Beverly Hills Motorsport has memorabilia for the serious collector

Andrew Paolini has motor oil in his veins.

It's not surprising, considering that the president of Beverly Hills Motorsport in Costa Mesa grew up in Ann Arbor, Mich., down the street from Bob Lutz, the former vice president of General Motors who often brought home brand new vehicles, some of which weren't even available to the public.

Paolini knew he liked cars. So much so that when he was 16, he hung around a custom car fabrication and audio shop for a week, taking in everything he could. And finally he was offered a job. At 17, he drove prototypes the likes of which most people have never seen.

Now, at Beverly Hills Motorsport, he gets to play with a variety of collectible cars — life-sized and scaled down. He is in the process of relocating cars from his 8-Mile shop near Detroit to the store at 1609 Pomona Ave., which had its grand opening in June. The Costa Mesa location has 25 automobiles on site, along with one boat and a couple of scooter-type vehicles.

In addition to the cars — some of which can be driven while others belong in a museum — the store carries a large assortment of collectible auto memorabilia.

One particular 1:43 scale Formula 1 model is $800, while the steering wheel from a Mika Hakkinen car is $25,000.

Enthusiasts can find official racing jackets, backpacks and champagne bottles from winning racers plus a couple of Ferraris and a Ford Mustang.

Also for sale is a 1951 Chevy Sedan Delivery, which the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. bought new. When the vehicle was found in a junk yard in 2002, the Camel cigarette ad was still visible on the side panels. This restored classic sedan is $32,000.

Want to cruise around Newport Beach and pretend you're Thomas Magnum? For about $80,000 you can pick up a similar fire-red 1989 Ferrari 328 GTB.

The showroom also boasts a rare 2004 Corvette customized by CRC, which is known for taking new Corvettes and giving them classic bodies. This car is No. 69 of 70 to be fitted with a vintage '62 carbon fiber body. It's $125,000.

Perhaps the gem of the bunch is a sparkling-purple Ford bought new in 1958 by Johnny Taylor and customized around the same time. It features an in-dash TV, a turntable and a rotary telephone.

Finding cars that were customized so long ago, and never touched again, is a rare thing, Paolini said.

OK, so maybe these cars are a little steep. Don't worry, Beverly Hills Motorsports has a few vehicles for less than $10,000.

Start with a souped-up Cushman 3-Wheel Truckster for $7,000. This 3-cylinder sports a smokestack exhaust system and flames down either side of the cart. The story goes that a previous owner used the cart to haul cold beverages around a golf course. The small bed of this mini-truck is lined with plastic so it could hold ice.

Need even cheaper? Check out a bright green 150cc 2012 Panther Scoot Coupe for $6,000. These little jobbies are often seen zipping around cities with a tourist behind the wheel.

Hey, don't laugh, it tops out at 55 mph!

The inventory is available at the brick and mortar store, but many of the collectibles are also available through the company's website,, and eBay under the username beverlyhillsmotorsport.

Twitter: @TheDailyPilot

[For the record, 4:06 p.m. Aug. 21: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Andrew Paolini as the owner of Beverly Hills Motorsport. In fact, he said he was the president. Richard Cushman is the owner.] 

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