PETE G. VICARI EXECUTIVE BIOGRAPHY
NEW ORLEANS, La. – For Vicari Auction President Pete G. Vicari, handling classic cars began as a family affair. Influenced by his older sisters’ gearhead fiancés, Vicari bought his first classic car, a 1940 Ford Coupe, for $20 at just 14 years old. He worked side-by-side with his future brothers-in-law to restore the coupe, which was his first foray into classic car ownership and restoration. They eventually sold the coupe, but Vicari was hooked.
When it was time to head off to college, Peter J. Vicari senior (Pete’s father) wanted to send his son to school in a sensible 1970 four-door Oldsmobile 88 coupe. But Pete couldn’t justify it. “The Olds wasn’t very fashionable,” he said. “I couldn’t see myself going to college in anything less than a Corvette.”
Coming home for a visit after his first week at college, Vicari traded in the Oldsmobile coupe for a ’66 Corvette convertible roadster – the vehicle that sparked his passion for Corvettes.
Later when Vicari married his wife, Barbara, and started a family, duty called and he sold his beloved Corvette. Over the years, Vicari wished he could somehow get the vehicle back, so after Katrina hit in 2005 Vicari contacted the existing owner. He learned that his Corvette had been stored in a garage and subsequently submerged in 15 feet of water. The vehicle’s owner agreed to sell it back to Vicari, who jumped at the opportunity to bring it home and restore it to its original beauty. Today, his ’66 Corvette holds pride of place in his personal car collection in the Vicari Motorsports Museum.
After college, Vicari returned to work at his father’s construction company, Pete Vicari Contractor, Inc., where he learned all facets of the business – climbing from laborer to job superintendent to project manager and finally, in 1980, becoming president. Through his in-depth knowledge of the construction industry, Vicari was appointed to the New Orleans Board of Building Standards and Appeals, a position he held for three years.
While operating the construction business, Vicari continued collecting classic vehicles and slowly growing his collection from one to 50 vehicles. After Katrina, the company was extremely busy rebuilding local businesses that suffered major damage from the storm, including banks, apartment complexes, oil and gas exploration firms, and other businesses. The Vicari Museum that housed Pete’s personal collection was one of them. The neighboring building fell on the museum and tore a wall away, soaking the historic contents – including the vehicles. “We had to sift through the debris in order to recover the artifacts,” he said.
The private Vicari Motorsports Museum, now restored, houses exotic collector cars, bicycles, motorcycles and race vehicles as well as a vast array of collectible memorabilia. The exhibit represents years of careful collecting and many hours of research to verify the authenticity of the items. Recently, Peter sold nearly his entire classic car collection to a single buyer, but has kept his first Corvette and his three consecutively numbered prototype 1963 Corvettes and many other beloved vehicles. He has again begun rebuilding his personal classic auto inventory.
While growing his collection, Vicari became increasingly involved with the auto auction scene. Pete’s friends, Bruce Rock and Henry Shane, owners of Cars of Yesteryears, were involved with the Kruse International Collector Car Auction & Show as a local sponsor so when they didn’t want to be involved any longer, they told Pete he could take over. Pete’s first sale, held at Boomtown Casino in 1995, went off without a hitch.
Two years later, Vicari sold an entire classic auto collection for Imperial Palace President Ralph Engelstad at his inaugural Biloxi Auction, which took place during Cruisin’ the Coast®, a Gulf Coast festival to celebrate antique, classic, and hot rod vehicles. For Vicari, the sale of the Imperial Palace collection was his real start in the classic auto auction business. This year will mark the Vicari Auction Company’s 26th annual Biloxi Auction held in conjunction with Cruisin’ the Coast.
Today the Vicari Auction Company employs professional auctioneers. Vicari worked with a sponsor and eventually took his certification test, passed it with flying colors, and 20 years ago became a licensed auctioneer. “You never know when our auctioneer might not be able to be there and I’ll have to get up and conduct an auction myself,” he said.
Vicari goes the extra mile to help his customers with securing vehicle documentation and storage, even offering to keep vehicles in his museum and care for them as if they were his own until the new owner can take possession. “We work very hard to give our customers the personal care they deserve,” he said.
For more information, visit www.vicariauction.com or call 504.264.2277.
Vicari Auction Company Classic Auto Auctions:
- 26th Annual Biloxi Auction at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center in Biloxi, Miss., held in conjunction with Cruisin’ the Coast, Oct 4-7, 2023
- 4th Annual Spring Auction at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center in Biloxi, Miss., held in conjunction with the Crawfish Music Festival, April 19 & 20,2024
Three 1963 Sequentially Numbered Prototype Red Chevrolet Corvette Convertibles with Fuel Injection That Took 20 Years To Collect
Pete Vicari’s Personal Car Collection
- #30867S100015- restored by Naber Brothers
- #30867S100016 – restored by Ken Hanson
- #30867S100017 – restored by Ken Hanson
Pete’s First Corvette. Originally purchased when he was in college it was sold when his first child came along. He repurchased the same car much later. 1966 L-79 4-speed with air and two tops underwent complete frame-off restoration by Robert Roach in 2007 with complete restoration notes/photos.
2001 Chevrolet Anniversary Corvette
1969 Chevrolet Corvette Gasser known as Stone Woods & Cooke AA/GS Flip-top Gasser, formerly “Goldfinger” driven by Steve Korney.
Red 1999 Chrysler Prowler, has never been driven.
2016 Mercedes-Benz Maybach.
1963 Chevrolet Cheetah dragster driven by Ronney Temento.
2013 Bugatti Atlantis 1937 Replica that drove The Great Race twice.
1964 Vintage Firetruck.
1956 School Bus.
1949 Chevrolet Pickup.
1948 Fiat Anglia Gasser. Jim Oddy ran as “Flip Flop and Fly.”
1960’s Woody Gilmore top fuel dragster.
Over 40 mini bikes, including Cushman, Simplex, and Honda models.
Memorabilia including pedal cars, signs, Schwinn bikes, etc.
** Pete has owned over 500 collector cars over the years