Journal: Santo's Italian Hangout

Santo’s Italian Hangout

Afshin Behnia By Afshin Behnia
January 9, 2013
4 comments

Say you live in Southern California and you have a vintage Alfa Romeo, Fiat, or Lancia.  Who do you trust to work on your car?  There are a just over a handful of capable shops left that know vintage Italian mechanicals well, and Santo’s Italian Car Service is one of the best.

Born in Sicily, Santo became a hands-on Alfista at a young age when he started working for an Alfa Romeo mechanic in his native town of Collesano.  After completing the de rigueur voyage to the land of opportunity, Santo opened his business on September 1 of 1981, and continues his passion today along with his world-famous son, Anthony, and his mechanic Hugo, who is now practically family.

Santo is a chronically jovial type, and you’d be hard pressed to catch him without his signature smile or laugh.  You go to Santo for his unmatched expertise, and you stay for the company.  In fact, the first time I visited Santo, the experience reminded me of a classic barber shop scene, where gentlemen use a shave or a haircut as an excuse to get together and pass an entire afternoon shooting the breeze and talking about what men talk about.

Not surprisingly, Santo’s good nature extends to his local competitors as well.  It’s not uncommon for other local Italian mechanics to call Santo for advice when they are stumped.  Santo is always gracious and helps them out.  

Cynics out there may say that I’m being kind to Santo because he’s promised me a discount on my next service.  Nothing could be further from the truth—he’s going to charge me double no matter what.  I kid, I kid.  

Come by one Saturday morning.  Chances are you’ll find a few of us hanging out here.

Santo’s Italian Car Service is located at:

8816 Amigo Ave.

Northridge CA 91324

Phone: 818-701-1614

www.santoservice.com

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4 Comments on "Santo’s Italian Hangout"

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Andreas Lavesson
Andreas Lavesson
3 years 10 months ago

While the cars themselves are what really draws me, I have to say that the camaraderie between fellow car enthusiasts is just as enticing and I can’t wait until I become a part of that.

Edan Levy
Edan Levy
3 years 10 months ago

What model Alfa Romeo is the white Alfa, by the entrance, on the last page of this feature?

Afshin Behnia
Afshin Behnia
3 years 10 months ago

It’s a 1965 Giulia Sprint Speciale. Just got it back from restoration. Keep an eye our for a video coming out in the near future!

Edan Levy
Edan Levy
3 years 10 months ago

Very beautiful car, I am looking forward to the feature. Bertone really has a special touch.

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