Names Roel and Rogé Pollen
Ages 38 and 43
First classics Opel Kadett estate and coupé
Dream classic Ferrari F40
Daily drivers VW Passat and Volvo 850R estates
Best trip 2010 Le Mans Classic
DOUBLE DUTCH SUPERSALOON
I’ve been mad about cars since my childhood, and infected my older brother Rogé along the way. My interest has always been in Italian sports models, particularly Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini. For some reason, I’ve also been drawn towards less well-known makes, including such illustrious names as Monteverdi, Intermeccanica, Iso Rivolta, Bitter and de Tomaso.
For me, the epitome of quirkiness and extraordinary exclusivity has always been the de Tomaso Deauville. This is a passion that started on page 147 of my Cars of 1986 yearbook, and which further increased after reading an article about one in the Dutch car magazine Autovisie in the mid-1990s.
Back in 2001, my brother and I were just starting an internet business together. We didn’t have much cash, but apparently we had enough to buy ourselves a pretty beaten-up charcoal grey Deauville that had been supplied by the firm’s Dutch importer Hessing in #1981
. It was the 22nd-from-last car built, and the highest chassis number to be sold new in The Netherlands.
I found the de Tomaso online, advertised by a dealer in the south of Holland. The very friendly seller was struck by our enormous enthusiasm and so cut us a good deal, including delivery to our home. Or to be more accurate, a barn belonging to our uncle Harry, who had kindly offered to shelter our newly acquired Italian beauty.
We got the car back on the road within weeks, replacing the bare minimum of items – including the timing chain, some gaskets, filters and fluids. We also fitted new tyres and went for occasional drives around the countryside near uncle Harry’s house. We had great fun, even though the car didn’t yet have the Dutch equivalent of an MoT!
In the meantime we’d also met Mat Heffels, who at that time was the owner of the Deauville featured in the magazine article that ignited our passion. Heffels was a writer and publisher, and together we’ve had some great adventures – including visiting the factory in his de Tomaso while he was working on a piece for a Dutch car magazine.
We also organised a couple of now legendary de Tomaso events in Holland in 2003 and 2005. These were attended by some beautiful cars, ranging from all kinds of Panteras to Guaràs and a Longchamp. For our first meeting we even arranged for an ex-Le Mans Group 4 Pantera to be there, the car taking to the Assen TT circuit during the event. Riding shotgun in such a stunning racing car was an unforgettable highlight.
Our de Tomaso was still in bad shape, with dodgy mechanicals and rust eating through the panels. After six years of ownership, though, we had the resources to get it restored. Another Deauville owner, Rob Cornelissen of TR Classics, took on the job. The plan was to perform a “minor intervention” but soon the car was stripped of its paintwork and receiving some very necessary welding. It was at that point that we decided to switch the colour to Rame Metallizzato, a factory hue that we felt suited the Deauville much better!
Since the rebuild, we have driven the car regularly in rallies as well as to the Le Mans Classic, Schloss Dyck Classic Days and various other events in Holland, Germany and Belgium. The trips to Le Mans in particular were great, camping at Maison Blanche alongside de Tomaso fans from all over the world with our Deauville parked next to the tent. Another special moment was the Spa Italia 40th-anniversary celebration of the marque, in which our car was selected for the model line-up display. We have lapped both the Spa and Le Mans circuits several times in the de Tomaso. It’s always a joy to see marshals flabbergasted when such a huge saloon flies through corners with four enthusiastic occupants on board.
After 15 years, we still have the Deauville and have met a lot of nice people thanks to it. Last year, we even got a film of ourselves with it on the website www.cinecars.nl – we never expected to become movie stars when we bought the car!
‘It’s a joy to see marshals flabbergasted when such a huge saloon flies through corners with four occupants’
Clockwise: restored car’s #Rame-Metallizzato
paint gleams in the sunshine; trip to Spa prior to rebuild; the two brothers pose with the Deauville; de Tomaso event at Assen; camping at the Le Mans classic.