I must confess that I don't know too much about old cars, except that I love some of their special colours and the unusual unique shapes, coming from an age when cars were not so much mass consumption. When asked recently about the possibility to find shops or exhibition spaces with and about vintage cars, I recognize my limited knowledge in this respect, but with the help of Google, I'd found it: Classic Remise Berlin.
It is situated in an area that did not present too much interest for me, near the Beusselstrasse S-Bahn station, an industrial area with wide streets, almost empty during the weekend. The advantage might be that there are enough parking places, and once you are on the right street of the location, you can try to park your 21st modest car near an old beauty, freshly repaired.
Except for the tours that might be booked in advance, touring the Classic Remise is for free. The construction was built at the end of the 19th century, went through some architectural changes in the 1920, and used as a tram depot till 1960. The current location - with an equivalent in the posh city of Dusseldorf - was open in 2003. According to any standards, it is a huge space, that requests at least 3 hours from your life to discover.
The cars are everywhere, and most of them are pretty enough for calling the limits of your bank account. Surprisingly for me, was the fact that there were prices apparently low enough to make the car affordable - less than 50,000 EURO for some 3-decade old full leather well tuned cars - except if you ignore the intensive care and special location where such a high-end car should live. Plus, of course, the high consumption of gas, as the cars were designed in an era where green energies were a matter of science fiction.
The camera can hardly stop working, as the attention is called over and over again by another beautiful car, and another and one more. I especially love the colours, the reds and the strong blacks and the incredible pastels.
Most of the famous brands, especially the German ones, are present, many made in the 1950s, but also at the beginning of the 20th century. Ferraris, and Mercedes and Renaults, as well as some limited number of American cars plus some Italian brands, including a Carabinieri type of car are waiting to be admired and eventually brought to some new homes.
Amid the curious visitors, many of them begging for being let to have at least a picture of themselves inside one of these fantastic cars, people are working. Classic Remise hosts many workshops and showrooms as well as some car parts shops.
The time goes, but we are still somewhere at the very beginning of the discovery. At least for me, everything is new and I try to focus as much as possible on the moment for learning as much as I can.
In the workshop, dedicated workers are carefully analysing what should be more done, what is missing or checking if the job is finally done. Not bothered by the many tourists and some of their questions, they keep working.
Half-museum - especially if you are lacking the money - half exhibition hall, the Classic Remise can be also visited for those interested in a crash-course about the history of automotive industry. The changes in shape and weight and other technicalities are often signs of changes taking places at the level of civilization itself, such as the increase of the population, dramatic changes of the urban planning policies, financial requirements etc.
After you park your car, you can change the driving license and get a tour with one of those posh boats. The interior is shining and distinguishably elegant.
From popular WV buses to Ferrari cars, some of them especially tuned on the spot to answer the high requests of the exquisite customers, everything can be made possible here.
Nearby, around 88 glass boxes to present another special selection of cars, many of them owned by various car brands clubs. Their regular reunions here are a natural decision, given the inspiring environment.
I am a big fan of small cars, MiniCopper style, but sometimes this massive German cars can make me change my mind, at least for a while.
From the top of the first floor, the cars are quietly waiting in line, to be seen, admired and bought.