The Dealer: How One California Dealership Fueled the Rise of Ferrari Cars in America

The Dealer: How One California Dealership Fueled the Rise of Ferrari Cars in America

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(as of Aug 29, 2023 15:05:11 UTC – Details)

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When Ferrari of Los Gatos opened, few people could afford an expensive sports car. In 1976, the average annual income was $12,686, and a new home cost about $48,000. Motorists in California could only buy gas on odd or even-numbered days based on the last digit of their license plate, due to the global oil crisis. Times were tough, and people were hesitant to take chances, especially with a car that cost more than a house.

At the same time, Brian Burnett and his friend Richard Rivoir had the idea of starting a Ferrari dealership. The Dealer is the story of how one dealership, Ferrari of Los Gatos, fueled the rise of the iconic Italian sports car in the U.S. market on its way to becoming the number one Ferrari dealer in North America. Even Enzo Ferrari himself took notice, flying Burnett and the other dealers to Italy to show his appreciation for their success. Customers included movie stars, sports celebrities, entertainers, and some with unusual sources of income and a strong desire for a low profile. Along the way, Burnett made friends, enemies, and millions of dollars, only to lose everything in the blink of an eye.

Author Jim Ciardella shows readers a part of Ferrari that no one has even seen, with behind-the-scenes stories as told to him by Richard Rivoir and Brian Burnett, their customers and employees, and other North American dealers who all rode high and eventually burned out on selling fast cars.

From the Publisher

automobile history, car history, Ferrari historyautomobile history, car history, Ferrari history

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This is Ferrari of Los Gatos

[This is] the story of how a couple of 30-year-olds, on a tiny corner lot of a small town, built the largest Ferrari dealership in America. They succeeded by doing things differently than the other dealerships, and people liked it.

hotrod, California history, California, luxury carshotrod, California history, California, luxury cars

Over the years, the lore and legend of Ferrari of Los Gatos has been told and retold by car enthusiasts around the world. I’m pleased to share these stories and other great memories from the days of Ferrari of Los Gatos along with Brian’s personal life and his behind-the-scenes experi­ences with Ferrari. What happened on the corner of Pageant Way and East Main Street may never happen again, but the memory of what took place there will be remembered forever by the people who lived the story. I hope you enjoy the ride. —Jim Ciardella

Chapter 11: Customers (1976-1993) — Kidnapped in Beverly Hills [Excerpt]

Rueben not only picked up cars for Ferrari of Los Gatos but delivered them as well. One delivery was a black Ferrari Mondial Cabriolet headed for Hollywood. It wasn’t unusual for celebrities to purchase a car sight unseen, and that’s what entertainer and movie star Cher had done. Brian had told Rueben to leave Los Gatos early, deliver the car to Beverly Hills, and take a flight back to the San Jose airport. Rueben left on time for the six-hour drive. At about 4 p.m., Brian received a phone call from the salesman who’d gone to the airport to pick up Rueben.

“He wasn’t on the flight.”

Concerned, Brian called Rueben, who answered, alive and well, and said, “She won’t let me leave.”

“Rueben, what are you talking about.”

“Hello?” a female voice came on.

“Who’s this?”

“This is Cher, and you leave Rueben alone. We’re having fun together, and he’ll be back when he gets back. Understood?”

“Well, I . . . hello?”

Cher had hung up, and Brian decided there’s nothing he could or should do. He’d wait until Rueben called for someone to pick him up at the airport or just see him when he got back. Rueben came to work the next day and had to field many questions from the Ferrari of Los Gatos staff.

“Well, she held me there for a long time. She’s a great person. She showed me every room in her house. It’s huge. Every time I said I needed to go, she said, ‘Have another drink.’”

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Prometheus (July 15, 2022)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 200 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1633887553
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1633887558
Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 13.9 ounces
Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.26 x 0.73 x 9.43 inches