Investing in quality care for a stunning classic car collection
Mark Smyth attended the launch of the latest Motul products at a superb private car collection
In the early 1980s, Victor Kiam bought a shaver company called Remington. The investment happened after his wife gave him a shaver made by the company as a gift. Kiam went on to also become its spokesperson, using the famous marketing slogan: "I liked it so much I bought the company."
While property investor Wayne Plit didn’t buy Motul, he did secure the distribution rights for SA through his company, OEM Lubricants, partly because like Kiam, he used the products and liked them so much he made a significant investment.
Plit uses the products on his own classic car collection, which numbers in the hundreds — which is why I was rather distracted from the presentations taking place at Plit’s home. It is hard to focus on a fuel additive, or new car cleaning range, when you are surrounded by such gems as a De Tomaso GT5, a Ferrari 512 BB, an original Maserati Ghibli, a Lamborghini Espada and Countach and a line of iconic Corvettes.
So committed is Plit to the brand that he has named the two premises where he keeps his collection, Motul Museum 1 and 2. The latter includes a vast number of South African icons, such as the BMW 333i. There are more at a third location. I can’t tell you where they are, but you wouldn’t believe me if I did.
There is no such thing as a free museum gawk, so here’s a bit of working for my supper. The company has launched two new product ranges in SA. The first is an additives range which has been "specifically developed to be added to fuel to restore and maintain engine performance and, in some cases, improve it".
The new products include Fuel System Clean, Diesel System Clean and Valve and Injector Clean additives. They have been formulated for old and new petrol or diesel engines
The company claims that its DPF Clean can address the problem of diesel particulate filter clogging — an issue with dirty diesel in modern engines.
The event was not just about additives. Recently Motul, which is a French company, bought Lescot, also a French company, that manufactures car cleaning products. Its range is branded as Lescot, but the plan is for it to be re-branded by Motul. Lescot has been around for 40 years and its products include exterior solutions for paintwork, glass, plastic and chrome.
Plit arranged for a Ford Escort Mark II RS2000 to be pulled out of the garage. It was in dire needed of attention and so in a demonstration typical of a television infomercial, we got to see how the products transformed one half of the car in a sort of before-and-after look.
The results were impressive. Plit’s team uses the products on the priceless classics in his collection, so clearly they work rather well.
There is even a purifier which is said to remove interior odours and replace them with that new car smell.
So now that I’ve told you what I know about the products, let me get back to what was making me swear under my breath as I walked around Plit’s collection at his home.
There was one of just 22 Porsches commissioned by Porsche Japan for a one-make race series. The series never happened but the cars were made to customer specifications anyway, including Kevlar bodywork, which makes them lighter than most lightweight race cars.
I spotted a Renault Alpine GTA, strangely not parked near the original Alpine A110. There was a Lister Jaguar XJ-S, other Porsche models, a Citroen DS, a Lotus Esprit V8, a Morgan Aero 8 and a Singer that raced at Le Mans in the 1930s.
I could go on, but you get the picture. Plit has an impressive collection and has put his money where his mouth is with his investment in Motul. There has to be something in that.