Nijsmans: where passion meets craftsmanship

Nijsmans is a familiar name for many Porsche enthusiasts, having built quite the reputation from the many special 911s it has traded the past year. The most special one deserves its separate blog post, so keep an eye on 911 Vintage later for more. 

Trading classic cars is however only a minor part of the business, which is now ran by the family’s second generation. “My father was originally an iron smith who would repair cars as a means to get extra income. It was only at the end of 1963 when he decided to venture fulltime into the car maintenance and repair business. This was the official start of Nijsmans Car Repair, and our whole family was involved: my mother and her sisters would take care of polishing the bodywork, whereas my father would work on the technical repair.” The newfound setup was highly successful. “After about 10 years we found ourselves in need of a larger location. This lead us to move to new offices in Wijnegem, which to this day are still our headquarters.”

This was also where the Nijsmans brothers got a first taste of the car business. “My brother and I were still in our teenage years when we got involved in the business. We had seven employees at the time, which gave us the opportunity to work on project cars every now and then. We used to buy oldtimers and modified them in our spare time, selling them off quickly once a buyer came around.” The restoration of classic cars never really came into the picture until after a change in management was required. “In 1988 my brother and I were required to take over the business after our father had passed away. These were very challenging times, as our father personified the expertise of our company. Nevertheless, bit by bit we managed to take over and steer the business into a new era. At the end of the nineties we moved a third time to a bigger location, and it was only as of then that we integrated oldtimer restoration as a formal part of our business.” 

In 2011 the company relocated for a fourth time to a new location in Deurne, where they still have their main showroom today. “Ongoing car repair still represents 80% of our business. The remaining part consists of sales and classic car restoration, for which we have 4 dedicated employees in our team. These are our true specialists, capable of executing the perfect nut-and-bolt restorations our customers have come to value.” 

The showroom stock at Nijsmans quickly gives a glimpse of what their team is capable of. Each of the Ferraris and Porsches in the showroom provide somewhat of a time capsule impression. The first 911 we encounter is an immaculately restored 911 Targa 2.7L Carrera MFI. One of only 246 cars delivered to the North American market, this  impressive matching numbers car is offered with a completely revised engine and gearbox. Its interior has been restored to delivery spec. There literally is not a scratch or crease to be seen. Every nut and bolt has been revised and set to original specifications.

“We originally considered our classic car operation as a pure hobby project. But soon after we took our current location 8 years ago the market started booming. We realised that there was more value to be gained from building up proper professional expertise in the classic car market. We wanted to become experts in quality restoration. This is still our mantra today.” 

Classic car sales is still lead by the small group of Nijsmans’ own management team, who remains in charge of researching the market for interesting offers. “Well-documented cars are the ones that carry our interest. We are looking for matching numbers examples ideally supplied with detailed information about its original delivery state, including color and engine specifications.” 

Another wonderful example that showcases their strive for excellence is their second MFI on sale, this time a wonderful coupe delivered new in 1976. Only 113 coupes were produced, however only this one was supplied with a sunroof off-factory. The engine and gearbox have received a complete overhaul, and its complete body has been repainted to original specification. Its Fuchs are literally so clean you could eat off of them. The combination of the color with its tartan interior are a wonderful representation of the seventies spirit into which this car was born.

“We don’t limit our business to a number of brands or models. We try to stay as close to the market as we can, to get the right feeling of the cars that are in high demand. There is a continuous demand for original Porsches. Some of the rare classic models will take longer to sell than the newer cars, but on the other hand the brand offers some safe bets as well, like an early soft window Targa or an ölklappe.” 

These years of experience with the brand have helped Nijsmans to establish excellent contacts with Porsche in Germany. Michel Nijsmans is a dedicated Porsche driver himself: “I am currently driving a new Targa GTS, which we equipped with a TechArt kit adding 60hp to the stock spec. Just what it needed, as I traded in coming from a 991 Turbo.”

The brothers’ passion for the brand has lead them to embark on their ultimate 911 hobby project, taking form as the 993 3.8L “Outlaw”. Created as a hommage to the 356 Outlaw cars, this 911 once started as a 993 Carrera 2 Tiptronic. The car was fully stripped from its original parts and rebuilt from the ground up using only high-end materials supplied by Porsche, BBS, Recaro and Mahle. Its flat six engine was bored to a 3.8L displacement and completely revised to reach an output of 295hp and 362Nm. All that power is supported by a suspension system taken from the 993 Turbo, fitted with Quantum Racing shock absorbers. A custom RVS sports exhaust is in charge of delivering its flat six symphony. The car’s entire body has been sanded and repainted using only 3 distinct colors: white, red and black. All three colours are equally represented in the car’s alcantara interior. The car’s flappy-paddle steering wheel is the same as that on a 991 GT3, whereas the roll cage is supplied by Heigo. What you get is a real looker and a 911 passion product. It showcases the craftsmanship of the Nijsmans team.

Many years in the business have not called a stop for Nijsmans, as the company is preparing for its fifth (!) new location, to be opened at the start of the new year. “We recently bought a new showroom down the road, offering up to 1,300 square meters to permanently house our oldtimer business. The objective is to mainly use the space for classic car sales and storage. A place just outside of the city, close to our customers, where people can meet to discover and discuss cars. Call it a service center where we aim to bring existing customers together with their cars, and hopefully garner some new ones in the process.” The new venue is opening February 2018, which already is planned to be a highlight for the classic car scene in Antwerp.

Check out Nijsmans' current Porsche 911 selection for sale on 911 Vintage here.