NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - On wet pavement, in an otherwise quiet subdivision in New Hyde Park, 31-year-old Steve Pinto drives an all-wheel-drive, one-sixth-scale Traxxas X-Maxx monster truck at speeds approaching 55 miles per hour.
"Honestly," he said, "before the last three years, I had no idea there was this kind of demand."
Three years ago, after graduating No. 1 in his class from Lincoln Tech, Steve worked as a technician at the local Maserati dealership, where his service manager invited him to pick up RC car racing.
"Next thing you know, I'm buying into every category," Pinto said.
A year and a half ago, Steve left his job at Maserati to build and sell RC cars full-time, flying to deliver his vehicles in person to guys he never thought he'd meet.
"I get a DM: 'Would you like to build some cars for a couple of the New York Giants?'" Steve said.
A $14,000 order for the Giants ("O'Dell wanted a McLaren and a replica of his Mustang"), custom jobs for Floyd Mayweather and Drake, and 10,000 Instagram followers later, Steve's company, RC Motorsports, now faces a three-month backlog of pending orders this former Maserati and Ferrari mechanic must work through alone from the basement of his Long Island home.
"I've been challenged, yes," he said, "trying to replicate certain people's cars."
Steve's creations range from $250 to more than $5,000, with top speeds fluctuating between 30 and 120 miles per hour. He says his business has grown faster than he ever anticipated, discovering a niche with no apparent competitors anywhere in the United States, leaving him little time to dust off his first two cars -- an orange BMW and a gray Ford Raptor -- for a spin around the neighborhood.
"I definitely want to play with them," Steve said, "but the challenge is finding time to play with them because in the back of my mind I know I have 10 more jobs to finish instead of being out playing with my cars."