Inside The Canepa Candy Store
Where To Begin?

Right, it’s time to step into the back of Canepa and take a quick look through the workshop where everything from full restorations and builds down to maintenance and race car preparation takes place.

As I’m sure you can imagine, the place is a goldmine of awesomeness, but even after seeing previous coverage and hearing lots of stories I wasn’t quite prepared for what awaited me inside…

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Upon walking in, I was greeted by this Countach in the final stages of a complete restoration. The car was especially interesting as it was painted in ‘Canepa Green’, a custom color that gives a nod to British Racing Green.

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I thought it was so appropriate that a shiny bright orange Porsche 918 Spyder was present. This car is the epitome of what Porsche stands for these days, a mix of high performance and hybrid technology.

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It made even more of a statement with three 959s positioned in various work bays behind it! Exactly 30 years separates these two models, but the 959 remains incredibly current with its technology and performance, especially when fitted with Canepa’s upgrade packages that lifts output to 700hp! I know which one I’d rather have…

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The variety I’d found outside in the parking lot was very much reflected inside too. I passed this spotless Pantera on the way to check out a pair of older 911s in the back.

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But then I came across this, a true Le Mans legend.

This 250LM was the very car that won Le Mans back in 1965, and the last Ferrari to win the French endurance race outright. Being in front of such an important historical vehicle had me in awe, especially since it was left as it finished the race over 50 years ago, still covered in dirt, oil and grime from the victorious day. The car was entered as part of the North American Racing Team (NART), a privateer/customer race team that ended up beating the factory Scuderia Ferrari P2. It’s a very important car for Ferrari and the NART name, and one that Canepa looks after for its owner, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall Of Fame Museum.

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In case you missed it, I’ve already run a small spotlight on the silver 959 above. I saw it arrive at the event that morning and by the time I was in the workshop it was already lifted on axle stands ready for some TLC. And yes, there were two more cars behind it, the red one a very rare Sport version, plus a fourth in the showroom.

Also from the same era as the 250LM was this 1965 275 finished in an elegant shade of dark blue and showing off its beautiful 3.3L V12 motor without the usual large airbox that covers the six carburettors.

Best Of The Best
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Having spent half my life in Japan and become accustomed to tiny workshops, I’m always surprised at the size of some outfits when I travel overseas. The Canepa facility is pretty massive and there was literally something around every corner, from more crazy cars, to various storage, all the way to Japan-inspired vertical car storage.

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Remember the Countach I showed you at the beginning of this post? Well, here’s the inspiration for the color, Bruce Canepa’s own P1 GTR. What a machine! I think I might have left a puddle of drool beside it.

‘But of course, why not?’ – this is the thought that came to mind with every car I saw. I mean, what else would you expect to see after a P1 GTR than a perfectly preserved Lancia Beta Monte Carlo Group 5 racer?

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Or a Singer Porsche.

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Canepa’s customers aren’t too shy about collecting and properly using older race cars, and there were some other cool machines around the place, like this 1971 McLaren M8F Can-Am car and what looks like a Porsche 962C shell next to it.

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Check out this bare chassis built around a Corvette roof. I say roof, as that along with the A-pillars is pretty much all that remains of the donor car.

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This was another fresh sighting for me, the Mustang Shelby GT350. Too bad I couldn’t hear the flat-plane crank V8 that sits under the subtly-vented bonnet scream.

Truly Overwhelming
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By the time I stepped into the main Canepa showroom I was beyond overwhelmed. The space contained everything from a 300SL Spider and a Countach, to old 911 Turbos and a 959.

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Oh, and an impossibly stunning BMW M1.

This is what car heaven looks like! Mind you, it was definitely missing some Japanese rarities. Sorry Mr. Canepa, but an Hakosuka or a Kenmeri, a Cosmo 110S or a 2000GT would have really rounded things off nicely.

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But I am of course being stupid and unnecessarily picky. In fact, my brain was so overloaded that I had to call it a day right then and there.

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I need to take more time, visit the place calmly and feature a lot of the cars properly. Only then would I feel satisfied reporting it all back to you guys. It’s also the reason I refused to go and check out the second floor – I simply wouldn’t have been able to give it the attention it deserved. Therefore, I got into ‘my’ Pagani and drove back up to San Francisco, ending what was one of the most epic mornings I’ve ever had.

Thanks you Pagani and thank you Canepa. I will be back (with a sleeping bag)!

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino
dino@speedhunters.com

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48 comments

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1

What's the story on that old Ford pulling the classic wooden boat next to P1

3

I love everything that has pictures of the Canepa collection, awesome article!

Nitpick time, the Lancia is a Beta Monte Carlo, Group 5 racer, if i'm not mistaken

4

That has to be the Ferrari, Jochen Rindt won Le Mans, in 1965!

5

More Pantera!
I'm also curious about that Ford beside the P1

6

Holy shit that P1 GTR

7

Gepi You are indeed spot on! Although they share the same livery, and possibly engine if I'm not mistaken, they're two very different beasts. You need to read up a bit Dino! :P

8

For all wondering what that ford is, it's a 1951 ford f1 ranger marmon herrington. There's even a feature of it on hot rod magazine's site.

9

If i where there probably would need a lot of silence and time, i would need to think about the specific of history over each piece of metal of this collection, what each oh them means for a car enthusiast like me. seriously... what a journey. thank you Dino for letting us taste an small part of this.

10
speedhunters_dino

RostomianS Works for me, try again

11

All of this and you still missed a floor. What a place!

12

That last pic of the 934/2 is insane. That tailfin is extreme even by today's standards. Great job!

13

Incredible place, 3 959's just chilling in one area 

That Ferrari 512 BB though, gorgeous!

14

I thought the interscope 911 was the RWB from Thailand for a second... but it's the real deal racecar! That livery is sick.

15

speedhunters_dino RostomianS It does not work for me. I can not download them

18

When you have a car collection like that, and you live in earthquake country, you put safety nets on your pallet racking.

19

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20

Gepi more precisely a Lancia Rally 037, the Montecarlo was only developed for the wheel base of the 037 (manufacturers had to produce at least 500 street legal car version to legitimate to access to the competition in rally championship at those time  (sorry for my poor english)

21

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22

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23

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24
jbfromsiliconvalley

Every time I get envious that I live far far away from Gatebil, Goodwood, and Pike's Peak I remember that Canepa is a 20 min drive from my house. I don't need to comment on the mobile art this place houses as everything has been said and photographed. 

I used to tend bar right down the freeway from the place and Canepa's shop foreman came into my bar one day. I got an invite for a complete tour of the entire facility. I remember they were sorting seven different 959s among everything else.

There is a lot to see in the SF Bay Area, enough to warrant a trip. If you travel here, bookmark an entire day just for Canepa.

Also, If you are still in the area Dino, I recommend you take a drive up highway 9 and turn north on highway 35/Skyline blvd, one of the best driving roads in the states.

25
speedhunters_dino

jbfromsiliconvalley I wish I was still there!

26
speedhunters_dino

Chris Nuggets It sure is!

27
speedhunters_dino

Frozzy Glad someone spotted that :)

28
speedhunters_dino

D1RGE I couldn't do it. It's extra incentive to get me back!

29
speedhunters_dino

reix2x Exactly, I don't like to be rushed!

30

Would still definitely take (any of) the 959 over the 918.
I'm always curious if there are owners of the Countach that restomod the suspension and handling iunstead of just restoring it to factory, because I often hear it's a huge disappointment for those that have experienced them.

32

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33

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34

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35

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36

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37

speedhunters_dino D1RGE Trust me, you need to take a couple weeks, bring the wife n tyke and stay for a couple weeks in California, and get deeper into this place. From the canyons of Socal and Malibu, to the car meets, the history, the old tracks, and the variety of the scenes, we truly have it all. Canepa's second floor isn't the only reason for you so come again :)

38

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39

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40

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41

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42

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43

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44

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45

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46

absolutely great coverage Dino - i'd really like to visit that georgeous place and drop my jaw to the floor.. :-)

(btw, i think mercedes never built a "300 SL Spider". the convertible was called "190 SL", or is the car in your feature something special?)

47

or maybe i just missed something and i'm wrong. 
seems like it's time to update my "car-brain"..

48

Not just a GT350, a 350R. Carbon wheels and all. And it is gorgeous in solid white.

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