August '17

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40 THE SHOP AUGUST 2017 D uring a recent trip to Germany, I was invited to tour a new type of auto facility that is developing across Europe and might be heading west if the owners can find the right partners and property. Called Motorworld, the facility I visited is housed at an old World War I military airfield in Boeblingen, near Stuttgart. The airfield opened in 1915 as a training facility with runways, hangars and other facilities. After the war, the airfield was shuttered until the 1920s, when flying schools used it unofficially. In 1925, it became the state air- port and commercial aircraft began flying in and out, initiating the construction of a hotel, restaurant, customs and baggage handling. With eight daily flights, passen- gers could head to Zurich, Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt and more. In 1929, the famous Graf Zeppelin air- ship landed at Boeblingen in front of a crowd of 100,000. Soon after, the area boomed with the opening of the German Aviation Museum and a Lufthansa airmail route to South America. However, war was looming, and Boeblingen soon reverted to a pilot training school. After the second World War, the U.S. took over the airport and set up a repair facility for Army vehicles. The various buildings were used as offices and storage until 1992, when the U.S. Army vacated the premises. It then stood vacant for more than a decade until 2008, when construction began on Motorworld. AUTO DESTINATION Motorworld is the vision of Andreas Duenkel, a major real estate developer and petrolhead. It opened in 2009 and is growing to include five locations. The Stuttgart facility I visited is impressive. Not only did Duenkel and his partners salvage and restore an historic site, but built an amazing destination for auto enthusiasts from around the world. Located just a few hours south of where Germany's Motorworld concept brings together auto-themed retailers, dealerships, restaurants, car storage & more. WORLD BRAVE NEW By Tony Thacker Motorworld offers an impressive array of facilities—restaurants, meeting rooms and spaces, retail shops, restoration shops, classic car dealers and even glass-walled stor- age units for classics and supercars. A hotel on the premises features 10 themed rooms. With a second ho- tel under construc- tion, Motorworld is becoming a base that visitors can use to visit mu- seums and other area attractions.

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