by Rose Atalante Veenenbos
Preservation of cars whenever possible is what AKVR is striving for, of course all in close consultation with the customer. It is wonderful to see so many cars being preserved and the extreme craftsmanship that goes into this ‘artwork’. I think the most surprising fact of the visit was to discover that the mechanics crew also includes a young female mechanic, about as young as I am. So a young female petrol head can also be a mechanic at Keith’s workshop… and why not?
There was one car which was for me the most striking, a Riley. Between all those great cars I pick this Riley because it looked so special and so eccentric. It is to Keith a very special car, which he has owned for a very long time. The body looks very unusual, all aluminum with a light ocean blue chassis. There are some notable parts made on the body that are very clever but that remains a secret.
I admit that I rejected the brand MG when I was chasing for my own vintage bolide, although my dad suggested me to have a look at them. But now that I have seen a J-type in real life… I am very impressed! What a monstrous thing, ’Oh Dear’, what a marvelous car! Keith is a very spontaneous and vibrant man and he likes a joke here and there… It is easy to get lost in his facilities in-between the many vintage lanterns and oil tins and to totally loose oneself in the beauty of such a great collection. One of the cars in the storage facilities was guarded by a deer, stuffed of course, but it may still frighten the odd intruder.
What makes his workshop so impressive is that you can see that this is a place where a lot has been achieved in all those years since AKVR was established by Keith in 1969. You can feel that there is something special in the air, perhaps the ghosts of many of the cars which have been there. A crankshaft here and there and many other fine mechanical components surround you when walking about the workshops.
Let’s say that the weirdest car in the shop was a Rolls-Royce, I believe it was a P2. This was not just a vintage Rolls, it is a vintage and modern Rolls at the same time. Sounds confusing? Perhaps you already knew that a renowned hotel chain have placed an order to have a couple of identical vintage Rolls-Royces restored and upgraded to modern comfort standards for their guests to be shuttled to and from the hotels. I was lucky to see how AKVR transforms these cars to have airco, a small fridge with cool drinks, modern telecommunications, etc. From the outside and inside these Rollses will look exactly the same as their other vintage sisters. To make that happen you need, among other things, electric cabling, a hell of a lot of it, all coming together in the trunk on the back of the car, where all this modern technology is smartly hidden.
I hope you all enjoyed an insight into this legendary workshop, I did! Next up another workshop which is linked to this one, but then a little different…
To be continued!