Racecar Monopoly: Bryn Mawr Has PA's Only Ferrari Dealership
The property has a long legacy of car sales.
Algar Ferrari/Maserati of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania's only place to buy Ferrari sports cars, is approaching half a century of business in Bryn Mawr.
Perhaps more impressive, the building at 1234 Lancaster Ave. has been used for transportation sales continuously since the 1800s, said sales manager Tony Palmer.
Horse-drawn carriages were originally built and sold there, then wooden chassis and Packard cars.
“Presidents and film stars would get customized cars here,” Palmer said.
Al Garthwaite, a local entrepreneur, started importing Ferraris from Italy before Ferrari North America existed. Ferrari S.p.A. (of Italy) then asked Garthwaite if he would set up dealerships on the East Coast. Algar Ferrari was founded in the 1960s.
The building was completely refurbished a few years ago, with renovations wrapping up in October 2010. Former owner Bob Segal in April sold the business to a New York-based company, Palmer said.
Algar is the only dealer in the state for people to buy Ferraris—unless they have another non-Pennsylvania address, Palmer said. Algar now carries about a dozen cars but can hold up to 40. They also carry mainly used cars—new cars are specially ordered and then go straight to the customer.
The new-car waiting list can be from six months to two years, depending on the model. New models from the dealership this year include the F12, 599 GTB, 458 Coupe and 458 Spider.
About 95 percent of new cars—which average between $250,000 and $260,000—are kept in the Pennsylvania area, including to customers in Bryn Mawr, Villanova, Gladwyne and Newtown Square, Palmer said. A number of cars are also sold regularly to Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Lancaster customers.
For used cars—which cost about $170,000 on average—about 60 percent stay in the area and about 40 percent go to customers elsewhere, he said.
Sales remained fairly steady from 2008 through 2010, Palmer said, and increased in the past two years.
August is a relatively slow month for Algar since the “Main Line closes,” Palmer said. December, January and February are generally their weakest months due to weather, while spring and early summer are their best seasons, he added.
Test drivers would typically be seen on Conestoga Road, heading around Villanova University and past Overbook Golf Club in a big loop—accompanied always by sales associates.