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A visit to the Classic Car Club Manhattan

Kamil Kaluski August 18, 2015 Featured, Hooniverse Goes To... 15 Comments

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The original Classic Car Club started in 1995 in London. In 2005 it came to New York City. The idea is simple: join club, pay dues, drive cool cars, socialize, party. The club, located on Manhattan’s lower west side, close to the Holland Tunnel entrance, is a car enthusiast’s paradise on an island that is not known for its love of cars.

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The club has about thirty-five to forty cars in stock at any time. Club managers rotate the club’s inventory as they sit fit; some are keepers, some are replaced after a year or two. Over the last ten years, the club has owned over 280 cars and they claim that the current fleet has over 20,000 combined horsepower, which is very believable.  As seen in these pictures, the vehicles vary from timeless replicas, retro-modded classics, originals, performance sedans, to somewhat casual SUVs.

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In order to maintain their vehicles, the club has three full-time mechanics on duty. Those guys have several lifts and a decent area to work – keep in mind that this is land where a square foot of real estate is easily sold at over a thousand dollars. There are tool chests, spare parts racks, and any unused space is filled up spare tires. One of the club’s latest acquisitions is an old Airstream trailer that they are turning into a conference room.

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But this facility isn’t only a garage, it’s also a clubhouse. There a big wet bar, lounge area, a huge TV which is perfect for watching races, a driving simulator, and another workshop. There are frequent happy hours, and once some of the cars are moved out, the area is great for parties and other social events. Heck, if you can get your bride to agree on it, you can have your wedding there!

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For those who live in or near Manhattan, make sure to check out the Classic Car Club and consider becoming a member. Those of you who are thinking of visiting New York City, swing by CCC on your way to the new One World Observatory at the new World Trade Center – both places are equally amazing.

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One of my favorite cars there, makes around 300hp.

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It’s got a 2.3-liter engine out of an E30 M3.

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The driving simulator. A lot of the club’s members are also amateur racers.

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  • CraigSu

    I get this concept, just not in Manhattan/NYC. Maybe being so close to the Holland Tunnel entrance makes escaping New York City easier? Otherwise, it seems to me you’re just toodling around the city competing with mostly taxis for lane space.

    • I think NYC is perfect. It’s easy to get out of Manhattan. Also, NYC is a place where people have money but don’t, or can’t, necessarily own cool cars.

      • CraigSu

        I was hoping to hear a different perspective. Clearly the concept works or it wouldn’t be so successful. I admit to harboring certain stereotypes about NYC like “Nobody drives in NYC! Why would you when there’s the subway, taxis, and walking?!”. NYC just isn’t my kind of place, too noisy and chaotic. I’ve had to go there on business trips and I couldn’t wait to leave.

        • Xedicon

          I’ve had to travel there as well and stayed within an easy walk of Times Square. Hated it and also couldn’t wait to leave.

  • GTXcellent

    Kind of a cool concept, especially as a way to drive cars that aren’t ever realistic to own.
    No mention of what dues cost on their site – I’m guessing it’s one of those if you have to ask, you can’t afford it deals.

    • You know… I saw something on their site but I can’t find it now. It wasn’t unreasonable, and downright affordable when you consider ownership and parking costs.

    • pj134

      From articles I found they’re putting it around 7000 a year. It’s probably fairly flexible.

      • Sjalabais

        Does it get “flexibler” in proportion to an eventual “flexibilization” of one of their cars? City driving in super cars is a bit like fishing in a puddle, but the concept in itself is cool indeed.

        • AlexG55

          I think the London one runs on a points system- your dues get you a certain number of points, and the amount of points it costs to take a car out depends on the car and when you want it. Different membership prices give different amounts of points.

        • pj134

          For car guys it would suck. For slow car fast guys it would suck even more. But for people who are mildly narcissistic it’s probably well worth it.

          • Vairship

            Yes, I like the concept but in NYC I would think Lamborghini’s etc are only good for posing. You’re only going to be doing 25mph anyway. On the other hand, if there was a similar club with Model A’s, Baker Electrics, 1960 Ford Falcons etcetera it would make more sense AND be more affordable. Similarly, get rid of the bar inside. If you want to hang out with other members: you’re in NYC, there’s probably a neighborhood bar down the street. At those per-square-foot prices, don’t provide services that already exist.Similarly, one full-time mechanic with one lift is probably sufficient (if you don’t have trouble-prone Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s).

            All this would make it more likely that prices would come down to reasonable-as-a-hobby price levels, especially since you don’t need a daily driver in NYC. If you want to go on a weekend trip, just take that Chevelle SS wagon!

  • nanoop

    Now I’m interested in a chat with the mechanics: they probably have a vocal opinion which cars are good/bad constructions, and why so. Did you get to talk to them?

  • wunno sev

    i was a regular patron of the CCC (‘s windows) when i was a student in manhattan. it would be a regular first stop on a weekend or late-night bike walk or bike ride. they always had a really eclectic selection – i remember seeing a Delta HF Integrale alongside a Delorean on the lifts, which sort of summed the place up nicely.





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