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January 24th, 2007

Buying Parts with the Car Guy Tour

By John Jacob

If you have a Maserati Mistral, the Car Guy Tour is an ideal way to find those hard-to-find parts in Italy.

On the very last day of the Car Guy Tour 2004, Frank Mandarano and I (who both owned Maserati Mistral's at the time,) had made plans to go back to Campana to buy some parts for my Mistral. I needed an NOS steering wheel, a front Trident badge, and rear tail lamp lenses. When we arrived we were greeted by Mr. Campana himself and he directed us to Sylvia who took care of us in the parts area. I decided to let Frank do the talking as he seemed to know everyone in the store.

"Sylvia! This is my good friend John, who wants to buy some parts for his Mistral. So I brought him here. Please help him out.” I handed over my parts list to Sylvia.

After a few minutes Sylvia returns with the prices. 430 euros for the steering wheel, 350 euros for the tail lamps, 75 euros for the Trident. Add about 30% at the time to convert to dollars. Frank helped me get up from the floor.

"These prices are too high!,” cried Frank. “Sylvia, you‘re killing me! This is ‘Mistral John’! I bring you customers all these years, I expect a better price for them! You need to take another look at your prices."

"This is the best I can do,” said Sylvia, her hands waving through the air. “I cannot do any better, these are the prices! My hands are tied!"

Frank is clearly not happy and his hands, too, start waving in the air. "I don't believe this! This is Mistral John!”.

Frank beckoned to me, clearly annoyed. “Come with me,” he said. Frank leaves the parts area and starts walking out. I am walking next to him and am a bit confused because I still don't have my parts. But I realize I am in the midst of a professional who has done business in Italy a long time, so I go with his lead. I may be "Mistral John" but this is, after all, Frank Mandarano!

"Don't look back.", said Frank.

“What do you mean?”

"Don't look back. Just don't look back. We're going across the street to their competitor Candini."

The sensational Ferrari Mythos at the private Pininfarina Collection.

We cross the street and go into Candini where the proprietor, Marcello, greets us, and remembers us from the tour.

"Marcello!, said Frank, as if calling out to a long lost friend. “I want to introduce you to ‘Mistral John.’ He needs some parts, a steering wheel, tail lamps and a Trident."

Marcello knew he could only be of partial service. "Only Campana has the steering wheel, I don't have any Tridents right now, but I do have the tail lamps. They are 300 euros."

"Can't you do better on the price? This is "Mistral John!", said Frank, again.

"You pay cash, Mistral John?"

I knew cash. "Yes, I pay cash."

"Then the price is 250 euros."

So I buy the tail lamps from Candini.

At no point during the transaction with Candini was hand waving necessary, although I could tell that Frank was well prepared to go there. We walked back across the street to Campana and I bought the steering wheel for 430 euros (ouch!).

The day was "pure Italy", and "pure Frank." Love 'em both!

Parts Buying Bonanza with
the Car Guy Tour

This years Car Guy Tour is offering assistance in purchasing spare parts, accessories and memorabilia for your Italian car.

Frank Mandarano the Tour founder and leader is sharing his contacts developed over the last 35 years to those on the Tour.

Mandarano also gets his 'Car Guys' into places like the Alfa Centro Stile.

According to Frank “This can be a rare opportunity to purchase some of the rarest and most sought after spare parts that can only be found in Italy and only purchased face to face with cash only, for obvious reasons.” Frank will also assist with his Italian air freight contacts whether it’s a small chrome piece or a large crate.

The Tour gets underway on Sunday March 18th 2007 visiting Design Houses and Museums in Milan Turin and ends in Modena on the 28th. after visits to all the usual factories and restoration shops.

Nor does the tour forget the beautiful Italian countryside--Lake Como pictured here.

New this year is a 5 day Tour of Florence and Tuscany add-on to the end of the Car Tour and led by Frank and Janet Mandarano. The Mandaranos, who lived in Florence last year for 5 months are looking forward to introducing the Car Guys and their wives to this historic renaissance city and beautiful countryside.

The March 2007 Tour Filling Up.
The Tour is 80% sold out so you had better act fast as the next Tour won’t be until 2009! Car Guy Tour is sponsored by Gerald Roush and the Ferrari Market Letter. For information go to

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