The Lamberti family’s service stations have called Rye home since 1952. Talking to Joe Lamberti, one can see they’ve crossed the finish line many times over.
By Janice Llanes Fabry
The Lamberti family’s service stations have called Rye home since 1952. Talking to Joe Lamberti, one can see they’ve crossed the finish line many times over. “Rye is a great town and it’s the reason I’m successful,” said the owner of Rye Brook Service Center and Collision Works and Rye Brook Post Road Service, at 999 and 1019 Boston Post Road, respectively. “We’re going on third generation clients.”
Rye Brook Service is responsible for doing the bodywork for Rye Ford, as well as Lexus in Greenwich. In addition to mechanical diagnosis and repair, the foreign and domestic fiberglass specialists do top-notch painting and refinishing. Lamberti gives props to his “right-hand men,” body shop manager Paul Recchia and Rye Brook Post Road Service manager Nick Miele.
It was his father, Joseph Sr., who opened the service station 60 years ago. By the way, the businesses are named, he explains, not for the town of Rye Brook, but simply because “we’re in the city of Rye and the brook flows behind us.” Following in his father’s footsteps, he took over the businesses in 1983.
When the elder Lamberti, a World War II veteran, died in 2000, Joe Jr. memorialized his father by hoisting the American flag, bestowed upon the family at his military funeral, on a flag pole at the service station. It flies to this day over a commemorative marble footstone.
“I was always into cars and boats because of my dad. I started with go-carts, but anything with a motor made me happy. Then I started pumping gas at his station,” recalled Lamberti, who grew up in Harrison and pursued mechanical engineering.
Early on, he also discovered a passion for Chevrolet Corvettes. “I bought my first one in 1966 for $1,200,” said the specialty car aficionado. “I know Corvettes.” He sure does. Today, the museum-quality exhibit at Rye Brook Service Center and Collision houses 18 snazzy vintage Corvettes, and he has more on display at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Lamberti respects the authenticity of each one of his cars. It’s especially important to him to maintain the original car’s integrity, rather than debase it with the wrong color or a higher performance engine. “It would be like touching up the Mona Lisa,” he explained.
He insists that he’s not like those guys who become enamored with their cars as if they were toys. “You fall in love with women, not cars,” Lamberti quipped. He engages in extensive research before adding to his collection and admits it’s more about the chase.
His other passion is all about the speed. Lamberti is also a highly accomplished racecar and speedboat driver. Last year, he was the National Champion in the Great American Stockcar Series races. In 2010, he won first place in the Super Boat Vee Extreme Key West World Championship.
Stop by the display to check out his trophies and the sleek sports cars. Chances are you’ll catch Lamberti working on his latest racecar chassis.