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Like Father Like Sons – Dominick’s European Car Repair

This is a story about a Dominick Spadaro, a master mechanic who traveled all the way from his homeland of Sicily to the US and eventually opened up his own foreign car repair shop in White Plains, NY. In time his sons, Santo and Frank Spadaro joined him in the shop, first by sweeping the floors and then helping their father as his assistants while learning the trade by watching him work.

  • Dominick Spadaro on the right with a MG Midget in 1962.

  • Dominick later in life machining a flywheel in a lathe.

  • Santo Spadaro testing an engine in front of a very rare Itailian Cisitalia 202 SSM Spider.

  • The basement of the building is filled with cars some of which are a source for parts.

Time passed by, and both Santo and Frank went on to become highly-skilled mechanics who worked alongside with their father and later were joined by their older sister Venera Spadaro. Dominic suffered a stroke in 1995 when he was eighty-seven years old, and with the help of his children he recovered and went back to working in the shop. Sadly he died two years later at the age of eighty-nine.

But that’s enough of us telling you about the story, take a minute, pour yourself a beverage, and sit down and enjoy this unique video courtesy of Petrolicious where his three children surrounded by cars talk about their father and Dominick’s European Car Repair as it is today. View more images here. 

 

18 responses to “Like Father Like Sons – Dominick’s European Car Repair

  1. In Photo 1 a ’58 Cadillac hardtop (apart from the convertibles, they were all hardtops) facing the Sprite or Midget and maybe a Renault Dauphine two cars over

    • Pat, are there any distinguishing differences between an Austin Healey Sprite (MkII) and the MG Midget (MkI)? From the shape of the hood badge, barely visible in the center hood stripe, I would guess that it is a MG.

      • The Sprite hoods have the traditional round plastic black and red AH badge, laterly with wings. The Midget has the squarish chrome shield you see in the pic.

    • John, the MG Midget apparently had some trim differences (more of it) and leather seats to help justify its slightly higher price vs a Sprite. Though originally designed by Austin, a couple years after the takeover by British Leyland, the Sprite was dropped after ’71…the Midget continuing on into 1980.

      • Midgets had a chrome strip down the sides, which can just be seen in the photo. Also the grilles were different, Sprites had a sort of chrome mesh whereas Midgets had vertical bars. If you were keen you took out alternate bars or even two , leaving every third one – which made it go faster….! Memories, memories.
        And David thanks for an excellent clip
        Tony Hodson

      • Thanks for the clarification Pat. I didn’t realize that both manufacturers produced almost identical cars. When I think of an Austin Healey Sprite it’s the bug-eye version.

      • While they were being produced side-by-side the Sprites and Midgets were often collectively referred to as “Spridgets.” Later, after the Sprite was discontinued, further rationalization resulted in the Midget’s 1275cc Austin engine being replaced with the 1500 unit used in the Spitfire, leading to the “Midgfire” appellation.

    • Dauphine or not, whatever it is has a majorly flat tire. If there’s even a tire on that wheel. Parked in the garage behind the Midget I would say is a TR3.

  2. Quick look at the video reveals the red and black Moretti 750 Gran Sport coupe and the Fiat Abarth Double Bubble in the small displacement category.

    The extremely rare bird is the Lancia Dagrada Formula Junior devoid of paint except for red band at the cockpit.

  3. This great story illustrates part of the old-car world that is too often overlooked: the contributions of generations of small, family-owned restoration and service businesses that help to preserve historic vehicles. All of us probably know similar shops. In the Porsche and Mercedes-Benz world I recall Schuck’s in New Jersey; Logan Hill in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania; Dennis Frick in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania; Chris Leyden in Lahaska, Pennsylvania; and others. Here in Colorado we had Grady Clay (Rennenhaus), Bill Randle & Al Lager (Storz Garage); Stu Ritter; Jon Eisenbud, Hank Kasahara; and many more. We are lucky to still have folks like Gary Okoren, Mark Langston, Nick Sorenson, Ted Ax, and Karen McGowan. No doubt all of us on this blog could name 20 more. Thanks to all of you who keep the spark alive.

  4. My Grand Parents were fortunate to have ”found” Dominick to work on their 1966 Jag . I remember his shop well. thanks for the post

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