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Carmel city council votes to limit and control Monterey Car Week events

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The small, scenic city of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, is usually a quiet place, a wealthy enclave nestled along the coast on the Monterey Peninsula, and known for its storybook cottages and walkable village center. 

But every August, Carmel becomes something of a madhouse during Monterey Car Week, especially on Tuesday, when the Concours on the Avenue takes place, and again on Thursday, when the lunch stopover for the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance bring 10s of thousands of classic car-obsessed visitors into town.

In the casual home of fewer than 4,000 people, the parking chaos and milling crowds are a bit much for some residents, who fear there’s more to come with the booming popularity of Monterey Car Week – which brings multiple car shows, collector car auctions and vintage auto racing to the Monterey area, culminating in the world-renowned Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

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Porsche race cars lined up during Carmel’s signature Concours on the Avenue

Several additional car gatherings in Carmel have brought the issue to a head, according to a report in the Carmel Pine Cone, the weekly newspaper that serves the community.

The Carmel City Council has decided to take action, voting earlier this month to have city staffers create a plan that would restrict Car Week activities to just the Tuesday concours and Thursday tour, and would prevent those events from expanding. 

The plan also would address whether to regulate local but non-city car shows, such as the Carmel Mission Classic, and to “work with neighboring communities and the county on ways to mitigate the impacts events held outside the city limits have on the town,” the newspaper said.

Rather than starting this year, the plan would take effect during Car Week 2021, the newspaper noted, because most groups already are organizing their 2020 car events.

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Visitors admire a Ferrari roadster during the Pebble Beach Tour stopover in Carmel

Several council members noted that Carmel previously had decided to limit Car Week events to just the concours and the tour, but recently added a third event, the Prancing Ponies show that takes place on Wednesday.

“I remember when we said we would have no more than the two car events, and then we added a third,” council member Bobby Richards was quoted in the newspaper report. “I still think we should not have added that third event.”

A Pebble Beach Concours official said the new policy is not anticipated to have any effect on the Pebble Beach Tour’s lunch stop, since there are no plans to change or expand.  The stopover for the tour is hugely popular as most of the spectacular cars that will be shown at the concours are parked on Ocean Avenue, Carmel’s main street, for a free showing, resulting in wall-to-wall crowds.

Besides the organized car shows and gatherings that take place in Carmel, the massive influx of car enthusiasts to the peninsula cause other problems, the newspaper noted.

“Last year, this issue was highlighted when hundreds of people arrived Friday night to watch drivers peel out and do donuts on Ocean Avenue, forcing Carmel P.D. to summon a dozen police units from other agencies to help contend with the crowd and the reckless drivers,” according to the news report, which appeared on the front page of the February 7-13 edition of the Carmel Pine Cone

The council decision ordered the staffers to come back to the council in three months with a draft of the new Car Week policy.

German club showcases vintage French cars at Retro Classics

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Retro Classics is the annual collector car “trade fair” staged in Stuttgart, Germany. It opens February 27 and runs through March 1, and among the featured displays this week is that of the German Peugeot Pre-War Register.

Though its name sounds more formal, the “Register” is actually a car club organized in 2000 by German fans of the French brand, and includes both two- and four-wheeled vehicles produced between 1890 and 1949. The club now represents more than 400 members and their more than 5,000 vehicles.

The Register’s display at Retro Classics will include four cars — three historic and also a vision of the future in the form of the Peugeot e-208 electric vehicle.

The historic vehicles include a 402 Eclipse, considered the world’s first mass-produced “convertible coupe,” a car with a metal roof that retracted out of sight. The 402 Eclipse was built from 1935 to 1942 and there was a version in which the top was electrically powered. Featured at Retro Classics will be a 1936 example. 

Protruding grille led to the D4 van being known as the ‘pig nose’ Peugeot

Also on display will be a D4 van, a 1950s model affectionally known as the “pig nose” because of its protruding vertical grille. Turns out the grille was created so there would be room for the van to be powered by the same engine as the Peugeot 403. D4s were versatile vehicles, used for everything from minibuses to ambulances, even as livestock trucks.

205 Turbo 16 was World Rally Championship winner in 1985 and 1986

The third historic Peugeot on the Register stand will be the 205 Turbo 16, a mid-engine, 4-cylinder (turbocharged to produce 200 horsepower), 4-wheel-drive special developed for the World Rally Championship, which Peugeot won in both 1985 and 1986. 

Also being showcased at Retro Classics is Peugeot’s “L’Aventure Peugeot Citroen DS,” the company’s museum based in Sochaux, France, that also operates a vintage parts program offering more than 18,000 replacement parts for vintage vehicles.

Will e208 EV become a collectible Peugeot?


Aston Martin DB5 tops Silverstone Auction action at Race Retro show

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Topped by a 1964 Aston Martin DB5 that sold for £708,750 ($921,985), Silverstone Auctions reports its recent collector car auction at the Reis Race Retro show at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, England, produced £4.6 million ($5.98 million) in sales.

The two-day sale began with an offering of race cars. Silverstone said 70 percent of those competition cars went to new owners, and for a total of £1.5 million as the British auction house opened its 2020 sales calendar.

Jaguar F-Type SVR GT4 race cars were specially done for InvictusGames Foundation

Among the auction highlights were a pair of Jaguar F-Type SVR GT4 race cars produced for the Invictus Games Foundation selling for £213,750 ($278,060), proceeds benefiting injured military personnel. 

A 2007 Subaru WRC that Colin McRae drove to the World Rally Championship brought £189,000 ($245,863). One of only 49 1973 Porsche 911 2.8 RSR built for the FIA GT class sold for £101,250 ($131,713).

A 1965 Jaguar E-type Series 1 upgraded by specialist Eagle sold for £233,438 ($303,6701). A 1992 Lancia Hyena Zagato, the 9th of only 20 built, sold for £168,750 ($219,521). A one-off 1967 Ford Mustang GT fastback 347 brought £92,250 ($120,005), and the 1987 Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth (chassis 003) went for £78,750 ($102,443).

The auction scene


Featured listing: Bright, beautiful Bimmer: 1997 BMW 540i

This ClassicCars.com Marketplace featured listing is a 1997 BMW 540i for sale in Hunt Valley, Maryland. Equipped with V8 power, a sporty six-speed manual transmission and a fresh coat of ‘Hellrot’ Red paint, this car would be a head-turner everywhere it goes.

The Joji Nagashima-penned design of the fourth-generation 5-series, incorporating a lion’s share of aluminum chassis and suspension components, proved to be many steps forward in the evolution of BMWs. Powered by the 4.4-liter M62B44 V8 engine, linked to a six-speed Getrag 420G manual transmission, the 540i made 282 hp with 310 lb ft of torque. This car was as fun to drive as it was practical – clearly personification of “The Ultimate Driving Machine.”

The Touring version of the E39 remains very popular as one of the great sport-wagons. The trim on this particular model is a sedan, with some tricks. The seller states, “(The) vehicle has all the options except for navigation and also sports elements of the M5 including a lowered M suspension and a muffler delete option.”

The car reports 209,870 on the clock, but according to the seller, the car is sound. “I recently spent thousands $’s at a BMW certified mechanic on mechanical updates/major engine service, transmission and cooling system. Back to bare-metal repaint also recently undertaken as well as full restoration of BBS ‘octopus’ 3-piece alloy wheels that were a BMW option.” The seller adds, “The mileage may seem an obstacle, but remember, this is a 23-year-old car. This equates to less than 10 thousand miles/year.”

The seller speaks of this car’s rarity: “BMW Individual build stamp on R turret. Believed to be the only 6-speed manual in the bright-red color sold that year in the USA. Interior and exterior are in superb condition and any drive will bring a large smile to your face.”

The 1997 BMW 540i has an asking price of $11,000. This one is ready to rock the next car show.

To view the listing on ClassicCars.com, click here.

Saintly Swede: 1967 Volvo 1800S

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One of the favorite classic cars that I have owned was a 1966 Volvo 1800S. I bought it in L.A. for $6,500 and immediately drove it with my friend John Nikas back to where I was living in Chicago.

Aside for John and I (mostly John) having to rebuild the generator in a hotel parking lot in Park City, Utah, the car made the trip with no issues. 

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I restored the Volvo and the next year took it on two vintage rallies, won my class in a show in Connecticut, took a ride with actor Roger Moore in it ( he drove an earlier P1800 as The Saint) at a book signing in New York, and then drove it to Monterey car week where I sold it.

That Volvo was one that, in many ways, I wish I had kept, a classic European GT car that did everything well. It would cruise at 85 mph at around 3,000 rpm, was exceptionally well built, looked amazing, was comfortable, handled nicely and was fun to drive.

Since that time, more people have discovered that the P1800/1800S Volvos are truly great small-bore GT coupes, and prices for them have been climbing as a result. The days of the sub-$10,000 Volvo 1800 are long gone.

The Pick of the Day seems like a good deal for one of these cars, a restored 1967 Volvo 1800S advertised for sale on ClassicCars.com by a dealer in Roswell, Georgia.

This Volvo has a long history as an Atlanta car, according to the seller, and the last owner performed an apparently decent restoration including an engine rebuild and addition of a Weber downdraft carburetor.  Many invoices for work come with the car, the dealer notes.

The seams in the rocker panels seem to be intact, which generally means that the metal work was done correctly.

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Oddly, although the car is listed as a 1967, it has the curved hockey-stick door trim of a 1966.  And the grille is the earlier eggcrate aluminum design from a 1964 and earlier car.  I actually prefer earlier hockey stick trim and the eggcrate grille.   

The grille was definitely replaced with the earlier style, but many owners make that switch and it does not detract from the car.  If desired, it can be replaced with the later pressed-metal grille, which is still available.

An interesting tidbit is that the car used in the TV series The Saint reportedly had its grille swapped a few times during the filming of the show. 

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The earlier door trim could be explained by this being a 1966 car that was titled as a ’67, which is something that happened back then. This could be checked by finding out the chassis number and checking its build date.

Regardless of these details, this looks like a very nice driver-level Volvo that has been well cared for. The asking price is more than fair at $28,950, if this car is as clean as it looks in the photos with the ad.

Swap out the wheels for Minilites, add fog lamps and pretend you are Simon Templar, the lead character portrayed by Moore.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Not sold yet, but OMG! The offers – Casey Putsch and the $5,000 Greenwood Corvette

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The Journal reported on the YouTube video and the wild offer with an even bigger caveat

Want to buy a Greenwood Corvette for $5,000? Casey Putsch has one

Needless to say, Putsch has been inundated with offers – some legit and some, as he sees it, nefarious. As he puts it in his newest video, “If you are only looking backward on the history of the car, you probably shouldn’t own the car.”

Putsch has launched a follow-up video to discuss the responses and the plans.

The point Putsch wants to make with the car culture is the current stewards are hoarding the cars and trying to inflate values – no matter the car. He firmly stands on his convictions that the only reason youth today are not interested in cars is there are so few opportunities, and high barriers to entry to car culture.

The Journal, and Casey, look forward to your comments.

Featured listing: A Ford in every garage and a chicken in every pot: 1931 Ford Model A

This ClassicCars.com Marketplace featured listing is a 1931 Ford Model A for sale in Dallas, Pennsylvania.

Henry Ford famously said of his Model T, produced from 1908 to 1927, “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants, so long as it is black.” That fallacy only held true in the 1914 model year but was highly encouraged until 1926 because of the low cost and faster drying time of the black paint.

By the time this Model A Roadster was built, the cars were more colorful. This one is actually a lovely two-tone blue and black with a Saddle Brown interior.

According to the seller, the car has had a full frame-off restoration. The odometer reads 37,817. One of the best features, the rumble seat, recalls the romance of that era. This is a very nice period example, as so many As have become hot rods over the years.

The engine was a water-cooled 201ci L-head inline-4 rated at 40 horsepower. Paired with a conventional unsynchronized 3-speed sliding-gear manual transmission, the Model A had a top speed of 65 mph. The Model A also featured four-wheel mechanical drum brakes.

Showroom new for a base model was a reachable $385, whereas the top Town Car trim fetched an exorbitant $1,400. Henry wanted every family in America to have a car – particularly a Ford. Ford sold 4,858,644 copies of the Model A in numerous body styles. The Model A was assembled in 11 countries on five continents.

Despite a worldwide economic depression, Fords still sold well. The 1932 model year introduced the flathead V8 and the Model 18, also known as the Model B.

The 1931 Ford Model A has an asking price of $34,900. Get ready for your municipality to invite you and the car to be part of the 4th of July parade.

To view the listing on ClassicCars.com, click here.

Restoration begins on Mussolini’s Alfa 6C 1750 SS

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British restoration shop Thornley Kelham has announced the start of a project to restore the Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Super Sport (third series) originally owned by Benito Mussolini.

The business, founded in 2009, “is undertaking its most challenging project yet; a complete nut-and-bolt concours-standard restoration of a rare Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS, with an even more extraordinary history. 

“This particular Alfa Romeo comes complete with records showing the car was delivered to its first owner, ‘II Duce’ Benito Mussolini, on the 13th January 1930, for Lire 60,000,” Thornley Kelham said in its announcement.

The 6C 1750 SS “was one of the most popular and successful sports-racing cars of its day, as demonstrated by the fact that no fewer than 13 competed in the 1929 Mille Miglia, of which 8 finished, seven among the first ten including overall winner and third place,” the British firm noted. 

Period photo shows the car with its original Stabilimenti Farina body | Archivio Luce photo

“Cars were built up as rolling chassis, which were then bodied by coachbuilders including Carrozzerie Touring and Zagato, and Stabilimenti Farina.

The Mussolini Alfa is chassis 6C0312898 and although it went through a series of subsequent owners, there are photographs and movies showing Mussolini driving the car, including driving it as it led the Il Radio Auto-Raduno section of the Rome-to-Ostia Ralley.

Enlargement of one of those early photographs shows that the car’s coachwork was done by Stabilimenti Farina, though the coachwork was later changed to the “racing-focused” body it currently wears. The restoration will take the car back to its original specification.

In 1937, the car was sold and shipped to Asmara in Eritrea, “an Italian territory famous for motorsport during the era.”

“It is clear that the body changes took place while the 6C 1750 SS was in Eritrea, where it was adapted for racing,” Thornley Kelham said. 

“Images sourced of the car in Asmara reveal much of the bodywork had been removed to create a stripped-out racing car, bearing only a passing resemblance to the beautiful Farina creation it was born with. At the time, Eritrea was an Italian colony and many young Italians would take their cars to Asmara to live and race on hill climbs and street circuit races like the Coppa di Natale or the Coppa Governatore.”

At some point, the car found its way to the United States, where it was inspected by Thornley Kelham and found to have “an unoriginal grille and (to have) retained very little in the way of original panels. The chassis, rear axle and gearbox are, however, original to the car.”

“We’ve undertaken many challenging restorations here at Thornley Kelham but this Alfa Romeo presents us with perhaps our greatest test to date,” said Simon Thornley. “Over the course of its extraordinary life, it has been graced with a beautiful hand-crafted body from Stabilimenti Farina, owned and piloted by one of the world’s most (in)famous dictators, and stripped out for motorsport and raced on the streets of North Africa.”

Thornley Kelham is based in the Cotswold, has restored vehicles that won honors at Pebble Beach, Hampton Court, Chantilly and Salon Prive and have participated in such rallies as the Mille Miglia and Peking to Paris.

It also produced the limited-edition “outlaw” Lancia Aurelia B20GT project.

“Our challenge now is to restore it to the condition it first left Stabilimenti Farina’s carrozzeria, based on further painstaking research and thousands of hours of expert craftsmanship,” Kelham said. “Automotive history like this has to be preserved, and we are delighted to be involved in the latest page in its amazing story.”

After $140,000 and 12,000 hours, his redone Rabbit was ready

Editor’s note: The following report was prepared by Volkswagen of America, which added a footnote disclaimer that, “Modifying vehicles can adversely affect warranty coverage & compliance with required safety & other standards.”

However much you’ve worked on a single vehicle, chances are you haven’t done as much as Derek Spratt did to his 1983 Volkswagen Rabbit GTI.

Over the course of seven years, Spratt estimates he spent more than 12,000 hours modifying his GTI and documenting his labor of love in over 180 videos on social media. The videos range from Spratt’s descriptions of basic electrical wiring to installing a modern digital dashboard in a vintage vehicle. His own estimate of his costs: $140,000.

And today, he doesn’t even own the car.

This Mk1 GTI was the first car Spratt purchased as a 21-year-old college student in Ontario, Canada. He was among Canada’s first buyers of a true GTI, which arrived that year with a 90-hp engine and stiffened suspension of the true European GTI.

“All the automotive magazines had the GTI on their cover, saying that it was the car everyone had to have,” he said.

In 1984, Spratt and his future wife drove his original Rabbit GTI down Highway 1 from Vancouver, British Columbia, to San Francisco and back | Spratt archives

In the summer of 1984, Spratt and his now-wife, Cheryl, drove down Highway 1 from Vancouver, Canada, to San Francisco and back in the GTI. When Spratt, a former CEO and venture capitalist, turned 50 in 2011, his fond memories of the car prompted him to chase the dream of customizing a GTI in extreme detail.

“I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to go back to the first car I had as a young man and revisit that time in my life?’” he said. “My goal was for the car to feel and drive like an original Mk1 but with modern capabilities. I wanted to show that you can take an old car to the point where it operates like a supercar—without taking away the fun factor.”

Although he sold his original GTI decades earlier, Derek found another that matched his original with the same build date from 1983. He bought it and got to work, spending long hours in the garage at night and on weekends, methodically taking apart and elevating every aspect of his beloved GTI by hand. Over time, Spratt boosted the acceleration, chassis rigidity, corning and braking performance on the GTI —acknowledging that his perfectionism complicated and lengthened the process.

“I wanted the car to be versatile and flawless with its mannerisms and behaviors,” he said.

Spratt also wanted a track-capable engine for his GTI. Working with an engine builder, he designed a custom engine, avoiding the easy route of turbocharging in favor of naturally aspirated power that helped save weight. When mated to a custom cooling system, the engine generated roughly 220 hp.

Spratt also updated the car to include modern creature comforts, such as electric windows, adjustable heated seats, push-button engine starting, an electronically adjustable brake system, two-axis accelerometers and a touch-screen digital dash.

Carefully documenting each step of the process online, he quickly grew a following. Passionate Volkswagen enthusiasts and classic car hobbyists from Sweden to South Africa began following his journey and sent him encouragement, questions and advice. Some followers even offered to send Derek rare parts to the GTI, knowing they can be difficult to come by.

“If you get into restoration and modification for the money, you should find a new hobby. The purpose of the project was fulfilled for me. I made the car faster and better than before and pursued my passion for seven years.”

At some of the more difficult moments in the modification process, it was the enthusiast community that kept him motivated to persevere.

“There were times that I felt like this project was eating me alive,” Spratt said. “This was one of the most extreme commitments to a project I have worked on.”

When he finally finished the “Ultimate GTI” in 2018, he knew how he wanted to celebrate.

“The first thing I did was take my 85-year-old dad out for a drive,” he said. “We are a family of engineers, particularly in the automotive space. I owe my love for German cars to my dad.”

He also raced the car on the track and took the car to several auto shows where he connected with several followers. One fan he met in person at an auto show in Vancouver said he had watched every one of his videos. “I thought, ‘Wow, I haven’t even watched them all!’” he said.

And to complete the circle from 34 years earlier, Derek re-created his trip down Highway 1 with his eldest son.

“You can tear apart every nut and bolt of a car and then go and drive it for 10,000 kilometers and have nothing bad happen to it,” Spratt said. “The car made it all the way there and back without any issues.”

After he finished the car and took his father for a ride, Spratt sold the GTI | Derek Spratt photo

When he felt he had spent enough time with his GTI masterpiece, he turned back to his community of classic car lovers to sell it. He connected with a young couple living in Vancouver who are also Volkswagen enthusiasts and sold them his vehicle at a fraction of the cost of the modifications.

Spratt does not count this as a loss.

“If you get into restoration and modification for the money, you should find a new hobby,” he said. “The purpose of the project was fulfilled for me. I made the car faster and better than before and pursued my passion for seven years.”

He was thrilled to see his project in the hands of fellow Volkswagen enthusiasts who would fully appreciate his labor of love. “It was important to me to sell it to someone who would allow me to stay connected to the car,” Spratt said. “I can take it for a drive or a tune-up. I’m happy they have it and love it. And I’m glad I can see it now and again.”

After seven years of detailed building, most people might take a break. Spratt already has ideas for his next project.

“My long-term goal is to electrify a 1961 Beetle,” he says. “The technology behind converting a vintage vehicle to an electric car really interests me.”

Dutch treat! Porsche Centrum and Classic Center Gelderland

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About an hour’s drive from either Amsterdam or Rotterdam in the Netherlands is Porsche Centrum Gelderland in the town of Heteren. While most Porsche dealers today are very well appointed and modern facilities, this is not your typical Porsche dealer.

Mark Wegh, Owner, Porsche Centrum Gelderland.

Mark Wegh, who along with his wife, Charlotte, started the business in 2005. Wegh is a very calm, quiet yet direct, and focused as a businessman. He also has the largest collection of rare Porsche, VW and Audi cars in private hands.

We started with his large car collection. “My favorite is the 356 Speedster, completely unrestored… original. It has never been painted and has 20,000 miles.”

Many very special Porsche, Audi and Volkswagens are part of the massive collection.

Wegh tells how his father was a workshop manager for a Volkswagen dealership. “I was born with a VW logo on my head,” he said. “The plan was that I should be a VW dealer. My whole career was built on that. But in the end I had the opportunity to be a Porsche dealer. So I started all this 14 years ago from zero and we are now one of the biggest world wide.”

Porsche Centrum Gelderland has an amazing range of 100 new and 150 used and vintage Porsches. Even the exclusive “latest and greatest” models like the Taycan can be found in a variety of trims and can be delivered quickly. The company also has proprietary offerings including leasing, insurance, transport, road-side assistance, and more.

Large inventory means you will find the Porsche you seek

“You can buy a Porsche in 835 places in the world,” Wegh sad. “Same car, same quality. In the end we must bring something to the car, passion, experience. The client says ‘I will buy the car there because I am part of the family’. We do 80 events a year around the car.”

One of the highlights is an International Collectors Day, much like the Los Angeles Porsche Toy and Literature show. More than 4,000 people show up for this event.

A sign outside advertises the huge expansion

A recent expansion of the 35,000-square-foot facility is the addition of a third building on the campus – at nearly 80,000-square-foot and due to Open in October. Wegh is a very hands-on owner. Beyond his staff of more than 150 employees, his customers, who number in the thousands, all have his mobile phone number.

Merchandising is yet another facet of the business. “We (publish) a book of old 356 brochures given out by the factory between 1948 and 1964. It is more than 500 pages. Every brochure from the US, Germany… all over the world.

A 1964 911 — VIN number 113 — before undergoing a complete restoration

“We are now making a new book that will be every brochure for the Porsche 911 from 1964 to 1973.”

According to Porsche AG, “More than 70 per cent of the vehicles ever produced by Porsche are still running today. To ensure that these classic cars receive optimum support and overhaul facilities, Porsche is establishing an international dealer and service network and will be certified as Porsche Classic Partners. These services will include the supply of some 52,000 original spare parts, complete and partial overhauls but also repair and maintenance work and the sale of classic cars.”

VIN number 113 at completion

Wegh’s location was the first, and in Europe, remains only one of three “Classic Centers.” The others are in Norway and France.

“We have 16 lifts dedicated to classic Porsche, beyond our retail service center,” Wegh said. “We do complete restoration. There are seven people doing just sheet metal. We have our own paint booth for the classic cars, because the paint is different than on the modern cars.

Several simultaneous restorations in the Classic Center

Wegh’s customers come from all over. “Obviously Holland is my primary, however I get customers from Germany, England, Belgium, all over.”

Clearly, Porsche Centrum Gelderland has long legs and certainly plans to build on its successes. “I like it and it is a lot of fun.” Wegh disclosed the secret of his success: “Never give a client a reason to go somewhere else.”