My Car Quest

November 19, 2018

Time Moves On And So Do Car Dealers

by Mike –

It was Ferrari of Los Gatos from the mid-1970s until a few years ago, then it was the Silicon Valley Auto Group for a while (owned by Symbolic Motor of La Jolla, California) and has been Los Gatos Luxury Cars (owned by the Qvale Automotive Group) for the past few years.

I am talking about the exotic car dealers that have been located on East Main Street in downtown Los Gatos, California for many decades on the southern edge of Silicon Valley and at the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Ferrari of Los Gatos

Ferrari of Los Gatos Many Years Ago

Ferrari of Los Gatos sold many new and used Ferraris back in the day, maybe more than any other dealer in the US, but had troubles over the years (both legal and business troubles).

The troubles included: bankruptcy, criminal charges and the loss of the Ferrari Dealership. The Ferrari sign and the name had to go once the dealership was lost.

These problems are not connected to the current owners who have decided to shut down this famous exotic car sales location in downtown Los Gatos and consolidate in their other Los Gatos location which has been significantly expanded.

My wife and I drove through Los Gatos this past October for the first time in several months and were surprised to see the empty site as shown in her four photos below.

Ferrari of Los Gatos

October 2015

Ferrari of Los Gatos

October 2015

Ferrari of Los Gatos

October 2015

Ferrari of Los Gatos

October 2015

We lived near this dealership for many years and bought and sold a few cars there. This was a fun place to visit on a Saturday afternoon because many other car lovers would stop by and there was always the opportunity to take out a cool car for a test drive.

It is sad to see an institution close down but as Bob Dylan said, “the times they are a-changin'”.

The old Ferrari of Los Gatos

Before it was Ferrari of Los Gatos (from Hemmings Daily)

Let us know what you think in the Comments. Are you nostalgic for a car dealer that is no longer around?

When it was known that the dealership would be sold and the Ferrari of Los Gatos name would be lost to history a salesman friend gave some of the license plate frames to me, below, because he knew they would be collector items. They came in red and black.

Ferrari of Los Gatos license plate frames

Ferrari of Los Gatos

Summary
Time Moves On And So Do Car Dealers
Article Name
Time Moves On And So Do Car Dealers
Description
Ferrari of Los Gatos sold many Ferraris, both new and used, back in the day.
Author

Comments

  1. Rob Krantz says:

    Great pictures Mike. I remember the name Ferrari of Los Gatos but never had visited it years ago. Wish I had. Lots of great British cars in the Keegan photo. I remember the first BMW dealership in Marin in San Rafael on 4th Street. It was called BMW Auto Zentrum and was at the end of 4th Street in a very small location (now a plant nursery) just before the Miracle Mile. No pictures of it, but back when I was a teen growing up in San Rafael I remember going by the dealership all the time and seeing, what was then, the unusual German cars there….at that time, basically just the 2002 and the 4 door derivative of it. BMW sure has grown since then with, what is now, almost a confusing array of models to choose from.

  2. Thom Ollinger says:

    The perfect new location for my shop! Though it might raise my overhead excessively.

    I didn’t know that your Bentley was a convertible…….

  3. Georgeg20 says:

    There is plenty of face changing going on everywhere…. I recall shopping with my parents in the Petersen Automotive Museum building… back in the day when it was Ohrbach’s Department store

  4. Gaston Andrey SABB and Ferrari dealership out on rt. 9 in Framingham MA. The building was (could be still) a Swiss Chalet style. I was too young to even think of going in there but he was the man in the greater Boston area.

  5. Graham J Pike says:

    Hi Mike,
    Thanks for the memories. I worked a the dealership from 1998 (Ferrari of Los Gatos) until 2009 (Silicon Valley Auto Group) until the new owners took over. I have been in the luxury car business for 43 years and this was without a doubt the best place EVER to work. To be a total car nut like me, I was working in heaven. To drive and to sell the best cars on the planet every day. To have the nicest and most generous customers I have ever worked with. The best sales team and colleagues ever. Everyone worked well together. It really was a great experience to be in the heart of Silicon Valley in it’s prime.
    Thanks to all involved.
    Graham.

    • Hi Graham,

      It is good to hear from you. I remember that you specialized in the British makes and I also remember that you were the announcer at the San Francisco Presidio Concours the year I displayed my Bizzarrini GT 5300.

      • Graham J Pike says:

        Yes Mike. I do remember you and your beautiful car. I hope you are still showing it.
        I wish the Presidio Concours was still going. Tough to work with the government though!

  6. Dan Birnel says:

    I came across Ferrari of Los Gatos in the 1970s visiting what I thought was just a quaint small town, but not your ordinary small town with it’s own Ferrari dealer!! I visited again several times in the 1970s and 1980s. On one visit in the late 1980s there were three 275 GTBs in the glass showroom, each a different color, $1M each. Quite a sight. Once I watched a salesman work with a young customer who insisted he wanted to trade his Maserati Khamsin straight across for a Clenet. Among the used exotics were an occasional vintage hot rod which I thought was really cool, and prescient. Great car memories.

Speak Your Mind

*

Find us on Google+