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Stylish Dealership to Be Vintage Car Destination

Michael Malamut is taking his passion for collecting and selling vintage cars to a new level when he opens his vintage car dealership in Calabasas. The Tuscan-style structure will feature a cafe, gift shop, community rooms and an auto detail and repair center. “We wanted this type of design for our dealership because many of the cars we handle will be Italian. Also, I have a home in Europe and I love the detail and quality of the European architecture. We want visitors to feel they are in a European Villa,” he said. The centerpiece will be a showroom of mostly classic European cars from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. The Malamut Vintage Auto Center will offer a wide variety of models from Porsche, Mercedes, Ferrari, Jaguar, BMW, Alfa Romeo, Volkswagen, and other interesting imports. The American classics will be represented with models from Chevrolet, Pontiac, Chrysler, Plymouth, Jeep, and trucks and station wagons from the 1940’s up to the 1970’s. Owning a dealership is not a new venture for Malamut, who previously owned and operated Auto Land with 50 locations around California and housed in local credit unions for the convenience of their members. At the same time, he owned a classic car museum in Sherman Oaks where Auto Land customers had an option to buy one of his vintage models. Over the years, Malamut operated dealerships for Nissan, Honda, Volkswagen, Dodge, Pontiac, Cadillac and GMC. Over the years, he always continued to maintain a status for his vintage cars and trucks. “Our new dealership will be different from traditional ones. The setting will be inviting to all whether they are collectors or non collectors. We will have a retail space to sell collectables, such as books, memorabilia, clothing, etc. We will feature fireplaces where customers can sit and sip a hot latte or have a cold drink,” Malamut said. More than car sales Customers will be able to view vintage car movies and visit a time when people enjoyed themselves in a simpler way. “We will decorate the showroom with vintage art and period collectibles so they will feel transported back in time to the 1940s right through to the 1960s,” Malamut said. Malamut feels that advertising or marketing will not be necessary since the 21,000-square-foot Auto Center at 24439 Calabasas Road will be visible from the Ventura (101) freeway for everyone to see as they drive…and along with “word of mouth” from satisfied customers he believes these will be the best ways to promote the dealership. “Calabasas and Agoura have a lot of classic car collectors as well. Over the past three years people have put their money into collecting vintage cars. The return has been over 15 percent yearly on the right models,” he said. Malamut Vintage Auto Center will be the city’s fifth auto dealer alongside Mercedes, BMW, Volvo and Acura. Malamut bought the land six years ago, but only started to work with the city in the last three years. He feels this vintage dealership is good for both him and the city. He said he worked with the staff of the city to come up with a quality project that will be a destination point for the city. “The management on all levels of the city gave us valuable input to create a special place for the community,” he said. Council OK The Calabasas City Council officially approved the project on February 9. A vintage car center was compatible with the identified uses in the city master plan since a number of auto dealerships currently exist along this portion of Calabasas Road, according to Talyn Mirzakhanian, planner for the City of Calabasas. “The project site is located within the designated Ventura Freeway Scenic Corridor and was required to comply with the City’s Scenic Corridor Development Guidelines. The addition of a building on this site would change the visual character of the site. However, the design guidelines, recommendations, and requirements set forth by the Scenic Corridor Development Guidelines have been incorporated into the site design to minimize the visual impact of the project to scenic vistas,” she said. The requirements included: the use of architectural colors and materials similar to the natural surrounding environment; landscaping with vegetation; and minimizing the obstruction of views via the incorporation of hip roofs; providing lower roofline height than typical gabled roofs, and a second-story deck that causes the roofline of the western portion of the building to be lower than the rest of the second story that allows for more expansive views of the hillsides to the south. Destination “The City is hopeful that the project will integrate well with the existing auto-related uses along the West Calabasas Road corridor and help support our commercial tax base. We also see it as unique asset, which is expected to generate local interest in classic cars – the automobiles that will be on sale here will be one of a kind and of museum quality in some cases. Even if a resident is not in the market to purchase a vintage car, we anticipate that they will, nonetheless, visit the showroom just to enjoy the vehicles on display,” said Mirzakhanian. From a business point of view, Mirzakhanian believes this project will help to further establish Calabasas as a unique place to shop since the majority of businesses in the community are distinctive and offer buyers something apart from the ordinary. “Be it a new outfit from Dash (the Kardashian sisters’ Calabasas boutique), an artistic plant arrangement from Sperling Nursery, or shortly, a classic car from the Malamut Vintage Auto Dealership,” Mirzakhanian said.

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