“In my early years, I opened a restaurant and then a dental products business. I soon realised that I should stick to what I know,” says Hexagon founder and Chairman, Paul Michaels. To say Paul ‘knows’ cars is an understatement: since forming the company more than 50 years ago, he’s not only established it as a major name in the high-end classic car sector, but has also held franchises for Lotus, Porsche, Jaguar and BMW, to name but a few. A brief spell in the 70s even saw a Hexagon F1 team, with driver John Watson campaigning a semi-Works Brabham.
Long-standing labour of love
However, Hexagon Classics has been Paul’s sole enduring business during his half-century in the industry and, despite the continually shifting landscape, it remains at the forefront of the market today. Many will be familiar with the diversity of the high-end cars that have passed through Hexagon Classics over the years – recent fleeting visitors have included a one-off Ferrari Daytona Shooting Brake, a Porsche 997 GT2 RS and an original factory AC Cobra Lightweight – but perhaps less well-known is the depth of preparation detail Hexagon will go into to maintain its long-standing reputation.
Reputation before profit
A perfect illustration of this philosophy is under discussion during Classic Driver’s visit to the prime-location mews showroom in Kensington, one of the most affluent parts of London. “We’ve just added a freshly restored Aston Martin DB4 to our stock. Because we know these cars, we’ve noticed that the re-trimmed seats are ‘flat’, rather than retaining the contoured shape they left the factory with. The majority of buyers wouldn’t even notice – but such is our attention to detail, we’ll have them fully redone before we put it on sale.” This is a telling sign that long-term reputation is of greater value to Hexagon than short-term profit.
It’s an ethos that has clearly served Paul well over the decades, but what does he expect from the market in the next 50 years? “I think this is only the beginning. Many see it as a ‘bubble’, but correct and highly documented examples of important models will increasingly be viewed as ‘industrial art’ – and will have the values to match.” But in the meantime, many such cars will undoubtedly continue to pass through Hexagon Classics: and more than half of these cars will reap the benefits of a thorough sprucing up.
Photos: © Amy Shore for Classic Driver