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
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