Witmer & Odijk history

Paul Witmer, Buyskade Amsterdam 1978

Paul Witmer aan het sleutelen aan klassieke auto's

He is car crazy. He must be because after he had successfully completed his law study and had worked at a law firm for a while, he decided to centre his working life around his one great love: cars!

Terug naar 1978, terug naar 'Witmer Wagens'

Cars! He grew up in the Gooi area where his dad and the fathers of classmates already drove the fastest and most beautiful cars. And when you have a talent for tinkering then the foundation is soon laid for a rich life in the world of the fun car. The workshop in Amsterdam was too small to sell cars from. A more appropriate albeit rather Spartan location was found on the Zijlweg in Overveen (municipality of Haarlem). What's in a name.

Autoverkoop ooit gestart in een kas

Soon a wide range of classic and youngtimers arose. Stored in a dry place that once served as a greenhouse. The office was a Portakabin, the loo free nature and many enthusiasts visited us. Paper advertisements drew buyers from all over the country and even from abroad. Due to low running costs, the cars were always attractively priced. This is still part of our price breakdown.

No-nonsense marketing, direct communications and not being afraid to point out the weaker points of a car. In the beginning the wording may not have been perfect, but the clear message has brought us to where we are today.

The circumstances were not always ideal. The most beautiful cars were parked drily of course. The turnover ratio was so high that cars were not outside for long. Compared to this location, our present showroom is a ‘palace’ Unfortunately, there is no pancake house around the corner.

Auto's geïmporteerd vanuit het buitenland

The cars, sometimes also special motorbikes, were bought from all over Europe and we had fun driving them to the Netherlands. Only few interesting cars had escaped the rust virus in our Dutch maritime climate, therefore we soon had to go to Switzerland, Italy and the South of France. Remember changing money and following exchange rates?

Alfa Romeo Italiaanse import

Driving a classic to the Netherlands, a specialty was Alfa Romeo, was one of the perks. And friends always helped us out. Although standing still inside the Gotthard tunnel with a jammed differential is not much fun. Not really an efficient method, so we decided to call in the services of a transporter.

Van Zandwijk transporters have already picked up thousands of classic and sports cars from abroad for us and have transported these to the Netherlands. Always correct and as agreed. We have known drivers Fred, Bas, Kees and Frans from when they had recently got their HGV licences. Thanks for all those years of flawless transports!

Binnen ruim 40 klassiekers & andere exclusieve auto's

Classic cars can be found in a broad spectrum of overall condition. Do you want an original car with perhaps some patina which, many people say, gives the car real character or do you want a fully restored one? You could wish to feel that you have bought a new car whereas it may be forty years old. Although you can restore a car countless times, you will only find it in its original state once. Finding this original is always difficult.

They can still be salvaged...

Paul Witmer in een Citroën DS

In 1997, Paul's wife was offered a director’s position at a financial services provider in Geneva. The family thought that such an exciting foreign adventure was interesting and could be combined with the purchase of our cars which were mainly bought in central Europe and California.

In the meantime, business was so good, that in 1996 a partnership with Hans Odijk was entered into for practical reasons. As a consequence of the proposed emigration, Paul left the company in 1998. However, he is still responsible for the procurement of almost all cars we have on offer.

From Geneva, it only takes him a few hours to get to the market areas where we generally find our cars. The whole of Switzerland, South-Germany, the Côte d'Azur and Middle and North Italy can be reached within a few hours.

Hans Odijk bij Mercedes 220 Coupé

Buying trips to California have always been fun. Beautiful surroundings, pleasant people to do business with and a relatively good car supply. The high-quality sheet metal is the main reason to go to the west of the USA. You cannot find this drier anywhere else. Moreover, speeding is out of the question and therefore cars are seldom 'exhausted'. We are certainly not the only ones who are aware of this, so we are very happy with our network.

Friend and 'friend of the business' Ing Pieter van Lookeren Campagne, cousin of Gijs van Lennep. Car crazy too. Regularly advises and appraises purchases, restorations and repairs. As a hobby. He is co-owner of a company that builds and sells car and racing simulators. Ferrari World in Dubai has got these too. Knows many engineers in the car industry, we appreciate that. Was also with us 30 years ago but rode a motor-bike then.

After Hans had joined and the location in Overveen had to be vacated due to building plans, we temporarily relocated to Leiden. The premises were small but attractive and it was nice to work there.

The local residents regularly looked out of their windows admiringly. After searching high and low, we found our current premises.

Voormalige autoshowroom Leiden

We buy and sell our cars worldwide. We regularly export to countries with ‘newly rich people’ such as Russia, the Middle East and China. In safe and dry sea containers.

Just take look on the Fantasy Junction website in Emeryville near San Francisco. We drove this special Chrysler and they have more special cars. They are not cheap but always good. And very knowledgeable.

San Francisco 2010

We 'discovered' that the original Saab 900 Convertible was getting a true cult status in the Netherlands at the end of the 1990s. We got two from Italy and in the blink of an eye the whole shop was filled with them. The record stands at 10 cars in one week, we are now at approximately 750. Today it is rare to come across one that meets our requirements. We do have very many parts for these classic cars and we also restore them.

The perfect location was found in the Wasbeeklaan in Warmond. A charming and beautiful village near Leiden. An ideal spot, on the motorway not in a bleak estate but quietly situated. The train station is 500 metres away; Schiphol is only 10 minutes by car. There is a 650 m2 showroom and a 350 m2 yard. If you come from far, then combine the car viewing with a visit to the beach and boulevard of Noordwijk or Naturalis and the town centre of Leiden.

The premises have undergone a real metamorphosis. Beautiful cars deserve a beautiful, well-lit showroom. We always have fresh coffee and we never tire of talking about our cars. But we are also good listeners, so you can tell us your wishes. Come and visit us, no strings attached. We will be happy to show you round.

Half our collection is made up of Porches. But brands like Jaguar, Ferrari, BMW, Mercedes, Maserati, Saab and Audi are also always represented in our showroom. If your dream car is not here, we will find it for you. At your request.

We have a continuous stock of fifty cars. The cars you see on our website are really there. We also sell cars regularly so we adjust the website every night. A car may have been sold during the day but it may not be indicated as such on the site. Therefore, please call before you visit us, especially if you have to come from far. We will then reserve the car. Have a safe trip!

Witmer & Odijk Autservice

Under the slogan "Buy from the man who also does your repairs" we experience how great it is to have a well-oiled services company on a daily basis. Making cars ready for delivery, if necessary with a guarantee and performing maintenance are all part of high-quality car sales. Cars we have not sold ourselves are also welcome for repairs and maintenance. Please contact Michaël, our garage manager to make an appointment.

Before putting the cars in our showroom, they are thoroughly cleaned, polished or restyled in our car wash area. But not made overly shiny using any rubbish from an aerosol. You are often told that stone chipping and kerb damage are part of used cars. We beg to differ. We remove them before selling or delivering a car. We want to hand over cars with pride and therefore they leave the showroom even more beautifully.

The faces you will see in Warmond every Saturday. Mr Odijk senior helps out a lot. On Saturdays he is our host in Warmond. Knows more about serving great coffee than about cars. A great division of tasks. We hope to continue our business this way for a long time.

We look forward to seeing you in Warmond,