Hexagon Mod­ern Clas­sics

Be­hind the scenes at the all-new premises of the Lon­don­based spe­cial­ists fo­cus­ing on rare Porsche metal

Total 911 - - Contents - Writ­ten by Chris Randall Pho­tog­ra­phy by Dan Pullen

Any­one fa­mil­iar with Hexagon Clas­sics’ pre­vi­ous home in For­tis Green, North Lon­don – a site that had served them well for around five years – will know what a Mecca it was when it came to fine Porsches. If you were in the for­tu­nate po­si­tion of be­ing able to view and buy the very best 911s, then this was the place to come. We have a par­tic­u­lar fond­ness for the site, as it was the set­ting for our very first To­tal 911 Awards back in 2015. But, a suc­cess­ful busi­ness like this one doesn’t stand still and, back in March 2016, a new chap­ter in the com­pany story be­gan when it re­lo­cated to a new site a short dis­tance away. We couldn’t wait to find out how it went, which is what brings us to East Finch­ley for a chat with head of sales, Jonathan Franklin. The first ques­tion we put to him is why make such a move? “It was ac­tu­ally a re­ally log­i­cal de­ci­sion for us, and meant that we’d not only have more space, but also be able to ex­pand the busi­ness and bring more of our skills to­gether un­der one roof. We al­ready owned the new site and had done for years – we leased the site to a BMW dealer for two years be­fore re­claim­ing it – and we had taken the de­ci­sion to close our show­room in Knights­bridge, so bring­ing ev­ery­thing to­gether in the one place made sense.”

And, as Jonathan goes on to ex­plain, be­ing so fa­mil­iar with the lay­out of their new home, and the fact that it was a short dis­tance away – just 10 min­utes or so on foot – meant that the move it­self wasn’t too dif­fi­cult. “Ba­si­cally, we just drove all the cars down there, which made for a pretty im­pres­sive sight, and the whole thing prob­a­bly only took us a few days.” One thing we can say for sure is that hav­ing had an op­por­tu­nity to take a tour of Hexagon’s new home, vis­i­tors are go­ing to be very im­pressed with what they find, and it’s not just the sense of space that you’d ex­pect from the more ex­pan­sive lo­ca­tion. Not only does it now house a Lo­tus deal­er­ship, but their stock of clas­sic Porsches and other ex­cep­tion­ally fine cars sit along­side won­der­ful dis­plays of art, an as­pect of the busi­ness that’s all thanks to Rache­line Michaels, wife of Hexagon founder, Paul. With 35 years of in­te­rior de­sign ex­per­tise she has brought to­gether some of the world’s best artists and de­sign­ers. This means that as well as buy­ing a won­der­ful car you can also pur­chase ev­ery­thing from ce­ram­ics and sculp­ture to fine art, fur­ni­ture and pho­to­graphs. An un­usual col­lab­o­ra­tion? Per­haps, but it works su­perbly well in the new set­ting and per­fectly com­ple­ments the breath­tak­ing ar­ray of au­to­mo­tive per­fec­tion that read­ers of this mag­a­zine love so much.

“We’ve cer­tainly had some great feed­back from cus­tomers and vis­i­tors,” says Jonathan, “and not just be­cause of the way the new place is fur­nished. You’d ex­pect that from some­one of Rache­line’s tal­ents, but they’ve been blown away by just how nice the

whole en­vi­ron­ment is. From the light­ing and clever use of glass to the mu­sic in the back­ground, it just all comes to­gether to feel re­ally spe­cial.” We can’t help but agree. Thanks to the dis­plays of pic­tures spread through­out, it’s equally fas­ci­nat­ing to be able to pe­ruse all of Hexagon’s rich au­to­mo­tive his­tory.

It’s a real show­case for the com­pany, and one that could al­most be con­sid­ered as hav­ing a mu­seum qual­ity about it. Although, make no mis­take, the busi­ness of sell­ing cars re­mains front and cen­tre of what Hexagon is all about.

Speak­ing of busi­ness, the new lo­ca­tion is far from be­ing just about ap­pear­ances. Staffing has in­creased from around a dozen at For­tis Green to more than thirty, in­clud­ing three tech­ni­cians ded­i­cated to work­ing on noth­ing but Porsches, plus more bod­ies spe­cial­is­ing in the other mar­ques that grace the spot­less show­room. Vis­i­tors will also dis­cover a body shop and full restora­tion fa­cil­i­ties, along with fab­ri­ca­tion and en­gine shops – “We al­ways had th­ese, but lack of space meant we couldn’t al­ways make the most of them” adds Jonathan. Im­pres­sive in­deed, but turn­ing our at­ten­tions back to sell­ing cars, there’s one fur­ther ques­tion we were keen to ask, and it was around the mat­ter of ‘off-mar­ket’ sales that seem to be a grow­ing part of the busi­ness. “That’s cer­tainly true, and while it’s some­thing we’ve al­ways done we are see­ing an in­creased amount of sales be­ing un­der­taken this way. Hav­ing been in this busi­ness for so long, both Paul and I have built up an ex­ten­sive range of con­tacts, and we’ve found that more and more cus­tomers are choos­ing to buy through word of mouth and via rec­om­men­da­tions, so many cars don’t ac­tu­ally ap­pear in the show­room or on the web­site at all. It’s an as­pect that’s de­vel­oped over time, although there has been no­table growth in this di­rec­tion, and we’re ex­port­ing cars all over the world. Is­sues such as cur­rency fluc­tu­a­tions and po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tainty have led to some cool­ing in cer­tain parts of the clas­sic car mar­ket, but it’s not as much as some in­dus­try com­men­ta­tors would have you be­lieve. We’re still very busy.”

Our time with Jonathan is al­most up, but there’s one last ques­tion – what does the fu­ture hold for Hexagon in its new home? “We’ve got ideas about how we want to de­velop things, and it’s very much our in­ten­tion to make the place a real des­ti­na­tion for en­thu­si­asts. We’ve pre­vi­ously spo­ken about the po­ten­tial for a restau­rant, for ex­am­ple, and that’s some­thing that’s still very much in mind, but we want that side of things to grow nat­u­rally with our ex­ist­ing busi­ness. Sell­ing won­der­ful cars is still the bedrock of what we do, and that will never change, but I can prom­ise that some ex­cit­ing de­vel­op­ments are in the pipe­line… watch this space.”

Speak­ing as some­one who al­ways en­joyed the in­ti­mate feel of the pre­vi­ous site – not to men­tion the au­to­mo­tive trea­sures it con­tained – the idea of larger premises could have been mildly un­set­tling, but we needn’t have wor­ried. This is Hexagon Clas­sics on a big­ger, bet­ter scale and that’s some­thing to be savoured. We won­der whether there’s any room in the To­tal 911 bud­get for some fine art…

“Ex­cep­tion­ally fine cars sit along­side won­der­ful dis­plays of art”

Porsche mo­tor­ing her­itage oc­cu­pies the floor as snap­shots from Hexagon’s own his­tory aligns the sur­round­ing walls

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