“Above all, we want to market cars that we find interesting. We then try to find the right examples that have had all the necessary work completed so that people can buy with confidence, knowing that they aren’t in for any nasty surprises just around the corner!” Oliver Gatland-Pendleton, Associate Director Hangar 136
“Our goal is to find well maintained, reliable and interesting classics that are ready to be properly used and enjoyed.” Laurence Pawson, Associate Director Hangar 136
What is Hangar 136?
Laurence; “A business that’s been built for drivers that enjoy classic cars from every era. It enjoys support from HERO-ERA which means it also embodies their high standards and aims for the future. Our vision for the company is to sell cars that are ready to be properly used, moving away from the growing trend of ‘garage queens’, and focusing more on mechanical condition, service history and reliability.”
Oliver; “That’s pretty much it. The business was born from a collective belief that all cars, classic cars included, are best enjoyed when they’re being driven. Tomas de Vargas Machuca and Patrick Burke of HERO-ERA are huge advocates of this, both insisting that what matters is not the number displayed on the odometer, but rather the care, attention and maintenance that their cars have received. This is what classic motoring should be about, and it’s exactly this ethos that Hangar 136 has been built around.”
Laurence; “Ultimately, we are a sales platform that sources on and off-market cars for our clients. We do a little bit of everything, but our primary focus right now is to offer classic cars on a consignment basis through our website and client network.”
Oliver; “Our USP centres around the experience we offer to both buyers and sellers. It’s not just about the cars themselves, it’s about the invitation to visit us at Bicester Heritage, and the opportunity to get up-close and personal with the cars, to see them, to feel them, and to drive them. We have the benefit of being part of a private road network that allows people the space and freedom to get to know the cars without any worries about public roads. I am a big believer in the idea that people need to be able to sit in a car, get a feel for it, know where the gauges are, the pedal positions, how the steering wheel sits between your legs etc, before they can truly know if it’s for them.
“We want people to engage in that experience, don’t just phone us and buy it, come and see the car, meet us, and make sure it’s the right car for you.”
Is there a limit on the kind of car or age?
Laurence; “Absolutely not! Our current stock ranges from the 20’s to the 00’s, pre-war to modern classics. As long as it’s interesting, mechanically sorted, and passes our inspection process, we are more than happy to sell it.”
What background does each Associate Director have to qualify them for their new roles?
Oliver; “I’m from a motoring background on both sides, my father has always been a keen driver, competing at various times in Formula First, Caterhams and Formula Ford, and my grandfather was a racing driver in the late 50’s early 60’s. He raced everything from Formula Junior to GT cars, sports cars, and British Touring Cars, both in the UK and abroad, and it’s really through him that I’ve inherited an enthusiasm, passion and appreciation for historic cars. These were the cars that I grew up looking at, I was never really one of those kids who was interested in the latest and greatest supercar or hypercar. It was always the older cars, their designs, their engineering and the people behind them that I loved.
“Academically, I have a degree in physics. I got a finance job in London shortly after leaving university but found it to be rather soul destroying, and so I made the decision to switch things up entirely and focus on beginning a career that I was actually interested in. And so I jumped on the train to London, handed in a load of CV’s, and eventually met Laurence, Tomas, and Patrick. And here we are almost a year later!”
With his love of classics and a limitless budget, what single car would Oliver buy?
Oliver; “I’d probably have to say an Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato.”
Laurence; “My background has always been in cars, but in a very different realm. I have spent my working life around main dealers, predominantly in sales. I got incredibly frustrated with the lack of quality you could deliver to your customers and the lack of passion. My passion spreads across all sorts of cars. I decided to get out and, similar to Oli, I started looking at the classic car world. I eventually ended up meeting Oli, Tomas and Patrick, and soon started on this adventure together!”
Laurence was asked if he had limitless budget, what one car would he buy?
He really struggled, running through a list of incredible machinery but couldn’t decide. “There are so many.”
With their vision and USP set out, they were asked if they felt being younger than the average classic car business directors would help?
Laurence; ”When the four of us were putting the business plan together for Hangar 136, it was clear that the historic car industry we are working in needed to be looked after and developed for the next generation. It needs to become more appealing, and so we are both interested in opening up the doors to a younger community of enthusiasts and helping them get on the classic car ladder. I think it’s important to help feed the industry and keep it strong for future generations. It also helps that Oli and I have quite different tastes in cars. It allows us to cater to a wider audience of enthusiasts, and helps to keep us engaged with news and content that we otherwise may not have seen.”
What sort of cars are currently in stock?
Oliver; “As Laurence mentioned earlier, we’ve currently got a little bit of everything from a 20 hp Rolls Royce to a Ferrari 456 GTA M. I like having such a wide selection of cars as it opens up the conversation to a wide variety of people, and that’s what we enjoy!
“The inspiration for the name Hangar 136, unsurprisingly, comes from the building at Bicester Heritage that we are scheduled to occupy (currently under development). We’re hoping to have permanently moved in by the Autumn, at which point the Hangar will become the central ‘hub’ around which the entire experience revolves.”
What’s the process for someone who wants to consign their car?
Laurence; “The process usually starts with a good old fashioned phone call about the car. We’ll then jump in the car and visit the seller, where we’ll have a good look over the car, chat about its history, and look through its paperwork. The next step is to agree the Terms and organise transport for collection/delivery. Once the car arrives with us in Bicester, it’s sent off for a full 4-hour visual and mechanical inspection, following which it is then professionally valeted/detailed and photographed.
Should the inspection report highlight any concerns or areas requiring attention, we will discuss with the seller about the best course of action, which once resolved, will be noted on an updated version of the report. A description is then written for the car, its entire history file is scanned and uploaded, and the advert goes live on our website. We also publish every car through carandclassic.co.uk, as well as sending out a Stock Alert to our database of subscribers.
During the typical 3-month consignment period, we’ll market and promote the car to as large an audience as possible, using our Patrons, database, print media and social media to boost our reach. Our typical commission rate is 10% (inclusive of VAT), which includes all of the aforementioned pre-sales preparation (inspection report, detailing, photography, storage, marketing etc) as absorbed costs – meaning that even if the car doesn’t sell, there are no costs incurred to the seller. We only recover our costs if the car sells!”
Oliver on progress to date; “We launched the website in early February, and our first sale was our rather lovely Land Rover Series 3 restoration project. I think we had about 3 people ready to buy over the phone within the first couple of days! We’ve been taken aback by the interest, engagement and support people have shown to Hangar 136 since we opened, which feels fantastic given all the hard work and effort that’s gone in to building it.
“More recently, we have sold a hugely original 1930 Riley Brooklands, which I’m glad to say is going to a great home. Plus we have one or two deals which we are currently putting together, although it’s too soon to say!”