It’s a long way from Maranello, Italy to Fort Salonga, but for Steven Morea, it’s as close as getting behind the wheel of one of his two Ferraris. The Long Island native is the recently elected president of the Long Island chapter of the Ferrari Club of America’s Empire State Region. Made up of 5,700 members who live in Nassau, Suffolk and all five New York City boroughs, it’s the largest Ferrari club in the world. With newer cars bearing a sticker price starting at $188,425 and going upwards of $400,000, it’s not an indulgence for the faint of heart. But for Morea, being a Ferrari fan goes far beyond this high-performance vehicle’s label as just another expensive sports car.
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“The whole reason I’m into that car is because of the racing heritage behind it. Ferrari is an engine first and the car is built around it. It’s all about the engine and the racing, which is why you see a lot of these Ferraris with glass in the back so you can actually see the engine because that’s the whole car,” he explained. “Ferrari isn’t big in finish like other luxury brands like Rolls Royce or Bentley. Although Ferrari uses really nice leather and natural carpets to make its cars really nice, what you’re buying it for is the experience and the engine itself.”
Born in Farmingdale, the medical laboratory regional sales director grew up the son of a Chevy dealer who was constantly coming home with new cars. As a kid, the younger Morea would sit in and pretend to drive his father’s vehicles. It was here that he developed a love of automobiles that evolved into his making models before eventually delving into the world of muscle cars. Marriage and family obligations found him drifting away from his four-wheeled obsession and dabbling with boats. Once his kids were older, he bought and refurbished a 1968 Camaro. But the lure of Ferrari became too much and when he had enough money, Morea sold the Camaro and purchased his first Ferrari, a 1998 F355 Spider convertible. It wasn’t long before he started getting deeper into the mystique and culture behind this Italian automobile manufacturer.
“I sold my F355 Spider and bought a 2007 F430 Spider, which is kind of two levels up from that. It’s the same kind of line, just a newer version,” he explained. “And just last week, I got another one, a 1983 GTS, which is the Magnum P.I. car. It’s the one that Tom Selleck drove in the series. He always had the roof off because he was so tall that he barely fit in the car. I got into [Ferraris] because of the heritage and the history behind it, which is amazing. Especially the whole Formula One part of it, which I go to two races per year.”
Even though Morea went to his first ever race in Montreal back in 2013, in the two years since, he started putting together rallies with fellow Ferrari owners, most of whom were unhappy about the lack of events the Long Island chapter of the Ferrari Club Owners of America had been organizing in recent years. Morea’s experience in going to local auto shows left him dissatisfied.
“You go to a meet here and there and it was mostly muscle cars. Guys with Ferraris aren’t as welcome as the muscle car guys and the older guys with the 1957 Chevys, which are great cars, we’re foreign to them,” he pointed out “They didn’t even understand what we were doing there. I was trying to get meets together with a couple of other guys and deciding that I wanted to go on rallies with just a bunch of other enthusiasts and just head out to the Hamptons.”
Word got out that the 50-year-old car enthusiast was independently putting together events for fellow Ferrari owners to get together and share their love of this specialty car. Morea was then approached about taking over and serving a two-year term as president of the Long Island chapter of Ferrari Owners of America during a Formula One viewing party at the Ferrari Maserati of Long Island dealership in Plainview. The setting was perfect, given the relationship between the auto retailer and the club’s membership, who often support each other’s events and occasionally, co-
sponsor affairs together.
“I try to attend their events, they attend my events and we partner on some events,” explained Experience Auto Group Events & Marketing Director Lana Shaken. “In the fall we had an F1 racing viewing event upstairs and before that, we did test drives of the new California T. It was Ferrari Club of America and us here, Ferrari Maserati of Long Island. It was a nice little partner event. For us, we’re a car dealership and relationships are wonderful but we also need to sell cars. That’s what we’re here for. So hopefully when the people who are in their club are ready to get a new car, they come to us.”
Membership in the Ferrari Club Owners of America is not limited to car owners. For between a $100 to $135 annual fee, there are discounts for Ferrari parts, racing schools, leasing, vehicle rentals, a subscription for the club’s annual glossy newsletter and the ability to arrange tours of the Ferrari factory in Maranello, Italy. And while all this is great, Morea says one of the most rewarding aspects of membership is the camaraderie.
“Most people [in the club] are Ferrari owners but some aren’t. There are young guys and there are older guys and a guy like me who’s 50 [and] right in the middle of the road,” he said “They’re great people who are all enthusiasts and are all willing to help you with any kind of question you might have on the car. The guys are so enthusiastic about Ferraris and are willing to help you with anything above and beyond.”
For more information about the Long Island chapter of Ferrari Owners of America, please visit www.ferrariclubofamerica.org. To find out more about the Ferrari of Long Island dealership, go to www.ferrarili.com.