The L&C Interview: Round-the-clock service in the Big Apple with Gaines Service City

LCT Staff
Posted on May 1, 1987

New York City destroys limousines... As rust and corrosion attack the body and frame of a limousine, stop and go driving withers the engine and transmission. After having built and serviced limousines in New York for years from their headquarters in Brooklyn, Dillinger/Gaines has conceived and opened Gaines Service City offering complete 24-hour repair and maintenance for limousines and commercial vehicles in this demanding city.

Gaines Service City is a full-service operation where almost any limousine repair...from oil changes to upholstery and electrical repairs...can be handled. Gaines Service City will also house Dillinger/Gaines sales offices, and an inventory of new and used Dillinger/Gaines limousines will be kept on hand.

Peter Cirlin, Dillinger/Gaines executive vice president, and Bruce Cirlin, national sales manager, described the concept behind Gaines Service City in a recent interview with Limousine & Chauffeur.

L&C: How would you describe Gaines Service City?

Peter Cirlin: We have twelve service bays, a body shop, and a separate car wash and detailing building. Our sales and leasing offices are here, and we always have demonstrators. We’re building a car interior for display.

L&C: Do you run all of the services?

Peter Cirlin: The body shop is an independent company.

L&C: What was the facility before?

Peter Cirlin: A coal company. It has almost 95,000 sq. ft.

L&C: So you had to do a lot of work to convert it?

Peter Cirlin: Yes. We built two new buildings and renovated the existing building. It was really like moving into a brand new building. We worked on it for twelve months. Our grand opening party was December 20.

L&C: Is the facility primarily for servicing limousines?

Peter Cirlin: We’re going to service all kinds of vehicles. The largest portion of our business is the transportation industry with black cars and limousines. That will be our number one specialty.

L&C: Will you be an authorized facility for Cadillac or Lincoln?

Peter Cirlin: We will be authorized by both Cadillac and Lincoln in the near future.

L&C: So you will be able to do warranty repairs?

Peter Cirlin: Yes.

L&C: Will you service other makes of limousine?

Peter Cirlin: It will be a total service center for any kind of limousine.

L&C: Is it difficult for you to repair other makes?

Peter Cirlin: In certain cases, if it’s something involved with the coach-builder portion of the car, we might have to get the proper schematics and diagrams. Our service people have been trained at our factory in how a limousine is constructed.

L&C: Will you do any refurbishing?

Peter Cirlin: We will do interiors. We have upholstery facilities both here and at our factory in Lindenhurst, Long Island.

Bruce Cirlin: What we’ve done is build a separate building that’s going to be called our Quickie Service Department. A lot of limousine companies are coming to us and signing up for a maintenance program. One of the features of our program is that companies are actually going to be doing their payroll at Gaines Service City. With a company that pays their chauffeurs every two weeks...the driver comes here and has their vehicle serviced in order to get their paycheck. The car will go into our quickie service bay and get a complete oil change. The company will send a representative down here to pay their people. You see their problem is regularly servicing their vehicles, and they get complaints from customers about cars that break down.

Say you’re a chauffeur and every other Thursday is your payday...It will now be at Gaines. There will be different companies here every day.

L&C: An oil change every two weeks?

Bruce Cirlin: In New York...oil turns to mud in two weeks. These guys put thousands of miles on their cars. What I’m going to do is expand my computer system downstairs so that we have service records for every car. When a car rolls in, the service manager will be able to punch the license number into the computer and see complete service records.

It’s to my benefit also because I’m writing the leasing on these cars and I don’t want to get them back in bad shape in three years. It should improve the quality of our used vehicles down the line and keep new vehicles running better.

If a driver’s wiper blades are bad, I can give him new ones on the spot. If a car sounds bad, I can schedule an appointment for service. It’s really turning out to be quite something.

L&C: Will you handle specific tires and products?

Bruce Cirlin: We will be able to supply any kind of tires. Primarily, we will stock the tires that GM and Lincoln use on most of their products. I will be able to provide every imaginable service right down to having a car hand shampooed and hand waxed. Our car wash is open on two 8-hour shifts.

L&C: When are your sales and leasing offices open?

Bruce Cirlin: We’re open six days a week for sales and leasing. After the summer, we will probably be open seven days a week.

L&C: How large an inventory will you keep on hand?

Bruce Cirlin: With new cars, it’s hard to say. As many as I can build. Right now I’m about a hundred new cars back ordered. There will always be several new cars on the floor. I’d like to have twenty but I’m selling them as fast as I can build them. Right now, I have one new car in stock. Everything else is being sold as it rolls out of the factory. To me, that’s a reflection that people want my vehicle.

L&C: Who is your service manager?

Bruce Cirlin: Frank Rupolo. He’s been with us for many years. He’s a very experienced service manager in the car and limousine business. I have ten full-time people working in the mechanical end. We’re also setting up a complete parts department and hiring a Parts Manager. We’ve doubled our employees since moving here.

L&C: When is the best time to bring a limousine in for service?

Bruce Cirlin: We recommend that people call at all times before bringing a car in. If there’s an emergency ...we can usually take care of it the same day. We opened this new facility because cars in New York need service at all hours of the day and night, and they need it right away. That’s why we’re here.

Related Topics: Dillinger/Gaines, maintenance, The LCT Interview

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