Step into the future of collector cars at this Dutch garage
From hoarding scale models and brochures of supercars as a child to skipping school to visit the local Ferrari dealership, Arno Heirath has been hooked on petrol for as long as he can remember.
It just so happens that the very cars which kindled the suave young Dutchman’s obsession in the 1980s and cemented it in the 1990s today form the bread and butter of his business, Classic Youngtimers Consultancy in Uden.
This certainly wasn’t always the case, however. In fact, had the company he’d been previously working for as a desktop publisher and graphic designer for 17 years not gone belly up in 2016, Classic Youngtimers Consultancy might have never come to be.
“That was the moment I decided to follow my dreams and formerly establish my business,” Heirath told us during a recent visit to his vast showroom, a real treasure trove of interesting younger sports cars.
“Because I had shift work before, I was able to start buying and selling cars for some of my contacts.” It so happened that one of those contacts was able to lease Heirath the fabulous premises he now calls home when he decided to go at it full time.
Initially, Heirath focused on the more valuable ‘poster cars’ of the 1980s and ’90s and among the very first cars he sold happened to be arguably his favourites: the Ferrari F40 and Jaguar XJ220. And to this day, he simply trades the cars he and his business partner love.
But it soon became clear that he needed to change direction and bring things back down to earth somewhat. “I sold so many Ferraris and Porsches at the beginning, but we all know how competitive those markets became,” Heirath recalls.
“By refocussing on more affordable ‘youngtimers’, I was able to broaden my knowledge and cater to a growing demographic of younger customers.” The cars might be more affordable, but in no way does that make them less interesting – quite the contrary, in fact.
Wandering among the stock in Classic Youngtimers Consultancy is a treat for style gurus, distinguished gentlemen, and complete anoraks alike.
One moment you’re peering into the cavernous interior of a Renault Avantime or caressing the voluptuous curves of a Dodge Viper GTS, while the next you’re sinking your feet into the deep lamb’s wool carpets of a 1990s Bentley Turbo R or tracing the sharp angles of the Alfa Romeo SZ.
“There’s not one specific direction,” Heirath explains, “they’re just the cars I like – and my customers have very much the same tastes as me.”
He also believes the surge of interest in these younger and lesser-seen models in this new, younger market is largely because of the same thing that fuels his own passion for them: sentiment.
“These are the cars my customers dreamed of when they were growing up, whether one belonged to their father or a neighbour. They have an emotional connection with the cars they buy.”
On the same note, there’s a brand which Classic Youngtimers Consultancy has gravitated towards and become particularly well known for selling, and that’s Alpine.
The reason? “My business partner grew up surrounded by Alpines as his father and uncle used to sell them,” Heirath replies. “Again, it’s sentiment, but Alpine’s also a largely forgotten brand that we’d love to put back on the map.”
Inevitably, the rare and beautifully maintained examples of the Alpine A610 typically offered by Classic Youngtimers Consultancy attract many customers from France. We particularly love the well-looked-after Turbo from 1993, resplendent in Jaune – just how cool are those turbofan-style wheels?
With regards to the criteria a car needs to fulfil in order to catch Heirath’s attention and be presented for sale, condition and originality are at the top of the list. “My customers will always pay more for a highly original car that’s been fastidiously maintained with its first paint and all its books, stamps, and invoices than one with low mileage but none of the above.”
Take the ultra-rare Peugeot 404 Break Luxe Familiale, for example, which is currently for sale with Classic Youngtimers Consultancy – it’s entirely unrestored, accompanied by an extensive history file, and, more importantly, offered from its very first owner, who used it regularly.
In a market as discerning and pragmatic as ever, it’s these unrepeatable examples of these affordable collector cars that Heirath is pinning his hopes on. And he certainly foresees further increased interest in modern classics as the market demographic shifts further and becomes even younger.
Rest assured, if there’s a particularly unusual car from your childhood in the 1980s, ’90s, or ’00s that you remember for whatever personal reason, you’re more likely to find it at Classic Youngtimers Consultancy in the Netherlands than you are anywhere else in Europe. Follow your heart, not your head – it worked out for Arno...
Photos: Rémi Dargegen for Classic Driver © 2018