By Les Morris
Carmel resident Eric Grabovsky is the general manager of Pete’s Classic Storage & Restoration, which offers a variety of services for classic, rare and exotic vehicles under one roof on 56th Street in Indianapolis.
Part of the 25,000 square foot building features an exquisite collection of vintage automobiles stored in an immaculate facility. Another space is devoted to the restoration of vehicles of this type, and a service garage for repair work on contemporary European luxury vehicles.
“It’s like a daycare center for your car,” Grabovsky said as he showed a visitor around the storage facility, which has room for 55 cars. He wove around a black 1965 Corvette Stingray, a 1938 Ford, and a tan 1947 Chrysler Town & Country with real mahogany wood on its doors. The company treats vehicles with care. They are moved frequently to prevent punctures on the tires and started monthly to ensure they are in tune.
Many vehicles are stored and maintained at controlled temperatures at Pete’s during the winter months so they’ll be ready to roll when the warmer spring air returns to central Indiana. Grabovsky has no more space for additional cars and soon wants to expand this part of his business to accommodate more vehicles.
Classic cars make up about 40% of Pete’s income. The team has eight technicians.
“Some people buy these cars for investment purposes,” Grabovsky said. “I tell them, ‘Buy what you like. If you don’t like it, no one will like it, and if you like it, you will take care of it and the value will increase.
Grabovksy noted a black 2003 Land Rover Defender that is no longer in production. Next to it is a gleaming silver Rolls Royce with new brake work, courtesy of Pete.
A craft shop houses beautiful and rare cars, including a green Austin-Healy 3000 with the hood open and the seats stripped. Grabovsky technicians restore the original engine and transmission.
“We want to preserve the originality of this car,” he said. “If I put in a different engine, half the value is gone.”
In the corner of the shop is a 1965 Gordon-Keeble that is undergoing a full restoration. Only 100 vehicles were produced. At the other end of the floor is a navy blue 600 horsepower Ford Cobra. Grabovsky recalled the story of a game played by Cobra developer, former racing driver Carroll Shelby. Shelby settled into the driver’s seat and reached over the console to stick a $100 bill in the glove compartment. He would then tell his passenger that if he could grab the bill when he accelerated, it was theirs. Carroll stepped on the accelerator and the passenger returned to his seat. No one has ever had the dexterity to grab the $100.
John Haskin had Grabovsky work on his two Jaguars, a 1967 XKE Series 1 Coupe and a 1968 XKE Series 1.5 Roadster.
“I’ve dealt with different mechanics and automotive people for years, and Eric is a cut above,” Haskin said. “Eric really cares and makes sure you’re happy with the job.”
Haskin also appreciates Grabovksy’s storage and maintenance services.
“He makes sure nothing dries out while sitting down,” he said. “All I have to do is call him and say, ‘I want to pull the ’68,’ and he’s waiting for me to go.”
Grabovsky and his father, Ilya, started the business as a hobby. Both car enthusiasts, they were co-owners of vintage cars. The business moved to 56th Street from its longtime home on 49th and Pennsylvania streets in 2019. Grabovksy and his wife, Ericka, have three children – Gabriella, Francesca and Benjamin.
Learn more about petesservicecenter.com.
“The team sport par excellence”
Ilya Grabovsky taught his son, Eric, more than just an appreciation for beautiful cars. He also taught him chess, a popular game in Ukraine, where Eric was born. Grabovsky, the general manager of Pete’s Classic Storage & Restoration, has now passed on his love of the game to his children.
“It’s a very good game for children to develop their brains and their concentration,” said Eric Grabovsky. “I taught them to play to see how they improve academically and mentally. They can think for themselves better because (chess) is a problem-solving game. It’s like a puzzle.
Eric Grabovsky’s chess encourages forward thinking.
“If you can think four moves ahead, you can be a master chess player,” he said. “The game also has business implications, which Eric calls ‘the ultimate team sport’, as there is no off-season.
“Chess helps me to think and solve problems in my daily activities,” he said.