MARCH 2018 • LONGISLANDPRESS.COM 33
UNDER THE HOOD
LI car collectors tout favorite models,
By JEFF BERMAN
Long Islanders love their cars.
Some Long Islanders really, really
love their cars, and even love many
of the ones they don’t even
This is evident by
the many car
Sergio Alvarez and his son, Logan, pose with his
Porsche 918 Spyder.
swap meets or other gatherings
of local car collectors that are
routinely held throughout Long
Island – from Belmont Racetrack
to the parking lots where local
collectors show off everything from
collectible exotic cars to custom hot
rods and classics of all kinds.
“I have had a love for all things
automobile since the age of 5,”
says Sergio Alvarez, 45, of Old
Brookville, who has been collecting
cars for the past five years. “I still
own my first-ever car.”
That 1985 Pontiac Firebird, which he
bought used in 1991, is now part of
a collection that includes more than
20 cars, including 14 “supercars”
and one “hypercar” – all limited and
special edition models, he says.
For the uninitiated, supercars
are generally classified by car
enthusiasts as high-end models
that are faster and more expensive
than most cars released in any
given year, while hypercars exceed
the average supercar in speed,
performance and price.
He’s overcome one of
the main challenges
that car collectors
often face: finding a
place to store
them all — although his
14-car garage is now at capacity.
Alvarez struggled to name his
“That’s like asking which one is your
favorite kid,” he says. “They are all
so different and unique it’s hard
to pick just one. If I had to make a
choice, it would be the Porsche 918
Spyder. It is one of the world’s fastest
cars in every respect.”
But still, he wants more.
“One that I missed on that I really
want is the Ferrari LaFerrari,” he
says. “The prices have skyrocketed,
and I missed the opportunity to get
one early on.”
Steve Linden, 60, of Smithtown,
meanwhile, has been collecting
cars and motorcycles for
about 40 years.
“My father enjoyed old cars,
and he got me interested,”
he says. “This seems to be
a common theme in the
collector car community.”
Linden is “down to one car
(and one motorcycle) in addition
to my daily drivers” right now,
he says, adding it’s “much more
enjoyable to use the car that I
have, rather than spend all of my
spare time maintaining a large
At one time, he had about 10 cars
and 10 motorcycles, and over the
years he’s owned well over 100
collector cars, he says, noting he
keeps his vehicles in a barn on
his property now, but rented a
warehouse in St. James when his
collection was larger. His favorite is
a 1972 Cougar convertible that he’s
owned for over 40 years.
“My wife and I drove off from our
wedding in it, and my son drove
it to his prom,” he says. “We use
it regularly, and even though it
looks great, we don’t worry about
parking it and leaving it.”
He cited a 1971 or 1972 Pantera
and a 1956 or 1957 Lincoln
Continental Mark II as the cars he
“I think that they are both beautiful
examples of the market that they
were intended for,” he says.
The history behind the eventual
production of either of those car
models could also easily be the
subject of a movie, he says.
“If the opportunity to own the right
car were to come along, I would
probably buy it,” he says. “But,
it’s been my experience that these
opportunities come along when
you’re not looking. If you’re looking
for the perfect car, you probably
won’t find it.”
At 27, Reid Branston is the
youngest of the three local car
collectors interviewed for this story.
He’s been collecting cars for more
than five years.
“I got into cars through my father,
who is a huge collector,” he says.
The two of them run the exotic and
classic car dealership Motorcar
Classics in Farmingdale.
Between the cars he and his father,
Motorcar Classics CEO and founder
Will Branston, own and cars they’re
selling through the dealership, they
have at least 70-plus classic and late
model cars, Reid says. The “coolest”
model they have in their inventory
now is Paul Newman’s 1978 Datsun
280ZX racecar. But the car he would
most love to add to his collection is
the BMW Z8, he says.
“I’ve sold a few over the years
through our dealership,” he
says. “But I’ve never owned one
eye next additions
This driveway full of sports cars is less than half of Alvarez’ collection.