Belgium has had a long love affair with Porsche.
Soon after WW2, Pierre D’Ieteren of the famous coachbuilding family went to Stuttgart and was appointed as a Porsche importer from 1950, having had a contract to bring in Volkswagen vehicles since 1948.
Then, after his father died in a car crash in 1975, Roland D’Ieteren really succeeded in making the marque popular in Belgium.
He sold 911s in big numbers for a relatively small country, and today the density of Porsches per square mile is higher than in any other European country.
Nevertheless, finding a large Porsche parts specialist in north Charleroi, hidden away in the rural region of Wallonia, still comes as a surprise.
It’s not exactly a remote spot on a road map, but it’s far enough away from the main tourist destinations to preserve its quiet charm.
In the small neighbourhood of Petit-Roeulx-lez-Nivelles, a suburb of Seneffe (population 11,000), a derelict Porsche 911 sits forlornly outside a modern brick building that echoes the style of a traditional farm.
Open the doors and you’ll find yourself snaking between Porsches of all ages and conditions, and after a while eventually stumble across somebody delving into a pile of old conrods.
Owner Vincent Laudisoit has an office on the first floor, but is happy to leave it to give a guided tour around his fascinating collection, which ranges from complete cars and working engines to the tiniest dismantled part.
There are tonnes of electrical wiring, mirrors, steering wheels, wings, bonnets, gearboxes, dashboards, seats, instruments, doors, cylinder blocks, windows, sets of Fuchs wheels, all manner of lights and everything else you’d need to restore a 911 from the air-cooled era, regardless of year or model.
Vincent is a self-declared flat-six enthusiast – as his work van and personal car demonstrate, bearing the special numberplates VL FLAT and FLAT 6.
“I started my Porsche-only parts shop in 2016, but I’ve been working as a mechanic since I was 15 and had the chance to buy my first Porsche aged 18,” he explains.
As the business expands overseas with the help of the internet, Vincent has recently expanded into the 996 water-cooled generation, too.
Despite increasing EU regulation, he believes there is a bright future for the parts market, with Porsche 911s ticking all the boxes as part of the 20th century’s cultural heritage.
By tracking down derelict or crashed 911s around the world, Vincent is helping enthusiasts to restore their own Porsches to original condition on a sensible budget.
Inside his 2000m2 facility – with a further 10,000m2 available outdoors – is an ever-changing stock of 60 cars, ranging from fair driving condition to hopeless cases.
Among the models to be found during our visit were a rare Grand Prix White Ruf 911 and a mint 1973 911E 2.4, which Vincent has helped a customer to restore.
The most expensive car Vincent has sold was a 911 needing restoration at €150,000, but the starting point for projects is around €12,000 – about what you’ll need to pay to purchase a complete engine, plus €5000 more to get it to top condition.
A straight 1995 993 Cabriolet, with a good body and full leather interior, is currently available for €28,000; this engineless car was a flood victim in Luxembourg.
A high percentage of the shells are targas, in particular among the lost causes.
Many show the curious beauty of rust, and even the wrecks betray the quality of Porsche construction.
Owners searching for that particular missing part are advised to call before dropping in, because Vincent is often away at shows and autojumbles.
Images: Mario Laguna
- Name Vincent Laudisoit
- Address Rue du Marais 3, Petit-Roeulx-lez-Nivelles, 7181 Seneffe, Belgium
- Specialism Used 911 parts
- Staff Four
- Prices From €50 for smaller body parts to €12,000 for rough but complete cars
- Tel 0032 472 33 88 80
- Facebook VL-Porsche parts Belgium
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