Over the last couple of years I have noticed that St. Louis is becoming a classic car capital. There are several dealers like Fast Lane, which is actually in St. Charles, specializing in connecting collectors with their dream cars. During our last visit Ruth & I visited 3 more–St. Louis Car Museum and Sales, Exotic Motors, and Hyman.
There is definitely a national market for rare cars. A 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider sold for $19,800,000 in Monterey at the 2016 Sotheby’s RM auction. But why is St Louis in the action? There are at least 5 reasons. Its central location in the Midwest is a factor. There are many wealthy people in St. Louis. A recent Wall Street Journal study found that this city is #2 in the nation for residents with inherited wealth. San Francisco is #1. Saint Louis has transitioned from a manufacturing city to service industries like Stifel Nicolaus and Edward D Jones. The latter’s CEO collects Ferraris. Enterprise Rent-A-Car is a St. Louis company and part of the culture as are cars in general. There are lots of discreet car collectors living here. When I say discreet I mean that they’re not the kind of people who take their 1955 Jaguar D-type for a spin on Sunday afternoon to impress.
The fun of being at St. Louis Car Museum & Sales on Woodson Road was watching a couple trying to decide whether or not to invest in a sale pending green 1928 Model A Ford. As I talked to the staff, I acquired a list of cars for sale. There were close to 70. I was told that new cars are available each month and that some are sold each week. Its main brochure, which I found in a hotel, claims, “The only museum where you can leave with the exhibits!”
My favorite of the reported 10 exotic car dealers here was Exotic Motors. Small and assured, it delights in connecting collectors with quality cars. I talked to Danny and Laura Baker, Exotic’s owners, and was impressed with their forthrightness and their answers. They have customers in Dubai and told me that St. Louis was the perfect place for their company because its cheaper to ship from here. Their specialty seemed to be Ferraris and I enjoyed our conversation about the Naked Enzo.
I was also very impressed with Hyman Ltd.’s Classic Cars. Wandering through its inventory was a genuine treat. The most expensive and interesting car on its available list was a 1930 Rolls-Royce/Phantom II Drophead that was described as “a sexy PII with French Binder coach work”. Hyman describes itself as “America’s largest, full-service classic car facility” and brags about its position as an advisor to collectors around the globe.
ps. The Packard was at St. Louis Car Museum & Sales and the others at Hyman. I love Avantis!