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.