THE CAR DOCTOR IS IN
Here’s what you need to know about Ryan Pilla, the auto expert who diagnoses, treats, and births everything from collectible antiques to Italian exotics.
He’s a record-setting driver: Although he’s known as the “Car Doctor,” Ryan Pilla holds two world speed records on the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah and has won the Mohegan Sun Grand Prix. This year, he’s running the 24 Hours of Daytona in a Porsche. No wonder that when actor Patrick Dempsey wanted to learn auto racing, he came to Pilla. “Speed is in my blood,” Pilla says, and he’s serious: His dad was a test driver for Jaguar in the ’60s. Have car, will travel: Pilla’s team travels all over the US and Europe, scouring car auctions for their clients. When they find the right model, they then customize or even rebuild it to their customer’s specs— whether it’s an exotic roadster or just a unique “grocery getter” with an upgrade or two. “The true Hamptons dream is not driving down the road in a $300,000 convertible,” he says. “The real dream is becoming part of the landscape.” If you dream it, he can build it: Among the quirky accessories his team has added to cars are a margarita blender installed in a Range Rover, a popcorn maker in the back of Jimmy Fallon’s F-150, and a favorite stiletto pump repurposed as a hood ornament. There’s a bar in his garage: It features a racing simulator and Ferrari memorabilia in addition to the Scotch and tequila. Once a month, Pilla invites his band of “car-crazy people” to come in for a couple of cocktails and a look at the newest projects in the shop. 610 Scuttle Hole Road, Water Mill, 631-537-1548
“Doctor” Ryan Pilla (above, far left)—auto specialist to the rich and famous for 27 years—with his crew: (front row) Edgar Villa (“The Master”), Oscar Euceda (“The Detail Specialist”), Rod Davidson (“The Nurse”), (second row) Ryan Lewis (“The Mad Scientist”), and (back row) Erik Palmieri (“The Chief Surgeon”). below: An array of custom-built cars.