SPECIALIST: RENAISSANCE CLASSIC SPORTS CARS
If you're looking to buy, sell, repair, restore or even detail a Porsche, Renaissance Classics is the one-stop prestige car shop for you!
Long name, impressive business
Located in Ripley near Woking, Surrey (just a few minutes from junction 10 of the M25), Renaissance Classics has its foundation in the long-standing passion that the Sohl family has for classic sports cars and racing. When the Ripley location became available it was an irresistible opportunity to develop a unique classic car operation with outstanding showroom and workshop facilities. In fact, the site’s heritage is unique as it has been the base for an international Porsche racing team, known as Trackspeed, and is yards away from the site of the 1950s Formula 1 Connaught racing team. Also, Ripley is a short distance from historic Brooklands, the starting point for British motor racing and classic cars – truly a great location for a specialist workshop and showroom.
It’s an impressive outfit and you certainly wouldn’t miss the building from the road as you drive by. There’s always a selection of cars for sale on the forecourt – obviously Porsches play a large part of things, but it’s not unusual to find a selection of various prestige and sporting vehicles on display.
Outside we spotted vehicles including a particularly nice GT3 Clubsport and a very pretty Cayman S in silver, which was priced to sell at just £15,995. Other deals included
a 996 Turbo and a lovely 997 Carrera 2S, both priced at less that £40k.
Walking into the reception we were met by Courtney Mahon who takes care of the digital media and events side of the business and explained that our tour would start in the showroom before moving into the detailing bay and finally the workshops.
The reception is a bright and friendly space with seating, magazines and a large TV, plus free wifi for those waiting to collect service vehicles etc. From here we walked into the showroom, where longterm Porsche enthusiast, Graham Beeson, met us. Graham is the general manager and head of sales, but is also one of the most knowledgeable and helpful people you could ever hope to meet when discussing all things Porsche.
Graham introduced us to directors and business founders, James and Keith Sohl, before they settled down at a meeting regarding another aspect of the business, the AC Schnitzer franchise. Obviously this applies to BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover and Mini etc, which fits in nicely with the non-porsche vehicles on sale and in the workshops etc.
Moving through the showroom we were faced with a selection of top-quality vehicles including a few BMWS, a Caterham, Ferrari, Aston Martin and also a particularly nice 1970 911 2.2E in tangerine and a 928 GT, which was in great condition. Up to 14 cars can be displayed inside the 200sq-metre showroom and every car on display has
Up to 14 cars can be displayed inside the 200sq-metre showroom
been picked as if it were being purchased for one of the team, i.e. these are desirable models and all in great condition, with extensive history and provenance. Not only are the cars carefully selected, they are also thoroughly inspected in the workshops where any faults or issues are corrected prior to being fully detailed and prepared for the showroom floor.
Both Graham and James Wilson are on hand to help you with questions or advice regarding the showroom vehicles, and it’s this kind of personal service that has built Renaissance such a great reputation not only regarding customer service, but also the quality and variety of the vehicles that pass through the business.
All vehicles are sold with a warranty (which can also be extended) and Renaissance also offers servicing, repairs and upgrades for not just Porsche models, but practically any vehicle. Some customers bring not only their prestige vehicle but also the family runaround in when work is required as the workshop team are highly skilled and respected – that personal service and the trustworthiness of a good mechanic is worth its weight in gold!
Renaissance is a Mobil 1 approved service centre and has excellent workshop facilities and state of the art diagnostics equipment. As we walked through the bifold doors between the showroom and the workshop we spotted a Ferrari, an RS Cosworth Sierra and a few other customer cars alongside a very nice 930 Turbo, which was being prepared for the showroom floor.
The workshops were originally designed for a top international Porsche racing team, with state-of-the-art ramps, equipment for tracking, wheel-balancing and tyre changes,
The workshops were originally designed for a top Porsche race team
engineering facilities capable of sorting almost any mechanical problem as well as a well-equipped engine room for major rebuilds, hence there’s not much that the skilled technicians can’t fix at Renaissance Classics.
Behind the workshops is a storage area, additional parking and garages where various vehicles are safely stored including a fabulous DP 935 slant nose. This car is around 500hp and features a carbon Kevlar body, and with that old school turbocharged motor out back we imagine that it must be a beast to drive!
Next to the workshop we find the detailing bay, which is where cars are cleaned, polished and prepared. We should point out that proper detailing is quite different from valeting.
A professional detailing service can recondition paintwork and the interior so your car can be brought back to showroom condition without any major mechanical or bodywork attention. For many cars a professional detailing service is the best step towards preservation and restoration. Depending on how far things need to go, it can take up to four days to work through a full detailing session, but the results certainly speak for themselves. While we were on site there was a nice 944 part way through a proper detailing session as it was being prepared for sale and we were impressed by the attention to detail and the quality of workmanship.
Incidentally, Renaissance can tackle everything from a basic detailing through to restoration, however you should make an appointment to discuss major projects etc.
To sum up, it’s perhaps best to consider Renaissance Classics to be a one stop shop where you can buy or sell, repair, restore or detail or even discuss a potential purchase whilst gathering advice… these guys have got it all covered!
Trackspeed House is an impressive home for Renaissance Classics. Located on Portsmouth Road (B2215) in Ripley, it's just a few minutes’ drive from Junction 10 of the M25 in Surrey
Far left: Priced at £67,995, this 2004 GT3 Clubsport has just 40k miles on the odometer Left: Part of the private collection, this incredibly rare DP 935 boasts around 500hp and, thanks to the carboKevlar body, the power to weight ratio is impressive
Right: With more modern cars displayed on the forecourt, the showroom includes a good mixture of classics and exotica
Far Right: Courtney Mahon is the digital media and events coordinator and is typically the first person you'll meet when you arrive at Renaissance Classics Right: The visitors/ waiting room is comfortable and there's a TV, reading material and free wifi, too
Left: This fabulous 1970 911 2.2E looked resplendent in tangerine and had a comprehensive history folder, to boot
Below: James Wilson is the sales manager at Renaissance Classics – if you see anything you like, you can contact him on 01483 225878 Below left: Grey leather contrasts the Cobalt blue paint on this sweet 928 GT
Right: The detailing bay is well lit and spacious ensuring cars such as this 944 can be accessed from all angles. This car was being prepared for the showroom and looked fantastic
Far right: We loved this neat seating area, which is made from old oil drums! Right: Graham Beeson has many years of experience behind him and is always happy to offer help and guidance regarding any aspect of the business