This past weekend we took a bit of an excursion up north to the San Francisco Bay area for some fun, relaxation, and to sample the best our northern sister city has to offer. While we were up there, we couldn’t pass up the chance to visit Canepa Motorsports, which is run by the legendary race car driver Bruce Canepa himself.
At first glance the facility looks like large industrial building from the outside. What’s a bit cool about that is that it makes the location feel discrete and like more of a hidden gem, because inside it immediately becomes apparent that you’re in a gear-head wanderland. The first car we saw was the only remaining Porsche Carrera GT Prototype. Originally there where two, but now the only one in existance is hanging out by the entrance way, next to a Porsche 959 and an production Carrera GT, so that way you can see all of the differences up close. Other gems that where hanging out in the downstairs section included a BMW M1, a Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary Edition, a Ford RS 200 Evo, 2006 Ford GT Heritage Edition, a BMW Z8 and a Shelby 427 Cobra, among other special vehicles.
One could easily spend many hours in the “lobby” getting lost in the automotive history that is coexisting, but then you’ll eventually come across a sign that says “museum upstairs.” Naturally, you’ll follow the sign up the staircase and discover another level of amazement: A sampling of some of the most legendary race cars ever. From a Porsche 917 LeMans car to a Dodge Daytona Superbird race car, the diversity is astounding. Personal highlights included a Chevy powered Indy Car from the 1990’s and a Ferrari 250 LM race car. Though the biggest highlight was running into Bruce Canepa himself and tagging along with a tour he was giving about the cars. Every car has a story, and Bruce has all the details to each, including many personal stories of his involving many of the vehicles there. All in all it was a pretty mind blowing experience.
After we gathered the bits of our exploded mind, we noticed another sign that read “garage view,” which lead to a balcony that gives a birds eye view of the shop area. And in the shop area is where even more automotive magic happens. We rejoined Bruce’s tour and shuffled down into the shop area. Like kids in a candy store, we couldn’t help but be wide-eyed with joy and awe as we saw all of the project cars in various stages. We came across two more BMW M1’s being restored, one a street version and the other a Procar. In between them was a unicorn of unicorns, the Cizeta Maroder V16 T Prototype. The Cizeta was in the beginning stages of undergoing a full top to bottom restore, and according to Bruce, the story of how it wound up there went something like this: The car had been sitting in company co-founder Giorgio Maroder’s house for a few decades when he called up his friend Jay Leno about a mechanic who could restore his car. Jay Leno dialed up Bruce and said “Hey, my friend has this car called a Cizeta, I told him you could fix it.” Bruce replied, “A what kind of car?” to which Jay replied by adding Georgio into a three-way-call and saying “Giorgio, meet Bruce, he’s a great guy. He’ll fix your car.” And now we found ourselves face to face with one of the most fascinating cars from the late 1980’s.
Taking a look around we discovered an eclectic and diverse mix of cars, like a McLaren P1 GTR in between two fully restored Porsche 959’s while right behind them was a Bugatti EB110 GT undergoing a full restoration. There was also a Ferrari 512 TR by the paint bay, an original Pontiac GTO and another Shelby 427 Cobra. The shop has a back section which we peaked into and discovered even more automotive eye candy. It’s not every day that you come across a Ford GT40 MKII shell and chassis that happens to be next to two Lamborghini Countachs, a Chevy Corvette C2 split-window, and a wall of historic racing cars (yes literally, a wall of awesome) that included another Porsche 917.
We must say that as far we’re concerned, Canepa is a must go to destination for any car lover. If you love automotive racing, then that goes triple as the amount of history is astounding. Bruce is a gracious and knowledge host, and it was an honor and joy to meet him and hear some of his racing stories. His staff are all very friendly and hospitable, and the appreciation these driving pieces of art is reflected in their attitudes. It was a trip not to be forgotten and one that we’ll have to make again in the near future. Be sure to checkout Canepa’s website for more info. Enjoy our gallery of pictures below and checkout the video tour our media partner DTRockstar1 shot while we were there (and subscribe to his channel as well):