Visiting Classic Car Club of Manhattan’s New Home
The best riverfront parking lot in NYC is an old horse barn, right next to the tow pound.
The Classic Car Club of Manhattan is my happy place, a private-membership organization dedicated to loving, and sharing, a museum-quality hoard of the best vintage and contemporary vehicles. The Club was co-founded by petrolheads Zac Moseley and Michael Prichinello back in 2005, and for eleven years it has been located two blocks from my New York apartment, affording endless opportunity for me to pop in—sometimes just to ogle, sometimes to borrow something special, but often just to share a cool car I’m testing with folks who would appreciate it. So when I heard the Club was leaving the neighborhood, and maybe even (gasp!) moving to Brooklyn, I was as crushed as a Cash For Clunkers Ford Explorer.
Luckily, that didn’t happen. Instead, the Club moved just forty blocks uptown, to a bigger, 37,000 square-foot waterfront space on the Hudson River located adjacent to the New York City Police Department’s local Tow Pound. In fact, the new site used to be the stable for the NYPD’s mounted police steeds. “We went from 12 horses to 20,000 (horsepower)” Moseley jokes as he surveys his high-output fleet in the high-ceiling former barn.
The new space is within the boundaries of New York State’s Hudson River Park, part of a program that, according to Moseley, “embraces interesting commercial uses, to keep cool things on the island of Manhattan for everyone to enjoy.” It's not only cavernous, it's pillar-less—a boon when you’re constantly parking and re-parking a million bucks' worth of delicate exotics. And it features a long barbecue/cocktail-friendly deck along the Hudson River, plus the West Side’s only real beach. “Not sandy. Silty,” Moseley says.
The Club has big plans for its expansion. “Cars are only one part of it,” Moseley explains. “What we really are is a community of car enthusiasts that get together to enjoy automotive culture.” Some of this enjoyment will happen in the bar/lounge/clubroom that is being built on the barn’s second floor, in the old hayloft. But the guys are also planning a program of special exhibits, technology and transportation displays, and educational courses—all open to the public. They may even offer classes for kids. “Teen driving, sure, we’ll do that,” Moseley says. “We got to show them how to properly drift.”
Of course, cars are still central to the CCC’s mission, and their collection is not only top-notch, but diverse and, true to the spirit of the endeavor, driveable. It features contemporary supercars like the Lamborghini Huracán, Corvette Z06, Ferrari 458 Spider, McLaren 570S, BMW i8, and Nissan GT-R. It hosts classics like a 1963 Stingray Convertible, 1966 Ford GT40, 1968 Dodge Charger, 1969 Porsche 911T, and 1972 Datsun 240Z. It also bridges the gap between the two with modern classics like the 1991 Acura NSX, 1989 BMW E30 M3, and 2000 BMW M5. And it even contains a few trucks, like a 1966 Chevy Pickup and a 1969 Ford Bronco. A vintage silver Airstream trailer, the founders' private office, looms in the background.
Given the Club’s larger quarters, it seems obvious to that the fleet needs to expand. Zac agrees, and lets me know he’s already ordered an Alfa-Romeo 4C and a new Mazda Miata, and that he’s on the hunt for a formidable convertible for the summer. “Maybe a mid-60s Lincoln Continental,” Moseley muses. He’s also put in his application for a new Ford GT, to replace the previous generation GT the club owned, one of the few cars Zac says he actually regrets selling.
Regret leads us to a discussion of vehicles I like to categorize as Can’t Help Yourself Cars. Cars you know are going to be a disaster, but you must have nonetheless. (As the owner of a 1978 Porsche 928, a 1979 Fiat 124 Spider, and a 1990 Range Rover, I’m expert in this category.) Zac immediately mentions the Lancia Delta Integrale. “The first one we had broke down in the middle of Holland Tunnel. And that wasn’t a hard enough lesson for us, so we bought another one.” He dismisses his DeLorean with one word, “Disaster.” (Hey, even Christopher Lloyd, aka "Doc" Brown, admitted that car was a piece of shit.) But he’s managed to avoid the siren call of the devastating poster cars of our generation: Testarossa, Pantera, Esprit, Turbo Trans Am.
Well, there is one exception.
“I kind of think a Countach would actually be really good,” he says. “I think I think the whole never-drive-your-heroes thing, I think that doesn’t actually apply to that car. I think it’d actually be better than people give it credit for.”
As someone who drove a brand new Countach back in high school and found it cramped, uncomfortable, terrifying, and barely capable of idling, I attempt to dissuade him of this notion. A true car guy, Moseley is undeterred. “I still think I could be lured into something like that if the price was right,” he says. “Though they’ve gotten so expensive, if the price was right, I’m sure it would be a total disaster.”