lassikstadt, on the outskirts of Frankfurt, is the sort of place you might dream up on a lazy Sunday afternoon. If you had, say, $60 million in cash gathering dust, you might look at this grand old factory building and think,
yes, why not turn it into a slice of paradise for car obsessives and collectors everywhere?
Located on the outskirts of Frankfurt,
Klassikstadt—which is German for “classic city”—is a multifaceted car haven. This enormous brick building is a kind of living museum and classic car storage facility that’s open to the public. It also houses new and classic car dealerships, mechanics and restoration facilities, a restaurant, and a model shop for all your toy-car needs.
Going for a tour is as simple as walking in the front door; it’s free for visitors. On weekends you might find car clubs gathering in the parking lot. The season-opening and -closing events in spring and fall bring in as many as 3000 guests.
At the on-site restaurant you can perhaps watch through windows as technicians wrench on a
964 Porsche 911 cabriolet while scarf down a massive plate of schnitzel. Wander down the expansive white hallway—even the floors are meticulously clean—and you’ll find a restoration shop for Mercedes classics. A very original W123 wagon is up on the lift. There’s a C3 Corvette just sitting in the hallway for no apparent reason. At the other end of the building are the local McLaren and Lamborghini dealerships. Alpine is upstairs and Bugatti is in an adjoining building.
The 172,000-square-foot brick building was built in 1910 as a factory for agricultural machinery. Since then, it’s had a colorful history, surviving both World Wars only to be used as a storage depot, a printing plant for 50 Deutsche Mark bills and, at some point, a Hell’s Angels clubhouse. After a two-year, $55 million restoration, Klassikstadt opened in 2010.
Wander upstairs and you’re greeted by a Jaguar E-type parked next to an original Fiat 500, which looks to be roughly the size of the Jag’s prodigious hood. There’s also a perfect-looking 1985 Alpina B7, offered for sale at €59,500 (roughly $66,000). It’s a tough choice between that or the 1992 Mercedes 500 E, priced at €38,500 ($42,750).
Both über-sedans are being sold by Pyritz, one of the classic car dealerships that calls Klassikstadt home.
These days, most customers are genuine enthusiasts. “The investment boys are not here anymore,” says Rainer Dschüdow, who co-owns the dealership with his wife. “Five years ago, all the people were asking me what car to invest their money in. That came to the end because everyone learned a car costs money even if you don’t drive it: you need a garage, you need to service it, et cetera. Now, at the moment, the really classic driver customers, the enthusiasts, are back.”
The shop certainly has a good stock of cars that fit that bill. A navy blue
1966 Maserati Mexico for €159,000 ($176,200) is dreamy but sadly out of my price range. So is a maroon Alfa Romeo Montreal. The ugly-duckling €5900 ($6500) Citroen AX Sport rally car on steelies is more realistic.
On the upper floors, most cars stored here by private collectors are kept behind large sliding glass doors; owners need not worry about visitors getting greasy fingerprints on or carelessly scratching their prized possessions. There are 350 cars here, with 100 behind glass. You’ll see a staggering variety of machinery, including everything from a 1970 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT, an original Alpine A110, a restored Ford Capri RS2600, an Audi Ur-Quattro, countless 911s of every vintage and variety, a
1969 Maserati Mistral, a Ferrari F40 and FXX, a banana-colored BMW E30 M3 and 3.0 CSL Batmobile, a Lotus Cortina and what looks like Martin Brundle’s 1987 Zakspeed Formula 1 car. The list goes on.
At any time, you may hear a 12-cylinder Ferrari or an air-cooled flat-six roar to life as an owner takes their car out for a drive. The noise echoes around the old brick building, drawing onlookers from every corner.
Klassikstadt is too great of an idea to be a one-off. There are similar facilities in Berlin and Dusseldorf called
Classic Remise, and another in Stuttgart called Motorworld.
If anyone has $60-odd million lying around, we’d love to see a Klassikstadt open up in New York, or Toronto, or Los Angeles... or really anywhere else on this side of the Atlantic. Just make sure to budget for a quality steak chef to complete the experience.
The Self Preservation Society - 50 Years of The Italian Job
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the British cult classic movie
The Italian Job. Loaded with sixties swagger, and famed for its endlessly quotable dialogue and one of the most impressive car chases in movie history, The Italian Job is the ultimate celebration of ‘cool Britannia’.
Based on more than 50 in-depth interviews with the cast and crew, and lavishly illustrated with hundreds of never-before-seen photographs and production documents, this new book takes a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the film made its way to our screens.
Awarded the prestigious Motoring Book of the Year by the Royal Automobile Club. Judge Mick Walsh from Classic & Sports Car said “A remarkable celebration of this cult movie classic that author Matthew Field has researched passionately since his teenage years. Bloody brilliant!”.
For sale by Porter Press for 45.00 pound sterling.
The 600+ mph daily routine of the Bloodhound LSR team
y now, having
achieved its 2019 goal of 600+ mph in South Africa’s Kalahari desert two months ago, the team behind the Bloodhound LSR project and the jet car itself are back in England. Yet before packing up to get some well-deserved winter rest and start preparing for even higher speeds in the coming year(s), the Bloodhound team also took a video of its daily routine to show us what is necessary for everything to go as smoothly as its simulations suggested.
Reaching 628 mph in a straight line is no walk in the park, and to get there, the Bloodhound team needs to run a car weighing seven tons and pushing out the equivalent of 54,000 horsepower consistently. When the weather forecast and local data shows minimal crosswinds, everybody needs to be in place for driver Andy Green to make his move.
The checklist begins with a morning briefing, during which speed targets and the location of rescue and recovery teams get laid out. The Bloodhound gets towed from the garage, steered by a staff member behind a pickup truck. Positioned on that
thin white line at the zero mark, Andy Green then does his final visual inspections, during which the starter engine arrives on a separate trolley.
Once the marshals take their positions, and radio and data connection with race control is confirmed, the jet is fired up and Andy waits for the green light. After he blasts away, support vehicles follow him as closely as they can without jet power. At the finish point and with the parachutes deployed, Mr. Green needs to shut off the engine before support cars can park up next to him, the parachutes can be detached, and the Bloodhound driven back to base.
This may sound like a standard motorsport schedule overall, but on sand in a desert at 628 mph, attention to detail has to go above and beyond the norm. Cheers to an even more successful 2020 for the Bloodhound LSR!