Aronow: After the ’62 race my father started to work with Jim Wynne and Walt Walters. He went to 188th Street in Miami and decided he wanted to put a plant there. And that became the original Formula Marine.
Brown: He started Formula from scratch and sold it to Thunderbird in about a year. Made quite a lot of money on it in spring of 1964. He did that a few times. He sold Magnum to American Photocopy for a ton. He had plenty of cheese. He had a brown Rolls Royce and [raced] horses and stuff.
Saccenti: He used to say you’re never gonna make a lot of money building boats. You make a living doing that. You make real money when you sell the company.
Brown: He was also the best boat salesman in the history of the world. A guy would come looking at a boat with a girl, and the guy would ask “How much?” And Don would go, “Seventy grand.” The guy would say, “That’s too much.” And Don would say every time, “I think you should go get a Bayliner then, this is way too much boat for you.” And the guys would be ripping their pockets open trying to give him money!
Peters: A guy would walk into his shop, all excited to meet [Aronow] and buy a boat. And the guy would say, “I want a 28.” And Aronow would say “Oh no, we’re all sold out.” And the guy would keep pushing, Oh, I wanted one all my life. And Don would say, “Yeah we don’t have any 28s, but I’m building a 35 for myself and I could sell that to you.” That was classic Aronow.
Brown: Every boat he sold was “built for himself.” There’s about 70 people out there who think they have a boat Don built for himself.
Aronow: By ’66 my dad had sold Donzi to Teleflex. Then he bought a parcel of land immediately west of them, and that’s where he built the Magnum building. It was a big building and obscured the Donzi plant, and you couldn’t see [Donzi] from Highway 1 anymore! That was just his personality.
Saccenti: The real Don was sitting at a business table negotiating deals. And he never would backpedal later or change things. When you shook his hand that was the deal.