Cars People

A Love Letter to a Ferrari

extracted from Gstaad Insider’s Book 2nd edition 2021 copyrighted material © Farrol Kahn

A love letter to a car? You must be kidding but Beat Imwinkelried did just that. His 250 GT Lusso Ferrari is the sleekest, suavest of all Ferraris with those wide-rimmed, deeply dished, wire-spoke Borranis adding raciness to the smooth, unadorned curves. A beautiful work of art and the car of his soul. 

“When I was young man, I was unemotional about cars,”said Beat, an entrepeneur and one of the major figures in the Swiss motor industry. ”Then in 2015, I caught the Ferrari virus. Driving a high-tech sports car is an awesome experience because you can change gears at lighting speeds. This is due to integration of the F1 into super sports cars like Ferrari. One of the nicest trips I did was to introduce the car to my son Jan. We made a tour from Basel to Gstaad and over the Swiss Alps back to Basel. One of these father-son trips is something the Italians call emozioni famiglia. We left Basel early in the morning and this would be my first long distance drive in the 250 GT Lusso. The weather was marvellous and the engine sounded magnificent with the windows down. We left the highway in Thun and drove through the Simmental. The sounds of the V12 engine echoed off those trees. Despite its elegance, the Lusso seemed like a wild animal that had slipped its leash.This Lusso begs to be used because that is what keeps old Ferraris – indeed, all old cars – fit and healthy. “

Beat Imwinkelried is the king of classic and super sports cars in Switzerland. His domain stretches form Basel to Zurich and Gstaad. It includes B.I. Collection AG – an exclusive Ferrari dealership in Zurich and Pichler AG in Gstaad, an institution for storage for classic and super sports cars with 275 spaces as well as their maintenance and restoration. In addition, he is president of the board of 10 companies with fleet of 17,000 vehicles on leasing in Basel.

The headquarters of B.I. Collection at Urdorf, Zurich consists of three floors. At the top are the models for sale where the price is ascertained by advertised positions on Autoscout24, but also by the number of kilometres. At the mezzanine level is the fabulous exhibition of Ferraris from different eras. There is also a surprise in store. Three models are not in the traditional red but in a bright yellow – “Enzo”, “LaFerrari” and “F50!

“The lounge on the second floor is the meeting place for car lovers,”said Beat, an affable and stylish man.”It has leather armchairs and sofas so that like-minded people can exchange ideas, talk shop or even configure cars for hours together according to their own wishes, while the delivery service brings pizza. It’s a place where they can go from Ferrari fan to Ferrari owner.”

Beat’s father Josef grew up in a village of Ulrichen, Canton Valais and gained his matura at the gymnasium Spirito Sanctus in Brig. Beat grew up near Basel and studied mechanical engineering at the renowned research university ETH in Zurich. This was followed by an MBA at IMD (1996). His first job was at ABB Power Generation where he was Vice President of Sales (1997-2000). This was followed by several other positions including chairman of AIL Structured Finance AG (2002 to present).

“When I reflect on my  30-year career in the motor industry career, the proudest moment was when I bought Pichler,”he said.”Erich and Othmar have established a treasure house of classic and sports cars in Europe and I’m pleased to say that both are still working with my operating team in Feutersoey.”

When buying a Ferrari one should bear in mind Beat’s advice. “The car design and exterior colour need to be attractive as you want your new partner to be. You need to like the general appearance which is similar to going on a first date. When you start the engine with high expectations, this would be like the first time you have sex. Either it is exciting and you want more or it leaves you lukewarm and you try another car.  In the case of  250 GT Lusso, it was love at first sight.*

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