A new building, a new owner and a clear vision must drive the refreshed Eastend Classics to great heights. Restorations at the ‘concours level’ are primarily about the customer’s wishes. Yuri van Koeveringe and David de Jong traveled to Zuidbroek for a meeting with owner Max Smit and partner Sandra Auwema.
When you walk into Eastend Classics, you will be overwhelmed by the cleanliness. The central, predominantly white workshop would not look out of place like a hospital room. Fortunately, a number of classic cars in various stages of restoration show that we have really come to the right place. The radio plays softly while craftsmen perform their work quietly. In one corner that can be recognized on its flowing Italian lines is a Fiat Dino Spider on a bridge. Simply sprayed in a flashy red-orange color, a sheet metal worker is careful to remove the last imperfections from the fresh coat of paint so that the end result achieves the high level sought here. On the other hand, another sheet metal worker is preparing different parts of a Chevrolet Impala for the first coat of primer. This is not an urgent job, because – we are told – preparation is everything when it comes to paint. Here, beloved cars are brought back to their original state in peace. And usually even a little nicer.
We are warmly welcomed by Max Smit and Sandra Auwema, both private and business partners, who lead the company. After a quick look at the workshops and a range of cars, including a beautiful Packard Twelve and a Rolls-Royce, several of which later, we take a seat in a conference room, the walls full of photos of successful restoration projects. Because before we take a look in the kitchen, we’re curious about how this company came about. Max: “In fact, I have only owned it for three years, even though I have been walking around here for a number of years. The original company was founded in 2000 in the village of Valom, near the village of Oosteinde. Hence our name Eastend. I had gone in there once when an MGA had just rolled out of the spray booth. It was done so beautifully that when I wanted my classic 911 sprayed, I only knew one address. But after my car had been there for half a year and it remained very quiet, I started to get a little worried. After contacting them repeatedly, I got the feeling that even though they were doing a good job, there was room for improvement in planning and organization. I am originally a business consultant with some experience in guiding companies in exactly those areas. When I approached the then owner with a suggestion to help him in running the business, I was more than welcome. We went to see where the biggest wins could be achieved. The quality of the restorations was good. In fact, so good that cars restored by Eastend Classics, such as a 1917 Franklin, won awards. So the basics were in order. The first step we then took was to ensure that each job was completed within a predetermined time frame. It seems simple, but in practice there is a lot involved. For example, collaborations with partners, such as upholstery, must be well coordinated, the right parts must be available at the right times, and so on. Gradually, a change took place, and we increasingly met the set deadlines. Of course really good to the customers, but an important additional benefit was that the coziness of the workplace returned. In 2019, the then owner called me and indicated that he would follow his dream: to drive a truck. As a consultant, of course, I could not say anything but ‘Follow your dream!’ The logical next step was that I would take over the business even if I had to think about it for a while. Leadership is different from an advisory role. But in the end, I took the plunge and became the owner of this large company in 2019 ”.
You can read the whole article and many more pictures in CARROS Magazine no. 3/2022. Do you never miss a thing? Take an extra affordable annual subscription (8 issues).