If you frequent Social Media and in particular follow Porsche owners or groups, then Frank Cassidy might well be on your radar. If not, you’ve potentially seen his bright orange 911 RSR tribute at a motoring event or track day.
Before we get to the small matter of 100 acres in the Oxfordshire countryside which is being meticulously crafted into a dedicated Zuffenhaus flavoured, one-stop destination for any Porsche enthusiast, we should tell you about the man who has made this happen.
Talk to Frank
Having previously lived in London, run his own wholesaling business and commuted 35 minutes each way every time he wanted to drive one of his cars, Frank started searching for a way of bringing his passion for Porsche, a need for vehicle storage and a new business venture all together – and Boxengasse is what he is creating.
Bang, smack in the middle
“It was coincidence, we’d seen several sites before falling upon this one, and when viewing the barns they were already full of Porsches! It happened to belong to an AutoFarm customer, and they were using it for long term customer storage.”
Frank felt it would fit the bill and so did Porsche specialist workshop AutoFarm, as they have become the first residents of Boxengasse in bespoke workshops next door. “Oxford was the perfect location as it’s so accessible from all parts of the country. I want this to be somewhere everyone can get to.”
Bug in the beginning
We head out to the carpark to check out my Porsche 944; he’s got sets of wheels worth more, but Frank is very complimentary and even hints he might dabble in a transaxle car in the future. I explain my philosophy of buying something I’m not scared to use, and my host is on the same page. “It’s about creating memories. At the end of the day all we’re left with is our memories, don’t let them be of a car parked in a garage gathering dust.”
Frank recalls how his first car was a ’57 Oval. Not a bad ride to start out in, eh?! He messed around with it, of course, with various bolt on Beetle parts, eventually selling it and jumping into a cheap 964 he picked up for £8k about 15 years ago. “Sadly the 964 wasn’t a good one and I had to move it on as I couldn’t afford to fix it. I bought a better one a year later, and I still have that.” (It wasn’t at the unit when we visited unfortunately).
I quiz Frank about what he would buy next, given an unlimited budget. “Something old, with high mileage – the more knackered the better,” he tells me. His response surprises me at first, but his justification is spot on “Low mileage original cars have their place, I own some. However a high mileage, knackered car is a blank canvas. It’s a license to create something truly personal to me, and to create great driving memories with.”
Back in black
The 55 Oval you see here is an import from California. Running a 2276cc engine, rolling on detailed Fuchs, with a beautiful period interior, this bug ticks the boxes for many – and Frank hands me the keys.
I question whether Frank would buy anymore VWs, but he responds in the negative “I might put this up for sale actually” it’s pretty clear his main focus is now well and truly on the Stuttgart marque.
Black Betty & Co
Black Betty is the name of Frank’s second 964, and the lead name for his collection: and what a magnificent collection it is, spanning all aircooled Porsche models from 356 up to Moby his 993 (another which was away getting work done – check his Instagram though, it’s a monster!) Most ‘infamous’ perhaps is Memphis, his bright orange RSR hot rod. Running a 4-litre engine with more bells and whistles than I could possibly recall it sings to the tune of 385hp through un-silenced megaphones, rolls on semi slicks and tucks 9 and 11J rims under those widened arches.
Belt up for the joy ride
We finish our shots in the unit, then head out down the road to enjoy the sunshine and the rural landscape. I try my luck and ask Frank if he’ll take me for a spin in Memphis while we are out. He’s only too happy to oblige…I climb into the houndstooth Recaro bucket seat and negotiate the 4 point Saebelt harness. Frank fires her up, and I decide to tighten the belt a little more. With the soundtrack akin to an old war plane we swiftly leave Lee our photographer on the bridge, there’s pops and bangs – this is a race car with carpet really!
Once warm, we can begin
Frank has previously told me his cars are about creating memories, and this one will stay with me for a long time to come. We blast past the mundane modern traffic like some kind of missile. Frank’s clearly not even trying to go fast “my wife hates this car,” he tells me before stamping on the loud pedal and letting 415Nm torque out the box. Driving a Porsche to me is more than just about going fast, but this is seriously quick!
Rock or Roll
With a vinyl soundtrack of prog. rock playing in the background, surrounded by mid-century furniture and sat in his favourite Eames chair, Frank opens up to me about the stresses that the Boxengasse project have put upon him and his personal life. “A few years ago I was on an alpine tour in a 964 and I lost my brakes on the way down… I had to choose between a cliff edge or a rock face to stop me. I chose the rock, but the car crumpled around me and I had to climb out the driver’s window. I was lucky to be alive. This really put some stuff into perspective and made me reflect on the amount of time I devoted to working, and in turn offered to my family. The balance has certainly changed in their favour now…”
Excited by what he has already created, I ask Frank the obvious, what’s next. “I’m probably a third of the way through building Boxengasse, with more bespoke spaces being built for servicing and hospitality. At this moment, that’s all I can say, as much as I’d love to tell all…”
We leave certain there is a carefully crafted masterplan in his head. Frank is a clever guy, and is clearly putting in the time to ensure Boxengasse gets over the finish line, and hopefully scores a podium too.
Got a hint of fuel in your veins and want to check out Boxengasse for yourself? Pop Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th August in the diary as Frank is putting on a three-part Classic Porsche event and will for sure have his collection on display.
A huge thanks to Frank for letting us check out his collection and spending a few hours talking cars with us. We look forward to catching up again. See you in August.