GTO 3987 on Mulholland

GTO 3987 on Mulholland

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Sal DiNatale, Ferraris and the BAT...

Sal DiNatale was a Sicilian mechanic in Los Angeles whose garage was something of a pleasure palace located in the San Fernando Valley. There one could go to fix the problems large or small that beset the most exotic of Italian cars and Sal took care of my Berlinetta Lusso until he alerted me to a GTO that a customer of his no longer wanted which I bought and Sal rebuilt the engine and maintained it for me.

As I recall, Sal's shop--S & A Automotive--was a six or eight stall affair where the most incredible cars could be found. Whether it was Wilt Chamberlain's Maserati Ghibli, Greg Garrison's Alfa Montreal, Lee J. Cobb's Maserati Mexico or a selection of SWB Berlinettas, Lussos, GTBs or Miuras, this was the place to see Italian exotics up close. In the early days, Steve McQueen took his car to Sal and often had dinner at his house. .Another day in the life, you might say.

To give you an idea of how blasé we were, a number of customer cars spent the night in the parking lot lined up along the chain link fence because there weren't enough stalls for them to fit inside the shop. Can you imagine that today?

Though it was just another 'Italian exotic' hanging about the place, one of the cars that lived outside in the parking lot belonged to Sal--it was one if the three Alfa BAT cars--Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica--aerodynamic concept exercises designed by Bertone.

 Ed Niles tells me that Sal drove the car from New York to Los Angeles with his wife in the passenger seat and his newborn son Jimmy sleeping in the bulbous contour of the passenger door. Just imagine the sight of that cruising along Route 66 back in the day!

I don't remember which of the BATs belonged to Sal and when I asked Ed, he didn't recall but according to automotivemasterpieces, Sal owned BAT 7 which is the blue one in this photograph from

For me, Sal's shop was Fantasyland and I was as excited by these cars then as I am today.

No comments: