Pure emotion around heritage, craftsmanship and innovation.

The curated ones


B.I. Collection (BIC): When and how did your passion for special vehicles develop?

Adrian Gattiker: It goes way back, to when I was 13. On my father’s factory premises, his chauffeurs taught me how to drive the Mercedes L319, Opel Blitz or Land Rover vans used in the company. These quite special vehicles never left my mind and marked the beginning of my passion for special and historic vehicles.

BIC: Can you tell us how the building of your collection began? Was there a particular event or model that inspired you?

AG: My good friend Paul, a classic car aficionado, gave me the advice to definitely buy a top vehicle, otherwise my enjoyment of historic cars would be short-lived. His good advice in my ears, I acquired a hand-shifted, dark blue Ferrari 412 in original condition and with a clean history. This was a great introduction to the classical music scene and confirmed my belief that it pays to invest in high quality. However, the F 412 was not sporty enough for me. Looking for the right vehicle, I traded it in for a yellow Maserati Ghibli, built in 1970.

BIC: What was your strategy in building your collection?

AG: My undivided attention early on was the Mercedes 300SL (W-198), built between 1954 and 1963, known as the Gullwing and Roadster. In 2008 I had the opportunity to acquire from an architect couple from Gstaad a Mercedes 300 SL “Leichtbau”, a so-called aluminum wing, which had been in the family for 40 years. I came to this jewel, of which only 29 were built for racing use, rather by chance. My actual goal was a 300 SL Roadster, which I was later able to purchase as well. Over the years I was able to expand my collection with other exceptional and rare Mercedes models.

BIC: Are there any vehicles in your collection that have a special meaning to you?

AG: On the one hand, the cars with which I drove special events like the Mille Miglia or Goodwood Festival of Speed. On the other hand, those models that have a special acquisition history. Like the roadster whose previous owner was the first to register the vehicle and owned it for over 40 years. It took 13 years before I was allowed to buy it. During this time, I have learned his exciting life story during countless restaurant visits. Unfortunately, the owner passed away after eleven years and numerous meetings without me being able to acquire the good piece, I had to continue the purchase efforts with his widow. The silver Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing, in turn, was a so-called “barn find”. Thanks to tips from friends in the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Club, I became aware of the vehicle, which was located in a shed near Winterthur. The car had been standing on the spot for more than 30 years without moving and was covered with objects, defective vehicle parts were stored inside the vehicle. It took over a year before we gained the trust of the owner family and were finally allowed to inspect the unroadworthy vehicle. It took another two years of negotiations and confidence-building measures before the owning family agreed to the sale.

BIC: Do you also know the racing history of your cars?

AG: Yes, for example with the unique 300 SL “Lightweight”, which was painted in Bavarian blue at the customer’s request. With this model, the French racer René Cotton has celebrated various successes, for example, the overall victory in the French hill climb Mont Ventoux. He even beat Sir Stirling Moss several times in acceleration races at the Tour de France. René Cotton’s widow opened the extensive family archive to me in Nice and left old pictures, ranking lists and background information about the car and its driver. I also got to meet the son of his co-pilot and race navigator at the time. His memories and stories have also contributed much to the reappraisal of the vehicle’s history.

BIC: How do you maintain your vehicles?

AG: All of my vehicles receive annual maintenance based on the “Condition Based Maintenance” concept, where the amount of maintenance is determined based on miles driven and condition. This work is carried out by qualified professionals. The Mercedes vehicles also go to the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Stuttgart-Fellbach every few years, where they are serviced and checked. This also ensures originality. Minor repairs during the season are carried out by a retired Sauber F1 race mechanic.

BIC: Have you ever sold any vehicles from your collection? Was it difficult to let them go?

AG: Until I found my collecting philosophy, I sold some Maserati and Lamborghini cars. It wasn’t an easy decision, especially with the Lamborghini, but I wanted to focus on one brand. In order for me to sell with a clear conscience, the buyer had to meet certain criteria.

BIC: Where and how can you best enjoy your collection? What role do events play?

AG: On the one hand, when I look at them more closely with friends, but also when I drive them at rallies or on racetracks, great joy comes up. That’s exactly what the cars were built for – and you can still see that today.

BIC: Do you have specific goals for how you want your collection to evolve?

AG: Especially on a qualitative level – there are already one or two models that would complement the collection perfectly. This requires a vision and a strategy on how to achieve it. If you want to acquire the best without compromise, patience is required. But good contacts and relationships in the collector scene can help to move a little faster.

BIC: What are your predictions for the collector car market?

AG: The collector market has developed differently. In North America, prices for top vehicles remain exceptionally high this year, while in Europe the price trend is more selective. High prices are achieved here above all for highly sought-after vehicles from the 1990s and 2000s. But even in Europe, vehicles that are in top condition will always fetch good prices.