A competitive race driver, Joe Macari turned his passion for cars into several successful businesses including an independent luxury car dealership and Joe Macari Servicing – an official Ferrari and Maserati Franchise.
How did you get into cars?
Since I was younger, I wanted to a racing car driver. My earliest memory was watching Le Mans 24 hours with my father and watching Grand Prix on a Sunday with my uncles and cousins in the 70s
When did you get into racing?
I brought a racing car and thought it was perfect for the series I wanted to compete in, but realised I entered it into the wrong race. However, I went and learnt more about racing cars from this experience. I started driving around 1998. Joe Macari dealership was in existence, but it was just buying and selling to fund racing for his Mitsubishi Lancer turbo. I raced it in the British Saloon cup championship.
How Did Joe Macari Performance cars grow to what is today?
I had an accident and was told I would never drive again, but fortunately I did. So, I had to work hard as my plans had changed. I put the hours in and did a lot of European work to grow the business. I did a Ferrari deal by mistake and fortunately a friend of mine just sold his house, and he gave me the money to pay for the two cars. I sold the two cars, made a handsome profit and did it all again. I just carried on from there. It was never the plan to sell Ferraris, but it just happened.
I used to go to Bramley Garage as a boy, it was the best place in the world. Graham Cook was there and use to let me sit in his Daytona Spyder. As a teenager, I asked if I could buy it one day and he said I need a job first. He is still a friend today and mentored me in this business. I am grateful to have people like that. He phoned me one day and said he had a car that was perfect for me. He knew I didn’t have much money and so he told me to pay in six weeks once I’ve sold it. I sold it in 2 weeks and then he gave me another car to sell.
Part of your business is also maintenance and restoring- do you enjoy this aspect?
The restoration classic side of the business is my weakness as I spend too much time on every car. I adore it! There is something about a classic car, whether it is a 60s Fiat 500 or a Ferrari that makes you smile. In my heart I am collector, as I still look at a car and it takes my breathe away. Sometimes I struggle to let go of the car because of my love for it. The reality is not everyone deserves these cars, and it may not be the right car for them.
We had a customer, one of my dear friends who purchased a PF Cabriolet Series 2. He wanted it painted red, but I painted it this beautiful dark grey without telling him. He took the cover for the first time and said it was beautiful, but he wanted the car red. However, he loved the grey and decided to keep the colour in the end. Sometimes it is important to help your clients to make the correct decisions for the car- he sold it eventually but regrets it every day.
What does the future hold for your racing?
I stopped racing in 2007, however I have done a few races since then. I am going to race in the Maserati Le Mans Classic next weekend. I will be driving MC12 GT1, extremely excited about that. I am apprehensive because I went to test it the other day. I looked at the lap times and it was so slow! However, it felt fast and that is what important. You have to be competitive and do your best.