Bringing some muscle to Elburn
Blackberry Creek resident opens Windy City Muscle Cars
ELBURN—When Nicolas Cage’s brand new Bentley Continental GTC went up for sale as part of the Hollywood star’s bankruptcy, Tom Scardamaglia snapped it up.
It’s sitting in his showroom at Windy City Muscle Cars, his new specialty car business at 217 Paul St. in Elburn, and Scardamaglia thinks he’ll be able to sell it for about $250,000.
“Because it was celebrity owned, it’s got history,” Scardamaglia said. “It’s the most high-end car we have. I bought it from a dealership out in Las Vegas called Celebrity Cars, who acquired it through (Cage’s) bankruptcy attorney.”
The Bentley is just one of more than a dozen specialty cars in Windy City’s showroom at the moment. Most of the others, Scardamaglia said, are classic muscle cars—a 1966 GTO convertible, a 1969 Camaro Z11 pace car, a 1970 Chevelle that’s been restored to concourse quality, as well as newer Camaros and Mustangs. All are more moderately priced than the Bentley, with the least expensive car in the showroom, a 1988 Mustang GT, priced below $10,000.
Though the muscle car showroom is located in Elburn, Scardamaglia considers it a “web dealership” rather than a traditional car dealership. He expects potential customers will come from all over the world, and he’s been doing a lot of online marketing to attract them.
“I’m targeting, essentially, a pre-qualified customer who knows exactly what they want,” he said. “They’re car enthusiasts and purists, the people who go through the car to make sure every nut, screw, bolt, everything is correct, that all the original numbers match. It could be someone from St. Charles, but with the Internet and international car sales, I can be dealing with someone from Poland or Sweden or the Philippines.”
Windy City Muscle Cars has only been open for a month, so Scardamaglia hasn’t made many sales yet, but he’s receiving inquiries from his website, windycitymusclecars.com, from far-flung places. Only 20 percent of the visitors to his website are from Illinois, he said, and he’s been fielding calls from potential customers as far away as Poland.
“The trend with people these days is that anywhere from 12 to 14 hours is spent online, researching and narrowing down the cars they want to buy, and less time is spent in person at the dealership. Especially with the customers I’m dealing with, the out-of-state people, they’ll never even set foot in the showroom.”
Scardamaglia chose to open Windy City Muscle Cars in Elburn because “it made sense,” he said. He and his wife, a teacher at Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School, live in Elburn.
“I really like the small-town feel of Elburn, and back when I moved into Blackberry Creek, it was a brand new subdivision and the train station had just come into town. I felt like the community was bound for some growth,” he said.
A friend owns the building he opened his showroom in, and the location, in a warehouse not far from the railroad tracks, makes it easy for him to ship cars by rail to anywhere in the country. For overseas customers, he can ship the cars to New York or California, where they can be loaded onto a boat and sent anywhere in the world.
Though the business is new, Scardamaglia has almost 20 years of experience working in the auto industry. He started off working at a detail shop in St. Charles, detailing high-end cars, and purchased that business from the owner. Later, he worked at a car dealership, doing sales, handling the financial paperwork and managing the inventory.
Windy City specializes in muscle cars, but Scardamaglia will work with customers to obtain any kind of car they’re seeking. He also offers several other services, including restorations, appraisals and consignments.
“We’re full service. I don’t want to spread myself too thin, because I’d rather be good at a few things. For restorations, I do the disassembly and assembly, and I try to use as many local vendors as possible in regard to bodywork and sheet metal work and painting. I’ve got guys who will detail cars, if you need detailing done. Some people need their car appraised, and sometimes with an accident, the insurance adjustor won’t know how to value (a specialty car) properly, and you can get a third-party appraiser. Somebody’s saying, ‘can you put a value on this car?’ If you want a full-blown appraisal, I can help you get one from a certified appraiser,” he said.
For those who don’t want to deal with the hassle of selling a car, Scardamaglia will sell the car for them on consignment, marketing the car online and dealing with the potential customers.
He also offers indoor and outdoor storage for cars, motorcycles, boats and other vehicles. The indoor storage is climate-controlled to offer protection from the elements, and the outdoor storage can be accessed by customers 24 hours a day.
Windy City Muscle Cars is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Saturdays by appointment only. For more information, visit windycitymusclecars.com or call (630) 365-5697.