PHOTOGRAPHY & WORDS: Tom Horna
Welcome to CarCave, probably the most exclusive ‘car cave’ in Belgium. Founded by Roel Geraerts based on a very simple yet significant principle… honesty and quality.
‘CarCave’ was born out of Roel’s private collection which grew into what is now a home to some of the most sought-after and rare classic and sports cars which are being bought and sold internationally. Its home is an ex-warehouse with not a single window in it and walking in gives a distinct ‘cave’ feel which led Roel to call his business CarCave. What a great name for a car business…
It is obvious that selling cars is the main purpose of the business but it is so much more than that. CarCave offers an array of services like servicing, storage or transportation but my favourite bit is that you are not just buying a car there, you become part of the family…
I could talk endlessly about Roel and his business but he is the best person to explain what CarCave really is… All I will say that this is where you want to buy your classics!
What is CarCave.be?
CarCave is a full circle stop for every petrolhead, enthusiast, investor, father-and-son etc…. We try to have an answer to every request about our common hobby with the main life support of CarCave being sales, service, and storage.
How did it all start?
Out of necessity… Between my projects, I was looking for a bigger facility to store and work on my own cars with my mechanic Pieter. I also wanted to create an honest, real, and perhaps bit naive place for my friends to talk cars. The hobby grew… Then our salesperson, Werner joined and we started buying and selling to our circle of friends. We went full force from then on.
Who are your clients?
Because we stock cheap, mid-range and high-end cars we have the whole spectrum of buyers but mostly the 40s and up. We sell about 50% abroad including states and the whole of Europe and we go as far as Singapore. High-end cars bring some celebrity customers or famous collectors too.
What are the 3 most important things to run your business?
The main thing is to be financially sound as it is in every business. Otherwise one should keep it a hobby. To reach these goals you can think either short or long term. We think long-term. To be financially sound and to be a happy business owner we choose to be honest and to prioritise quality with every decision we make. Then those decisions are easy to make. As much as we’re all passionate here, we don’t let passion or emotions take over whilst making our decisions. Yes, both are definitely a big part of our business but number crunching makes the ultimate 10% difference in success or failure.
You’ve mentioned that not all the credit goes to you and your success is down to a teamwork. Who else makes the CarCave the success it is now?
Werner: Sales, down to earth, has gone through the treadmill over and over and has a little demon on his shoulder to keep us away from any bullsh*t.
Pieter: Golden head, hands, and youth. Our head mechanic that keeps the fire going through his problem foreseeing and solving. He sees the potential issues which nobody else would notice and that’s where our profit is.
Geert: Architect by day and our photographer by night. Overlooks our visuals and style and photographs our product absolutely beautifully.
Simon: Takes care of our online marketing
Myself: I try and keep the communication going between our little group but mainly bitch-moan and complain.
CarCave is not just a garage, it is also a social hub. Tell us more about it?
We run ‘CarCafe’ every 3rd Thursday of the month. Open to the public until the last beer or wine is poured. Apart from ‘CarCafe’ we have 2-3 other events every month ranging from private bankers events to classic car clubs that stop by for a visit. This is our way to attract our customers to us instead of taking part in car shows or events. Naturally, we are also heavily active on social media.
How many cars do you have in stock on average?
We stock in a region of 40-50 quality cars which are updated and changed regularly, making sure that we’ve got a good mix of affordable as well as rare and high-end cars.
Do you own any classic car/cars yourself?
Yes, I love my classics and this is how it all started for me… from my own collection. All my cars are special to me. I own some Italian exotics – Ferrari Daytona, Lamborghini Countach, Ferrari Testarossa other Italians are three Alfa Romeo cars – Junior, Giulia and Zagato as well as my Lancia Fulvia. I also own Dodge Viper, Opel 400 and a Porsche 930 Turbo.
What was your first classic car and what would be your ultimate car to add to your amazing collection?
My first classic car was a Ferrari Daytona and the dream car is Ferrari 250 Lusso.
What’s is the one car that you sold and later regretted it?
I regret selling my First Countach…
Final question… Where do you see CarCave in 10 years time?
I see me back as a hobbyist and collector whilst my team are running the show. Being the owner of a business that runs without much involvement would be my dream.