One of the biggest classic car companies in the world held a 20th anniversary celebration in Atlanta on May 25. Right in the thick of it was a young man who is making a name for himself in the industry.
Gateway Classic Cars hosted the event at its Alpharetta showroom, one of 18 locations nationwide, and holding court was Jake Feldman, 24, employed by the company since January. He came to the job with a strong background in selling cars and auto supplies, and an interest in cars instilled by his maternal grandfather and supported by his parents.
“I would estimate between 250 and 350 attendees and about 150-plus cars came. We saw exotics, muscle cars, race cars, classics and trucks show up to enjoy the beautiful weather and automotive scenery. It was a great day for networking in the car community,” he said.
Feldman told the AJT he has found his dream job, but was careful to point out he is not a spokesperson for Gateway. As an “inventory consultant,” he brings in cars on consignment he thinks people will be interested in buying. During a guided tour of the vast warehouse that holds more than 300 cars, Feldman said, “I was in sales before this, and in hindsight, I learned a lot about what makes people happy and how to satisfy someone’s needs. If people come in and I don’t have what they want, I will source it for them.”
He continued: “Football players and rappers and NASCAR people buy cars from us. And movie people. I think a place like this has a good mix because you could walk in here with your family or your friends and somebody’s going to find something they like.”
In recent years Feldman has worked as a marketing content manager for an online car auction resource and sold supplies to automotive dealerships and tuning companies across the Southeast. In his spare time, he buys, fixes and sells vehicles – everything from trucks to rally cars.
Where did he acquire this affection for classic cars, most of which are much older than he is? His maternal grandfather Myron, owner of a red 1974 Jaguar XKE convertible during his mother’s childhood, spurred Feldman’s initial interest.
“Growing up, he would walk around with me and we would point at different cars, naming the makes and models. I can only imagine what kind of cars we’d be chatting about and pointing at now. He’s no longer with us, but I’m grateful to him for inspiring me to have such a focused passion in my life.”
His parents, Kyle and Allison Feldman, were also extremely supportive of his desire to work with cars and encouraged him to try making a living doing a job he enjoyed.
“My mom always says that nothing else matters as long as you are having fun; I try to emulate this philosophy, in a sense, in everything that I do.”
From an early age, Feldman regularly read magazines such as Road & Track and Motor Trend and studied books on the subject. “It’s kind of weird,” he recalled. “I didn’t care for reading a Harry Potter novel, but I had all these car books, and I could tell you what number engine a ‘72 Camaro had.”
At 17, Feldman began working at a small car dealership, lending a hand with everything from curating the inventory to marketing and sales. He also had the idea of starting a car club in high school, which he describes as “the nerdiest thing ever.” His parents assured him it would be a great idea and a fun way for other students who were into cars to share a common pastime.
“The club took off and I was so happy that I took their advice and started something new. To this day, my parents come to my car shows at work, and I’ve helped many of their friends pick out cars for themselves and their kids.”