Perhaps it was a foreshadowing of the future. Back in 2008, while working for the Harlem Globetrotters, Nick Cardinale bought his first “collector car,” a 1975 Ford Bronco he bought in a private sale after scouring the internet for just the right vehicle. “I’ve always loved the Ford Bronco,” says Nick, “maybe because I’m a West Coast guy, a California guy. It’s kind of a beach car out there, especially the convertible version like I have.”
Five years after that prophetic purchase, Nick was hired as the General Manager of Barrett-Jackson, where his experience with live events really came into play. “Barrett-Jackson had plenty of car experts on the team to handle the car aspect of the company,” says Nick. “I am basically involved with everything at Barrett-Jackson but the cars, in a nutshell. Marketing, sponsorship, bidders, VIP services – it’s all part of a live event, whether that’s an NFL game, a rodeo, a major concert or our unique automotive lifestyle event.”
Of course, a passion for cars helps. Nick calls himself a “car enthusiast” who attended races at Laguna Seca, the Concourso Italiano and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance while growing up on California’s Central Coast. When he moved to Barrett-Jackson’s home base of Scottsdale in 2003, the auction was naturally on his radar.
After coming on board at Barrett-Jackson, Nick acquired another collector car: a completely custom 1970 Chevelle that he had had his eye on for some time. “It was probably the best Resto-Mod Chevelle I had ever seen,” Nick says. “I’d always wanted a black ’70s Chevelle; this one had a tough ‘The Fast & The Furious’ look about it and it was ready to go, with 620 horsepower. That car is incredibly loud and powerful!”
Nick readily admits he’s a Resto-Mod guy. “That’s just more my generation – I’m literally on the cusp of X-Gen and millennial. You’re seeing X-Geners coming into money and starting to buy cars, with the millennial group right behind them. The Resto-Mod craze is really big.”
When it came to his beloved red Bronco, it seems Nick got ahead of the curve, with customized trucks like Broncos, Jeeps, Power Wagons and Blazers rocking the auction block right now.
Nick says the Bronco caught his eye because it was affordable and already had done some custom work to it. “They had the roll cage put in and it had a Vintage Air air conditioning system,” he says. “But I knew once I got it, I was going to make it mine.”
The first thing he did was add power disc brakes, power steering and fuel injection. The suspension package and tires were upgraded, and then Nick had some cosmetic stuff taken care of: a new paint job, had the entire bottom powder-coated, put a new custom hood on, and just recently had it reupholstered.
Nick and his wife Fawn use the Bronco as a “fun weekend car,” and it’s unlikely he’ll part with it any time soon. “It’s my baby,” he says. “I don’t think I would sell it. I made it my own, and now they’re so wildly popular – I’ve had many offers for it. When it’s down at our Barrett-Jackson Collection Showroom getting some work done, it causes a stir – people will stop and try to buy it.”
Nick’s passion for cars is evident, making him a perfect fit for the passion-driven collector car industry and our world-class automotive lifestyle event.