People have passions. We all know it. Some keep them well regulated and well controlled, while with others the passion simply cannot be contained. It bubbles over and spills out and roils and flows everywhere, consuming everything in its path, like the pyroclastic flow from an angry volcano.
Teo Martin is a member of the latter group, and his passion is rally cars.
Well, competition cars more specifically, but he clearly has a focus on the rally variety. While I was waiting in Madrid for a Land Rover to be serviced (more on that in the story of 0115A, coming soon), a friend and rally champion named Javier took me to "see some cars," and I unexpectedly found myself inside one Teo Martin's shimmering facilities, in the rolling, dusty hills south of the city.
Teo Martin is a self-made man. Bit by bit, through hard work, dedication and vision, he has built an empire of automotive salvage yards dealing in used car parts and scrap. Now in his 60's, he still works seven days a week, and he moves with the controlled energy of a driven man who doesn't cotton to "relaxing." He is a working man, and through his work he has done well for himself. Very, very well.
We walked into his facility, a gleaming, modern showroom of white and steel, and were greeted by a floor manager. Javier introduced himself, and asked for his friend Teo. While we waited, I wandered around the front showroom. There was a Porsche 964 Carrera RS parked there, next to an Aston Martin Zagato and a V12 Vantage S. There was a perfectly restored competition Marcos, and a Lotus Europa Twincam in Gulf livery.
Señor Martin entered, greeted Javier warmly, and took us upstairs to his office. In the waiting area outside his office sat two DTM cars, including Berndt Schneider's Mercedes-Benz. Also Sandro Munari's Alitalia-liveried Lancia Stratos. There were a couple of engines in display cases, including the Peugeot turbo that once held the outright record at Pikes Peak. Oh, and there was also the entire collection of HRT Formula 1 cars sitting there on the carpet, Teo Martin having purchased the now defunct team in its entirety.
After some small talk, during which Teo kindly gave me a copy of a book that had been published about his collection and personal history, we made our way back downstairs to the rear warehouse.
Upon first entering, I saw an ex-works Sport Quattro rally car on jack stands. Behind it, a current "customer" Porsche 911RSR being prepped for competition. And behind that? Well... a sea of the most important rally and race cars in the world.
Just the names on the doors were enough to make my knees weak. Munari. Sainz. Kankkunen. Kristensen. McNish. Wilson. Biasion. Gené. Capello. Grönholm. Alén. Vatanen. Mikkola. Blomqvist. Salonen. To a rally junkie of my generation, this was heaven.
And I only saw part of his collection. There is much, much more, but they are kept separate for security and logistical reasons.
Click on the image below to cycle through a gallery of the cars and the facility. Also, share this story on your Facebook page for a chance to win the book about Teo Martin and his collection. Everyone who shares this page will be entered, and at the end of February we will pick a name at random and mail you the book. It is a lovely, hardbound story of Teo Martin and the details of his collection, called "Una Pasión." (In Spanish, of course.)