Heavy Metal Affliction -- Giordano's Vintage Motors
Most of us that have a Heavy Metal Affliction somehow
squeeze in the time and budget to find the
car of our dreams and, if we are lucky, restore it, trick it out, race prep it,
stance it, or whatever suits our particular taste. There are very few of us who
can afford to collect, but having a museum-like garage is something we all
dream about. This is the story of how one man has managed his affliction for
cars into something that serves his needs, that makes his community more interesting,
and, most importantly, takes care of some very special cars.
Jim Giordano has what he tells his wife is a business and,
no doubt, he does make money operating Giordano’s Vintage Motors, but I
discovered that Giordano’s business is, at least in part, a means simply to
stoke his own passion for unique cars, motorcycles, and memorabilia. Giordano
is the steward of a rotating stock of classic cars from a multitude of genres.
Race cars, kit-cars, tried and true classics, and a breed of things that he
somehow discovers and brings under his wing. In most cases he eventually finds
the right home for them. I like to think of it as a motorsports rescue,
recovery, and redistribution. Along the way he gets to drive, care for, and, in
some cases, fully restore his finds. In other cases, he picks up where others
left off, and, for some cars, he just shepherds them on their way to a new
home. Giordano’s Vintage Motor’s is not a used car lot; it is more like a
museum where Girodano is the caretaker, curator, and chief designer.
The best thing about this museum is that everything is for
sale. Well, almost everything. Some cars Giordano has special plans for, and
some, even though technically for sale, he is really not in a rush to part
with. Giordano’s Vintage Motors has been in business for seven years, but the
passion for cars that lent to its creation has been a part of Giordano since he
bought his first car at age 15: a 1968 Chevy Corsa-140 Spec ex-rally car. Since
then, he worked his way through a sea of Datsun 240Z’s, including an SCCA
Production race car that saw track time against Paul Newman, countless MGs,
Sprites, Triumphs, Fiats, Alfas, Mustangs, as well as his fair share of
motorcycles. The business was started after Giordano ran out of space in his
own garage and his hobby business became more valuable to him than his professional
experience in advertising and design.
Giordano’s Vintage Motors is a place that can find car
enthusiasts what they are searching for, help unfinished projects find a new
home, or find their way to being finished. They have a staff that can handle
anything mechanical, design the right nuanced look or restore vehicles back to
all-original. Like the cars they care for, they have found a place where
nurturing the inner car passion is met by cars that need their attention.
Located in the small farming community of Carnation, WA,
Giordano’s Vintage Motors is set in what used to be the town’s sole grocery
store, the shop also rents a couple of small warehouses within a block of the
main showroom. During my visit, one moment I was chatting about the 1936 Rover
14 Sports Saloon, the next we are we are walking through Giordano’s larger
garage stuffed full of vintage race cars, one-off designs, and dream projects all
parked nose to tail. Along the walls are noses, doors, and a plethora of car
parts, all from cars that are incredibly rare. One of the most unique and cool
cars Giordano has is a car called “The Duke of Earl.” It’s a hand-fabricated
compact with Lambo doors, based on a Triumph Spitfire chassis. A true work of
art, that is so remarkable, the Lemay Museum of Tacoma, WA recently tried to
acquire it. Check out these pages
for the full history and many pictures of this amazing ride.
Having a conversation with Giordano is like reading the encyclopedia
of rare, odd, and unique vehicles. His ability to describe the details of how
and why these cars were built, as well as convey their own histories is
entertaining and informative. Not every car is a tale of profit to be gained.
In one instance, a customer paid for 80 percent of a very rare Alfa Romeo, then
effectively disappeared without any further show of interest. It has been two
years since he last heard from him. He still has the car. It is waiting to be
picked up but alas, for some reason is still waiting for the right new owner to
come love it.
Taking a tour of Giordano’s showroom and shop is like waking
up in a dreamlike world where everything you see is eye candy for those with a
passion for cars. It is a veritable smorgasbord of the coolest projects waiting
for their turn. The whole place is full of memorabilia, from cases of car
magazines, to rack upon rack of Hot Wheels, Matchbox, and die-cast scale
models. They have parts for things that nobody has even heard of and absolutely
unsafe creations such as an Allison airplane motor mounted to a two-wheeled,
drag-racing, suicide machine. If you are ever in the area, much less searching
for your next candidate to sooth your Heavy Metal Affliction, they are a
worthwhile stop. When you leave Giordano’s Vintage Motors you will leave more
educated about cars you didn’t even know existed, entertained by the beauty and
sophistication of the collection, and certainly in awe of how lucky Jim
Giordano is to be the steward of his inventory.
Take a look at the Giocars web site to see everything
they currently care for. As Giordano will tell you, each car has its own story.
Here are a few pictures we took while we were there.
We would like to thank Jim Giordano for the tour and stories
he shared as well as for letting us take a couple of his rides out for a photo
If you have a ride you are proud of whether it is finished
or not share it with us in the request for community rides thread.
If you would like to comment about this week’s Heavy Metal
Affliction post your thoughts in the HMA