N.D.C. and His German Mistress
1957 Private Cirillo heads off to Germany to serve his country. His new bride follows shortly. Unknown to them in this unfamiliar land is something that will change their lives forever. PFC Cirillo with his love of perfection is drawn to a sculptures German froline named Mercedes. While occasionally riding in these fine automobiles Cirillo begins to appreciate the splendor the Germans have crafted into these cars. He now can see the auto manufacturer has spared no expense with the quest of perfection. This now begins his love affair with Mercedes Benz. Shortly after Cirillo’s return stateside, he acquires his first Benz a 1963 220S with a slight transmission flaw. After a little tinkering Nick finds the problem and soon the car is 100%. A few years pass it’s now 1974 and Nick’s ready for an upgrade. The second Mercedes has been chosen, it’s a 1970 280S, but no one is ready for what there about to see. It’s a fire job, burnt under the hood. Everyone has their doubts about this one, every one but Nick. All stops are pulled, Nick buys a nose from a junkyard, acquires a young apprentice, they dig in and strip the car for parts. Countless hours are spent, many of which the apprentice is asleep in the car and to everyone’s amazement the car comes together perfectly.
Would the first road test be around town? No Nick decides to take the family to Florida. The trip goes without a hitch. How do you top a fire job? Get another one. This time Nick finds one burnt in the dashboard. It’s a 1974 280, white with red interior. Again he and the apprentice strip a dash out of a wreck in upstate New York, reassemble it in the project car and in a short time it’s complete. Will this one go to Florida? No, Nick finds a buyer in the U.S. Virgin Islands. With a lot of planning the car is shipped to the islands. Many many cars pass through the Cirillo garage over the years, but one stands out. In 1975, Nick stumbles not once, but twice, on a real classic. It’s a 1954 220 coupe. The price $1500.00. Nick is unsure of this purchase but he is reminded of his days in Germany by this car. A professional is consulted, Alex Dearborn, an expert of Mercedes in the 1950’s. Once the serial number is acquired Alex reports back “give the man his money they only built 50 of these cars”. Nick returns and buys the car for $1100.00. As the years pass, Nick out grows the two-car garage and is looking for the next chapter in his life, his own Mercedes repair shop. Then in 1986 everything falls into place, Nick, his wife Ann, their two boys Frank and Nick Jr. open Classic Motor Car Service. They struggle to carve out this newfound niche and in time build it into a well-respected establishment among the automotive industry. Now 31 years later Classic is still flourishing and I’m told if you find yourself in there you will still may see Nick doing what he does best, putting a Mercedes Benz back together the way it was done so many years ago in the fatherland.