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Jonathan and Mary Michaels launch exotic car dealership with benefit event at Laguna Hills headquarters.

May 15, 2008|By Candice Baker

“And when she passes/each one she passes goes ‘a-a-ah!’”

A Laguna Beach couple has opened their new exotic car dealer, Concours Motorcar Company, with the First Annual Ipanema Exotic Car Event: a party with a Brazilian flair and enough rare vehicles on display to make even famed collectors like Jerry Seinfeld swoon.

Jonathan and Mary Michaels surrounded hundreds of their guests with hundreds of thousands of dollars in classic and exotic cars Saturday, while they danced and enjoyed signature cocktails and cigars.

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“I am both thrilled and touched to be working with the many terrific people in Orange County’s car community. The love and support we have received has warmed my heart,” Mary Michaels said.

Vehicles on display around the company’s Laguna Hills headquarters included a 1994 Lamborghini SE 30th Anniversary, an SLR-McLaren 2008 Roadster, a 1994 Cizeta V16T, and a Diablo 6.0 Pro Yellow.

The Paul Ingram Quartet transported attendees to South America, in a lush party scene constructed in an otherwise bare warehouse district.

The event also debuted the Concours Foundation for Kids, which will receive its nonprofit status soon. A portion of each of the company’s sales will go toward the foundation; the focus on kids was chosen so that the Michaels’ young son will be able to relate to the cause as he grows up.

Silent and live auctions at the event benefited the Orangewood Children’s Foundation; the former included sports rarities like an autographed Pete Rose jersey and a signed Sandy Koufax framed photo.

Michaels, a business attorney, specialized as a trial lawyer representing new car dealers against car manufacturers in franchise and territory disputes, which he called a “David and Goliath” effort.

“I was like the guy from the movie ‘The Firm,’” he said. “I was happy to sacrifice every relationship for the firm.”

But when his child, Jake, was born 2 1/2 years ago, “life changed for me in the blink of an eye,” Michaels said. “All of a sudden, money and fame and fortune just became so unimportant to me. All I wanted to do was to raise my son.”

So he followed his lifelong dream, keeping a few clients to work with in a boutique setting.

Many things have changed for the family due to little Jake.

The Michaels moved to Laguna Beach a little more than three years ago from Monarch Beach.

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