‘Porsches were always on the posters on my bedroom wall’ begins Lee Maxted-Page as he attempts to explain where his passion for Stuttgart machinery originated. ‘Once I could afford one, which was in the late-Eighties, I’ve owned one ever since.’
Lee served as an apprentice at Mercedes-Benz, Rolls-Royce and Bentley main dealerships and went on to spend a total of 15 years working in the trade before starting his own business – Maxted-Page – in 2001, but when he did it had to be all about the cars that meant the most to him: Porsches. ‘In the last seven years or so we’ve begun to specialise in the rarest and most interesting cars.’ He isn’t kidding. Mere feet from his office are a 956 and a (World Sportscar Championship winning) 962, a 911ST and a neat row of 356 Speedsters. We’ve come to the right place …
‘I think Porsche collectors like to deal with Porsche-only people and in order to get into the rarest stuff we had to cut our cloth accordingly.’ Face to face with one of the country’s leading authorities and a man who has extensive personal experience, we can’t help but get straight to the point and ask him what single model he considers to be the sweet spot; the pinnacle of Porsche. The response comes quickly: ‘For me it was the beginning of the RS and RSR models in the Seventies. They were just so usable, both on the road and on the track. They were bought by privateers as well as run by the works. They were so versatile, bulletproof, perfect power to weight ratio, so great to drive. Still are. Our business has very much been based upon selling a lot of 2.7 RSs.’
Lee confesses that in years gone by he’d receive calls from people who’d seen an evocative photo of a 2.7 RS negotiating a hairpin with the inside front wheel in the air, asking ‘how do you do that?!’ Nowadays there are apparently far fewer 2.7 RS owners who want to drive their car in such a fashion, which has meant a greater emphasis on due diligence and provenance research. Lee reckons his firm are ‘very hot’ on that, an assertion backed up not just by the quality of cars in stock, but also the profile of the owners who rely on him to supply the right car.
‘We’re very much from the school of how the factory did things originally’ Lee says of his approach to mechanical work. ‘We don’t like modified Porsches. We’re not a fan of outlaws, hot rods or modified cars. I’m not against it and I understand why people like that stuff, but we’re more about original and rare cars as they left the factory. I find it difficult to make a 911 better! Different strokes for different folks …’
Maxted-Page doesn’t have that much to do with late-model Porsches, surprisingly perhaps. ‘For their provenance it’s important for them to have main dealer service histories, so we have relationships with the major dealers and all the late stuff we handle we do so in association with them. But with the early stuff it’s important for the provenance to show that the car has been with people who best understand them.’ As if the point needed qualifying, Lee points out that on occasion he helps to arrange the loaning of cars to the Porsche museum from some of the collections he helps to look after. ‘They have a fantastic archive department which we sometimes use when we’re over there …’
We ask about the current state of the market for rare Porsches. ‘A lot of recent growth in the market has kept us all busy, both in showrooms and in the workshops. I still see room for some growth in the value of some Porsche racing cars, which are currently undervalued.’ Tentatively we ask him to name some. ‘Oh the three litre RSs, RSRs, 2.8 RSRs… they’re all still massively undervalued. They were always a lot more expensive than 2.7s, but the 2.7s have closed the gap and are now stabilising, so I can see room for growth with the RSRs. I can also see real interest in the Group C market starting to emerge. The recent tie-up with Group C racing and Peter Auto will, I’m sure, mean that some people will want to get the special 956s and 962s out. We have some Group C Porsches in stock and we’ll continue to do so. We’d like nothing more than to see them run in the Peter Auto series. We have all the literature, all the know-how and there’s nothing on a 956 or 962 that we couldn’t rebuild here in-house.’
To show us what he means, Lee leads us to Maxted-Page’s engine room. On the way we pass the aforementioned 911 ST and have to pause for a moment. ‘This one probably has the best history of all the 1972 cars’ he says looking at it with reverence, but at the same time sporting a wicked grin that suggests he wouldn’t hesitate to get it on a circuit and drive at ten-tenths, despite the fact that its for sale at £1,500,000.
The engine room is so immaculate it would probably please the Food Standards Agency, never mind someone whose motor is in there undergoing work. ‘This is from a 2.7 RS we’re doing’ he says as he points to a complete engine, yet to be stripped. ‘And this is a little 356 motor we’re rebuilding.’ Before long the engine from Jay Kay’s 911 ST replica will be in for ‘the treatment’, but we’ll tell you more about that soon. Quite simply, the workshop could cater for just about any form of work required on any Porsche engine. It’s just a wonderful place to be stood, even if it’s so clean that merely standing there and breathing makes you feel like you’re somehow polluting the atmosphere.
We couldn’t possibly leave without a close-up of the 956 and 962. Each is in ‘just right’ condition and is about as evocative as any car can get. Even those car nuts not-so-enamoured of Porsches couldn’t help but visit Maxted-Page without leaving the premises as a convert. As we ourselves leave to get back to Goodwood, Lee invites us back again on a more clement day to ‘have a drive of something’. Oh, we’ll be back all right …
Photography: Tom Shaxson