Profile: Steven Kessler

PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY YOU SHOULD KNOW: Steven Kessler - Speed Demon.

Who are you?

I am a husband, father, exotic car specialist and auto enthusiast.

What do you do in real life? ?

I live, eat and breathe the exotic car business.

What do you like most about what you do? ?

I deal with people who are super interesting, which makes for complex deals. It involves nearly constant thought.

Are you personally a car collector?

For sure!

The car that makes your heart race?

Definitely Ferraris – any year, model or color.

First car??

My parents bought me my first car, a beautiful 1962 Super 60 Porsche. I loved that car, but, shortly thereafter, the car developed an oil leak and cost roughly $500 to repair. After going back and forth with the mechanic, I found out it would be easier to sell the car than to keep spending money on expensive repairs. My parents had bought the car for $1,500, and I, not knowing what I was doing, raised the price to $1,850 in hopes of having it not sell. Instead, I ended up selling it to a priest who was on his way to California, and made a $350 profit.

What do you drive every day?

A new ride every day – as inventory comes in, I test drive the cars home to make sure they’re ready for resale.

Why are you termed the exotic car specialist to the stars?

I worked for what was formerly New York City’s only factory-authorized dealer for Ferrari, Maserati, Lotus and Alfa Romero motorcars. Our client roster included Jon Bon Jovi, Reggie Jackson, Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Frank Stella and Mike Tyson, among others. I became friends with many of our clients on a personal basis, and they would invite me over to their private bar that wasn’t open to the public. We became such close friends that I would get a car and call Dan Aykroyd and say, “Hey! I have a Maserati here that just came in,” and he’d tell me to bring it over to the club because he had to test it out. There, I became close friends with Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy, John Cusack and Billy Crystal.

Most outrageous celeb experience?

?One of my most interesting celebrity encounters has to be when I met Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. When Belushi came to pick up the car with his wife, Judy, it was purely by accident. He was so rich, he didn’t care about the way he spent money. And he was reckless, too. My dealership was on 34th Street, and you could either make a left or a right. Belushi just ran his car straight into the building! He came back into Kessler Motors and bought himself another car.

What sets your dealership apart from others in Miami?

Our showroom features a collection of about 30 high-end exotics and vintage automobiles that changes daily and includes world-renowned brands, from Aston Martin to Rolls Royce to Maserati. It was designed to ensure that customers feel as unique as each of the handpicked cars on the floor. I regularly attend exotic car auctions across the nation, using more than 30 years of experience to locate the rarest and most coveted luxury cars. We’ve also been awarded an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, earning Kessler Auto Group its reputation among car aficionados for selling vehicles with an immaculate record and detailed owner history.

Most Expensive Car sold and to whom?

A 1962 California Spider. The serial number, which I still remember, was 2277SWB California Spider. It was one of 13 ever made by the factory, and its racing history made it more expensive. The car sold for $1,400,000 to John Edelman.

Who is your dream client?

Katherine Turner, she bought a Maserati Quattroporte.

Most popular car?

1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4.

To sell luxury, is it easy or difficult?

Easy, in a sense. At least once a rich person makes up their mind because there’s no trouble paying for it.

Most challenging aspect of dealing in cars?

Finding sexy inventory.

Tell us about your movie involvement.

Ferrari notified us that Al Pacino was doing a movie in which he had to go to a showroom in Manhattan and pick out a car. We were to lend him the car, and Al Pacino would drive one of our cars. The 1992 movie “Scent of a Woman” was filmed in my dealership, and Al Pacino drove my personal Ferrari.

What personally inspires you?

Life on my terms.

Local philanthropy causes near to your heart?

The Consequences Charity & Foundation, and suicide prevention.

Where you’ll find me on a Friday night at 10pm?

Most likely dining out.

What books/mags do you have on your bedside table?

Anything to do with cars. Knowledge is king.

Describe your personal style like a good friend of yours would?

Hard and fast.

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