Classic Driver Dealer: Cars International
You’ll understand what Paul Osborn and Jonathan Kaiser mean when they say that their company, Cars International Kensington Ltd, deals at the “very top end of the market” when we mention a particular item of stock. It’s a collection of four ex-Michael Schumacher F1 cars, with a combined value of $US 6.5 million
These are some of the most important F1 cars in the world. There’s the car that started it all – Jordan 191, chassis 01, documented by Eddie Jordan to be the first Formula 1 car Schumacher ever drove. Then there’s the Benetton B191, chassis 05, in which Michael scored his first World Championship points. The second Benetton in the collection, B194, chassis 05, is Schumacher’s first World Championship-winning car; and finally there’s the Ferrari F2002 – the car that saw the German superstar achieve total domination of the sport. All four cars are fully restored and operational.
But for Cars International, the Schumacher collection is just the tip of a very varied iceberg. The breadth of road and race machinery offered for sale is outstanding – from a 1951 coachbuilt MkVI Bentley; through 2004 Rolls-Royce Phantom, Ferrari F40, Porsche Carrera GT, to 275 and 246 Dino Ferraris. “All sorts of weird and wonderful stuff,” says Osborn, adding that one of his current favourites is the 1959 Tec Mec Maserati, chassis F415, which boasts dazzling provenance and eligibility for major events worldwide.
Much of this stock will be displayed in Cars International’s new Kensington showrooms, which open this week. “I’ve completely overdone it,” says Osborn of the Reece Mews premises. “I’ve spent £100,000 on the interior – it’s minimalist and modern – but we’ve retained the period mews feel on the outside. We’ve installed racks to maximise the number of cars displayed which, depending on the ‘sardine-ness’, will be somewhere between 12 and 18: a mixture of old, coachbuilt Bentleys, to racing cars, a McLaren GTR, the ex-Works 1953 Le Mans/Mille Miglia Austin-Healey – and so on. And yes, we’ll probably put the 2002 Schumacher Ferrari in there, too. The 191 Jordan is already on display at Donington, the 194 Benetton is in storage, and the 191 Benetton is in our Membury workshop for service post-Goodwood Festival of Speed.” This workshop is an 8,000-square-foot area of high-tech space near Membury, just off the M4, headed up by Tim Preston who was a top Williams engineer to the likes of Damon Hill, Button and Montoya. Preston specialises in all types of restoration and race preparation from 1960s GTs to late-model F1 cars – hence he’s ideally suited to Cars International.
As for Paul Osborn himself, he’s quick to point out that he’s “a buyer and seller”, not a broker. “Cars International has been going for more than 20 years, and I was involved in the market before that. I’ve worked hard, learnt a great deal, and now have the independence to buy and sell my own cars.”
According to Osborn, the value of top quality cars is going up and up. But is there one category of the market which represents a particularly sound investment? “1960s GT cars, with eligibility,” he replies without hesitation, acknowledging the huge choice of historic race events now open to owners of such cars: “And then at the weekend you can drive them on the road!”
Paul Osborn speaks from experience when it comes to racing: as well as regularly demonstrating his F1 cars at such events as See Red and the Goodwood Festival of Speed, he also shared the Cars International Ferrari 250 GT Lusso with Tony Jardine at the 2006 Goodwood Revival. True to form, the car ran faultlessly.
Please click HERE to see all Cars International's cars for sale in the Classic Driver car database.
For further information on Cars International (Kensington) Ltd., please visit www.carsinternational.com.
Cars International Kensington Ltd.
6 Kendrick Place
London SW7 3HF, UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 7591 0127
Fax: +44 (0)20 7591 0128
Email: [email protected]
Text: Charis Whitcombe
Photos:Alex P. for Cars International Kensington Ltd.
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