In 1989, a New York businessman and Italian car aficionado walked into Steven Kessler Motorcars, Inc. in New York and purchased a beautiful new Ferrari Testarossa, along with a jaw-dropping 328 GTS. Each car would be transported to an apartment complex he owned and parked in the underground garage alongside his growing collection of vintage Italian cars. The fate of the Testarossa and the 328 GTS was for them to be preserved in as-new condition. Temperature-controlled storage and custom covers would help the preservation. He went as far as placing the cars on jack stands.
In 2010, the phone call came in. He had a heavy New York accent. He told me, “I heard you are looking for a Ferrari 365 2+2 to restore. I said “Yes, yes sir, I am.” Long story short, I was on an airplane the next morning. When I arrived at his garage, I was welcomed by a great collection of Italian sports cars that he had “put away.” The Ferrari 365 2+2 was there, sitting on flat tires, dusty, and overall in derelict condition, but I was sold!
Out of the corner of my eye I spotted two neatly placed car covers on two cars that seemed to be floating. I asked him “what is that?” He politely replied, “Oh, nothing, they’re not for sale. Let’s get you back to the airport.”
We hit it off talking about cars, business and his country, Italy. I could tell he was passionate about the cars and his culture. Before I exited the car, I asked him, “What is under those car covers?” He hesitated for a second and then said “An ’89 Testarossa and an ’89 328GTS,” to which I said, “Oh, very nice.” Before I could say another word, with a grin on his face he said “Jose, I bought them new and they have never moved, they each have 100 miles!”
The entire plane ride back home, I was formulating a plan in my head to make those cars mine. Once a month for almost two years, I called him, emailed him, and even visited him on another NY trip. Then, finally, early this year his call came in. He told me that, if I was planning to be in NY, he would show me the cars. Like I had done almost two years before, I was on a plane the next morning. When I arrived at the garage, the car covers were off the cars and they looked brand new. To my amazement, the Testarossa still had the original window sticker affixed to the windshield; it had never been removed! After several hours of negotiating, we still could not come to an agreement, and I was to fly back home that evening. I cancelled my flight and stayed another night; I was not leaving without those two cars. The next morning, after a cup of coffee, we finally came to an agreement. The cars would be coming home to Houston!