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Ferrari, Porsche and automotive family history

Man & Machine / 19 november 2021

After we posted a Ferrari 308 GTS QV in a photo series about the Targa Florio on our Instagram page, the owner of the car quickly came forward. Marcel Adelmann from Switzerland is a petrol head par excellence, and he likes to talk about his Ferrari, Porsche 964 Carrera 4, and his automotive family history.

“It was really nice to see my Ferrari at Octane Magazine on Instagram. My wife and I drove the Targa Florio in our Ferrari 308 GTS QV, along with friends of ours in a Datsun 240Z. My name is Marcel, I am 36 years old, and I live and work in Switzerland. My parents say “Auto” was the first word I could say (in German, which is “car”). My birthplace was in Stuttgart, just around the corner from the Porsche factory.

Our family has a long history in cars, so it’s no wonder I’ve become a real petrol head too. A great-uncle of mine started importing exclusive Italian cars into Germany in the 1970s; Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini and De Tomaso. He lived among the Miura’s, Gullwings, Pantera’s, and Daytona’s; it was a car paradise. Importing then meant flying to the factory, collecting the car, and driving it back over the mountains to Germany. That soon became my father’s job when he was twenty years old. He can still tell incredible stories about those travel adventures.

My first living car memory is the 911 2.7 (G-body) in ‘Preussich Blau’ with polished Fuchs wheels. This car was involved in an accident and my father rebuilt it from scratch himself. During that time, he also restored Jaguars, Alfa Romeo’s and other makes, just to earn a living. When my mother gave birth to me in the hospital in 1985, she was picked up by my father in an Alfa Romeo Spider; it was January and one of the coldest winters ever, with temperatures around minus 20 degrees and a thick layer of snow on the roads.

My father is my automotive hero, he taught me everything I know about cars, including how to drive fast but safely. There are so many memories, I could write a book about them. Two days after I got my driver’s license, he put me in a Maserati 4200 Spyder to show how fast the car and I could go on the German Autobahn. It was the first time I drove faster than 300 km/h.

Obviously, I consider myself lucky that I grew up among these exotic cars. That was the inspiration and motivation to one day be able to afford one myself. Once I had a family, of course, the focus shifted a bit, but I still think it’s important to keep the child in me alive and dreaming.

Only old, vintage cars are of interest to me, because I like to delve into history and learn everything about the car; the quirks, the do’s and don’ts, but above all the handling, shifting, the clutch and how everything dynamically works together. A lot of people tell me that there is always something wrong with old cars and they use that as an excuse not to buy one for themselves. But it actually inspires me to master the machine and discover the soul of the car. Of course, that is sometimes accompanied by misery, especially if something breaks, but I see that as part of the learning process. It is well worth it.

Ferrari 308 GTS QV

Owning a Ferrari has always been high on my wish list. When I turned 30, I wanted to give myself a present and I was close to buying a Porsche 997. But I certainly didn’t need a daily car because my commute was done by public transport. On my way to Milan, I called my father. We always talk about cars and ideas, and he asked me why I shouldn’t buy ‘the 308’. He was referring to a barn find 308 GTS QV that he had bought a while ago. The car needed some restoration but was well worth it.

After I hung up, it took less than five minutes for me to call him back with a clear ‘YES!’ It was the beginning of a father-son remote project as he lives in Berlin, and I have my company in Switzerland. The 308 was red and we kept that color. We kept the Ferrari all original, but there wasn’t a propeller that we didn’t have our hands on. Only the suspension and thus the road holding, and stance has been improved with Wilbers adjustable springs.

The 308 had 36,000 km on the clock and we have added 19,000 km. The day after the car was finished, I drove to Milan to pick up my girlfriend (now my wife) for a long weekend in Val d’Orcia, Tuscany. We got married there last summer. The Ferrari has become a member of the family, a reliable travel companion and the car we drive in rallies such as this year’s Arosa Classic and the famous Targa Florio in Sicily. So, where we appeared in front of the camera of Octane Magazine…

Porsche 964 Carrera 4

The Porsche is my everyday car and the pleasure I experience every time I walk towards it is hard to describe. The key on the left, start and… goosebumps. It is of course also the direct link to the place where I grew up and where I worked as a young engineer.

When I went for drinks with a friend after work, we (of course) talked about cars and watches and I told him that the 964 was the ultimate 911 for me. He came with the announcement that a colleague wanted to get rid of a 964 because his wife was pregnant. Although I wasn’t really in the market to buy one, I went to have a look and drive it around. The owner was a cool guy, and he gave me the keys and told me to take the car for the weekend. So I went with my wife, in the Porsche, to celebrate our anniversary that weekend at the Bürgenstock Resort, followed by a little trip through the Alps. My wife also drove a lot and we were completely sold.

The car was (and still is) not in perfect external condition, but technically it is very solid. It had 230,000 km on it when I bought it and the engine had already been completely overhauled and a new gearbox fitted. I have now driven more than 100,000 km with it, and that in times of lockdown. It’s probably the best car I’ve ever owned. Suitable for driving to the Italian coast, but also for going into the mountains with a roof rack on it for snowboarding. The circuit is no problem for the 964 either.

The Porsche has been modified by me on many points. We’ve fitted Bilstein B16 absorbers, a Cup exhaust and a faster chip, and the power is now around 300 hp. The exterior has been enhanced with RS air intakes and three-piece Speedline wheels, which were hard to find in Cup sizes.

Cars have always meant a lot to me and will continue to do so. It’s nice to see how the car enthusiast community works. From the first contact you notice that you have a lot in common with other petrol heads and beautiful friendships have been formed. I met my best man (witness for the wedding) at the Petrolicious Rallye a few years ago. The young generation is open to all brands, it doesn’t matter what you drive, as long as you are a car enthusiast. There is no longer any envy or separation between the different brands, as there used to be.

Of course, I am grateful to my parents for the madness they instilled in me early on. And my wife/co-pilot for always riding with me. I was recently able to buy a Maserati Gransport which will be delivered in early December; another special car to make memories with!

MAN & MACHINE / Updates door stafleden, medewerkers en lezers

Ferrari 308 GTS QV / Porsche 964 Carrera 4

Marcel Adelmann (CH)


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Frank Goedhart
Frank's interesse in klassieke auto's en autosport komt ruimschoots aan bod: samen met lezers zorgt hij voor nieuws op Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn en de website van Octane.




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Een Ferrari, een Porsche en automobiele familiegeschiedenis

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19 November 2021