JUL 07th 2014

MERCEDES' STAR SHINES BRIGHT AT FOS

The man on polishing duty in the Cartier Style et Luxe concours d’elegance at FoS 2014 was not quite who he seemed.

It was in fact Emmanuel Bacquet, former general manager of the Schlumpf Museum and now the man with the keys to one of Europe’s most esteemed private collections: the SK Oldtimer Collection of Lithuanian oil magnate Saulius Karosas.

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Emmanuel brought two exceptional Erdmann & Rossi-bodied supercharged Mercedes-Benz models to Goodwood this year as part of the special 120 years of motorsport tribute to Mercedes. The 500K and 380K looked totally spectacular – you can see a picture gallery of them, plus the other cars in the Style et Luxe Mercedes ‘Blown Away’ group, here.

The secret to keeping cars in such great condition? Emmanuel was happy to be interrupted from his polishing in order to share his thoughts on old cars in general, and Goodwood in particular…

What’s the best thing about your job?

Driving the cars. Every car in the SK Oldtimer Collection is a runner and my engineer and I take out one or two every week for an hour’s drive in the country near Mannheim. My engineer is 73 but he has a very young brain. After we make the test we put each car up on the ramp and check everything and change a few things. Exactly as I did at the Shlumpf Collection, every car has a little book and each time we change something we make a note of it. It’s work but it’s pleasure too.

Old cars need to driven, yes?

Of course. Without it gaskets deteriorate and fuel goes off in the tank. Fuel today is so aggressive. The engines need to run.

More fun than running the Schlumpf Collection?

I have my dream job now. I was with Schlumpf for 12 years. It is a big museum and there was lots of marketing, communication, business…aargh! My first love is the cars, and my job now is all about cars. That’s why I am here polishing them now. It’s what I love.

Do you enjoy coming to the Festival of Speed?

I am missing driving this year. In the past I have driven the Bugatti Tank and a Panhard et Levassor up the hill, but the SK Collection doesn’t really have racing cars so this year it is the concours. I very much enjoy showing the cars off. Unlike Germany or France most people at FoS don’t touch the cars. Elsewhere you have to put barriers up or have security guards to stop people touching them or even taking things off the cars. But not at Goodwood. It is unique.

Indeed it is. See you next year Emmanuel!

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