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