Cole European Videos
The History of Cole European
Bob Cole, owner and founder of Cole European, would like to share with you the history and heritage of Cole European as well as his philosophy “Press on Regardless.”
In 1955, after graduating from the University of Minnesota, Bob headed west as a Public Information Officer for the Air Force. It didn’t take long for him to engage his already well-developed passion for anything and everything to do with automobiles, which resulted in racing as an amateur on the sports car road racing circuit in California for the next 10 years. Bob won many championships and was a member of the TRIUMPH factory team at Sebring Florida. Quite literally, it was these racing accomplishments that propelled Bob into the Sports Car business in 1963 and away from other promising pursuits. His innate driving skills, positive outlook and engaging personality combined with an inestimable enthusiasm for the automobile and its attendant industry, led Bob to open his first sports car dealership in San Bruno, California, selling and servicing Triumph, Alfa Romeo, Lotus, Saab, Morgan and Ferrari. He acquired a Volvo franchise and a second dealership in San Carlos in 1965, thus laying the foundation for a continuing pattern of excellence through a mantra of thoughtful and well-trained professional care that continues to this day.
One of Bob’s mottos is “Always hire someone who knows more than you do, and give them plenty of room.” This philosophy has created a continuum of high achievement not only in sales, but critically, in the service and parts departments exemplified today at Cole European.
In the collector car world, Bob has shown cars many times at the world famous Pebble Beach Concourse d’Elegance, winning both the prestigious Lord Montague and Pebble Beach Cup Trophies, while also serving as a judge for British cars and as a member of the Advisory Board.
In 1978 he co-founded the now world famous CANDY STORE, a collector car club and museum. Additionally, Bob was a member of the Board of SCCA when Laguna Seca was created and was an initial investor of the Sears Point International Raceway.
Along the way, Bob and his wife Ellen have raised four great children. Ellen is beyond being an exemplary mother and is a wonderfully accomplished gourmet cook.
Bob also found considerable success in another sporting endeavor; Sailboat racing. His many victories on the bay as well as ocean racing a never before, and never repeated “Triple Crown” All Class ‘A; victories in the San Francisco Boat Cup Big Boat Series, Pan AM Clipper Cup Series in Hawaii, and the renowned Transpac- all within 1 year in the early 80’s. Bob, a long time member of the Board of Directors of St. Francis Yacht Club, played an instrumental role in the 1987 America’s Cup effort for the Club as Chairman of the Executive Committee. He and Ellen are also honorary members of the America One Founders Club.
Bob is very proud that his dealership has won Jaguar's highest honor, The Pride of Jaguar, and is one of the leaders, nationally, in Jaguar’s and Land Rover’s Customer Satisfaction programs!
Prouder still is he of the great group of people working at Cole European, all led by his partner and General Manager Wayne Babcock creating the finest collection of employees and customers any dealership would be proud to embrace.