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Portrait of Franklin Zeitz from Nippon Classics: Friend of all Japanese young timers

Hardy Mutschler
Portrait of Franklin Zeitz from Nippon Classics
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E r is a madman. One of those people who can't get enough of old cars. Picking up every vehicle from the side of the road to start something freaky. Every year he drives with a few friends from Hafenlohr to camping on Lake Maggiore. Like the others, he travels uncomfortably, but wonderfully liberated on the moped.

His matt black Mercedes 500 SEC, with which the 750-kilometer route would be a piece of cake, stays in the garage. He needs three days with the Kreidler Flory, Apehanger handlebar, short banana saddle. 50 cc instead of five-liter, single-cylinder instead of eight-cylinder. Franklin Zeitz works differently than the mainstream. Even at 35 he still has a lot of a young and wild one.

Dream garage in the old sawmill

A well-trained body, rasped hair, muscle shirt with a provocative print. Zeitz is blues brother and motor raver at the same time, looking to cross borders, romping around with cars and everything that drives. From the Bonanza wheel to the Ford Transit with twin tires. When he talks like this, about cars, God and the world, he sometimes seems remarkably gentle and thoughtful. As contradictory as a philosopher who listens to heavy metal and has all the Playmate Centerfolds from the last 20 years on the wall.

His wife Heike doesn't even try to discipline him. Not only does she participate, she owns the shop. It resides spaciously in a small factory, a former sawmill in Hafenlohr, an inconspicuous provincial kaff near Würzburg, and is called S.A.V. on the Internet. or Altelieberostennicht.com.

The goods - Japanese baroque from the seventies

They both deal in old cars, young timers, especially Japan baroque from the seventies. She knows a lot about cars, and spontaneously knows the internal Toyota model names for each type: 'The silver 80 Celica ST there is called TA 40, the dark green 75 Corolla Coupé over there is internally called KE 35.' Heike Zeitz grew with her Toyota up, her parents run the Heinze car dealership a few kilometers further in Karlstadt am Main.

But Franklin and Heike don't see anything too narrowly, not even the term youngtimer, they own a BMW 2800 CS or a Ford Taunus P3 bathtub, especially if the condition is not exactly concours and they already exude a certain cool patina. A silver Mercedes-Benz 250 CE, black, wrinkled leather, swollen wood, everywhere looks very casualRust bubbles under the paint and guaranteed not to drive. Franklin wants a fair 1,000 euros for the complete car with good chrome and an intact engine.

'Nevertheless, people scold me when they come here and see the car that they previously polished up on the phone,' complains Zeitz, the excessive stinginess is cool mentality in the youngtimer scene. For a Mercedes 123 Coupé of the first series, top model 280 CE, Swiss import, the best substance, many extras, velor and burr walnut, but plenty of kilometers, 'around 250,000', he wants a fair four-three VB, which would come very close to a real three-nine , 'And the interested parties are patting here with the purchase advice under their arm and discussing every rubber strip, every screw head and every ignition cable with me.'

Japan rarities in top condition for fair prices

There is hardly anything to discuss at Heike and Franklin's Japanese petting zoo, all except the inexpensive Celica ST are in top condition. The tomato-red '75 Mazda 929 Luce Coupé, the lime green '72 Toyota Corona 2,000 Mark II and even the silver Nissan Sunny, or is it still a Datsun, all shine. Both logos undecidedly adorn the new car from first hand, with only 60,000 kilometers on the meter. Franklin calls for a cheap 3,999 euros for the cute notchback compact car with rear-wheel drive.

Most of the time he fetches the rare treasures in Switzerland and sells them to Dutch or Belgians. “Not least because of their tax exemption for youngtimers, they have understood that these Nippon rarities are an endangered species. Their stylistic imagination and diversity are impressive. Take a look at the Mazda 929, a real hardtop coupé, without a B-pillar, every detail like an ornament, flourishes and ornaments everywhere, but the basic shape consistently and as if from a single piece.

Mercedes, Opel or BMW from that time are a dime a dozen, but the Japanese don't really count for us yet. ”Heike and Franklin are demanding 14,900 euros for the Mazda 929 in top condition, original 49,000 km, 1, 8-liter four-cylinder with 92 hp. You get a pretty good Mercedes 350 SLC for that, but that's not a rarity.

The Mazda makes us curious. Put the red number on and get out of the sawmill. Heike Zeitz, the pretty blonde woman with auto-sense, shows it to us, carefully maneuvers the car past the Playmates and cocktail armchairs outside. The passengers sit low, the massive instrument panel is driver-oriented, the thin steering wheel lies steeply in the hand. The gearshift lever dominates the center console, it rises cheekily like an Alfa Bertone. The four-speed gearbox can be shifted just as crisply and quickly, you can literally see it from Heike's determined hand movements.

On the way to another collection

The sonorous oneOHC four-cylinder pleases with good draft from the speed basement. He also likes and willingly revs up, its rated speed is 6,000 revs and that for a Japanese farmer's engine. The chassis of the Luce is less ambitious, like a Ford Capri, it has McPherson struts at the front and a leaf-sprung rigid axle at the rear. Our destination is Karlstadt in the Main-Spessart district, where a second Japanese gem from the Zeitz collection awaits us and arouses our curiosity.

Royal Toyota with Toyo Glide and Langhuber six-wheeled car

The white Toyota Crown is still in the showroom of his parents' Toyota dealership Heinze. Next to a Daimler XJ 40, with a price tag tucked behind the windshield. This rarity for sale, what a sacrilege. After all, the future premium brand Toyota also needs tradition such as BMW, Mercedes and Audi.

The Toyota Crown is said to cost 4,990 euros, and the 302,350 km certified, given the astonishingly good, only lightly patinated condition, nobody is put off. Even the deep black interior with a lot of vinyl still looks good. The slightly curved instrument panel in cinemascope format is impressive. This crown is unbelievable. It gives convincing evidence of the long-term quality typical of Toyota, a large, exotic-looking limousine, ready to drive, with a freshly installed red number in Heinze's depot.

The long-lasting 2.6-liter six-cylinder bubbling casually to itself, you can almost hear the long-stroke the low-speed 117 DIN PS at 5,000 rpm. Crowned by a modern, overhead camshaft, the six-cylinder Crown lifts 210 Newton meters on the crankshaft with seven bearings.

But what is really special about the white giant from Japan is the three-speed automatic called Toyo Glide, which drives it with the bonsai road cruiser, which is built on a solid box frame, is an effortless pleasure. Heike smiles even happier than in the Mazda 929 behind the black Bakelite steering wheel. The Toyota suits her in its relaxed ease of driving and in the contrasting playfulness of its lines. The Toyota Crown is no bigger than a Ford 20 M, the chassis is just as simple and does not perform any comfort miracles. The fact that a car thrives on the engine, the Crown proves it.

Must be a matt black, horny 500 SEC

Back in the old sawmill, Franklin finally shows us his two coolest carts that can easily take on the casual Toyota Crown in terms of drive comfort. First we come across his rat, a first series Mercedes 500 SEC painted in non-reflective Army matt black, with grayed blue velor, yellowed wood and a false, much too small three-spoke steering wheel. The ideal car for knocking over garbage cans in the Bronx. One suspects that Franklin is notalways cruising around peacefully. “I find burnouts primitive and silly,” he states quite clearly.

Over there is his 63 Impala Coupé, for him something like a lived dream, big, candy metallic, strong. With six-pack hood, broadband speedometer and automatic steering wheel. Zeitz turns the ignition key and grins mischievously. The eight-cylinder roars off. 'Sometimes,' he then says, 'I feel really free, even on the moped downhill at 40 km /h.'

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