Who Is Mechatronik?
Frank Rickert knows a thing or two about missions impossible; he worked in AMG’s development department from 1988 to 1996 crafting prototypes and one-off or limited production cars for wealthy customers.
In that time, he watched the company grow from a staff of 100 to more than 550, and its partnership with Mercedes-Benz meant that mass production rather than custom-built cars became the order of the day.
I am only interested in special cars and in fulfilling the wishes of customers who want something unique, Rickert explains. When I saw the direction AMG was taking, I decided to leave and set up my own company. My first love is historic racing so I set out to restore post-war classic Mercedes-Benz cars and prepare historic racers. A smaller part of the business is undertaking commissions for clients who want special cars. If you wanted an S-Class estate, for instance, we could do that for you.
There are obviously a lot of potential clients who think like him. In the 11 years since this passionate 36-year-old car enthusiast started Mechatronik, he has had to move premises three times and increase his staff numbers to cope with the flood of work.
The funny thing is that I have never advertised and only ever had one or two magazine articles written about the company, he tells us. Our reputation has spread by word of mouth and all our work comes from happy customers who tell their friends.
The Mechatronik storerooms are a veritable Aladdin’s cave of classic Mercedes parts, and they actively look for parts all over the world. They have over 60,000 spare parts in stock now, including brand-new engines for the 190SL, 230SL and 280SL. The former were thought to be unobtainable, but I saw them there, along with a brand-new steering wheel for a 300SL Gullwing in its original box.
A lot has changed since my first visit in 2005. The company has expanded its premises by 100 percent, and divided operations into Classic, Engineering and Trade divisions.
Classic undertakes all the restoration work on classic cars, while Engineering prototypes and produces the New Tech cars, classic Mercedes with modern engines, for which Mechatronik is famous. Finally, Trade buys and sells cars, and recently acquired the famous, record breaking, one-off Fulda Maybach Exelero Coupe.
Interestingly, Mechatronik’s New Tech cars have not been successful in Germany. German classic car enthusiasts are purists and we only ever sold one car in our home market, Rickert says. All our customers are from other countries like Japan, Korea, Indonesia, South Africa and even Israel. In fact, one good client in South Africa has five New Tech cars, including an SL Pagoda with an M113 E43 4,266cc V8.