Start-up companies have already started to boom in this generation along with young entrepreneurs entering the world of business. A lot of young people have been up and about starting their own careers and businesses by pursuing their passion - and success came after that. As they say, start them young. But there have always been success stories prior to this generation that have all started out with a young mind at work. And that's how Uwe Gemballa enters the scene. Back in 1981 in Leonberg, Germany, young entrepreneur Uwe Gemballa started his tuning company which was also named after him.
Gemballa was one of the first tuning companies that offered eccentric exterior styling. They were widely known for their trademark body kits and side strakes as well as out-of-this-world modifications with the wheels, seats, audio systems and paint. Gemballa became a household name in the tuning industry and has earned the respect and patronage of automakers such as Porsche, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
The company continued to grow in popularity in the 1990s and even until the 21st century. Gemballa were already known for modifying cars but became even more popular because one of their projects was one of the Nurburgring lap record holders (until it was taken by a Porsche Carrera GT).
The company was going well until tragedy struck in 2010 when its founder, Uwe Gemballa disappeared during a business trip to South Africa. He was later found dead wrapped in plastic and buried in a shallow grave along a highway several months later. Gemballa has been a prominent figure in the world of automotive and is still doing business today but the loss of its founder is still being felt up to this day.
One of Gemballa's most remarkable projects was a BMW 635CSi. It features yellow paint and a quirky interior, the standard Gemballa look. The BMW 635CSi was fitted with four fully adjustable Recaro seats, a TV installed on its dashboard and to its right, a high-end stereo. It had nine-inch front wheels while 13-inch wheels were installed at the rear.
It also had four flame-spitting exhausts at the back. Furthermore, shorter springs and stiffer shock absorbers were also added. All that came with a price of 240,000 Deutsche Marks or around $160,000 today.
Gemballa had a few interesting patrons and one of them was a buyer from the United Arab Emirates. It is told that the BMW 635CSi was bought by the said UAE buyer in 1985 and not much has been seen of the car not until 2003, when the US Army discovered it in Iraq.
As said earlier, Gemballa-designed vehicles are the apple of the eye for some interesting personalities and so it is not much of a shock to know where this vehicle had gone. It was found by US military in none other than in the palace residence of Uday Hussein, son of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
The 635CSi was not in mint condition when the military found it - it had a badly beaten up interior and body but no major damage and certainly nothing that can’t be fixed up. From the looks of it, it could be easily restored to its good old glory days. However, the 635CSi hasn't been seen after it was found in Uday Hussein's residence. There are speculations that the vehicle was confiscated along with the other Hussein loot.
It's too bad that the BMW 635CSi has not been seen after being found in Iraq. It would've been a great collector's item, sought after by brand enthusiasts. The 635CSi could've been very much appreciated if it had landed on the hands of the right owners.