Buckle up for this one.
Porsche has made a name for itself for producing some of Europe's most iconic sports and racing cars. This incredible legacy was built off the backs of win after win in the automotive world both on the track and in the showroom. Of course, with that came a cult-like following with automotive enthusiasts from all around the world who hunger to get their hands on their very own Porsche. Tuners began popping up left and right looking for an in, a way to solidify their name with that of Porsche’s and profit as such. This is essentially the origins of Gemballa.
It all started with the Porsche Racing Team. The iconic round headlights that we all know and love today are what makes Porsche unique but in the world of racing they caused a pretty big problem, they were terrible for aerodynamics. To fix this issue Porsche began modifying their race cars to have slanted noses which were technically legal as the headlights were considered pieces of the fenders. This caused fans to go crazy for the opportunity to have a slant-nose Porsche of their own and many tuners were happy to give that to them. Possibly the most memorable of these was Gemballa, a Porsche tuner company that began recreating these beautiful racing vehicles.
Eventually, the popular style shifted from racing-inspired aerodynamics to luxurious sporty Porsches that would serve as a status symbol. Gemballa had found their niche, they fit perfectly with this new focus on luxury. This brings us to the man, the myth, the legend himself, Uwe Gemballa. Gumball's company had been in a state of decline since the financial crash of 2008 and was desperate for anything that might bring his pride and joy back from its dark path. Unfortunately, this desperation may have also led Uwe to a dark path of his own, eventually finding his end with a bullet in his head. Gemballa’s death was linked to a lot of illegal activity with money smuggling being the final straw that broke the camel's back.
Remember how we said that Gemballa was desperate? Well, desperation leads people to do stupid things and after having received a call from a potential investor (Jerome Saphire) flew to South Africa to discuss business dealings where he was kidnapped and murdered. Four suspects were implicated, one of which confessed and implicated a mob boss by the name of Radovan Krejcir. After it was found that there was insufficient evidence Krecir was let off and is now serving time for an unrelated case.
Jerome Sapphire was the alias given to Gemballa for the potential investor and it was later found that his real name was Jerome Safi (very original). He implicated Krejcir as well after receiving death threats on his behalf. According to one of Krejcir’s former business associates, Juan Meyer stated that Gemballa had agreed to allow Krejcir to smuggle copious amounts of money to South Africa inside the Gemballa cars.
Supposedly after having made this agreement, a Porsche Cayenne that was supposed to arrive in South Africa with 1,000,000 euros but when it got there it was empty. This was displeasing to the aforementioned mob boss and allegedly he ordered to have Gemballa killed. So ends the story of Uwe Gemballa.
After his tragic death in 2010 Gemballa (the company) began operating under new leadership and eventually ended up trying to erase any trace of the former owner and founder and his connection with the company. This extended as far as to sue Gemballa’s son when he began building cars of his own because he presented himself as continuing the legacy of his dad. Today Marc Philipp Gemballa is currently working to produce cars that will continue to showcase the Gemballa family name for years to come.
We have no idea why someone hasn't made a movie about this, but here's a video talking about it: