Also in my garage: classic car condo

| 31 Oct 2022
Classic & Sports Car – Also in my garage: classic car condominium

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Living near Los Angeles, California, Mike Malamut has gained a fine reputation as a collector, thanks to a terrific array of vehicles gathered in a discreet industrial building (Classic shrine, May 2014).

His interest in automobiles started at a young age, which led him to purchase a 1954 Porsche 356 coupé for $400 shortly after he turned 16.

Malamut later joined a Volkswagen and Porsche dealership in Hollywood as a mechanic, and slowly built a stellar career
over the years, venturing into the automotive financing field – buying 10 car dealerships and investing in real estate along the way.

Classic & Sports Car – Also in my garage: classic car condominium
Mike Malamut enlisted the help of a designer to realise his idea of combining his classic car collection with vintage living spaces

While the main building houses 125 cars, he has at least another 75 spread around adjacent structures.

Yet a lack of space remains a constant issue, hence the decision to create a ‘car condo’. It’s part of a group of 30 units, inhabited by enthusiasts with a similar interest.

“I needed an easily accessible place where I could store my ‘driver’ cars and rally cars,” explains Malamut.

Classic & Sports Car – Also in my garage: classic car condominium
A passion for Porsches is clear; Malamut’s collection includes a 930 turbo, a 911 RS 2.7 clone and a ’71 Targa (right to left)

Tenants own their units and can decorate them how they like: though some keep things simple, Malamut went a step further by using the space as a blank canvas to display his vehicles.

The 6000sq ft condo, which welcomes 18 cars, was purchased as an empty shell. He then worked with a designer to create comfortable upstairs amenities, including a living room with vintage sofas and table.

Car-related memorabilia abounds, starting with a half-scale Porsche 904, and the open kitchen leads to a second lounge area with mid-century furniture, guitars and an Isetta bubble car beside the bedroom.

Classic & Sports Car – Also in my garage: classic car condominium
Scale models and automobilia are peppered throughout the collection

Downstairs, the cars are surrounded by bright colours: vintage posters, more automobilia and a genuine neon Porsche dealership sign.

It’s a reminder of Malamut’s strong interest in the German marque, further confirmed by the half-scale 1970 917 mounted on the wall.

Like many other items in the collection it was bought at auction, including further neon signs retrieved from Chevrolet and Ford dealerships.

Classic & Sports Car – Also in my garage: classic car condominium
The 6000sq ft unit houses a handful of half-scale cars, including a Porsche 936 (left)

Malamut selected his condo classics based on their ease of use.

He typically visits twice a week, before jumping aboard one of his cars – perfectly maintained by his mechanic, Neil Torey – to join friends for drives around the region.

Among the numerous Porsches are an unrestored 1988 930 turbo with only 31,000 miles on the odometer, a Signal Yellow 911 RS 2.7 clone fitted with a healthy 3-litre flat-six, a track-prepared Mexico Blue ’70 911S, and a Bahama Yellow ’71 Targa with rare Sportomatic and air-con options.

Classic & Sports Car – Also in my garage: classic car condominium
As well as numerous Porsches, the extensive collection includes a Citroën DS21, De Tomaso Pantera and Ferrari Testarossa (left to right)

Malamut’s passion for Porsche also led him to purchase a Stone Grey ’57 356 Speedster, along with a Beck-built 550 Spyder replica.

It might fool even the Porsche experts, since it uses several original components.

And then there’s the black 1951 356: perfectly restored, this matching-numbers coupé runs a correct, early 1500cc Super engine. Mike and wife Barbara bought it at an auction for over $1m in 2017.

Classic & Sports Car – Also in my garage: classic car condominium
The living area is decorated with vintage guitars and mid-century furniture

Facing the Porsches are plenty of desirable Japanese classics – a two-cylinder, air-cooled ’67 Toyota Sports 800, a 30,000-mile ’70 Datsun 240Z and a ’91 Acura NSX – while the Italian selection consists of a 1970 Fiat Dino Spider, a ’71 De Tomaso Pantera and an ’88 Ferrari Testarossa.

Other treasures fill the floor: a 1967 BMW-Glas 1600GT, ’56 BMW 502 Cabriolet and ’66 Citroën DS21 – the latter only sold in small numbers in the USA.

But Malamut is far from finished, which means that plans are already under way for yet another beautifully decorated storage space.

Words and images Stephan Szantai


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