Time Out NY

You'd have to be asleep in your popcorn to miss Cooper Classics owner Elliot Cuker in the current David Mamet flick The Spanish Prisoner. He and his expansive West Village shop/showroom—as well as his healthy collection of Rolls Royces, Bentleys and '50s American cars—are shot from multiple angles in the movie. Cuker's a true renaissance man: a stage and screen actor, businessman, classic car aficionado, friend of the mayor and, now, cigar-bar proprietor (Cooper's Classic Cars and Cigars on 58th St). In business for 20 years, Cuker and his staff (led by service manager Jeff Palmero) practice auto repair with quasireligious fervor. I happen to be the sometimes unfortunate owner of a '59 Chevy pickup, and the Cooper team has tackled problems both complex and routine with equal aplomb. The labor rate is reasonable, the estimates are spot-on; obscure parts are located as if by magic, the work impressively thorough; and they speak to you in language you can understand. Best of all, the folks at Cooper are not car snobs: Their lot is occupied by Accords as well as dream cars. "You do the best work you can," says Cuker. "Whether it's an Apache or a $300,000 Rolls Royce."—JR

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