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Baby, you can drive my car

A collection of rentable vintage cars sets hearts racing for auto enthusiasts.

Va-Va-Vroom: A fine red vintage opens up for an adventure.

Kevin Bennett at NapaIT

When he was a boy growing up in Brighton, England, Richard Martin was keen on cars. He liked looking at them, loved riding in them, and later adored driving them. In the late 1970s, Martin put the pedal to the metal and became a race-car driver. Today, the transplanted Briton owns a Sonoma company that sells special parts for race cars.

Martin recently turned the ignition on a new project, DB Autosportif, which rents elegant and sporty classic cars to Wine Country visitors and locals alike. Think 1959 MG Model A, 1960 Corvette Roadster, and 1965 Ferrari 330GT 2+2, and you’ve got the general idea. “I’ve been involved in the racing business and around cars my whole career,” says Martin, whose parent company, Brits, sells gear to NASCAR and Indy racing teams. When his core business slowed due to the recession, he decided to diversify, and DB Autosportif was born.

“With the ideal climate here, driving a beautiful car is a lovely way to enjoy the area. You can drive through the valleys and out to the coast, and put the top down,” he says. “We have a lot of convertibles, two-seaters, and four-seaters, a mix of sticks and automatic transmission. You can rent for half or full day, overnight, as long as you want.” The company will even deliver the selected vehicle to the renter.

The fleet of 15 cars is insured for up to $1 million, according to Martin, who says the company has discreetly installed new electronics and gearboxes in certain models. “We wanted to make them not only beautiful but reliable, while keeping the cars’ iconic look and form.”

Finally, an alternative to the stretch limousine—Ferris Bueller approved.

(707) 938-7474, www.dbautosportif.com.


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