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Origin Story Pt II: Behind the Name

Fourtillfour was founded in the desire to bring new life to old objects, restoring adventure into vintage machines and bringing people together through the ritual of coffee.

Part II

Nico spent most of his adolescence tinkering on projects in the garage and drew much of his passion for automobiles from his father Byron – especially his affinity for Volkswagen and Porsche. He didn't realize it at the time, but he learned valuable lessons from his days working in the garage with his dad. He was taught that everything broken could be fixed, to have patience, especially with bigger projects, and that taking a step back from a project would often reveal a solution to a problem. 

Nico Samaras working in the garage

After turning sixteen, Nico bought his first car, a 1967 spray-painted “53” Baja Bug for $550. He and his father tinkered on it, and soon it became Nico’s daily driver. Just six months after fixing it up, Nico sold the Bug for another VW. Soon, Nico found himself buying and selling several Volkswagens, until one day a particular ad in the Arizona Republic caught his eye. 

Nico Samaras owner and founder of Fourtillfour starting collecting and working on Porsches at an early age

Listed for $6500 was a rusty, 1963 356 Porsche filled with Volkswagen parts. Nico sold his two Karmann Ghias for $4500, and convinced his dad to loan him the remaining $2000. Soon after purchasing this 356, Nico was hooked. He spent his weekends going to more swap meets, car meets, and immersing himself in the vintage car community in Arizona. His father, who could build an early VW or Porsche with his eyes closed, had a wealth of knowledge around these cars, and Nico was a sponge. By his junior year in high school, Nico was working on getting his third 356 up and running. 

Fourtillfour origins begin in the garage

In 2006 Nico found an ad for a 1958 Porsche 356 A Coupe, complete with a modified Volkswagen motor, bad fender flares and no headliner. This car was rough, but was perfect to Nico. It wasn’t an outlaw, and it most definitely wasn’t a show car. It was an adventure mobile. Nico put thousands of miles on this car, including an inspiring trip to California in the middle of the summer. 

After countless offroad adventures in this 356 and all the cars that came before, a name popped in his head that represented what these cars meant to him: 4till4 (or Fourtillfour). It felt like a 4x4, and like the time of day 3:56, it paid homage to its make and model. Day by day, an idea was forming, a new way to view the world that was both rugged and refined. 

The 356 that had the license plate 4till4

At 18, Nico created a place for this community to gather online. 4till4.com was an early idea, a place for people to post events, cars, and a chat in a forum on all things 356. The site was gaining momentum but Nico knew he needed to explore outside the desert and gain real world experience, so he decided to put the site on hold. 

Nico joined the USMC Infantry out of high school and started the next chapter of his life. It was an opportunity to mature quickly, gain leadership skills and fulfill a childhood dream while supporting his country. He spent the next four years and two deployments in a Scout Sniper Platoon and a Personal Security Detachment, ultimately finishing his final two years as a Marine Martial Arts Instructor Trainer for his battalion 1/4 in Camp Pendleton. During his time in the Marine Corps Nico continued to buy 356s and other old classics when he wasn't deployed. 

Owner and Founder Nico Samaras was in the USMC

After a four year enlistment, it was time to go to a place that would help inspire a new way of thinking. 

Nico felt compelled to move to an area that had always been a source of inspiration for him growing up, and in 2011 he moved to San Francisco. During these next few years in the Bay Area he’d go to car meets like Easy, in Emeryville, and started to post his weekend 356 adventures on Instagram under the handle @fourtillfour. While it had been several years since first integrating this community, it was quickly brought back to life with a whole new fire. A garage was being formed to house all of the projects and new adventure cars we're joining the fleet all under the name Fourtillfour. Nico’s unique view of seeing the world had been shaped for twenty-five years by his father and Don Burns, his unique adventures, his time in the military, and now, in San Francisco, it was culminating to form a whole new way of life.   

Nico Samaras continued his passion for Porsche while living in San Francisco

It was during this time in San Francisco that a new, complementary passion and interest was forming: specialty coffee.

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