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Shamin Abas and Jeff Einhorn talk about CarCoterie and 'The Bridge'

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Amelia Island Car Show

Image: The Hangar Amelia Island

When did you become a car enthusiast?

Amelia Island Car Show

Image: The Hangar Amelia Island

Shamin: I appreciate and love cars and work with them in all realms. Outside of my work in the classic car world, my firm works with some of the most incredible car brands in the world including Czinger, Maserati, Ferrari and Eccentrica, to name a few. I am an enthusiast, most definitely!

Jeff: To be an automotive enthusiast, you don't have to have a deep understanding of everything automotive. You just have to appreciate. And Shamin, you certainly fit that qualification. For me, I didn't really have a choice in the matter, as I grew up the son of another car enthusiast. I grew up restoring and racing cars and going out to shows on the weekends and spending my weeknights with my father restoring Austin-Healeys. When did I become a car enthusiast? I'd say from the moment I was born, probably.

What do you consider to be the ideal 'daily driver'?

Amelia Island Car Show

Image: The Hangar Amelia Island

Jeff: Okay. Well, I abhor boring cars, so for me, a daily driver would need to be something exciting enough to make me look forward to driving it, whether I need to run an errand quickly or go for a long trip. And pretty enough so that when I'm walking away from it, I turn around to look at the design and appreciate it once I get to wherever I'm going as I'm walking away. If you don’t turn around after you park and are walking away, you’ve got the wrong car.

Right now, my daily driver is a Ferrari FF, which is a car that I've owned twice, this exact car, and it fits both of those qualifications. I can use it for everything. I'm excited to use it for everything, and when I park it and walk away, I definitely turn back and take a look every time.

Shamin: Well, my ideal daily drive has four legs and is 17 hands high and dark brown. Mine is a horsepower of a different sort. However, I would say I love my Porsche Macan; I love the design, and I love the sport feature. I do love speed. But Jeff is guiding me. I'm sure I will one day move toward the two-door higher speed vehicles! But yes, right now, I love my daily drive.

Amelia Island Car Show

Image: The Hangar Amelia Island

What's different between The Bridge and The Hangar? What is the aim of each one?

Shamin: They are two totally different beasts, both drawing collectors from all over the US. Jeff and I are co-founders in both. For The Bridge we have a wonderful partner Bob Rubin- owner and founder of the club and a passionate car man. Bob raced at The Bridge in its heyday when it was a very important part of the racing circuit in the US and after buying the club turned it into a very special golf club. The three of us came together in 2016 and launched the namesake car exhibition with the idea that it would likely be something just for members, and that it would stay small – we never imagined at that time it would grow to the size and scale it is today.

The Bridge is by invitation and will remain that way as long as it exists. Because of the private nature of the club, the guest list is open only to Bridge members and their guests, those who are exhibiting cars with us and guests of our brand partners. It is all about people who are passionate about cars and who collect cars. The energy that day is charged with people who are passionate about cars. It’s not just the place itself, which is extraordinary, but there is magic in the air.

Amelia Island Car Show

Image: The Hangar Amelia Island

In 2022 Jeff and I launched CarCoterie, which brings together our ever-growing community of like-minded collectors and enthusiasts from around the country. The first event we launched was The Hangar Amelia, of which we have just completed the second iteration and our new event The Capital, which takes place in beautiful Washington DC just blocks from the White House at CityCenterDC will launch on June 15th this year- with more to come in 2025.

We are fortunate to have built a community of incredible car collectors and enthusiasts who not only enjoy coming together, but also know they can count on us for an elevated hospitality experience with delicious food, premium wine and spirits and a great time.

Jeff: What Shamin said is correct. We had collectors clamoring who had been at The Bridge before and wanted us to expand and to bring the kind of unique flavor of hospitality that we've shown at The Bridge to other events that don’t necessarily have a lifestyle feel to them. What made The Bridge so special for many of them is that it is the kind of event their life partners wanted to attend, not just their friends and car buddies. And so, bringing that mentality to Amelia Island and some of the other things we have brewing continues to make them very special and gives them a very high draw as far as our community is concerned.

Amelia Island Car Show

Image: The Hangar Amelia Island

What would you consider to be most challenging about hosting these events?

Shamin: The most challenging aspect is one that could affect any event, and that is the weather. We had six perfect years of glorious weather for The Bridge, which takes place each year in September-historically the best month of the year- and then on the 7th year we had a crazy tropical storm come from nowhere, jeopardizing our entire weekend. We managed to scale Friday evening, which is our collector's reception, to the level that it was a Bridge in of itself almost, much to the joy and pleasure of so many of our collectors who'd come in from out of town and who enjoyed the event so much every year, wherever they're coming from.

Are the cars at the shows owned by members of the local community?

Amelia Island Car Show

Image: The Hangar Amelia Island

Jeff: Starting with The Bridge, you have three different groups. First of all, you have the club membership, then the Hamptons community, and then you have nationally or internationally where cars come from. The Bridge itself, the club is very special in that it was a former racetrack. Many of the track pieces are still on site, including the front straight of the track, the bridge over the straight, and the timing towers.

And that has attracted people who are into auto racing. You're playing golf at a former track. And so, many members are very well-known collectors, and we show over 300 cars. Of the 300 vehicles, it's safe to say usually between 10 and 15 are coming from Bridge members, and those are 10 or 15 very, very high-end cars, all blue chip collectibles.

As far as the local community, the Hamptons, is concerned, there is an incredible wealth of collecting in the Hamptons itself. We're fortunate to be able to draw locally from car collectors. But that being said, still I would say a large percentage of our cars come from all over the nation, as far as California. We also have cars coming internationally. It's not a local show by any stretch of the mind. We curate the exhibition based on the car, not based on availability. For 300 and so spots, we probably field 2,000 submissions. It's about what's good for the show.

Amelia Island Car Show

Image: The Hangar Amelia Island

That being said, there are certain cars, especially with regard to The Bridge that have special ties to the track itself. There are race cars that we've shown that live up by there because they raced there and the owners lived up there and they just never disappeared. Cars in the '50s and the '60s, Joe Buzzetta, who was a Porsche factory race car driver, his cars, which we have shown, they live up there. The fact that they're local doesn't detract at all. We like to celebrate that heritage frankly.

As far as The Hanger is concerned, if we're talking about Amelia Island, those cars come from all over the country for that event. And there are a small percentage of cars that can be seen either Saturday or Sunday on the grounds themselves. But people are coming in from California and from Arizona and they ship their cars in because they want to be part of that event. If we can celebrate local heritage with cars that reflect what's going on in that specific place, we do. But we're certainly not restricted by it.

What are your thoughts on local cars and coffee events?

CityCenterDC Washington DC

Image: CityCenterDC

Jeff: Well, I own a cars and coffee company, so it's easy for me to talk about. I love cars and coffee events. I think that they are the grassroots of the automotive community as far as getting people involved. It is something that is very approachable in that there's no applications, there's no judging, there's no acceptance. You can just show up and show what you have and speak with people who are interested about your car and drink your coffee and go for a drive.

Starting our second year for The Bridge, we recognized very early that we wanted more people involved in this entire weekend than we could fit at The Bridge or what were right for that event. And so, we opened up our own cars and coffee, which occurs every year in downtown Bridgehampton the day after The Bridge. And that's open to the public. Anyone can bring a car to show. If it's the kind of car that they would like to show, then it's the kind of car we'd like them to show, which is the way cars and coffee events work.

And then actually the year after our first cars and coffee for The Bridge, I started CarParkNYC, which puts on cars and coffee events throughout the New York region. And I think they're fantastic. The idea is to make them a little bit more interesting than just showing up and having coffee. We've had drive-in movie nights, Porsche only events known as Porschella, and rallies. It's more about the social experience, which is something that is really great.

CityCenterDC Washington DC

Image: CityCenterDC

I love them. Again, I think they're really the grassroots for the automotive community, the way to get people involved and see new things. And I don't like to just sit and have a coffee. I like to go and trade keys with someone and go for a drive.

What's the ultimate goal for CarCoterie?

Shamin: For CarCoterie. it's to continue to bring our unique events to the parts of the country that are important to the wonderful community of collectors and enthusiasts we have come to know over the last few years. They really have become friends, and bringing them together is the joy in what we do.

Father's Day weekend in DC will be wonderful! We hope to draw collectors and enthusiasts to this spectacular shopping district.

We'll start with 25 or 30 cars this year, and the plan is to close surrounding streets for the exhibition for year two and onwards.

Can you talk about The Capital a little bit more? Is it particularly different from any of the other two shows in some way?

Shamin: It's free and open to the public for anyone who would like to come and see these cars. I know Jeff has some very exciting plans up his sleeves for the cars. It is such a beautiful time of the year in Washington DC.

We're looking forward to growing the event and making it a destination weekend where our community come in and we enjoy time together. For our collectors showing cars this year, we will host a special VIP reception on Friday evening at our host hotel, the spectacular Conrad hotel, that is located right at CityCenter DC.

Jeff: I will say that our group of collectors that follow us around from event to event and really appreciate what we do, they look forward to seeing a broad variety of different collector cars. We really are focused in sports cars, but we're not tied to any specific genre. Really from the '50s on up, you can expect to see a mix of cars as we usually do.

That being said, we're going to have just about 25 cars on display. And the idea is, look, City Center, one, the architecture is really gorgeous, but it's a center that's really reflective of design and style, the shops that are contained in it. And so the idea is that the cars will also be telling a story of fashion and design and style reflective of the stores around them. I think you can see really that they'll be in simpatico with their location. And that's what we're really trying to curate for this exhibition.


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