This is the kind of story that makes my heart swell. The OEM embracing a time honored tradition of restoration that they couldn’t give a crap before the value of classic cars started soaring and there was huge money to be made. For decades these manufacturers had one philosophy:
Win on Sunday. Sell on Monday. Forget about it Friday the following year.
It has always been about one upping the year before. If you drove last year’s model Chevy in the 50 & 60s, you embarrassed your kids as the chump on the block. Try to salvage last year’s race car, it was better off in a heap behind the shop. Wanna impress the girl who doesn’t know how old your Porsche is? She does now… the valet guy just gave you the Heisman.
Roughly one in 10 BMWs built until the 1980s is still on the road today so it’s no surprise that the company wants to tap that market. To do so, they have expanded the Historic Workshop, which until now was responsible for the company’s own vehicles, into the BMW Classic Center, based in Munich and now accepting outside jobs.
The center will buy and sell vehicles, authenticate them and give advice to buyers. You can buy parts and even rent classic cars. There are plans to open a center in the USA as well. The center points out that they have documentation detailing many different engineering specs and prototypes that aren’t readily available to the average consumer.
What I find to be interesting, is that we are approaching the end of a generation who worked with these cars hands on. They gleaned knowledge through apprenticeships before everything was computers or sometimes even written down. If they didn’t pass their knowledge on to successors, it gets lost forever. From what I recall, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari and BMW now have these historic centers. But what of Porsche? Do they even have the people in house that have familiarity with 50 year old parts?
These shops will become increasingly valuable as tooling, parts and documentation find their resting place with the companies that originally built the industry and can restore it. Too bad it won’t come cheap.
See more at the centers website.