The Coolest Car Showrooms in the WorldPrepare yourself for some serious garage envy
Make car buying fun again.
The bleak waiting rooms, the over enthusiastic reception staff, the uninspiring magazines thrown onto a tired looking coffee table – despite the excitement of buying a new car, many showrooms fall short at providing that ‘wow’ factor you would expect.
For many, a new car will be the second biggest purchase of their lives, and by new we don’t mean new new, we mean a used car. According to AA Cars, 74% of consumers bought a used car most recently, meaning the emphasis really is on having the right stock, at the right price.
But let’s not get dragged down by large numbers and buying habits, with the exciting news that car showrooms are able to reopen from June 1st, we are here today to look at the dealers that stick two fingers up to stuffy waiting rooms, showing the world that buying a car should be just as fun as the car itself. Here are six of our favourites, from a towering factory in Italy to a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ showroom in the heart of London.
1. Duke of London – Brentford, London
Amongst a sea of cool places, this one is definitely the bluest. Founder and owner Merlin McCormack’s ideas have been firmly acres outside of the box since Duke of London started in 2014, now with a fresh 51,000 sq ft space in the heart of London to play with, Merlin has well and truly gone all out with his ideas.
Despite housing a mouth-watering selection of cars, from classic Mercs to race-ready Minis, the Brentford space is home to some incredible local businesses. On site and surrounded by a plethora of classic cars is a pizzeria, a gym and even a pub owned by Merlin’s mother, making it a truly unique experience to visit and purchase a car, We commend Merlin for his ability to go completely against the grain, removing all traces of formality to car buying, and instead replacing it with his overwhelming passion for what he does.
Discover more here.
2. Lingotto – Turin, Italy
From pizzerias to piazzas, we now move to Turin, Italy. If you’re a car lover you will already have ‘This is the Self Preservation Society’ chiming in your head just from looking at the photograph above, but if you’re reading this wondering what on earth we are badgering on about, this Fiat factory played a very important role in the original Italian Job film. Welcome to Lingotto.
This incredible structure was built between 1916 and 1923 and was Inspired by the innovative mass production methods developed by Henry Ford in 1913. However, the difference between this Fiat building was the way the vehicles ascended, it was a five-level spiral. After making it to the top, customers were allowed to test the craftsmanship of their new cars on a large oval circuit overlooking the Italian city. This remarkable factory and showroom was operational for a staggering 71 years, producing over 80 different Fiat models and allowing owners to truly get to grips with their new cars the minute they received the keys, not something that usually happens in today’s world! Sadly, like many unique buildings, the Lingotto factory closed in 1981, but has now been given a fresh lease of life as a hotel and shopping centre.
3. Girardo & Co – London
This is that ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ kind of showroom we spoke about earlier – nestled in a wonderful part of England’s capital, Max Girardo has managed to create the ultimate ‘snug’ for any car fan, home to a plethora of frankly ridiculous vehicles from motorsport’s history.
Girardo & Co simply understand the market, they understand trends and are incredibly quick to adapt to them, all whilst showing composure and professionalism with buckets of creativity in everything they do. As well as ultra-rare classic cars, Girardo & Co also specialise in unique vehicles from motorsport history. Just recently the team offered the chance to own the actual Subaru Impreza rally car driven by rally legend Colin McRae, where the team created a stunning short film starring three generations of the McRae family! This creativity and the ability to showcase the vehicles the way they were originally intended has given Girardo & Co a real presence in the online world, and has no doubt lead to some interesting conversations along the way.
“At Girardo & Co I am very passionate that our clients enjoy the experience of buying and selling a motor car, it should always bring a smile to their faces.“
4. C42 Citroen – Paris, France
From a design perspective, Citroen’s C42 showroom on the busy Parisian street is a clear winner in this list. This was the first new building on the Champs-Elysées in more than 30 years and a stunning showcase for one of France’s most iconic and beloved marques. Believe it or not, Citroën have owned this very site since André Citroën set up shop there in the 1920s!
Unveiled in 2007, this towering structure has eight rotating turntables surrounded by mirrors, each with iconic Citroen models from both the past and present. They may not have been the first to showcase vehicles whilst being surrounded by clothing and food shops, but Citroen nailed the wow factor with this showroom, making it far more of an experience rather than a chore. With tourists making up 50% of the ‘traffic’ on the Champs-Elysées, the C42 captivated a truly international audience.
5. SpeedHooked – Finland
Despite not being as well known as some of the others on our list, SpeedHooked certainly makes up for it in the style factor. Finland is renowned for its rally drivers, and his deep affection for all things with four wheels and an engine, and SpeedHooked makes for the perfect hangout spot for enthusiasts to share their passion. Roni Collin and Tomi Salminen are the names behind the venture, and much like Duke of London here in the U.K, these guys are changing our perception of car showrooms for the better. On their large site you’ll find a restaurant, a detailing booth, a sales showroom and best of all – a small area that will hold drift contests. Sweet!
SpeedHooked nailed the overall aesthetic, making a cosy yet industrial space that welcomes all kinds of car enthusiasts, regardless of what you’re into, it’s welcome here. We loved this space so much, we actually look some inspiration from it for our own office here in Cardiff. Thankfully, spaces like this are starting to become more accepted around the world, giving enthusiasts a space to meet up and enjoy each other’s pride and joy. Adding a sales element to SpeedHooked is a stroke of genius, enabling the guys to usher in some incredible cars into their showroom and in turn, drawing in crowds of people, hopefully one with pockets deep enough!
5. Fiskins – The Mews, London
Last but most certainly not least, we arrive back in London to Fiskins, a supplier of some of the most jaw-dropping vehicles we’ve ever seen with an enquire button. From a Le Mans winning LMP1 Audi to a pioneering Bugatti Type 54, Fiskins pride themselves on being “where the best cars come to be sold” – we couldn’t agree more.
The building itself is a real treasure trove, spanning multiple floors you’re left desperate to find out what gem is tucked around each corner, allowing a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, almost as if a friend is showing you around their new home. This ethos has been prominent throughout this article, and it’s wonderful to be able to write about so many businesses that are allowing customers to have fun while purchasing a vehicle, building long lasting relationships along the way. Many customers return to businesses such as Fiskins purely for the experience and enjoyment they received first time round.
“Our belief at Fiskens is that buying and selling old cars should be fun. Owning them should satisfy; driving them should thrill.“