“When I was 14 years old, my dad came in and threw down an issue of Auto Week and said this is the next living legend,” recalls a now twice-that-age Brett David, the boy legend who has been behind the take no prisoners success of his family owned automotive dealerships for the last decade. “This is going to be the next Enzo Ferrari or Ferrucci Lamborghini,” he continued. “I want to be a part of this man’s history,”
The car on the cover of that magazine, the “next living legend,” as it had been described, was a Pagani. And if it was dubbed the next living legend by then current living legend, Brett’s father, Irv David, well it must be true. Brett, always having been a renegade, questioned his father, wondering why an exotic Italian sports car would be named Zonda which sounded so close to Honda. The twosome ended up traveling to Italy to visit the factory. Brett recalls the half-day meeting vaguely, which included facility tours, etc. In the end, they weren’t able to get their hands on the brand because it was not yet able to come into the United States. They hadn’t done their EPA crash test safety ratings or other U.S. requirements, mainly because Horacio Pagani was too much of an artist to crash a car just to be able to make more money–he cared only about the product. Unfortunately, Brett’s father passed away suddenly a few years after that meeting, but Brett knew that working with Pagani was something he wanted to do, one of the milestones he had to hit, to make his father happy.
Around 2012, Brett caught wind of talks of Pagani finally moving in to the U.S. market. He began calling them hoping to pick up the courting process where they had left off years prior but to no avail. Phone calls and emails went unanswered when Brett would all and leave messages as Brett David from Lamborghini of Miami interested in inquiring about the franchise. He had a meeting in Italy with Lamborghini the coming month so he decided to give it another go in the hopes to land a sit down during the same trip; except this time, he called and said he was interested in purchasing a Pagani Huayra. That call, was answered. An excited Brett and his dealership’s general manager head out across the pond and went to the Pagani factory. The morning started with test drives and factory tours followed by a quick lunch at which point Brett, still confused as to why he hadn’t been paid any attention with regard to his interest in purchasing a Pagani franchise, begged the question, “who will be the South Florida dealer where I can have my car serviced?” Silence. Nobody bothered to respond. Brett thought it a little strange but continued with the day as planned.
In the afternoon the team was met by Horacio Pagani himself, wife and children in town, and they delved deeper into the design process, perfectly configurating the interior, selecting the wheels, etc.
At around 6pm, Brett asked again, “Where will I be able to get my car serviced in South Florida?” Still ignored and at this point irritated, he was unsure what to do next. He loved the brand and had tasted the proverbial Kool-Aid but he wasn’t being given the information he needed. Finally, he recalls sitting down to dinner at an intimate restaurant as Mr. Pagani starts going over numbers and delivery dates. Pagani, Brett tells us, didn’t speak much English, but he understood enough. Once again Brett asks, respectfully, “Who will be the dealer in South Florida where I can service my car because if I can’t get this information, I can’t buy a car.” Pagani went off; and in Italian no less. Brett knew he struck a chord but he wasn’t sure what was going on. In that moment, the brand’s Managing Director, Francesco Zappacosta, turned to Brett and explained: “I’m sorry Brett, we are a little bit embarrassed. I know you’ve asked this question a few times and it hasn’t fallen on deaf ears, but the thing is we have a dealer in Miami that we promised the brand to ten years ago, but we haven’t been able to get in touch with him. You probably know them; they have a great reputation. It’s Irv David from Prestige Imports.” Wow.
It didn’t take long before Pagani recognized the face of the boy who had visited his factory so long ago nor for them to strike a deal to bring to fruition what had always been a dream for Brett’s dad. Today, Brett owns what’s the third of four Pagani dealers in the country.
In that way, everything’s been a bit of a roller coaster for Brett who from the age of 19 has been helming the business that his father so meticulously built. All the while collecting great milestones and notable accomplishments that include things like being the top Audi dealership in the country 5 years running. To amassing over 1 billion dollars in automotive sales, all in the time surrounding a recession and really one of the biggest economic disasters he could have imagined. He’s also responsible for doing the unthinkable when he took the Audi business public, selling to the second largest automotive group in the world, Group One, which ended up being the largest single point Audi franchise sale in history.
Brett’s always a step ahead, his social experiments and unique approaches to marketing keep his dealerships entrenched in the community. Things like his Sharpie Lamborghini project which enlisted the talent of artist Jona Cerwinske who spent two weeks camped out at Brett’s dealership to cover a white Lamborghini Gallardo in his graffiti art, by hand, have garnered him a lot of attention. The next project, the AU79, featured a gold-covered Aventador that was so widely photographed and shared over social media, you’d be hell-bent to find someone who hadn’t seen footage. This is because he realizes how social media engages with the fans of today who are the buyers of tomorrow. As such, the social experiments keep coming, currently he’s working with the Miami-based Alchemy agency and photographers and videographers around the world to create the next wave of out of the box approaches to consumer targeting. While details are still under wraps, he explains that we can look forward to mix of all they’ve done in the past, on their future projects. Think: a marriage of art, fashion and automotive. And maybe a little boating
The latest extension of Brett’s business, notwithstanding some impending real estate developments he will be working on with his sister Brooke, is a maritime arm. “As I got older in the business, I realized that the elements of luxury were all tied to one another,” he explains. “The client coming to me for cars was also buying a boat from Van Dutch and luxury real estate from Gil Dezer and a watch at East Coast Jewelers, as an example.” He clearly had that clientele so monetizing made sense. And since Brett’s a self-proclaimed boating enthusiast, taking to the water made a lot of sense. Prestige Marine was born and currently acts as Van Dutch’s first retailer outside of their manufacturer direct sales and he said it’s be “amazing.” Van Dutch, aside from sharing some of the aesthetic beauty that Brett’s exotic cars do, due to the vessel’s sleek lines, also shares his unique approach to client engagement. This makes for an exciting partnership that promises to keep us on our toes, eagerly waiting to see what rabbit they’ll pull out of their hats.
At 28-years old, Brett remains at the forefront of his industry but at the same time, so different from what you would expect a young super salesman to be. His priorities consist of family, his existing relatives and the employees that he considers family, as well as the one he’s hoping to build for himself. Similarly he deeply cares about giving back in a way that makes a difference. His annual charity event is probably among the most unique, locally, cutting out the pretension that many fundraising events can become, just by default. He’s thoughtful in his approach to things he takes on. After being approached on many an occasion for title sponsorship buys, he started to dig deep into how much of the money actually went to the cause. Fancy galas and celebrity endorsements ended up eating a lot of the funds and so, as he suspected it was unbalanced; so he and his family decided to get involved on their own. They printed out an over-sized check for a million dollars and walked in to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and presented it to a 17-year old boy who was 7 months terminally ill. After staring at Brett, the check and his mother, many times, the boy asked, “What am I going to do with that?” In that moment he realized that while donations are important and wonderful, the children fighting disease today may never see the work of the millions of donated dollars come to life. So he created a hands on approach to healing that’s experiential in that Brett David way. Ride to Revive: Miles of Smiles on the Road to Recovery is now a bi-annual event that makes dreams come true. A 2 mile autocross and some 20 exotic cars give these kids the chance to get behind the wheel, top down, windows down, music up and wind in their faces leaving them forever changed in a way they’ll never forget.