Just off exit 19 on I-95 in Connecticut is a car showroom that would make any auto enthusiast drool over an ever-changing inventory of cars. Southport’s Classic Car Gallery has been in business since 1993, but was bought by its current owner Alan Goodman in 2007. CCG is a relatively new venture for Alan, as his previous career was in brand management working in NYC, but his passion for cars led him down a different path. Alan doesn’t cater to any particular crowd when he chooses cars to offer for sale; you’re just as likely to find a late-model Ferrari sitting in his showroom next to a ’67 Pontiac GTO or a restored Lincoln from the 50’s. Alan purchases most of his cars locally, and advertises in popular auto periodicals such as Auto Trader and Hemmings Motor News, as well as online at Ebay and the company’s own website ClassicCarGallery.com. CCG also sells cars on consignment for owners not interested in dealing with the hassles of private sales. The company maintains an average inventory of 25-40 cars between the showroom and at a remote site.
Alan says “Life is too short to drive a boring car” which is emblazoned on his business card. Indeed, several of the cars in the showroom during my recent visit embody that very sentiment. For example, sitting next to a 1967 E-type Jaguar roadster is a twelve-cylinder Ferrari 550 Maranello. At the opposite end of the showroom is a red Ferrari 328 GTS; a car similar to the one seen in the 1980s TV series Magnum P.I. Sitting outside on the lot was a 2007 Porsche 911 GT3; a street-legal race car. Lest you think CCG only deals in exotic sports cars, a trio of restored classics sit inside mixed in with the pricier iron. A 1940 Packard coupe shares space with a 1963 Land Rover, while a 1949 MG YT tempts fans of postwar era cars in the parking lot. While the prices range up to $105,000 for a Ford GT40 replica, Alan says the average transaction price is 20-50k, which makes most of his cars affordable to buyers of more average means. CCG’s business has grown exponentially since 2007, which is remarkable considering the economic slump affecting the country since 2008. Good quality cars and a strong business ethic has proven to be a winning combination for Alan. The friendly atmosphere may be a factor as well; CCG doesn’t project the stuffy attitude of many exotic car dealers as Alan knows that folks coming in to window shop may eventually become customers, so everybody is met with a “How are you?” upon entering the showroom. That’s how you sell cars in a slow economy.