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  • Robert Farago

EAG and Me

Arthur Bartosik's spending was the company's undoing

After writing a glowing article about the European Auto Group for Hagerty, I bought a Ferrari 360 to convert from paddle shift to six-speed manual.

EAG CEO Arthur Bartosik (above) promised a next-weekend turnaround. And there my car sat, month after month after month. Six of them.

In the meantime, I commissioned Art and his Boyz to get the 360 ship-shape. Bald tires, sagging exhaust – all the small shit that goes wrong on a Ferrari, that costs a fortune to fix.

As time passed, the pre-owned Ferrari market tanked. It got to the point where I had to face the fact that I’d be lucky to get my money back.

Before that sad day arrived, I started hanging out with Art.

King Arthur

Arthur is a small man with a big personality. His self-confidence draws you in, in a big brother “us against the world” plain-spoken kinda way.

Not to put too fine a point on it it, there are cult leaders with less charisma.

While Art’s magnetism and mechanical nous is beyond reproach, his ability to run a business isn’t.

There were parts problems, labor problems, scheduling problems and cash-flow problems; employees and suppliers not getting paid.

EAG’s waiting list was years long, with dozens of Ferraris in situ, loitering without intent. Frustrated customers’ phone calls went unanswered.

Arthur was not waiting to spend their hefty deposits.

Holy Corporate Credit Card Batman!

Art spent money like it was going out of style. Like it was his.

He shelled-out ten thousand a month for an Austin condo, complete with a grand piano, plenty o’ guns and a closet full of designer clothes. He ate at the finest restaurants, rocking-up in rad wheels.

Art’s fleet of company cars – registered in Montana to avoid tax – included a new Porsche GT3 and BMW M5, a pre-owned Ferrari F8 and a chauffeur-driven Range Rover.

Ironically, Art drove “his” performance cars like he stole them. And drove them well. I had the pleasure of riding shotgun while he thrashed his F8 to an inch of my life.

To allay my growing frustration, Art lent me a white Ferrari 458 for the weekend. Problem: it wasn’t his. The customer eventually received his car back, unconverted, with new miles on the clock.

Where’s My Shirt?

When my Ferrari 360 was finally converted, it refused to engage second or fourth gear.

Art said the car needed a new transmission. He estimated the cost at $30k to $50k.

At the same time, time. I had zero confidence that the car would be ready for sale in another six months. If ever.

Under cover of darkness, I had the 360 trailered to Moorespeed. David’s boffins modified Art’s work and rectified the problem, no transmission required.

It wasn’t cheap, but it wasn’t 30 grand.

I finally sold the car at a significant loss. Unless you count the peace of mind I gained from being permanently cured of my addiction to low-volume high-cost automobiles.

The End

EAG has been wound-up. The company’s equipment (including an industrial 3D printer and CNC machine) and parts inventory have been removed. As has Art’s easy-come, easy-go cash flow.

The EAG CEO – a man not unfamiliar with the justice system – was lucky to have escaped IRS investigation and disgruntled customers’ civil suits. Although that may still lay ahead…

Pride Goeth Before A Fall – And After

If Arthur Bartosik had been reigned-in – if he’d reigned himself in – EAG would have been a profitable concern with a bright future. Art could’ve made the riches he spent, and then some.

EAG’s collapse lies entirely at Art’s feet. He’s taking none of the responsibility and none of the blame, publicly attacking the partners that kept him in business, promising a Steve Jobs-like corporate reclamation and resurrection.

Sophocles has some advice for Art: “All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.” Other than greed, that is.

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