The first time I visited Jonas Zambakides at JZM Porsche in Hertfordshire, I had just come from Autofarm. “How’s Josh?” asked Jonas. “He’s talking about selling the business,” I said. “He’s been saying that since I met him twenty years ago,” laughed Jonas. I could not disagree.
Autofarm is not too far from Ferdinand Towers, so I get down there every so often. On my last visit, a deal to buy the business was in progress – chatting with the buyers was interesting and the contracts have now been exchanged. Porsche 911 RS Carrera guru, Josh Sadler, has sold his Autofarm business to long-time employees: Mikey Wastie and Steve Wood.
Autofarm under New Management
It’s hard to imagine Autofarm without Sadler’s extensive understanding of the 2.7 RS close at hand. Originally founded at the same time as the RS was released, Sadler’s Autofarm became synonymous with the passage of RS Carreras from old homes to new. His famous little black book has more chassis numbers than a Porsche Museum catalogue, and it seems Sadler is not finished collecting them yet.
The new owners have split the business responsibilities, with Mikey running engines, projects and restoration, while former Carrera cup pilot and keen racer Steve will manage the service and storage sides. Sadler stays on in a heritage capacity: there is no better word to describe his core skills in the business of Porsche.
“Stepping back from the day-to-day running allows me to focus on car sales and heritage. As 911 values have risen, provenance has become increasingly important and investors are seeking perfect, correct specification cars. With Autofarm’s expertise and history, we can really help customers,” says Josh.
I don’t claim to know anything about the Carrera RS, but I’ve spent a great deal of time with RS people. Some supposed experts were all smoke and mirrors, and some who I assumed would be largely nonplussed on the subject of Carrera RS and early Porsche race cars like the ST or T/R knew much more than they thought. No doubt Sadler can comfortably hold his own in any RS discussion: I’m glad he will still be around.
Despite his annoyingly youthful appearance, Mikey Wastie’s served a valuable apprenticeship under Sadler, so is not short on knowledge. The company has managed some interesting restoration projects over the last few years, and the new owners will open the doors slightly wider, to bring in a few more modern Porsches. Autofarm will have quite a different flavour with new hands on the tiller: I’m excited for the business – it might need a bigger car park.