Maxted-Page & Prill
In 2001, Lee Maxted-Page set up his own company, Maxted-Page Limited, concentrating on the sale of high-end cars like front-engined Ferraris, Ford GT40s, early 911s and other exceptional sports and racing cars.
Gradually, the Porsche side took over: in 2005, he met 356 specialist Andy Prill, and the two set up a separate engineering company, Maxted-Page & Prill Ltd. They have subsequently acquired a reputation as two of the foremost individuals dealing in and working on historic early Porsches.
Lee sources cars, often involving an intensive search to verify authenticity and provenance for the kind of clients who look not only to invest in these cars, but also participate in historic events like the Tour Auto and Le Mans Classic. Porsches prepared and run by Maxted-Page & Prill Ltd have won the Le Mans index of performance twice and the Tour Auto three times.
Lee says, “I have a car sales background working with people like Alan Day, Jack Barclay and P&A Wood, the Rolls-Royce and Bentley specialist. Eventually, I decided to set up and
run my own business, so I found farm premises here in rural Essex. I didn’t want to get into competition with my previous employers, and I loved Porsches – I was driving a 993 at the time, so I concentrated largely on historic sports cars.”
Ho continues, “I got to know Andy Prill, who also lives locally and had clients in common. He now manages the workshop business, and I run the sales company. We have a small team of engineers who are highly skilled in service, restoration and race preparation of historic Porsches, and together we offer advice on all aspects of buying, selling and maintaining historic Porsches.”
For his part, Prill has been a Porsche enthusiast for over 25 years. “I was racing motorcyles when a pal started doing historic rallies in a 1937 Triumph Dolomite. I used to go along as a mechanic, and it was at one of these events that I saw a beautifully restored 912. The owner let me have a proper look at it, and I was really taken by the quality of the engineering. I loved the way Porsche seemed to achieve more with less.”
After that, it was a matter of time before Prill, whose background is in mechanical engineering, would become involved full-time with classic Porsches. His ethos has always been to provide a service for older Porsches in the way they would have been maintained in the period. Over the years, this has meant considerable effort and research to get methodology and detail right. His words have the conviction of the true enthusiast.
“If I’m reading up on something until after midnight, then that’s because I insist on being absolutely accurate: you never stop learning. We repainted the Mila Schön RSR, but it took a lot of background work to get the details of that design exactly right; you can’t necessarily add this to the customer’s invoice. Yet it’s become even more important since the prices of these cars have gone up so much. You have to maintain their originality, and therefore intrinsic value.
“We look after a lot of classic Porsche racers and prepare them for competition. Modern regulations mean they have to have fire extinguishers for which often they have no provision. But instead of just drilling a hole in the floorpan as many companies would, we look around for a suitable factory hole such as the bolt holding the seat frame. Then we make a bracket in the Porsche style and install the extinguisher that way. It’s all removable, and the car’s originality is not touched.”
He points out that a lot of MP&P’s work involves correcting the sometimes sloppy work carried out by previous modifiers, or simply finding original parts to complete a car. He cites an RS 61 in his care that had its headlights removed at some point during its racing career. These must have been lost, for they have been replaced by working but entirely wrong aftermarket items. “It simply devalues the car to have those,” says Prill, “so I will source originals. It may take a year – patience is essential in this business – but I’ll find some.”
He tells the story of one owner who arrived with a slipping clutch on his 993 Targa. “It was so worn I could hardly drive it. Yet when we looked inside this 993 we found an inch-thick folder of invoices, including a recent large bill from a London independent. When we took off the underside panels there was a dried-out rat’s nest that had obviously been there for ages. One of the spark plugs – the one that’s awkward to get at – can’t have come out since the time the car left the dealer network ten years ago!
Another fellow turned up here with a 912. He’d driven all the way from Dublin on two cylinders – we could hear him coming! That’s the thing with old Porsches: they can still run on indifferent or no maintenance, but it’s a disaster for the car. We try to make our labour rates reasonable, because we really want owners to keep their Porsches correctly – not to line our pockets, but to protect the value of their cars. A lot of owners have come to us because they have been disillusioned by the treatment they received from other specialists.
We’ve spent a lot of time undoing bodgery and restoring cars correctly.”
Prill believes that one of the biggest threats to the market today comes from plausible vehicles with assumed identities, which although often beautifully presented, are not what they purport to be. It underlines his point that thorough research into authenticity is now vital, given that many historic early Porsches are trading for well over €1 million (£800,000).
• Owner: Lee Maxted-Page
• Founded: 2001
• Location: Essex, UK
• Rarest 911 sold: 964 Carrera 4 lightweight
• Most common 911 sold: 911S
• Most expensive 911 sold: 3.0 RSR
• Interesting fact about the business: Among other celebrity-owned Porsches in its care, Maxted-Page looks after Stirling Moss’s RS 61, the car in which Moss, at the age of 82, finally retired from competitive racing in 2011.
• Website: www.maxted-page.com,
• Telephone: +44 (0)1787 477749
There are also the legitimate competitive pressures to consider, as Prill says some clients think the workshop is too slow: “Some work simply takes time to do properly. It’s a question of attitude: you can’t reassemble a four-cam Carrera engine with all those roller bearings just like that; for other work, correct parts have to be sourced.”
Word gets around though, and more than once MP&P has been asked to help out Porsche Classic – something of a badge of honour, and the Porsche museum director’s favourite exhibit is a 911 TR restored by MP&P. You don’t, after all, manage a workshop – with a dozen historic Porsches ranging from a Group C 956 to three 904s, a 911S, RSR and a 1955 Speedster rolling through the door during our visit – without creating a certain reputation. But reputation or not, MP&P will go on burning the midnight oil, because as Porsche says of racing, preparation is everything.
Maxted page & Prill are recognised as one of the world’s leading historic 911 specialists. You can read more about their work in restoring the Mila Schön 3.0-litre RSR in issue 119 of Total 911 magazine, available to buy in print or via digital download now.