Business partners Steven Landau, and Alan Goodman became owners of The Classic Car Gallery in Southport, Connecticut, as a way to express of their love for exciting cars. Mr. Landau who had previously been an oil trader on the Mercantile Exchange traded in his lucrative day job in pursuit of his automotive passion.
Upon entering the shop one of the first things I noticed was the Gallery’s slogan, “Life is too short to drive a boring car.” The criterion Mr. Landau uses for determining what qualifies as an exciting car mainly revolves around what cars he thinks are fun to drive, or have a good character about them. An additional qualification is that the car, whatever its make or model, must represent one of the finest available examples on the market. The Gallery isn’t in the business of buying a beater, and flipping it for a profit. Instead, Mr. Landau looks for cars that are in excellent condition. He finds that often owners of fine cars are simply unwilling to continue paying for costly maintenance issues, and as a result are willing to sell cars that are fine examples once minor repairs are done on at the shop.
Mr. Landau’s personal collection of cars includes a Mercedes 190SL, a Noble M400 producing upwards of 400hp, a 1970’s Maserati Gibli, and a BMW E46 M5. Given his fine personal collection, it’s no wonder that the shop is filled to the brim with superb examples of exotic and classic cars from all eras. Currently on sale is a 1956 Jaguar XK140 featuring all the racing accessories a vintage racecar collector could ever want. Also on sale is a 1970 Saab 96 factory produced Rally Car that is best described by Mr. Landau who writes, “With a bare metal race car interior, full roll cage, racing seats with 5 point harnesses, Halda Tripmaster [odometer], [racing] gauges, dead pedal for the navigator, dual fire existquishers…this car screams race car!” Also on sale is a meticulously resorted 1940 Packard 110 Club Coupe, restored by one of the preeminent Packard experts around.
Currently, the Gallery has over 40 cars on sale, ranging in make from Jaguar, to Chevrolet, to Rolls Royce. But according to Mr. Landau, the Gallery most prefers Porsches. Mr. Landau thinks that Porsches represent a wonderful balance between exhilarating performance and unrivaled mechanical reliability. It is because of the wonderful engineering of German cars, that Mr. Landau finds them to be a good investment. At one time, Mr. Landau owned a heavily modified 1980’s Porsche 911 that was prone to shoot three foot long flames out of the tailpipe as it smoked flashier exotic cars of the period. But despite the cars modifications, the Porsche operated just as it should.
The beauty of the Classic Car Gallery extends beyond the wonderful assortment of fine cars. It is the attitude that Mr. Landau and Mr. Goodman adopt that makes the Gallery a special place. They see themselves as gearhead ambassadors, and as such, welcome car enthusiasts into their shop whether of not they’re in the market for a collector car. They’ll go over each car’s features and quirks, open up the hood of an exotic Superperformence Daytona Coupe, or discuss the misleading nature of televised auctions. Though Mr. Landau is running a business, he treats visitors as though the Gallery is something more, a haven for car lovers, a resource for anyone interested in finding an exciting car, an antidote to boring cars.
The Classic Car Gallery is located at 3266 Post Road, Southport, Connecticut.