PAPA Event at European Motor Studio (EMS) in Chandler, Arizona
Odometer (Legend Sedan): 151,266
It’s been almost exactly five years since my friend Scott and I got together in a couple of red sportscars for this photoshoot at the Hayden Lakeside parking garage in Tempe, Arizona.
The date was Wednesday, May 23, 2012, and the hue of Scott’s 1979 Porsche 928 was nearly identical to that of my Formula Red 1992 Acura NSX. Great minds thought alike.
That was toward the beginning of a longstanding friendship with a guy who’s just as nutty about cars as I am, and this story is one about a company he built from the ground up.
One of the many ‘car organizations’ I’m currently a part of is the Phoenix Automotive Press Association (PAPA). The group has been around for 18 years and is comprised of automotive journalists from around Arizona. Today, active membership is around 40 or 50 individuals and meetings are held about once a month. PAPA’s latest activity was held on Wednesday evening in Chandler, Arizona at the home base for one of the Phoenix Valley’s premier classic European sportscar restoration shops & dealerships.
European Motor Studio (EMS) in name was born in the summer of 2013, but the business – in a lot simpler sense – had existed since long before that time. Entrepreneur Scott Utter first started wheeling and dealing in collector cars starting when he was 14 years old. His first car was a gold 1985 Jaguar XJ6 when he had his learner permit. He sold it for a $2,500 profit, and the rest is history.
Today, EMS has grown into a full time job for Scott and the 4 employees he’s brought on. He also employs a part time mechanic who is brave enough to dig into 12-cylinder Italian engines. “Anything I can help you guys with?” I asked as I was setting up a few materials for our group’s arrival. “Sure,” they said, “just rebuild that V-12 sitting over there on the ground.” I replied, “It would be worse off than it is already.” And that’s the truth. The level of complexity in some of those cars is uncanny.
Most of Scott’s business is carried out online – and around the world. He’s recently shipped collector cars to Germany and Australia (freight to Europe, by the way – isn’t too bad. The car goes to the port at Long Beach, California for $350 and then takes a $1,700 boat ride to Europe, arriving in 3-4 weeks). Most of the inventory tightly packed into his holding warehouse consists of models I can’t even correctly pronounce, with price tags near the market value of my house.
For example, right now he’s sitting on an orange 1971 Lamborghini Espada 400GT with a buy-it-now of $170,000. My favorite vehicle in current inventory is the 1991 Porsche 911 964 Turbo for a cool $120k. Maybe that’s just because of my readily-apparent obsession with cars from the early 1990s.
We extend thanks to Scott and his team for hosting us. Next time, let’s incorporate some test-drives! Haha.
Refreshments are served
Our group getting the lowdown on some of the EMS inventory.
Lineup of Lotus Esprits
80’s Mercedes – isn’t that a song? And a French ‘Citroen SM’ – in itself, a very special car.
PAPA member Sandra Munoz had her sights set on this 1971 Land Rover in pastel green. It seemed like it would be a fitting vehicle to take on some sort of African safari.
Getting a look at the shop area where restorations take place, with a very rare Lamborghini Islero in the background – produced only between 1968-69 (and only 125 total units). That blue is a factory color!
That green Lamborghini Espada is a factory color too, believe it or not.
Here’s the posh interior of a 1985 Maserati Quattroporte III Saloon with fewer than 30,000 original miles.
$20k for some luxury like that!