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For the Love of Italian Cars

Posted On: January 18, 2018

Topic: Company News

For the Love of ItalianWhat happens when you have a passion for Italian cars – Italian sports cars – and are mechanically-minded? You find a dilapidated vintage car and re-build it, then begin planning your first official road-trip.

It’s precisely what Derek McCallister, a OneNeck IT Solutions data center technician in Bend, Ore. has done. After reading an article spotlighting individuals doing vintage car restoration work, Derek decided that’s what he wanted to do. He joined his first Vintage Car club. And, he kept reading, and joining clubs. Then, he began buying vintage cars.

“I’ve loved sports cars since I was a teenager,” he says. “I love racing, auto-cross, Italian sports cars. They are like art to me!”

It started with Porsche’s — he purchased a handful of them. Then, after joining the Vintage Lamborghini Club seven years ago, he decided he wanted to buy a Jalpa. [pronounced YAL-pa]

Why the Jalpa? “It’s intriguing,” said Derek.

According to Derek, only 410 were built from 1981-1989. The Jalpa is also the third in a series of “entry-level” cars made by Lamborghini. “It’s also sort of a forgotten car,” said Derek, which added to the attraction.

Once he set his sights on buying a Jalpa, the next step was to find one. He started spreading the word, talking with friends and members of the clubs he’d joined. A friend in New Jersey happened to mention it to a customer, who coincidentally owned a Jalpa.

AStarting with the interior, Derek completely stripped it clean in order to re-build and restorefter exchanging pictures and details, the friend went to look at the car, which was being stored in New York. “It was a real mess,” said Derek. “No brakes. Electronics were destroyed. The engine was seized. I instantly bought it and had it shipped to Oregon.”

It was about two weeks before his 1987 Jalpa — with 30,000 miles and V8, 3.5 Liter engine — arrived in Bend. When it was finally in his garage, Derek kept looking at it, trying to figure out where to start. A friend asked him, “How do you eat an elephant?”

“I thought it was a crazy question and had no idea what it had to do with where to start, but asked anyway, ‘’how?’” The response: One bite at a time. And that’s how the friend advised Derek approach restoring his new Jalpa — one thing at a time, a little each day.

Derek restoring his JalpaSimilar to how he approaches his work at the OneNeck data center. “Whether restoring a car or caring for customers in our data center environment, it helps to be mechanically-minded and take it one step at a time.”

Derek has been with OneNeck two years. Before that, he was with sister company BendBroadband for 12 years where he provided technical support as a member of the Network Operations team.

“Both are very interesting,” he says. “At the data center, I like the fact that no day is the same. I enjoy working with our customers, vendors and overseeing the power and cooling units. I wear many hats, it’s never mundane.”

It’s also like his Jalpa – getting it up and running was far from ordinary and monotonous. He started with the interior and tore it all apart. When it came time to finding someone to work on the engine, he interviewed seven machinists before finding the right one. Slowly but surely, bit-by-bit, Derek was making progress. He’d come home from work, put in his headphones, get in a zone, and focus.

It took about four years, but the Jalpa is now fully restored. Derek with his Fully-restored Jalpa

“It’s a great sense of accomplishment knowing that this is on the road because of me,” he said. “This summer I’m looking forward to testing it out at the Portland International Raceway and testing just how fast it will go. I’m thinking it’s going to hit about 150 miles per hour.”

While it is race track ready, it’s not yet equipped to hit city streets or the interstate. According to Derek, his Jalpa has an open “individual throttle body” (i.e., there’s no air filter). He’s working to design and install some air boxes that will fully protect the engine. Once that’s the case, Derek looks forward to hitting the open road and — driving it everywhere!

Derek's JalpaAs for his first long-distance road trip, Derek plans to travel nearly 600 miles from Bend to Monterey, Calif. in late summer to participate in the largest vintage and classic cars event in the United States. There’s an event called the Concorso Italiano. It’s been going on for 20 years, but this is the last year Jack Riddell will host it. Valentino Balboni, one of the best Lamborghini experts in the world, will also be there.

“I have to be there and meet them,” says Derek.

For more about Derek and the restoration of his vintage car, you’ll want to read The Wall Street Journal recent story, “Love for Lamborghinis Brought This Jalpa Back to Life.”