Classic Car Heaven
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Vintage racing Porsches rub sheetmetal shoulders with iconic ‘60s Ferraris, which sit mere wheel-wells away from the last Shelby Cobra to exit the factory gates. Some vehicles are being restored for their wealthy owners, others are being spiffed up to hit Canepa Design’s showroom, while a few enjoy some mechanical pampering before being returned to their places of honor upstairs in the on-site motorsports museum.
“I never get tired of coming to work,” says Bruce Canepa, the racing driver who since 1980 — the heyday of his professional exploits behind the wheel of all manner of Porsche beasts — has quietly turned Canepa Design into one of the foremost auto restoration and classic car sales shops in the nation. “Besides, I’m too obsessed with being in control of all the details to stop coming in.”
Obsession and control can be a dangerous cocktail. But not in Canepa’s case. His hands-on personality means the cars coming out of this 70,000-square-foot shop often exceed the exacting standards of his monied clientele. When Canepa leans over the exposed engine bay of the aforementioned 1967 Cobra 427, he points out that “everything on this car is original, but everything on it has been brought back to as-new condition, every nut restored, every wire re-wrapped. We even disassemble and restore the wiper motors.”
Every aspect of this blue beauty gleams, from its reconditioned leather seats to the chome bezels on its gauges. “We’ve got 2,600 man-hours into this already,” Canepa says with almost fatherly pride. Though Cobras can be million-dollar cars, Canepa’s already has much more lobbed at him for this baby. For now, he isn’t selling, and instead plans to drive the car next year at events celebrating the 50th anniversary of Carroll Shelby’s Ferrari-killing machine.