Classic car showroom rolls into New Canaan

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NEW CANAAN — Matthew Ivanhoe’s new business is revving up car culture in Fairfield County — for collectors who can afford some of the world’s most sought-after automobiles and others not yet ready to make seven-figure acquisitions.

The Cultivated Collector classic and exotic car showroom opened May 6 at 19 Vitti St. in downtown New Canaan. The approximately 2,200-square-foot gallery’s four-wheeled protagonists include Aston Martin, BMW, Cisitalia, Ferrari, Mazda, Lamborghini, Morgan and Renault models that span from the 1940s to 2010s. With the showcase and a planned club, Ivanhoe aims to build a broad community of automotive enthusiasts.


“I’ve always loved New Canaan,” said Ivanhoe, The Cultivated Collector’s president, during an interview last week in his office at the showroom. “I have many friends and clients in New Canaan with the Caffeine and Carburetors show that takes place here.”

At 29, Ivanhoe has already accumulated an extensive automotive resume. The Greenwich native and resident formerly owned a classic and exotic car storage facility in Bedford Hills, N.Y. He also races. He and his father, Robert, last year drove one of the cars in the new showroom, a 1960 Aston Martin DB4, in The Colorado Grand tour that covers five days in the Rockies.

Ivanhoe acquires many of his cars from other collectors, but sometimes discovers gems in unlikely settings. Acting on a tip, he found a 1967 Lamborghini Miura that had languished in a garage in Winnetka, Ill.

“Something that I think has a downward trajectory investment wise, I’m not going to present it to anyone,” Ivanhoe said. “Even if it’s at an affordable price range, it has to be something interesting and compelling.”

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For information on The Cultivated Collector, visit www.thecultivatedcollector.com


Building a top-quality collection requires a significant outlay. The least expensive car in The Cultivated Collector showroom, a 1998 Morgan Plus 8, sells for $75,000. The asking price rises to $1.1 million for the Lamborghini Miura, $3.5 million for a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB and, at the top end, $4.5 million for a 1960 Aston Martin DB4 GT.

“There will always be something in here, even if it is affordable, that is unique and if you acquire that, you will still be viewed with respect and admiration from guys, whether or not they have a $15,000 car collection or $50 million car collection,” Ivanhoe said.

Ivanhoe’s clientele skews male and older than 40, but more women are becoming collectors. During his interview, New Canaan collector Celia O’Neill stopped by his office to share with Ivanhoe some anecdotes about her collection.

“I’m very excited about The Cultivated Collector,” O’Neill said. “We have a very strong car enthusiast culture anyway here. … It’s really great to have a place that caters to our interests.”

An automotive club at 19 Vitti St. that Ivanhoe plans to launch by the end the year would represent a major initiative to build a diverse collecting community. Members would not have to purchase a car from Ivanhoe.

He envisions attracting younger enthusiasts, in their late 20s and early 30s, who cannot yet afford to collect cars but aspire to do so when their budgets grow.

The second floor of the showroom would serve as the clubhouse, with amenities including a well-stocked drinks collection and a racing simulator.

“The objective with the club is to have it be a way to introduce both new and veteran collectors into the hobby and what we do and to a really immersive experience,” Ivanhoe said. “It’s going to be something that will be relatively affordable. … We are really passionate car enthusiasts, and we want to share it with others.”

pschott@scni.com; 203-964-2236; Twitter: @paulschott