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The Yankee Express

Plenty of horsepower in High Octane Classics’ business model

Danny Marinelli monitors work being done on classic cars he acquires in the garage at High Octane. “I can’t send a customer on the road if the car isn’t right,” he says.

you are in the market for a classic car, it’s here.”
High Octane has quickly established itself as a go-to dealership for classic cars, locally. Nationally, owners listing a classic car for sale will typically use such search engines as Dyler (launched in 2017 and now enjoying a worldwide audience), Hemmings (with over 27,000 classic cars, it is one of the largest marketplaces for custom vehicles in the U.S.) and (which boasts over two million visits a month).
Classic cars remain hugely popular. Among them, of course, classic Corvettes (“you don’t get called America’s sports car for no reason,” one commentator points out). Corvettes have been in production since 1953—and Chevrolet almost gave up on them! Mustangs too; they are at the top of the list in fourteen states.
According to, classic cars remain a hot buy for all of the following reasons: design; simplicity; the memorabilia factor; uniqueness; and exclusivity.
To a query as to how High Octane locates collections to purchase and gets them to Auburn, Mr. Marinelli says “we pay finder fees, and we have them trucked.”
The arrangement with the Lundgren family has been “fantastic,” he said. “The integrity and the brand are so strong and the best thing is they are car guys. I feel blessed to be associated with them.”


Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.By Rod Lee
The only thing Danny Marinelli likes better than collecting custom automobiles and trucks is talking about them, at his High Octane Classics dealership on Washington St. in Auburn.
A view of the premises from the road doesn’t begin to reveal just how extensive an array of muscle and exotic cars and trucks he has on the lot. Mr. Marinelli’s vast inventory includes such gems as a 1959 Alfa Spider, a 1983 Mercedes-Benz, a 1991 Chevrolet 1500 pickup, a 2009 Dodge Challenger, a 1959 Chevy Apache, a 1946 Ford F100, a 1970 Chevy Camaro and a 1966 Ford Mustang.


“I started High Octane, performance cars, ten years ago,” he said on July 15. “I moved here eighteen months ago and partnered with Barry Lundgren and the Lundgren family. I started on Route 9 in Shrewsbury and ran out of space there. I moved to Boylston and doubled in size and I moved here and quadrupled. This is a childhood dream. This spot was a motorcycle shop and then Lundgren Auto Body and Barry had it and when he saw what I was doing he said ‘take as much space as you need.’”
To the amazement a visitor expressed at the number of vehicles on the lot, which includes a showroom, garages and companion space, Mr. Marinelli offers a proud smile and says “the secret sauce is we find and buy out car collections, fifty to a hundred at a time. Every car goes through a full safety inspection and we tear them down front to back. I can’t send a customer on the road if the car isn’t right. We do the hard work. We put in the time. My problem isn’t getting them in shape, it’s acquiring them.”
The buying and selling formula at High Octane Classics works one of a few ways. Often, Mr. Marinelli said, a prospective customer will come by “and say ‘this is what I want, leather seats, four on the floor, etc., and we find it.” More frequently, people on the hunt for vintage vehicles will gravitate to High Octane after hearing about the dealership and deciding to check out the merchandise.
“There are a lot of ‘flippers’ out there, but no one as big as us,” he said. “We have Super Sports, I have ten of them, Pipers, Ferraris, Roadrunners, hardtops, convertibles. If