lundi 22 février 2016

This family has speed in the blood


Anyone with a serious interest in classic motorcycles, café racers or even Porsche 911s is bound to meet Tobias Aichele sooner or later. As a writer, racer, event manager and dealer, Aichele lives his passion – something he now also shares with his daughter Chiara…
Tobias Aichele is not only a high-profile figure on the German classic motorcycle scene but, as an author, he has also written numerous books on the Porsche 911 and the legacy of the marque. We sent photographer Rémi Dargegen to Aichele’s two internationally renowned Premium Motorrad and Premium Fahrzeug showrooms to talk about his passions.
What is your oldest automotive memory?
For anyone who knows me, it’s hard to believe that I wasn't interested in motorbikes or cars prior to receiving my driving licence. At 18 years old, I caught an incurable bug and became fiercely passionate about them. New vehicles were of no interest to me – instead, I bought a hardly used ‘Nürburgring-Green’ BMW R 75/6 that, incidentally, I still own today. At that time, 50HP was really fast, and my classmates were amazed. Shortly after, I fell for my first car: a ‘Simon Templar’ Volvo P1800. To me, it's still a highly exclusive and fascinating car.
How did this passion develop?
It was in historic motorsport. I bought a Moto Parilla 175 F3 from a museum in Italy and set about restoring the dainty racer, with a little help from some specialists. I then entered the Oldtimer Festival at the Nürburgring and, despite a slightly broken bike, finished ninth. From then on I couldn’t stop. Looking back, it’s amazing what you can achieve by combining passion, hard work and skilful hands. I received no money from my family for my hobbies, so I worked every spare minute I had, first in a drinks market and then as a test-rider/photographer for a motorcycle newspaper – it was my dream job.   
If you had to choose between exclusive motorcycles and special Porsches, which do you like best and why?
The classic car scene is crazy sometimes. There are too many busybodies and speculators dominating genuine passion and interest. At the moment, I’m more involved in the classic motorcycle scene. Thanks to the burgeoning café racer movement, motorcycling is cool again, across different generations. Furthermore, it’s a more affordable passion. Although I’m fascinated by such icons as the Brough Superior, Vincent Black Shadow and MV Agusta 750 S, I’m particularly fond of refined classics from the 1960s and ’70s. An Egli-Vincent or an Egli-Honda 1100 R would probably be my favourite motorcycles, for their good looks and sheer force.
How do you live these two passions?
If I decide to participate in an event, I can’t help but fully commit myself. I look forward to motorcycle events such as the Glemseck 101 or Wheels and Waves, and have prepared bikes for both. And the Concorso Villa d’Este is also a must, if only for the fact that I get to coordinate my outfits with my cars. There are also a number of motorsport events in which I participate, with either cars or motorcycles. 
What influenced your decision to split your business into two separate entities, for cars and motorcycles, and does this differentiate you from other dealers?
I founded Premium Motorrad three years ago, and Premium Fahrzeug followed a year later as a logical consequence. After three decades in the business, I felt at home opening my own dealerships. I have so much experience of – and respect for – these cars and motorcycles that, in turn, my customers respect and trust me. When buying a car, I always used to wonder just how passionate the vendor was, and whether they’d owned any classics themselves ­– ignorance shows inexperience. 
Can you tell us more about your love for Porsche?
My first book – ‘Porsche 911, Forever young’ – was written after I owned and restored a 1965 911 over a period of more than 10 years. No one could tell me enough about the car to undertake the restoration, so I started researching it myself, hence the book. As a student, the costs often brought me to tears. For me, the Porsche 911 is like a tailored suit. The concept of a powerful rear-mounted engine and a soft top is really different for a sports car. As part of my journalistic activities, I drove all generations of the Porsche 911, and my favourite are the ‘G-series’ cars that came in the middle of the 50-year production period. This generation of 911 still boasts the credentials of a classic car, yet is perfectly happy to be used every day. 
How many books have you written about Porsche?
I’ve written more than 10 books on the Porsche 911 and the legacy of the marque. Ten or even 20 years ago, there were nowhere near as many publications flooding the market, and authors were still able to find new and compelling topics. The scrapyard of Rudi Klein in Los Angeles is a good example – I was the only journalist allowed access to this treasure trove of around 300 Mercedes-Benzes and 200 Porsches... 
Where will the price increases in classic Porsches lead next?
I can understand the high prices for the 1972/73 Carrera 2.7 RS, and perhaps the 911 S-model with the ‘Sechsstempelpumpen’. But I just can’t get my head around the hype surrounding all the Turbo models, or the modern hardcore variants. In any case, these stratospheric values lead to them being locked away and never driven, which is a real shame. The owners enslave them. A car with 50,000km or less cannot be driven justifiably, as excess miles will lead to a significant loss in value. Even real Porsche enthusiasts will think twice before driving and, eventually, these special cars will disappear from the roads completely. What a pity.
Is there still a place for passion when so much money is involved?
Passion became a secondary consideration a long time ago. Today the Porsche world is dominated by speculators and financial jugglers – enthusiasm has lost the battle against greed.
While practising your passion, your girlfriend and your two daughters play a large role too, correct?
We look forward to attending motorcycle festivals. For me, there’s no better place to spend time with the family. We all take part in such events together, and everyone has their own part to play.
One of your two daughters has developed her own enthusiasm for motorcycles. She has her own motorcycle and attends many events. It must make you very proud that she shares the same passion?
Yes, Chiara is 19 now, and has her own 1959 AJS 18 C, which she can kick-start herself by the way. Of course, as a father you’re proud of your daughter, and it’s delightful that we have a common interest. I think it’s important that young people find something that motivates them. She calls me with special tasks, such as, “Dad, I need a surfboard mounted to my AJS for Wheels and Waves – if I go and find a surfboard, can you do that please?” Of course I can.
Which has been the most enjoyable motorcycle you’ve ever ridden?
It’s difficult to pick a single favourite. What’s important to me is having enjoyable experiences while riding – for example, I participated in a special race for historic competition bikes at the Hockenheimring. There, I rode a Kaczor-BMW for the first time, and after just a few metres I felt at one with the bike. I wasn’t going to let anyone past. I have been equally captivated by the Lotus C-01, for which I have been given the Europe-wide distribution rights. I am also fascinated by bikes with special frames, such as those by Michel, Rickman, Egli or Rau – these precious machines built in small numbers have great potential.
Which Porsches do you enjoy most  and why?
Searching for the Porsche DNA in its purest form, I’ve narrowed it down to two cars: the 550 Spyder and Carrera 2.7 RS Lightweight. They’re both so addictive, and embody driving pleasure at its purest.
Which Porsches would you buy if money were no object?
As well as the 550 Spyder, I also like the 908 – but I’m not motivated by values. I much prefer to look for affordable alternatives. On the track, a Behnke-Porsche, a Chanabé-Porsche or a KMW is almost as much fun as the 908. Meanwhile, a Devin or a Daetwyler is an affordable alternative to the 550 Spyder.
Photos: Rémi Dargegen for Classic Driver © 2016
You can find the current stocklists of PremiumMotorrad and Premium Fahrzeug in the Classic Driver Market.

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