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R.I.P. Luigi Della Grotta

Discussion in 'Canada' started by bernardo66, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. bernardo66

    bernardo66 The Crazy Cat Man
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    #1 bernardo66, Feb 5, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
    Just this morning I opened up an e-mail announcing to me that Luigi Della Grotta passed away last Friday.

    "Dear fellow members and friends,

    It is with great sadness and regret that Frank and I wish to inform that our mentor and friend, Luigi Della Grotta, passed away a short time ago surrounded by his beloved family, Mabel, his two daughters Maria and Sonya and his two son-in-laws, Allan and Marcello. He will be missed by one and all. May Luigi’s soul rest in peace.

    You will be informed of further details once they become know to us.

    Frank & Marc"


    For those who didn't know him, Luigi was the official Ferrari importer for Quebec and Eastern Canada from 1963 to 1999. He acquired the rights to sell Ferraris directly from the Drake himself, but only after having the door slammed into his face three times. The Old Man was impressed by Luigi's tenacity, and gave him the rights, although he had reservations about his Ferraris winding up in an Arctic country.

    Buying a car from Luigi during his tenure was no easy feat. You simply didn't walk into his shop and ask to buy one. In Luigi's opinion, ownership was merited. This obviously did not earn him a legion of friends, but he did manage to run a very successful business, and create an inner circle of followers and admirers. If anything, his MO only added to the Ferrari mystique.

    Once he was no longer an official importer, Luigi Sports Cars stayed open as an independent Ferrari shop, and primarily took care of the "Luigi Club" members' cars. During his final years, his shop was more of a club house/museum/shrine than a service garage.

    RIP Luigi
    :(
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  3. bernardo66

    bernardo66 The Crazy Cat Man
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  4. ClassicFerrari

    ClassicFerrari F1 World Champ
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    #3 ClassicFerrari, Feb 5, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
  5. ClassicFerrari

    ClassicFerrari F1 World Champ
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  6. MS250

    MS250 Two Time F1 World Champ
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    RIP Luigi....too bad I never made it to go out and visit....legendary no doubt.

    RIP

    How old was he Bernie ?
     
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  8. bernardo66

    bernardo66 The Crazy Cat Man
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    His age was a mystery. However, if you did the math according to his World War II experiences, he was a little over 90.
     
  9. treedee3d

    treedee3d F1 Rookie

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    I heard so many stories about this man (good and bad!) No doubt he will remain a legend in Montreal and I'm sad I never actually met him.

    I figured I would have met him in the local Ferrari circle and, to be honest, I was a little afraid he'd find out that I changed my Ferrari's original color...I'm pretty sure he'd beat me with a stick. He would have called it an insult to a work of art!!!
     
  10. bernardo66

    bernardo66 The Crazy Cat Man
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    #8 bernardo66, Feb 6, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2012
    On the contrary Fab, back in the day, you were free to order a car from Luigi in any color, just as-long as it was red. LOL!!!!

    There is one story of a customer leaving his car at Luigi's (back in the 60s when his shop was in Westmount) for the winter. When the customer came back, he was stunned to find that his silver car was now red. ;)

    Luigi also stopped going to the events years ago. Mind you...he rarely went as it was. He never left his headquarters. If you wanted to meet him, you went to his shop....at your risk. ;)
     
  11. optes

    optes Rookie

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    Sig Luigi Della Grotta was a true gentlemen that was driven by purely altruistic reasons. He was passionate about life and always had wonderful stories to share when you would visit.

    You will be missed by all, may you rest in peace.
     
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  13. bernardo66

    bernardo66 The Crazy Cat Man
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    One favorite was when a gent from California came to visit. Luigi was tending to his flowers outside his shop on Vanden-Abeele, and the visitor acosted Luigi, asking him if he could meet with the owner. Luigi quitely got up, walked into his office, sat behind his desk, and asked what he could do for him.

    Priceless!!!!
     
  14. wrs46

    wrs46 Formula 3

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  15. MS250

    MS250 Two Time F1 World Champ
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    im sure he saw alot of wrecks in his time - which is why there are some not so good stories about him. He wasnt afraid to refuse business, as im sure he knew, some were in the cars for the wrong reason. Good for him, we need more like him in this circle not less... may he RIP -
     
  16. bernardo66

    bernardo66 The Crazy Cat Man
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  17. Rock

    Rock Formula 3

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    I spoke with him several times over the past 25 years and he was always pleasant do deal with. May he r.i.p.
     
  18. red3555gtb

    red3555gtb Formula 3
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    Prancing Horse #135, from second quarter in 2000, also has a article on how Luigi conducted business when he had the Quebec location... R.I.P.
     
  19. AceMaster

    AceMaster Three Time F1 World Champ

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    RIP...I have never heard of him, but from Bernie's description he was an icon indeed.
     
  20. bernardo66

    bernardo66 The Crazy Cat Man
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    Rocco, can you scan that article?
     
  21. red3555gtb

    red3555gtb Formula 3
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    Bernie, pm me your address and I will send you the Magazine.
     
  22. red3555gtb

    red3555gtb Formula 3
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    Bernie, pm me your address and the Magazine is yours.
     
  23. RedVelvet

    RedVelvet Rookie

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    But HIS Testarossa was grey.... ;)
     
  24. bernardo66

    bernardo66 The Crazy Cat Man
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    #21 bernardo66, Feb 9, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
    And so, Luigi was laid to rest today. It was quite an emotional ceremony.

    Two eulogies were read, one from the club directors, which focused on his love and passion for the prancing horse, his commitment to customer service, and his philanthropy (via the Luigi Ferrari Club) dedicated to various sick children's hospitals.

    The other was read from his daughter. Sadly, it had a bittersweet overtone. Mentioning how his fiery passion for Ferrari.....came at a price.

    It was nice to see all of his club members in red.

    FYI, his remains will be laid to rest in his family plot, back in his native village of Sant'Apollinare in Italy. An amazing journey coming full circle.
     
  25. bernardo66

    bernardo66 The Crazy Cat Man
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    #22 bernardo66, Feb 13, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Grazie Rocco!

    BTW, when they said "smallest" dealer, they weren't kidding. At best, the place (showroom and service area) was perhaps 3000 square feet.
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  26. Rock

    Rock Formula 3

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    A former daytona owner told me he use to ship his car to Luigi for service, the owner was called when the daytona was ready for pick up. On one occasion he and his friend flew to Luigis to pick up the car, when they arrived Luigi questioned why they came? He told Luigi, you called and said the car was ready for pick up!
    Luigi said your not driving the car back to Toronto in the rain, the owner and his friend flew back home.
     
  27. ClassicFerrari

    ClassicFerrari F1 World Champ
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    That's funny stuff right there :D
     
  28. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 F1 Rookie

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    e sempre incinta
    :D Awesome! Rock, you taking notes?
     

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