Walk into the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle these days and the first thing that grabs your attention is the aroma. No, not of coffee roasting...
“We don’t sell cars. We sell history, nostalgia and style.” If you love vintage cars and you walk in at EuroClassix, you immediately understand that this is all true: as these cars are as familiar to their owners as their childhoods, you can feel the passion mixed with knowledge, the Italian style interlacing with history spread all around. And, while you kick off your conversation with Marco, it won’t take too long to learn that Marco’s mission, together with other people working here, is exactly this: to create an environment of unique classic vehicles, either cars or scooters, that you cannot find anywhere else but here in San Francisco. Euroclassix is today directed by Marco Marini, together with his partner, Gianluca Baldo, and specializes in Alfa Romeo and other Italian and European classic cars from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. A sister business with additional partners, Bello Moto, focuses the same enthusiasm and reverence on Italian Vespa and Lambretta scooters from the same eras.
Marco, can you tell us a bit more of yourself?
I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, but while growing up I spent all my summers in Italy. When I was 15, my family moved back to Italy permanently. I have been in California for 19 years and I am currently raising four children with my wife Maria. During the day, I am the CEO of ClickMail, an email & digital marketing agency.
Where does the passion for vintage cars come from?
From as far back as I can remember, I have always loved cars. While I was growing up, I spent all my summers in Italy. I had five uncles that lived in Rome and they were all into cars. I grew up with them driving me around in Alfa spiders, Fiat Dino’s, 911s Lancia Fulvias and more - and I loved every moment of it. I also lived in Trastevere, Rome, near the local jail and would hear the rumble of the modified Alfa engines the Carabinieri used to drive as they screamed down the street after leaving the jail. I was hooked!
What’s the story behind Euroclassix Cars?
I originally met Gianluca through our kids and our common passion for Vespas. After talking and seeing the number of connections we had, it was inevitable that we would have met. When we started talking, we immediately recognized the insane passion we both have for vintage Italian cars. After a few meetings, EuroClassix was born mainly as a club and way for us to touch and drive these beautiful cars.
What makes this shop different from any other in the area (if any)?
ECC is really unique because the focus is on passion, not profit. There is a sincere effort to save the classics and pass them along to new owners who share the connection and excitement. Our resources in Italy and on the continent are unique, as we have very experienced people on the ground there always looking for the next find. With technical people close to the origin we have a much better idea of the quality and condition of the cars - before we purchase them - and as to what reconditioning will be required. We also are very experienced in the paperwork part of the transactions, both in Europe and California, so we can eliminate the common issues in these areas.
What do people look for while visiting Euroclassix?
I think visiting EuroClassix is like visiting a little piece of Italy going back to the past. We have these incredible cars but also have authentic vintage signage and posters, as well as an incredible collection of scooters thanks to Bello Moto and Lambrettas thanks to Scooter Ricambi.
You have lots of Alfa Romeos. Is it still your favorite car?
It is. There is something about the sound of that DOHC alloy engine that is so unique and incredible! That doesn’t mean I don’t love Lancias, Fiats and other affordable Italian brands. I also love Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati, although they have recently become cost-prohibitive for most.
Which car do you feel mostly attached to?
I would have to say my 1969 Alfa 1750 Berlina. It is currently at the port of Oakland and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. The uncle I was closest to, Luciano, recently and unexpectedly passed away and this car, in this color combination, reminds me of him – I was probably 8 or 9 when he had this exact car. This car, like EuroClassix, is fueled by nostalgia and emotion.