Over the past decade, the collector car industry has moved from pure enjoyment to a lifestyle investment. The customization, modernization and access of these collector cars has launched a hunt for history, lineage and records. Jason Wenig has experienced this shift in the industry within his own business, The Creative Workshop, which has been coachbuilding custom cars and restoring classic, rare and exotic vehicles from around the world since 2001. As a dedicated car aficionado, Jason has led this nationally recognized and award-winning business to excel in a variety of aspects of the vintage car world, including helping collectors hunt and acquire, working with owners to understand the history of their vehicle, and repairing and restoring these vintage cars into custom, modern rarities.
In this lifestyle event, learn the history of the origins of the collector car industry, how the collector car sector is similar to real estate and fine gems, and how custom collector cars can grant access to exclusive events around the world. With new markets opening up in China and India, gain insider knowledge on the complicated market dynamics involved in running a boutique business and trends in the world of car collecting, building and restoring.
If you missed our last event on car collecting “Reimagining the Future of Car Collecting with A.J. Baime,” click here to view the recording.
About Diane Fitzgerald
Diane Fitzgerald’s background with cars, motorcycles, not-for-profits and small businesses is extensive. It is only exceeded by her passion for the car culture…well, vehicle culture because that includes motorcycles and scooters.
Touring, buying & selling, collecting, restoring and driving are all part of that passion. Mentoring is, too. Along the way, opportunities to work in the collector car industry were too good to pass up!
Diane is an avid microcar and motorcycle enthusiast and has travelled the world by two-, three- and four-wheels, often to exotic places like Vietnam, Brazil, Ethiopia, Thailand, Botswana, Japan, Turkey, Bhutan and India. In between her active hobbyism, Diane used her two Visual Arts degrees and one MBA to build her world that blended the experiences of corporate, small business and not-for profits. Fruit of the Loom, Andersen Consulting, Lotus Tours, The Habitat Company and Marwen Foundation each provided lots of experience in new business development, project management, marketing & communications, operations and fundraising. Almost 20 years on the Boards of car museums and car clubs fueled her passion for the hobby.
As president of Lotus Tours, an international motorcycle touring company owned and operated by Diane and her husband Burt Richmond, she managed the operations & logistics side of the business with a Chicago-based team. Their Milan, Italy garage stored their fleet and staged the beginning point of their European tours. When she wasn’t planning tours in the United States and Central America, she was leading groups on Ducatis and Hondas in The Alps, Tuscany, Corsica & Sardinia, The Pyrenees of Spain & France and on special C-level motorcycle tours in the United States.
Notably, Diane Fitzgerald was the president of the RPM Foundation for many years, an entity of America’s Automotive Trust. The RPM Foundation is a services providing, resource sharing, grant-giving organization that accelerates the growth of the next generation of automotive Restoration and Preservation craftsmen through formal training and Mentorship.
So, what’s in the garage? Their collection is mostly vintage microcars and motorcycles and numbers about 39, although that’s defied with a 1949 MG TC, 1953 Studebaker, 1964 Corvair and 1974 BMW. Just added to the collection is a 1992 Mazda Miata that is giving the BMW a lot of weekend-driving competition.
Diane & Burt live in a landmark home in historic Old Town Chicago, which they fully renovated to its 1882 glory. It is one of the several commercial and residential historic restoration projects they have tackled over the years. Heritage is in their blood.
About Jason Wenig
Jason Wenig is owner of The Creative Workshop, one of the top restorers of classic cars and builders of Coachbuilt specials.
Wenig is a lifelong, passionate car aficionado who began his professional car career in an executive position in a New York City based car-specific internet start-up company in the 1990’s. He eventually left the e-commerce company to fulfill a lifelong dream of working with cars. In 2002, he purchased an old, historic barn (built in the 1930’s) in Dania Beach, Florida and began formal operations of The Creative Workshop. Creative is known for and regularly entrusted with the restoration and care of rare, exotic and prototype vehicles. In addition to restoration of historically significant cars, Creative also wears the hat of coachbuilder – having designed and built several bespoke cars or completely rebodied cars for clients. Cars restored and Coachbuilt by Creative have been invited to and have won awards at most major concours events across the country and world – such as Pebble Beach, Amelia Island, Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, Cavallino, Mille Miglia among others.
In 2018, Motortrend embedded a film crew with Wenig and company – following the forensic restoration of the last 1921 Kissel Gold Bug extant – providing an inside perspective of top Concours level restoration as well as the showing of the car “on the lawn” at Pebble – with the car ultimately taking Best in Class. The feature, Long Road to Monterey, was co-marketed along with the Pebble Beach Concours, along with live broadcasts with Jason from the Concours lawn. The show aired online in segments and as both a 2 hour and 1 hour special on National TV on the Motortrend channel.
Wenig was awarded a “Top 20 Auto Restorers” recognition by Sports Car Market Magazine in 2018 and the “Master Craftsman Award”, by the America’s Automotive Trust, LeMay Museum, for outstanding contributions to preserving America’s rich automotive heritage in 2019.
Wenig, born and raised in New York, has an undergraduate degree in psychology from Syracuse University and a Master’s degree in marketing from Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business in New York City. He is married with two children and lives in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Besides his passionate car career, he is an accomplished sailor, having raced for nearly a decade in the America’s Cup classic league. In August of 2001, he was part of the team that won the world championships in Cowes, Isle of Wight (UK), aboard the 1980 America’s Cup-winning boat, Freedom.