This weekend, the prestigious Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance will be held in Florida. Cliff Reuter, etceterini expert and Founder of http://www.etceterini.com has organized a display for the Concours that contains what may very well be the most significant grouping of etceterini cars offered on display in the United States.
Where are you from?
Saint Louis, Missouri
Where do you live?
Saint Louis, Missouri
What was your first job? What did it teach you about business?
My first job was teaching tennis, it taught me the beauty of helping others
people to have fun while teaching them skills that they could use for the rest
of their lives. I still teach tennis full time (see 10sne1.com).
When did you first realize you had a passion for cars?
Very early on when my Dad, Jack Reuter, was collecting some of the most
important European 1950’s racing cars in the world like Ferrari, Maserati,
Porsche, Bugatti, Abarth Etc. I was raised among Ferrari GTO, SWB, TRC,
166MM, 250 Monza, and Maserati A6GCS, Birdcage, and Porsche 550 Spyder,
Abarth Carrera and more. These cars were normal to me and I now realize that
they were not!
Has anyone in your family influenced your passion?
Of course my Father, Jack who has some of the best taste in European racing cars
in the world.
What was your first car, how’d you get it and what happened to it?
My first car was a Volkswagen Beetle circa 1975 that my dad bought for me for
$500. It was orange over black and an atrocity! One of my Dad’s quirks was that
he only bought pedestrian street automobiles to drive every day, cars like: Ford Escort,
Chevy Malibu Wagon, AMC Pacer, Nissan Sentra, Old Chevy Vans, and of course
the fabled family station wagons a la Clark Griswold.
What do you currently drive, what cars have you owned and what's your favorite car to date and why?
I drive a 2005 Mercedes C240 4matic red over gray which I ordered new from the factory. It took 4 months to arrive but I had to have Mars red with a light gray interior and that was simply not offered stock. 120k miles later this car has been a dream to drive every day and I love it! I now am lucky enough to also own a 1951 Bandini Siluro Crosley Motto Devin Monza 750cc racing car.
When did you start Etceterini.com? Why? Tell us about the site.
I started Etceterini.com in 2005 because of my father’s love of the cars dating back to the 1950’s and the serious lack of information on the Internet. He had boxes of information on them and numerous friends who loved them as much as he did but there was no central place of knowledge for them. The site is dedicated to the history, documentation, and preservation of etceterini cars. By definition etceterinis are hand made small displacement Italian racing cars which were produced from the late 1940's to the early 1960's. Most of these beautiful cars used Fiat running gear and had their own chassis,hand hammered aluminum bodies, and engines. They raced throughout Europe in races such as the legendary Mille Miglia and also competed heavily in American SCCA racing.
Why are you so fond of these cars?
These hand made small jewels are beautiful creations and in my opinion are artwork and rolling sculpture with no two being alike. They are so small in stature but were incredible fire breathing racing cars that won many international events. They were eventually overtaken by small-bore British cars which were square looking boxy things that were more business-like rather than esthetically pleasing.
Is there a club for these cars? Is it local, regional, national, international? How many members are there?
There is no club per se, but my web site and my Facebook etceterini page have become the central meeting place for the etceterini owners and fans from all over the world.
What’s the most popular Etceterini as you see it? Why do you think it’s so popular?
In my opinion the best and most desirable Etceterini in the world is my Father’s 1955 Bandini Siluro #358 DOHC. Why, because it retains 100% of its original metal, it is a Twin Cam, it is the lightest and fastest Etceterini, and it is so incredibly beautiful! I think the popularity of etceterinis lies in the fact that they are souniversally unkown to the general public. But when first seen they instantly draw people to them because of they’re small stature and extreme beauty. Most people when learning about them can’t believe that they have never heard of them before.
How many of these cars exist and where is the bulk of them?
I would say between 200-300 of these cars exist and the bulk are in the US, Europe, and Japan. If you take away Formula Juniors then I would guess around 100-150 sports racers survive in the world today.
Who are some of the famous designers associated with Etceterini cars?
One of the most famous body designers associated with them is the firm Motto.
Why don’t we see more of them?
They were produced in such small numbers and then raced to the extreme and then in most cases discarded.
What kind of mileage do these things get? How fast do they go? Are most of them even street legal? Do they run on regular gas?
These are racing cars and not street legal, most are small displacement but I’ve never heard the term "gas mileage" associated with them.
What’s the average price of these cars and what’s the most expensive one you’ve ever seen sell at auction or by private treaty? What are your thoughts on that car?
The cars range from around $60k (Formula Juinor) to around $400k. I don’t know the most money spent on one of these cars as most of the sales are very private. I do know that Twin Cam cars sell for much more that SOHC cars. These cars can get you into the most exclusive vintage car events in the world like Pebble Beach, Mille Miglia, Goodwood, Monaco, etc for a fraction of the price of a comparable Bugatti, Ferrari, Maserati, etc and are in fact more rare.
What are your one year and five year goals for the site?
The main goals of the site are to bring the world wide owners together in one forum and to educate the public on these great racing cars. Another goal, which I feel I have already met, is to assemble the largest collection in the world of 1950’s American SCCA racing results via the original race programs and entry lists and period reporting of the races. This web site will be a life long project and I hope my son, Preston, will take up the reigns when I’m gone.
Have you ever shown an etceterini at an event? What? Where? Was it judged? Did it win?
My Father, Jack Reuter, showed his 1955 Bandini Siluro DOHC at the 2002 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance where it won 3rd place in its class.
What's the farthest you've ever traveled to buy, sell or cover an etceterini car? Why were you there?
I travel the world seeking out these cars via the Internet and currently my three etceterini owner/friends in Japan are about the farthest away from me.
Is the site your main profession?
This web site is not my main profession but is my hobby and perhaps my obsession.
How did you get involved with the famous Amelia Island Concours and organizing the Etceterini display?
After the very disappointing and disorganized Pebble Beach class in 2002, I began to plan a new event where the car owners and long time American Etceterini gurus would gather together in the same place for the first time. After searching for a suitable location for many years I finally decided on Amelia Island and contacted Bill Warner in 2007 with my idea for an Etceterini class for 2010. Bill was very excited from the get go and told me to run with the idea.
Tell us what we can expect? How many cars, what type?
You can expect the best Etceterini gathering the world has ever seen. The most important Etceterinis located in America will be there; 5 Bandinis, 2 Stanguellinis, 2 Siatas, 2 Morettis, and a very special “Barn Find” Abarth, so 12 cars in all.
When is the event? March 12-14.
Do you expect a lot of Etceterini owners and enthusiasts to be in attendance?
I expect the most important "etceterinisti" in America to be there. This will be a once in a lifetime gathering of all the old and new players in the world of etceterini.
Do you plan to organize similar displays at other events around the United States?
Yes, I am planning on more displays in the US so stay tuned.
Where can people learn more about Etceterini besides your site?
Have you been approached by others about organizing etceterini cars at events?
Yes, I have heard from the Meadowbrook Concours, the Pebble Beach Concours, the Quail Concours and more.
Do you have any classic or racecars or have you ever had any?
I have the 1951 Bandini Siluro Motto Crosley Mercury Devin Moza Hmod 750cc racing car
What do you like best about what you do?
I just love to connect with the worlds etceterini owners and fans.
Who would you consider your heroes in the car realm and why?
My heroes are the backyard guys who made cars and then raced them, especially the Italians.
How has the Internet affected your passion and the Etceterini realm as a whole?
My gosh! The Internet has opened up the world to me and my obsession for these cars! It is so easy now to connect with owners from
Australia to Japan!
How can people contact you?
Through my website at http://www.etceterini.com. If they want me to organize a display at their event, they can contact CAR PR USA http://www.carprusa.com to discuss opportunities, dates, locations and more to see if it makes sense and fits with our national schedule.
There are costs associated with organizing a display of significance....transporting of vehicles for example.
Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance: http://www.ameliaconcours.org
Etceterini Videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/etceterinicars
Vote For Your Favorite Amelia Island Concours etceterini Car: http://www.sportscardigest.com/favorite-amelia-island-concours-etceterini-winner/
Interview by Cindy Meitle
Photo Credits: etceterini.com for photography/Cliff Reuter image