Classic Trader Dealer Portrait: Bastian Voigt Collectors Cars
In the Classic Trader dealer portraits, we regularly introduce you to selected classic car dealers and specialists, who answer our 15-question interview. This time it’s the turn of Bastian Voigt from Bastian Voigt Collectors Cars.
15 questions for Bastian Voigt
PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND YOUR COMPANY. WHAT IS THE SPECIALIST AREA OF YOUR COMPANY?
Bastian Voigt Collectors Cars GmbH specialises in brokering and selling high-quality and rare automobiles. Thanks to many years of experience in trading with selected vintage and sports cars, and a powerful network, I always offer my customers a selection of interesting vehicles and real added value when marketing their vehicles.
The big plus for the customer is an all-round package for buying and/or selling a vehicle. I see myself primarily as a professional marketer on behalf of the owners. In addition, I have selected vehicles of my own and look for very special vehicles on request.
After graduating from university with a degree in business law in 2008, I started at one of the most renowned vintage car dealers in Germany as head of marketing and sales. In more than eight years in the company, I got to know our industry from the bottom up, worked with great people, sold many important cars myself and worked on even more exciting projects.
At the beginning of 2017 I founded my own company and have been successfully working independently in the market ever since. I have already traded many special cars in this short time. These include several Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadsters and Coupés, Aston Martin DB5 Coupé and Cabrio, Maserati 3500 GT Spyder, BMW M1, Ferrari F50, Porsche Carrera GT and 959 Sport etc.
Most of the vehicles are in my showroom and can be viewed by appointment. I also take care of transport, including the necessary formalities and insurance, safe accommodation and extensive research. You can find a more detailed overview of the range of services on my website www.bastianvoigt.de.
The exclusive vehicles I offer can’t be found on every corner. Sellers can be sure that I will ensure the best possible presentation of the vehicles, which will not be lost in the crowd. It is very important to me to be open, fair and friendly, so that every transaction is a positive experience for you and is just as fun as the vehicle itself.
WHEN DID YOU succomb TO THE “addiction” OF CLASSIC VEHICLES? WAS THERE A KEY EXPERIENCE IN YOUR CHILDHOOD or YOUTH THAT MADE YOU A VINTAGE ENTHUSIAST?
I can’t even name a certain key experience that way. I grew up on an old farm and have always been surrounded by old things with history. I also have many documents, some of which are hundreds of years old, and found it exciting to take a look back in time.
In addition, I’ve always been interested in anything that moves in any way, be it a tractor, a truck, an airplane, a boat or just a bike. I also like working with a wide variety of technical solutions, the craft and, above all, design. I was not yet ten when my father and brothers restored a Zündapp KS600. I was enthusiastic about the motorcycle right away and certainly contributed to a large part of my passion.
My first motorcycle was a 1972 Honda CB250 and my first car was a 1965 Volvo Amazon, which was shortly followed by a nice bright red Alfa 33 Sportwagon.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB – and what is the worst parT?
I love three things most about this job:
Firstly, I indulge in my favourite hobby every day and have the opportunity to have many of the most beautiful and exciting automobiles in the world around me. Sometimes everyday life closes your view of it, but every now and then I take the time to just look at the cars in peace and quiet to realise what wonderful material we deal with here all day. Many dream of turning their hobby into a profession and I am glad that I made this dream come true.
The second exciting component is the variety in this job. From dealing with the cars, managing the company, travelling and research to marketing, etc.
The last and, for me the most exciting part, are the many interesting people I get to know through this work. My customers usually have an exciting story and have achieved a lot in life. They are demanding, but also pleasant to deal with, and the common topic gives you a completely different approach to one another.
One side of the job that I don’t like is the increasing acceleration of communication through messenger services, social media, emails, etc. As the father of three small children in particular, I have a different daily rhythm and different obligations than most of my customers and colleagues. The cell phone simply has to be put aside, even if that is just as difficult for me as it is for most of us.
WHICH are your favourite BRANDS? WHICH ARE YOUR THREE FAVOURITE CLASSICS AND WHY?
I do have brands that I like better than others but I actually don’t wear branded glasses. For me it depends more on the qualities of the individual model. Some brands built great vehicles in a decade and then made terrible products a decade later. I certainly have a big weakness for almost all Italian automobiles, but I also find Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Porsche, Citroën, Volvo, Volkswagen, US cars and many more exciting. In the last few years I have almost exclusively driven vehicles from the 1970s in my private life, from Italy, France and the USA. But I also love the cars that were up to date and inaccessible 20 years ago, such as an Audi S6 Plus.
So I can only name three classics as examples but there are umpteen others that I would also mention.
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing: For me, the sum of its properties still make it one of the best vehicles ever built. The design is gorgeous from every perspective and the car is simply a lot of driving fun.
Voisin C28 Aerosport: A groundbreaking design that skilfully combines two great epochs of car design.
Ferrari 288 GTO: Similar to the 300 SL, for me it is the combination of a beautiful design and great driving pleasure. Fast, but not as extreme and uncompromising as the F40 and therefore more enjoyable.
WHAT’S THE MOST EXCEPTIONAL VEHICLE YOU HAVE dealt with SO FAR?
It’s hard to choose, there are so many extraordinary vehicles out there. In particular, the pre-war cars stand out for me because they were still individually built. In my previous job, for example, I worked intensively on a Mercedes-Benz 710 SS, with which Caracciola won the International TT 1929 in record time. In 2019 I was able to trade an exciting BMW 328 Roadster with a special body, which was also very interesting.
do you think classic car values will increase over THE NEXT few YEARS?
For a few years the topic of increasing value and investment was omnipresent in the scene and beyond, but it has now receded a little into the background. I am personally very grateful for that, because it brings the vehicles themselves and the interest in them back to the fore. Ultimately, only genuine interest will lead to positive performance in the long run. The prices have stabilised at a high level overall, although there are of course differences in the details.
There are a few general criteria that are important for good performance:
- Popular model
- Great design
- Small but not too small numbers
- A vehicle of a brand that is still attractive today
- Reasonable maintenance costs compared to value
- Possibly participation in certain events
- Driving fun
- Good condition
- Known history
- Originality (either restored true to the original or even better unrestored and original)
For many buyers, nostalgia also plays a certain role. If you have had success in life and the financial possibilities are there, you often buy the vehicles that you were interested in as a child or young adult. For example, cars that were related to one’s father, mother or television. Then there are the cars that you drove or would have liked to drive as an 18-year-old. So you just have to look at the toy cars of the 30 to 40 year olds now and you know what will be in demand in the next few years. The rising prices for BMW M3 E30, Lancia Delta Integrale but also for early Range Rovers, for example, show this quite well.
Then there are cars that can survive without this “nostalgia bonus” and remain in demand, even if there is hardly anyone left who has seen them when new. There weren’t many people left who had a driver’s licence when the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 appeared, and yet it will always remain an icon. This certainly also applies to vehicles like the 300 SL, the Aston Martin DB4, 5, 6, or the Citroën DS.
A mid-range sedan from the 1930s, on the other hand, is less in demand, and that is certainly also slowly affecting some less exciting models from the 1950s and 1960s. There is also a clear trend towards completely original and unrestored vehicles. There is only one original condition and an original vehicle best conveys the spirit of its time and also of its builder. You don’t buy a Monet and paint it over because the colour has faded or you have better brushes today.
I think the vehicles that inspire you today and that meet the above criteria are always a good choice. This also applies to young cars. Especially those that will certainly no longer be built in this way in the future. I would like to mention the Porsche Carrera GT as an example. It has a beautiful timeless design, was built in small numbers and comes from a large, vibrant brand. Its design, with a V10 naturally aspirated engine mounted amidships, the power of which is transmitted by a manual transmission, will probably never appear again. That will always make it attractive in the future.
WHICH, IN YOUR VIEW, IS THE MOST UNDERESTIMATED OR OVERESTIMATED CLASSIC AND WHY?
I’m probably making myself unpopular now… for a few years, the Porsche 911 was overrated for me. I don’t mean the special models or the turbos, but the normal variants with high mileage. Certainly great cars, but given the large number of units, specimens came onto the market that were clearly overrated for me. I think the Ferrari 365 GTC/4, for example, is underrated. Great design, big brand, 12 cylinders, only 500 vehicles built etc.
In addition, I still find the Lamborghini Countach undervalued. For me as a child it was simply THE car, and it wasn’t just me.
DO YOU SEE A PERSONAL GENERATIONAL CHANGE IN THE MARKET FOR CLASSIC VEHICLES? If so, how do you stand by it?
I actually see it coming and that’s quite normal. As time goes on, people will always retire and new ones will join. In contrast to England, where numerous companies are already being run in the second generation in the market, the scene in Germany is a little younger and a generation change is still pending. As a result, many important people in our scene will probably stop or step down in the next ten years.
Since I’m one of the younger ones, that’s more of an advantage than a disadvantage in retail for me personally. Unfortunately, this also means that a lot of knowledge may be lost if we don’t do anything about it. Many workshops may not continue and some experts will no longer be available in a few years.
WHAT IS AN ABSOLUTE “TABOO” FOR YOU IN CLASSICS?
A beautiful original, preserved vehicle being completely restored. I find that a shame every time. Or when you remove the body of a rare saloon to make a roadster replica out of it. Otherwise, of course, everyone can do what they want with their car.
I find resto-mods of mass-produced vehicles in particular very exciting. On the other hand, I think that sometimes people look too closely and ask the cars to do the impossible. You are looking for the Le Mans winning car in perfect original condition with “matching numbers”. And a Ferrari from the 1970s does not have perfect gaps and usually also does not have a uniformly thick paint.
I think that you have to correct some of the claims. The documentation at manufacturers was not always what we would like it to be today. I also think it’s a shame that many modern supercars are hardly driven anymore for fear of high mileage and the associated loss of value. That is the advantage with classic cars.
WHERE DOES THE TOPIC “CLASSICS” END FOR YOU AND ABOVE ALL WHY?
I see that as very relaxed. Even a Mercedes-Benz 190 is now a classic car and I think that’s perfectly fine. For me, a Golf Mk3 CL wouldn’t be a dream classic car either, but if someone has a connection to it, why not? I love the Audi A6 C4, which is certainly not for everyone.
WHICH MODERN VEHICLES have THE POTENTIAL TO BECOME true classic CAR IN 30 YEARS?
As I said above, I’m thinking of the Porsche Carrera GT or the SLS AMG and the Alfa 8C. Of the very current vehicles, I am thinking, for example, of the Mazda MX-5 or the Renault Alpine. But the last Audi RS6, for example, could also be exciting. In the case of supercars, the value retention will also be decided by the usability and the repair costs. That’s something manufacturers should take into account. A high residual value also boosts sales of new cars and increases the appeal of the more down-to-earth models.
HOW DO YOU SEE THE FUTURE OF CLASSIC TRADE AND WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES?
The demands of customers are increasing, because the values are significantly higher than a few years ago. This increases the financial risk and it is necessary to look more carefully. In addition, younger customers have different access to the vehicles. They often have less experience with the technology themselves than the previous generation of collectors. This is not meant to be judgmental, but simply a normal development.
Anyone who learned to drive in the 1950s simply had to bring more technical skills with them than someone who learned in a Golf Mk2. Then the previous generation often had other résumés that started with a craft training. In the end, value also matters. Some vehicles have soared in price over the years so that they now have a whole new group of buyers. In order to be able to afford certain vehicles, you have to run and / or own a larger company and that usually means that you invest all your time and energy in it and give up the work on the car.
Sometimes I see that new buyers and old hands are talking over each other and that there are disagreements. This is due to the different backgrounds, the different understanding of the matter and also the different demands.
So we have to examine and describe vehicles even more thoroughly in retail. The good thing is that the range is getting wider and wider and, for example, there are also many great events and the manufacturers are getting more and more involved. At the same time, we have to ensure that small specialist companies do not close without a successor. Another challenge is the social media. This makes discretion more difficult and more and more people know more and more people only fleetingly, but no longer properly. This changes in particular the trade in exclusive vehicles, where close personal networks are important.
WHICH VEHICLE would YOU WANT TO DRIVE AGAIN AND, ABOVE ALL, WHY?
Fortunately, I already had the opportunity to drive an enormous number of cars. It would be a dream to one day to drive a Mercedes-Benz W196 Streamline. I’ve been fascinated by the car since I first discovered it as a child in a what-is-what book. And a Bugatti EB110 SS would be of interest to me.
WHAT, IN YOUR OPINION, ARE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL ROUTES THAT YOU CAN EXPERIENCE in A classic CAR?
There are many beautiful corners. The Alps have many great routes to offer, but Great Britain also has great areas like Scotland or Wales. And last but not least, of course, in the USA too. For example, along the US west coast, where there are very different landscapes and long stretches without traffic jams or constant stops.
WHAT advice WOULD YOU GIVE TO A classic car newcomer?
When choosing a car, I would first look at what you like best and what is suitable for the planned use. Then I would buy a vehicle that can be financially maintained. Otherwise, depending on your budget and your own talent with a screwdriver, the car will stop and that doesn’t make any sense.
So it’s better to buy a better example of a cheaper model than the other way around. This is one of the most important tips. Making a bad car better is almost always more expensive than buying a good one. For me personally, however, it doesn’t have to be a perfect car. I like to drive my cars and I don’t want to be scared of a scratch every time.
When it’s time to buy, it’s best to take someone else with you. One is often no longer completely objective and perhaps won’t make enough checks. It is also important for a newcomer to understand that the cars were not perfect or flawless even when they were new. You won’t have fun if you expect the car to work like a new car. It can always be something and that brings me to my last tip: it’s best to have at least two cars. That increases the chance that there will always be something that drives.
Bastian Voigt Collectors Cars
Herr Bastian Voigt
Text & Photos Bastian Voigt Collectors Cars GmbH
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