bay. More GPC locations are planned worldwide.

Other elements of the classic car universe include a website with news plus a feature called "Spokes" that travels to happenings around the globe; a YouTube channel documenting the running of a classic car club and garage; and Ickle, bespoke garage design services for collectors and consumers ranging from decor and special equipment to the creation of a one-of-a-kind, freestanding garage...the equivalent of "that shiny box a toy car would come in, realized in life-size proportions and personalized for your vehicle," Ellison says. There's also a long-term storage facility off-site, monitored 24/7.

Whether it's connecting customers with overseas driving adventures, creating the ultimate garage or watching one's Maserati being serviced in real time online, GPC occupies the intersection of car culture and commerce. "This is the garage of the future," Ellison concludes, "where we bring passion and technology together."

NOTE: Customers and bona fide classic car clubs may arrange for use of Grand Prix Cafe for private events. It is also available for hire as a private party or exhibition venue, with off-street parking and 24-hour security camera monitoring.

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