In 2011, software developer Afshin Behnia sold his legal software start-up and, with his wife, former Disney executive Kika Vigo-Behnia, pooled their resources and their passion for classic cars to found Petrolicious.
Since launching their first movie in early 2013, they have posted more than 120 lovingly hand-crafted short movies on YouTube, where Petrolicious has 250,000 subscribers and more than 400,000 monthly visitors for its 5- to 10-minute movies about vintage automobiles.
Petrolicious posts an average of a film a week, made by a handful of select directors.
The one they made a year ago about a rare Ferrari 250 GTO has been seen almost 800,000 times, according to YouTube. So has a short they made about Brentwood architect Holger Schubert’s love affair with his Ferrari 512BBi.
This week, Petrolicious is posting a rare motorcycle-themed movie -- a profile of Stacie B. London, founder of Los Angeles’ East Side Moto Babes, profiled in The Times last year.
The new video can be seen here.
The 13-minute movie was filmed by Saam Gabbay, Behnia’s childhood friend and a Petrolicious regular.
The lavishly shot video chronicles London’s nascent racing career, and her efforts to get a checkered flag on her vintage 555-plated Honda race bike. Though most of the Petrolicious films are one-day shoots, London and her Triple Nickel got a multiple-day treatment and shooting that took place in several exotic motorcycling locations.
Behnia -- who lives off Benedict Canyon with his wife, their newborn child and a collection of a dozen vintage Alfa Romeos -- said Petrolicious has “good revenue” but is not profitable yet.
A relaunch of the site may change that. The reboot will feature a retail store and may include an area for classic car sales. Behnia said outside investors are also a possibility.
But the arrival of a new child in the family has forced a Behnia reboot too. His daily driver, for years, was one of his Alfas. Now, he said, it’s his “baby car,” a BMW 328.