Swiss Motors was Established in April of 1988
Swiss Motors was Established in April of 1988 when Max Spitznagel ceded control of his business (formerly G+M Motors) to Robert Husser and Marcel Bont. In its nascent stages Swiss Motors repaired, restored and sold all varieties of European high-end exotics. Due to the exponential growth of technology and the increased complexity with which vehicles were being built it became apparent in the 1990’s that some further specialization would be needed. This was the era in which the business shifted into a German car only repair facility.
In 2009 expanded into a neighboring building to better accommodate the volume of cars they were handling.
Rare 1971 Mercedes 600 Pullman
The first car restoration that took place at Swiss Motors was a 1971 Mercedes 600 Long-Wheel Base, a gift from the Chinese Government to Armand Hammer of Occidental Petroleum. The Mercedes was historically significant in that it was once owned by a high-ranking General in the Chinese Communist Party. On top of restoration, the vehicle also had to be legalized to the US and, more specifically, California’s much less permissive DOT and EPA standards. Having worked extensively at legalizing grey market vehicles for US markets Swiss Motors was uniquely equipped for this task.
Swiss Motors restorations have been shown and sold in the Pebble Beach and Monterey auctions.
1979 Ferrari 308 GTS
This Ferrari was lovingly restored and had its performance upgraded by Robert and our team. Once finished Robert (who had a history as an accomplished go kart-racer in Switzerland) drove the vehicle with the Ferrari owner’s club and won the Virginia Hill Climb event in his class. It was raced in Laguna Seca and many other tracks before ultimately being sold to another Ferrari enthusiast.
1972 Ferrari 365 GTC4
An unconventional ground up restoration. A customer of Swiss Motors purchased this vehicle disassembled and it arrived in the shop in boxes. Robert and Marcel puzzled the vehicle together and it ended up winning several show awards for its owner.
1979 Porsche 911 SC
This old worn out Porsche belonged to our dear friend and customer Loren Lang. After buying the vehicle from him it was transformed into a winning performer. The metal work, roll-cage and body modifications were performed by Urs Gretener of GPE (Gretener Prototype Engineering) and the rest was done by Swiss Motors. Marcel Raced this Porsche with the Porsche Owner’s Club for six seasons, gaining some notoriety with multiple class wins, two cup championships, two time-trial championships and some Endurance wins in class. The final picture in this slideshow features the car in its final race alongside longtime customer and friend Dick Schmidt (in red).
2004 996 GT3 Cup Car
This factory racecar was driven by Marcel for a single race season and then sold to another race enthusiast.
Photographs feature the vehicle parked in the former Swiss Motors show room, racing in Willow Springs and sitting next to Urs Gretener’s 930 Turbo (in the body of a 993 GT2).
Throughout his career as a licensed car dealer Marcel has bought and sold several racecars. The most significant of these was the 1993 Porsche 964 Cup driven by Altfried Heger to win the first ever Porsche SuperCup championship. The final race for the championship win is on YouTube found under as “Dogfight Hockenheim” (Heger vs. Alzen).
The car was originally brought to America by John Siefker in 2000. Marcel and John raced each other over several seasons in Porsche Owner’s Club. The car was modified and maintained by another industry specialist and close friend Sergio Nardi of Game-Face Motors.
The photograph features the vehicle in the lot after being modified to look like a 993 GT2.
Marcel grew up in Zürich (Switzerland) and started his automotive career with a four year apprenticeship at a major Mercedes/Renault dealership. During this time Marcel joined the Renault Alpine & Renault Turbo race teams, serving as a race mechanic in the Swiss and European Championships. In 1982 he performed his obligatory military service in the Swiss Army for 17 weeks and received special training on servicing military vehicles with gas and diesel engines. After completion of his military service he joined a specialized Porsche Shop in Lausanne, working as a Porsche race mechanic at the European Rally and Road Race Championship Tour. After two years on the racing team he went back to Zürich and worked for the local Porsche dealer. Marcel emigrated to LA in 1985 to join his longtime friend Robert Husser as a mechanic at Beverly Hills Sports Cars working on Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Aston Martin, Ferrari and other exotics. In April of 1988 Robert and Marcel started Swiss Motors in Culver City working on German cars and Ferrari and have been in the same location since. Having enjoyed working on race cars Marcel built his own Porsche 911 in 1998 from ground up and competed in the Porsche Owners Club racing events for a number of years which garnered him numerous class wins and two Championships. He later sold the car which he replaced with a factory made Porsche GT3 cup that he drove for one season.
Robert was born in Switzerland and grew up just outside of Zurich. He began his automotive career with a 4-year apprenticeship in Zurich at a Mercedes/Renault dealership from 1977-1981, where he met Marcel. Robert and Marcel became quick friends and soon started taking on additional work, fixing their friends’ vehicles for extra income. After the apprenticeship, Robert worked for three years as head mechanic at a small Alfa Romeo/Nissan dealership. Late in 1984 Robert took a position at an independent garage in Los Angeles, which at that time imported Ferraris, Porsches and Mercedes for the grey market. His role was modifying the vehicles so that they were compliant with California’s strict emissions regulations. Two years later Robert was hired at an independent Ferrari garage in Van Nuys. During this time he also began working on cars privately out of the back of his house in West LA. As his private business ventures flourished Robert left his day job to work full time from his home. This arrangement soon became a burden as demand for his services grew. It was at this point in time that he got together with his old friend Marcel and they founded Swiss Motors. Swiss Motors stands today in the same location and under the same management as the day it was established in April of 1988. Since then Robert has married and raised two daughters, most recently welcoming one grandchild into his life. He is an active participant in the triathlon community and can often be found cycling or trail running on weekends in the Santa Monica mountains. During the week, he keeps his fitness up with pool and ocean swims before work. Robert still works as the head mechanic at Swiss Motors and oversees all work done within the shop; nothing leaves the lot without his approval. Robert is an active member of several technician groups and keeps up with all the latest technologies in the automotive world. He and his technicians attend yearly seminars.
Sergio joined our team in January 2008. He is a highly skilled technician and BMW enthusiast. A father of two children, he keeps his skill up by visiting seminars regularly.
Hired in February 2015, Philip is the newest member of the Swiss Motors team. As the service advisor, he manages the front desk: making estimates, overseeing parts acquisitions, creating invoices and answering the majority of your phone calls. A Swiss native raised in Culver City and UC Santa Cruz alumnus, Philip plays a crucial role in managing the day to day operations of Swiss Motors Inc.
Other than the founders, Jose is the most senior member of our staff having been with the company for over seventeen years. He is an old-school mechanic who will always make sure your vehicle is safe before it leaves the lot. He is a father of one son.