Outside Bloemfontein we find a collector who has been collecting 911s for around a decade. However, his collection has changed significantly over the years.
Words: Wilhelm Lutjeharms
Douw Raimondo is a busy guy. Between managing his companies he also loves flying and teaches troops to jump out of planes. However, when he is back on the ground, he fosters a long-standing love for Porsche’s 911.
He recently moved premises and today his extremely neat garage is part of his house, where his office has a perfect view over a few of the cars, while the walls are covered with models and memorabilia. It is a great place to sit and talk cars. In total, the collection spans a number of decades of one of the world’s best-known sportscars.
It did not take long for the Porsche bug to bite him. And, when it did, it bit hard. After a brief flirtation with a Boxster 14 years ago, he swapped this baby Porsche for a 997-model 911 Carrera S and, in doing so, took the first step to assembling what would become a strong 911 collection.
“After I bought the Carrera S, I started reading up on the history of the 911 and the development of these cars over the years. This led to my next purchase – and my first classic – which was a 930 Turbo.”
Douw then made a grave mistake... he sold it. “It didn’t take long for me to realise that I shouldn’t have let it go and wanted it back. I had to pay a healthy premium to return it to the collection. Of all the cars we have in the collection, this 930 is my favourite. It is a 1989 model, which means it is the final year of production with the updated G50 transmission.” Since then, another 930 Turbo has joined the collection, clearly indicating Douw’s love for this car.
In the past Douw has owned a fully restored, four-cylinder 912, a few impact bumper Carrera 3.2s, as well as a 997 GT2 and a 991 GT3 RS. Adding variety to the mix, a 924 Turbo and a 944 race car have also crossed his ownership path.
“We drive them all and make it a priority to swap cars as often as possible, after all, this is one of my main passions.”
A rather rare car which he has owned in the past was the 964 RS America. Douw explains its story: “It is the only original model of its kind in South Africa and, because the car was obviously destined for the USA, I even had to wait a while for its COA (certificate of authenticity), which was sent from America.”
As the number of cars in the collection grew, Douw began acquiring a larger number of older cars, many of which needed some degree of restoration.
Douw admits that he always wanted a 1973 Carrera 2.7 RS. However, these are expensive cars and rare in South Africa. However, he had a 911 SC with over 400 000 km, so it was time for an engine rebuild. He approached Tim Abbot from Porsche Master Craftsman and said he wanted an RS replica. The SC was subsequently completely transformed into an RS replica. “The fuel injection on the engine was replaced with carburettors, while the engine was enlarged to 3.5-litres. The body and interior have also been redone as well as several other elements. It is quick car and it sounds perfect.”
It’s very obvious that each car is outstandingly clean and has been thoroughly detailed. “That is thanks to my son, Luigi,” says Douw. “He also has a passion for these cars and enjoys detailing them and keeping them spotlessly clean.
“I’m not a 'boffin', but over the years I’ve learnt what to look out for, to ask the right questions, to analyse a car on its history, and to know what work would need to be done. Every day, you learn more in this hobby.”
Over the years the collection has changed, and Douw admits that he himself as a person has also changed and wanted to have different experiences. The result is that he has now customised a number of his cars to suit his needs, all of them with a specific goal in mind.
I’ve yet to meet a collector who has immersed himself so quickly in the business of collecting cars. Douw shows no signs of slowing down, and his passion and interest will undoubtedly see this beautiful collection of Porsches grow even further.
Check back soon for an article on what happened when Douw allowed us to take one of his cars for a drive... off-road!