330 GT Registry
BY DAVID HAUETER PHOTOS BY KLAUS SCHNITZER
• Todd Retallack could be described as a 21st century collector. Many of his cars are acquired through the eBay.com website, and his collection includes everything from vintage American muscle cars to Italian exotics to German hot rod sedans. Unlike some collections, which are barely driven, Retallack drives every car in his collection on a regular basis.
Did you become interested in cars at an early age?
My dad was a sales manager for John Deere when I was growing up in Florida, and the owner of the dealership would buy the salesmen a new Mercedes every two years. When I was 14 years old, I would travel with him in his sales territory and do a lot of the driving, sometimes 200-300 miles a day. That’s where my love for fine automobiles started. I didn’t know it at the time, but I also started getting spoiled by German cars. My first car was a 1971 Plymouth Satellite, which is where I learned the mechanical side of things.
When did you reach the status of a collector?
It really started around five years ago, when I bought my 1976 Jensen Interceptor convertible, which was the first classic car that I decided to keep. I really like the uniqueness of the car, and was especially attracted to the Italian influence in the coachwork.
Tell us about some of the cars in your collection.
They all have a very unique place. I’ve always wanted a vintage Ferrari, mainly for the goodness of the engine, so the 330 GT is special for that reason. I have just recently started appreciating American muscle cars and now have two Camaros, a Plymouth GTX Hemi and a 1957 Chevy Bel Air coupe. A car doesn’t have to be fast to be a great car in my opinion. The 1979 VW cabriolet is great fun to drive—it’s a simple car but had an amazing impact on the world. I really look for cars that I have confidence in, since I drive all of them. For daily drivers, I would lean toward the Porsche 91 1SC Cabriolet and the Mercedes 500E.
|Above: Retallack settled on a 330 GT when he decided to check off “Ferrari Ownership” |
on his to-do list. Left: As with all his cars, the 330 gets driven.
What qualities draw you to particular cars?
I look for cars with a unique design and models that were trendsetters in their day. The 1972 Maserati Ghibli SS really stands out in that regard. It is an incredible blend of style and substance. The design, chassis and engine all work together perfectly. The timeless design of the 911 has always appealed to me as well.
If someone asked you to pick one car out of your collection to keep, which would it be?
That’s a tough question. It would probably be between the Datsun 240Z and the 1969 Camaro SS 396, because I don’t think I could replace those cars. I could probably find another SS if I looked hard enough, but I would never be able to find another 240Z that came from the original owner of 28 years.
Tell us more about the 240Z.
I owned a 240Z in college and it was my first real sports car. I met my wife in one, so it has a lot of nostalgia for me. The car is so simple, with a great design and an engine that will last forever if you take care of it. I had been looking for a good 240Z for a while, and was reading the New York Times when I came across this 1971 240Z with 80,000 miles being sold by the original owner. As soon as I saw the car, I put a deposit on it. The car was rust free when I bought it, but I took it down to the frame and refurbished it, basically doing a preservation, not a restoration. The interior is all original, including the dash and I tried to leave as much as I could from the original car while making it reliable to drive. I’m going to have it for a long time.
Do you prefer buying cars that are already restored, or would you rather go through the restoration process yourself?
I like knowing what I have by going through the restoration process. I don’t necessarily like restoring cars as much as preserving them.
How about the Camaro SS, it looks like its ready for a concours.
It’s one of my favorite cars, but I don’t know if I’ll have it for long. I don’t show my cars, I drive them. The SS belongs with somebody that shows and collects American muscle cars and doesn’t want to put many miles on it. My 1967 convertible is a daily driver, and that’s what I was looking for in a Camaro.
Do you have a favorite marque?
I lean towards Porsche and now have three. Both the 1983 SC Cabriolet and the 1985 Carrera are in mechanically perfect condition. I bought the SC because it was the last year of the SC and the first year of the cabriolet, so it is a unique combination. I would also like to get an old 911S.
The 356s are nice cars, but they were still in the Volkswagen stage and are really a different car from what the 911 is.
You have acquired many of your cars through the Internet, right? Yes, I have purchased several cars through eBay.com and have been pretty successful at it. You can usually tell the dealers from the collectors. When you get the seller on the phone and he talks to you for three hours, you find out if they are serious and know the car. The coolest thing is the people that you get to know—it has been great for meeting new car enthusiasts and making connections.
What models stand out that you don’t have now hut would like to own?
would really like to get a Bentley Turbo R. I think it’s amazing that a car that weighs so much has the performance it does. The Dino 246 GT is drop dead gorgeous from any angle with a perfectly balanced design and I hope to have one some day. I would also like to get an Aston Martin DB4 or DB5, and a 1967 or 1963 Corvette. In 1967, they finally got the Corvette right, but then they went and changed the body style.
It’s nice to see a collection that is driven and enjoyed on the road. I know why I collect cars and that is to drive them and share them with my friends. I get more pleasure out of seeing my friends enjoy my cars than I do myself. Cars are made to be driven and even to have problems with—they’re not made to sit in a garage. There’s not one car in my collection that goes for a week or two without being driven. I appreciate people that take care of their show cars, but sometimes wonder why they do it. In my opinion the only way to really enjoy cars is to drive them. •
Copyright by SCI Publishing, Inc.