Avant­garde Clas­sic

You may not have heard of them, but Mid­lands-based Avant­garde Clas­sics has a long-stand­ing tal­ent for sourc­ing some of the sharpest and rarest 911s around

Total 911 - - Contents - Writ­ten & pho­tographed by Ali Cu­sick

Be­hind the scenes at the Mid­lands-based spe­cial­ists with more than 20 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence

If you wanted to buy a 911, all over the UK there’s a whole host of small, re­gional in­de­pen­dent deal­ers that of­fer a great ser­vice and turn up some su­perb cars. One of these is Mid­lands-based Avant­garde Clas­sics in Tam­worth, Stafford­shire. Though the name may not be front and cen­tre to Porsche own­ers in the UK, this small, es­tab­lished dealer has a knack for reg­u­larly sourc­ing ex­quis­ite ex­am­ples of Stuttgart’s finest prod­uct.

The man be­hind it is Jonathan Au­cott, who has been in the mo­tor trade for al­most 25 years – and al­most all of that solo. Orig­i­nally he started sell­ing per­for­mance RS Fords and French hot hatches in the late 1990s, when they were al­most unin­sur­able. Since then he’s steadily grown, al­ter­ing to solely deal in clas­sic cars about 15 years ago, long be­fore the re­cent vogue in older cars be­gan. He set­tled on the Ger­man clas­sics mar­ket, with BMW, Mercedes and Porsche. “15 years ago it was more Mercedes, but these days I’d say it is a mix of ev­ery­thing, with a strong lean­ing to­wards Mercedes and Porsche,” says Jonathan. To­day in the clas­sic car mar­ket he is known for his Mercedes SL, BMW M cars and air-cooled 911s.

Every dealer needs an an­gle though, and his is on the de­tails. More im­por­tantly, on get­ting them to be just right. “I like to think we do the bits oth­ers for­get,” says Jonathan. “You can find lots of cars with a nice ex­te­rior, but look into them and the other ar­eas let them down.” To avoid be­com­ing a re­storer in­stead of a re­tailer, you have to start with a good car to be­gin with though, so how does he choose what to re­tail?

“A car’s con­di­tion, for me, is ev­ery­thing,” says Jonathan. He’s known for own­ing the ma­jor­ity of his stock, which harks back to his early days. “When the busi­ness started peo­ple didn’t lend you cars for sale or re­turn, un­like to­day. If you wanted a car, you had to buy it your­self.” That legacy stays, bar the very oc­ca­sional car sold for a reg­u­lar cus­tomer every now and then. “The fact I’m buy­ing stock with my own money means every car has to be the right car,” Jonathan tells us.

Deal­ing in other brands means he doesn’t have to deal in a high vol­ume of 911s, or have to com­pro­mise on con­di­tion to get a sales vol­ume. “Cars do tend to find me nowa­days,” he says, “through either re­peat cus­tom, or through rep­u­ta­tion.” Be­ing near the hal­lowed Mid­lands mo­tor­way tri­an­gle means he’s in a great po­si­tion for cus­tomers all over the UK, though

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