Rarely do the words nothing like it in the world have any real meaning since they are most often used in hyperbole. When used to describe Dodi’s Auto Sales in Monterey, California, these words are merely a statement of fact. Most purveyors of classic cars have pristine showrooms with classic rock playing softly in the background. Most often, the cars offered are thoughtfully restored or carefully kept originals. That is not the case for Dodi Khalil – though to his credit he also has these examples for sale too – since his claim to fame is that he has the most eclectic inventory that any enthusiast could hope for. In a real sense, it’s as if every classic for sale on Craig’s List was somehow magically transported to his small lot for collectors to see and touch in person.
It speaks volumes that during Classic Car Week in Monterey (Mecca for the classic car community) where events range from the Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway to the iconic concours at Pebble Beach, this little used car lot is a must stop for almost every luminary in the hobby. Well-heeled collectors that rarely venture from the confines of the nearby auctions at Bonhams, Gooding and RM, make a beeline to the shabby former service station to see what gems might be hidden on the crowded lot.
When Wayne Carini needed a car to display at the inaugural Concours d’Lemons he not only found a conversation piece but also a class winner. Dubbed the Krappen Targa by Lemons proprietor Jay Lamm, the Volvo 1800ES became famous for its star turn on Chasing Classic Cars for its Sawzall inspired targa roof and general crappiness. It was also a hit on the show field where spectators crowded around its homemade visage to wonder what could have inspired such a zany creation. They also were curious where Wayne could have found such an abomination – Carini proudly responded, “I found it at Dodi’s.”
In person, Dodi Khalil is quiet and deferential unlike the perception held by most regarding used car dealers. In a world of flash and dash, he is a gentleman that has an eye for automotive talent. His knowledge of classic cars is near encyclopedic and he has an uncanny knack for knowing what the market wants (or should).
Although almost anything is likely to find its way onto the lot (witness the Volvo), Dodi specializes in European and British classics with models from Porsche, Mercedes, Jaguar and MG being the most popular. Due to his pleasant demeanor and sterling reputation, Dodi enjoys a wealth of connections in the hobby and friends like Wayne Carini and Tom Shaughnessy ensure that he always has a good lead on something or other.
The best thing about the cars for sale is their potential. Almost every car can be improved – and isn’t that the real fun of the hobby – and most examples are offered at realistic prices. In classic fashion, everything at Dodi’s is for sale and that includes the mounds of automobilia, hard to find parts and a good sized library of books. Dodi’s is a classic car bazaar – maybe the only one in the world – where it would look as much at home in Marrakech as it does in Monterey.
Whether you happen to find yourself in Northern California – in which case you MUST go in person – or have to follow the action through the wonders of the internet, Dodi’s is an essential component of an automotive education (since it requires a fair amount of history to sometimes identify the oddball inventory) that is made all the better by the prosaic location and the personality of its proprietor.