Our Staff

Stephen Bell

 

Owner and Founder of Classic Investments

 

At the young age of 8, Stephen Bell became fascinated with speed and fast moving cars.

The year was 1970 and the setting is New Zealand where he was born and raised.  His father planned a day off from the farm to take young Steve and his brother to the local Levin Gran Prix. Together they watched Chris Amon, the only New Zealander to drive for the Ferrari factory in a Formula 1 competition. As Steve watched Chris Amon fly around the track in a fluorescent red open wheel Ferrari, he became hooked on anything that moved fast on four wheels.  After this, young Steve spent many early 5 AM mornings watching World Rally cars drive through his back yard as they raced the winding gravel roads. What a thrill for a youngster! 

Fast forward to age 18 when Steve made the big move of his life. He moved to Aspen, Colorado to pursue another dream. This was also a dream of speed, but this time it was speed on skis rather than wheels. Steve would spend the next eight winters as a ski racer in the early days of mogul ski racing. During the off-season he would earn his keep by painting and decorating million-dollar homes in Aspen. He brought his visual art talent to these fine homes. His passion for excellence, combined with his fine eye for color and design, was well adapted to the fine finishes those home owners expected.

Those early days of being fascinated with fast moving cars was not lost on Steve, however. By age 27 the burning thirst to be around sports cars was embedded in his psyche. The opportunity came in 1989 when he was asked to locate classic European cars in forgotten places. He not only found great cars, but got them running again. With only $10,000 to his name, he quickly learned how to fix these cars and sell them for a profit as he worked out of his dirt floor, one-car garage in Denver. His ability to locate rare barn finds has been elevated to an art form today – he is now a widely recognized barn find authority. 

In those early years, Steve found and restored Austin Healeys, Bugeye Sprites, Fiat 2000 Spyders, Alfa Romeos, Triumph TR-3, 4 and 6’s as well as Jaguar XKEs.  He crisscrossed the United States in search of the ideal barn find. With a car dolly attached to his 1985 Toyota 4-Runner, he drove without AC during the hot summer months to rescue rusty old basket cases. But Steve was determined and he never became discouraged – he was following his passion.

Now, 25 years later, he still keeps up the chase. The ’85 Toyota is long gone, but the passion remains and in the early 1990’s Steve founded Classic Investments. There have been many moves since those early days in his home garage. Each move has been to a larger shop as his business and reputation grew. His love for fast moving cars has not diminished, nor has his commitment to serve his customers well. He is as driven by a standard for excellence today as he was decorating homes in Aspen those many years ago.

Our Team:

-Ron Clark-

Shop Foreman

Ron is a factory trained Ferrari Master technician and Maserati specialist of 30+ yearsDSCN6258

 

Born and raised in Palo Alto, California, Ron quickly became fascinated by exotic cars at a young age. Spending time with his father, an avid Ferrari aficionado, Ron soon began to discover what many people might possibly never realize in their entire lives—a passion for driving automobiles that are designed to ignite that passion within the driver. This relationship between man and machine has kept Ron’s keen attention throughout his years and many areas of expertise.

Around the age of 15, Ron began tinkering with all types of vehicles. While he recognized this interest and allowed it to flourish, Ron felt that it was to be a passion of personal pursuit and went about college seeking a degree in architecture. In a twist of fate akin to a well-crafted plot line, a Ferrari dealership opened its doors across the street from where Ron was studying and he soon found himself working there. A spark ignited in Ron and by his mid-20’s he was performing service work on Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Lotus’ while making new acquaintances which would eventually lead to a successful racing career lasting over 25 years. Ron has worked for several Ferrari dealers and service facilities since 1980, holding technical and managerial positions before moving on to open his own business in Florida.

Over the last 11 years, Ron has been in design, prototyping, engineering, managing and presidential positions for some of the biggest names in automotive racing, custom and replica manufacturers. July of 2013 saw Ron, his wife and adopted child return to Colorado. Ron heard about Classic Investments through a mutual friend of Stephen Bell and he quickly found himself touring the shop and meeting the other employees. The entire Classic Investments team is excited to have Ron among them. Ron is excited as well to get back to working on the classic Ferraris that ignited his passion many years ago.

In his spare time, Ron follows yet another passion—writing. Currently working on his first novel, he has already been given the green light on publishing. He has attended numerous workshops with notable authors such as Tom Robbins and Kate Sullivan and finds an intense drive to keep writing which he aptly describes with a familiar metaphor: “When I read what the other writers around me have written, I feel a fire start. That fire encourages me to go home immediately and just write. Later when I go back and hear the others respond to my work with accolades, that pours the fuel that keeps the fire growing stronger.”

 

-Chuck Hernandez-

Mechanical Technician

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Chuck is a native Coloradoan, born and raised near Ft. Morgan. He attended and graduated from Morgan High School before earning his college degree in Automotive Technology from Ft. Morgan Community College.  Chuck is proud to be a member of the two-man team that won the state level trouble shooting contest on a 1972 Plymouth.

 Chuck brings over 40-years’ experience to the automotive repair industry. His experience dates back to his high school years when he was tuning his 1957 Chevrolet Corvette with dual four barrel carbs – he has been tuning multiple carburetor set-ups ever since.  Chuck has experience with a vast variety of automobiles, having worked in independent shops that specialize in Peugeots and BMW’s.  He is certified as an ASE L1 Master Tech. His last position was as head technician at Lee and Tyler’s — a well-known shop in southeast Denver. Chuck held that position for over twenty years.

 Outside of the shop, you can find Chuck engaged with his diverse passions which include an ongoing study of music.  He plays electric guitar and has performed with several bands in the Denver area. He lives in southeast Denver with his wife of 35 years, Lisa. Chuck and Lisa are proud parents to an adult son and daughter and have three grandchildren.

-Kevin Taylor-

Master Technician and Ferrari Factory Trained Specialist of 30+ YearsDSCN9958

Kevin joins Classic Investments most recently from Las Vegas where, for the previous 10 years, he held the position of Shop Foreman for one of the busiest Ferrari dealerships in North America. Prior to this, Kevin has spent the last 45 years as a Master, Factory Trained Ferrari Expert with another 15 years as a Maserati specialist.

A former rugby player and avid Formula-1 fan, Kevin is originally from Britain and began his career in 1971 for Maranello Concessionaires Ltd. He rapidly excelled from an apprentice to Chief Technician. After many years of providing top-level service for premier Ferrari specialists in the UK, Kevin went abroad to work in Saudi Arabia and New England before landing in the City of Lights.

Kevin has trained extensively with the Ferrari Factory since 1979 and is proficient in the diagnostics and repair of even the most modern Ferrari’s. Having held Chief, Foreman and even managerial positions; and with extensive experience in the complete restoration of 275GTB, 365 Daytona and 250GTE, Kevin brings a world of experience – and wealth of knowledge – to the Classic Investments team.

 

-Mike Chamberlain-

Metal Fabrication Specialist

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A native Coloradoan, Mike was born and raised in the small town of Cañon City. By the age of 13, he began working in his father’s shop restoring classic American muscle cars and hot-rods. At 14, Mike made his way to Tucson, AZ, to be a pit-crew assistant for a national record holding team in the NHRA—a rare opportunity which solidified Mike’s passion for cars, racing and metal fabrication.  

Following his high-school graduation, Mike spent 6 years in the USMC Reserve as a radio specialist. During his time in the military, he was deployed to Djibouti, in the horn of Africa, and was honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant. After returning stateside, he married his high school sweetheart whom he had been courting for over 8 years. 

Going on to study metal working, Mike graduated from Wyoming Technical Institute with several certifications and a specialty in chassis and sheet-metal fabrication. Upon his move to Denver in 2010, he began working for well-known high-performance shops around the area performing a variety of metal fabrication functions. His career has included: building custom intake and exhaust fabrication; roll cage construction; and complex sheet metal fabrication and repairs on everything from 1/4mile and Bonneville monsters to road-race cars. Mike’s expertise with high-end work on Corvettes, Nissan GT-R, Audis, Lotus and many Porsches of differing vintages make him a unique and ideal fit with the rest of the Classic Investments team.  

In his free time, Mike enjoys many automotive sports such as locally and nationally sanctioned drifting and road-course racing. Michael is also an avid artist—crafting metal sculpture in his home garage primarily using found and recycled materials.

-Ian Smoak-

Marketing, Web Development, Client Relations, Parts and Stock, Maintenance and AssistantIMG_7641

Ian has spent the majority of his life pursuing very detail oriented work.

Raised in Arvada, Ian attended the Denver School of the Arts majoring in Piano performance and began working in the automotive industry at age 15 for a local repair shop. He did his first automotive restoration at age 16 on a 1981 Toyota pickup that had been involved in several collisions. Later, he began rebuilding engines and for a short period was a member of a local amateur drag racing team.

After discovering an interest in aviation, Ian began taking flight instruction and enrolled at the Metropolitan State College of Denver studying Aviation Technology as an Air Traffic Control major. He has worked at Denver International Airport and Centennial Airport servicing turbine and reciprocating engine aircraft.

Ian is currently filling several important positions within the facility; from web design and photography to coordinating shipping and receiving and assisting other employees with mechanical, restorative and detail work on these incredible machines.

 

-Katy Cortez-

Bookkeeper and Receptionist

 

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A Peruvian native, Katy Cortez moved to Denver 20 years ago as a young child. Beginning her career as a dental assistant in a pediatric dental office, Katy was offered a position as Office Manager and quickly discovered her interest in finance.

In 2013, Katy graduated with a BA in Business Management and has been providing professional bookkeeping services for the last 3 years. Currently working towards her CPA licensure, Katy is pleased to call Classic Investments home!