Heavy Metal Affliction--Giordano's Vintage Motors

John Schommer
Thursday, July 05, 2012
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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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 shoot.

 

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 thread.