Photo: Travis Okulski / Business Insider
To the uninitiated, it is easy to just walk right by Cooper Classics Collection without a second glance.Located in Manhattan’s West Village, Cooper is tucked in amongst art galleries and brownstones on Perry Street. Paved with bricks, Perry Street makes for a decidedly old world feel in a modern town.
The biggest clue to the location when we stopped by was a red Jaguar XKE sitting outside with the hood open.
While we were there we spoke to Elliot Cuker, the founder and owner of the collection. You may have seen him on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, where he examined Conan’s famous Taurus SHO and gave it a jump start with a classic Corvette.
He mixes art and classic cars to create a gallery and event space that uses cars as sculptures that can also be in motion.
Cuker’s collection is always expanding and changing. Right now, there are a number of early Porsches in the gallery. At the auctions in Scottsdale, Arizona last weekend, Cuker was able to add two more Porsches, a 911E and 911S.
An Austin-Healey 100M Le Mans Roadster was also secured for the collection. This particular car has had a full restoration and was deemed one of the finest examples in existence.
Most of the cars in the two showrooms are available for sale, and there are some amazing, rare finds that are all in concours condition.
This Jaguar was the first clue that we were in the right place. Cuker noted that this XKE is one of the first 200 off the assembly line. The side latches on the hood are the distinguishing characteristic.
But walk in the front door and you will see it's a little bit different. Right at the entrance was this 1971 Mercedes 280SE 3.5, one of their larger convertibles.
The collection has recently been on a bit of a Porsche kick. With increasing values, these cars are sound investments.
Stuck amongst the Porsches was this baby blue Jaguar XK120. When it was launched in the late 1940s, it was the fastest car in the world.
Most angles don't show just how far the front lights on the XK120 protrude. This is the first time we have really noticed.
This 1946 Lincoln Continental did not seem to fit in with the rest of the gallery. However, it was in immaculate shape; the paint looked perfect.
This space is typically full with three rows of cars. But with the Scottsdale auctions and other events, there were only about 15 beautiful cars for us to examine.
This little Mini traveller next to the Jag caught our eye. Mini, if you are reading this, the Clubman should look exactly like this car.
On the right side of the garage was another Jag XK120, this time with spats over the rear wheels. It still wears its original black California licence plates.
But something we have never seen in person stole the show. Tucked away in the back of the second showroom was a Facel Vega II. This French bruiser is powered by a Chrysler V8.
Although it was big, it was far from safe. French author Albert Camus was actually killed in his Vega after a terrible accident.
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