The mobile objects in the premises of Gemballa in Leonberg caused the hearts of thousands of fans of the automobile to race. Uwe Gemballa (54) is still missing; his company is bankrupt and has been disbanded. A sports car professional from the region is now building something massive out of these broken fragments.
Let’s look back on the story: on 9 February 2010, Uwe Gemballa disappeared in South Africa. The last contact anyone had with him was over the telephone, as Gemballa asked for a bank transfer shortly before disappearing. German police and the South African authorities have in the meantime stopped their investigations; private detectives are apparently still searching for him. To this day, nobody knows whether Uwe Gemballa has died, was kidnapped or had an accident. The whereabouts of the famous ’King of Tuners’ remain unknown. A few days after the tragedy, the company of the worldrenowned premium tuner ’Gemballa Automobiltechnik GmbH & Co. KG’ is bankrupt and files for insolvency.
The liquidator reviews the situation and, without hesitation, immediately stops the company’s activity for lack of prospects of success or orders and liquidates the bankruptcy assets through an auctioneer. Gemballa took the last possible chances of liquidity with him. It’s the kind of story that you usually only see in big-budget fims. Especially as far as concerns the unknown personal fate of Uwe Gemballa.
His creations were always bold, but also very elegant. The vehicles that he finished in Leonberg were a homage to freedom of spirit, and always carried the extroverted nature of the 1980s within them. One person who has always been fascinated by Gemballa’s products and who has been touched by the fate of Uwe Gemballa is Andreas Schwarz (40). Schwarz brings with him years of experience in finishing and vending of of high-class vehicles. The Swabian from Neidlingen has now joined forces with a powerful investor, the automobile enthusiast and finance expert Steffen Korbach; together they have acquired Gemballa’s rights to the name and are bringing the Gemballa brand back to the market under new management.
From the broken fragments of a company that had already been broken up and laid to rest, Schwarz has acquired all the rights. “With a completely new company and an investment of a million, we are going into a bright future,” says CEO Schwarz to PRESTIGE CARS . The new Gemballa maker has “efficiently planned” the costs. Schwarz is also equipped with the necessary know-how. Andreas Schwarz could use 50 hours in the day at the moment.
“As well as the rights to the name, we have bought some of the assets,” Schwarz continues. “The design guidelines should continue on the basis of previous works and we are already working on concepts for the Porsche Panamera, the new Cayenne and the Ferrari Enzo.” The know-how in terms of finance provided by Korbach as investor should also enable the company to access the capital market more easily in the future.
The main target of all this is the long-term establishment of the Gemballa brand as a manufacturer. Without self-inflicted time constraints. Currently, Andreas Schwarz is making plans in the field of engine tuning and the marketing of parts such as bodykits, wheel rims and chassis frames: “We see an enormous amount of potential in this field, which has to be exploited.” Brand awareness shouldn’t pose a problem in achieving this thanks to Gemballa’s 30-year track record in the car industry. One deadline for the participants is the Top Marques in Abu Dhabi, which is taking place from 19 to 22 January 2011. They have hired a stand there and the new company will present its first products.
Hence, there will still be automobile creations in the future which can be purchased for six-figure amounts. With wind in their sails and reliable transactions, potential buyers should be found the world over. But the spare parts market could also open up a wider audience to the new makers. And who knows what types of car will be going under the name Gemballa in future. One thing is certain: car enthusiasts the whole world over are already looking forward to it. The Gemballa story continues. We wish them every success.
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Photos: PRESTIGE CARS, Mario-Roman Lambrecht & Gemballa