Enjoy daily free stories about vintage cars in your email and sign up for free.
Recently we were in Zaandam for a job. Afterwards we passed a garage where a few classics were behind glass on the first floor. We put the car safely under a parking prohibition sign, walked gently along some electric Randstad cars and entered Autovink, a real, classic universal garage with an eye for the future.
Universal garages and the future
The first garage owner must have been created almost immediately after the sale of the first two cars ever. That phenomenon grew into professional auto repair and maintenance companies. Then dealerships appeared and you could go to brand specialists. But smaller garages where all brands were worked on, the 'universals' had a brave right to exist for decades.
The revenue model was not the showroom, but the workshop. And their operators often had above-average technical knowledge, a lot of experience and a loyal customer base. The fact that they also sold cars was a bonus.
Annoying maintenance intervals
In the meantime, it has not been the case for a while that cars need a small service every 2500 km and a major service every 10.000 km. In addition, every recent car is so electronically assisted that the keypad detects faults better and faster than a real mechanic can. But there are two hooks to the story: not every malfunction can be solved by resetting using the keyboard or replacing a printed circuit board. That software (and the accompanying hardware) is also a very substantial cost item for a small company. In addition, the software suppliers have come up with the idea that you can milk the cow even more through a mild influx of updates.
With love for the past and a view to the future
Erwin Vink (of course named after his company that has been around for more than 50 years) is an old school automotive technician. But he doesn't get stuck in the past. He looks to the future. And the near future in the Randstad? It is electric. In Amsterdam, the policy of discouragement with regard to cars with combustion engines is another wonderful split between 'chatting green' and 'making a lot of money'. We spoke to an Amsterdam resident who said: “Then I'll park my car in the morning. And I'll buy it back in the evening. ”
Amsterdam and surroundings are ready
Erwin Vink now has a few nice dealerships for Randstad small transport. The market is still not booming, but sales? There is clear growth in this. It also counts that young entrepreneurs in the Randstad realize that a thick lease bin in 020 and the surrounding area is now almost stigmatizing. And park your Tesla? That is just such a disaster as putting away your Jaguar E-type.
If you want to distinguish yourself positively, then such a snappy 'urban' electric vehicle is very useful. Erwin had seen us. He walked around with two people. We gestured that we were in no hurry and pointed 'upstairs'. “Go and have a look. I'll be right there. ”
The young dynamic couple bought their new company car. And Erwin came up. To his collection of classics.
A heartwarming collection
Where electricity is the future in the short term, we enjoyed the past. A double muscled Fiat 850 with Fiat 131 technology, a Land Rover, a 190'er Benz, a Scirocco in a very rare 'Tropic' version, a BMW 2002 and a Dafje. All very cool cars.
So if you want to buy a handy, electric city car at Autovink, we would still claim an excursion to the first floor in the negotiation meeting. Universal garages also have a future.
At least if the operator is not only a good technician, but also an entrepreneur. And if you don't live in Zaandam or Amsterdam: fortunately there are more companies like Autovink. Small companies with respect for the past, love for technology. And the look to the future.
Are you a classic enthusiast and do you like the free articles? Please consider a subscription to Auto Motor Klassiek, the printed magazine. That will land on your doormat every month for a mere annual contribution. Packed with interesting reading material, especially for the classic enthusiast. Enough to keep you off the streets for days. And if that's not enough, you also contribute to the entire platform for and by classic enthusiasts. In addition, such a subscription has even more advantages. Take a look at the link above for more information.