On the Hunt: Searching for Sellable Classics

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Hidden away in several warehouses in Astoria, Queens, right across the East River from Manhattan, is an amazing collection of sports cars for sale. Whether it’s a pristine Gullwing or rusted-out Triumph, Gullwing Motor Cars founder Peter Kumar truly believes the age-old car dealer’s adage: There’s an ass for every seat.

But selling cars isn’t Kumar’s primary passion. He lives for the hunt, traveling all over this country looking for classic sports cars to drag home. In fact, on the day we visited, he was late. When he finally arrived, he was flushed with excitement: Just blocks from his facility he had found a low-mileage, pristine, original Rolls-Royce. It was his latest score.

That was Tuesday. He had already bought 11 cars that week, having just flown in from Texas, where he bought a Lamborghini that some eccentric owner had locked away in a storage container.

Kumar told us he’s on a plane at least once a week and has traveled to every state-well, almost every state, he adds, explaining that he’s never found a car in North Dakota. He has arrangements with shipping companies, but occasionally the cars don’t even come home with him, instead being sold and shipped away on the spot.

While Kumar has become somewhat infamous in our world for selling projects (and in some cases what can only be called parts cars), he also carries nice drivers and even some concours-quality machines. He gathers options for every taste and budget, and keeps the cash on hand to pounce when an opportunity arises.

“I will buy virtually every car I am offered,” he told us. “It just comes down to price.” He knows that for every Wall Street or dot-com billionaire, there are thousands of regular folks who just want to restore an MG T-series, Triumph TR or Jaguar E-type.

Gullwing Motor Cars
(800) 452-9910
gullwingmotor.com

WHO IS PETER KUMAR?

Peter Kumar was born in India in 1965. As a young man he immigrated first to Miami and then to just outside of New York City.

He spent the few dollars to his name buying used cars, fixing them up, and selling them. His dream was to someday deal with cars more like the Gullwing Mercedes-Benz. As a young boy, he had purchased a scale model of one.

He kept buying and selling, eventually expanding into classics around 1988. That’s when Gullwing Motor Cars was born. As he explains, he put in twice as many hours a week as the normal American worker, tirelessly building a business. About 10 years ago, he could finally afford to trade in Gullwings.

Today Gullwing Motor Cars buys and sells cars all over the world. Its showroom and warehouses store hundreds of cars. But perhaps the strongest endorsement of Kumar’s dealership is the fact that several competitors have copied his business plan.

This article is from a past issue of the magazine. Like stories like this? You’ll see every article as soon as it's published, and get access to our full digital archive, by subscribing to Classic Motorsports. Subscribe now.

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mapleglen
mapleglen New Reader
2/8/19 4:22 p.m.

Mr Kumar was nice to work with. Many years ago I needed money to buy a Morgan. Put an ad in HMN  for a Healey 3000 that I wanted to sell. He called, made the deal, sent a truck up from the city, the driver paid me and I bought the Mog.  Quickest sale I ever made.

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