Car collectors seek one-off models in quest for exclusivity

Tue Dec 30, 2014 10:29am EST
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By Edward Taylor

COBURG, Germany (Reuters) - Martin Kapp gestures towards the sleek red Italian sports car standing in his barn in the heart of Germany, secure in the knowledge there is not another exactly like it in the world.

By commissioning the 300 km per hour Alfa Romeo TZ 3 Corsa the 63 year old engineering company executive joined a band of custom car aficionados ranging from financiers to rock stars keen to acquire an exclusive exotic vehicle.

Anecdotal evidence suggests they are a growing breed.

Advances in computer design and safety testing have helped improve the feasibility of the cottage industry specialized in creating one-off cars for wealthy buyers, helping collectors like Kapp achieve what had been a distant dream.

"Knowing there would only ever be one built, that really appealed to me," said Kapp, whose home is on the outskirts of Coburg, Bavaria, where he is a managing director and partner at Kapp Group, a manufacturer of grinding machines for the auto industry.

Kapp is just one of a crowd of clients looking beyond the standard offerings from upmarket showroom marques such as Ferrari (part of Fiat) and Porsche (part of Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE: Quote)) and have commissioned boutique design houses such as Castriota Design, Zagato, Pininfarina and Carrozeria Touring to create tailor-made models.

Although Kapp won't say how much he paid for his car, industry insiders say the cost of a one-off vehicle can range from several hundred thousand to several million euros, depending on the design sought by the client.

Kapp worked with Italian coachbuilder Zagato because he wanted a new version of his classic Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ, retaining the low-slung curves and flourishes of the 1960s original but adding modern performance and safety features.   Continued...

Alfa Romeo TZ 3 Corsa (L) and Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ are seen in a barn of collector Martin Kapp in Coburg, December 19, 2014.REUTERS/Edward Taylor