Uwe Gemballa, CEO of Gemballa Automobiletechnik, famed tuner of Porsche sports cars, was found murdered in Pretoria, South Africa at the weekend.
Mr Gemballa was found murdered in the style of an execution, with his hands tied behind his back and a bullet wound in the back of the head. He was reportedly in South Africa on business looking to close a deal which would see his cars being sold in the region.
According to South African newspaper Times Live, a former business associate of Czech billionaire Radovan Krej-cir, gold refiner Juan Meyer, the owner of Pan African Refineries, said he was not surprised by Gemballa’s death. “I was expecting he would be found dead. With the powerful people involved in this thing, I don’t think anyone thought he would still be alive.”
Mr Gemballa’s company, Gemballa Automobiletechnik was known for creating fully customisable Porsche sports cars to order, as well as off the shelf ‘Gemballa’ badged offerings, including the ‘Mirage GT’ based on the Carrera GT supercar and ‘Avalanche’ based on the 997 Carrera (*1). Gemballa have also developed a reputation for their lavish interior trimming, which is considered some of the best craftsmanship in the business.
We brought you news of Mr Gemballa’s dissappearance back in February however local authorities in South Africa had not considered the possibility that his life may be in danger due to lack of evidence, suggesting this was a missing person’s case.With the powerful people involved in this thing, I don’t think anyone thought he would still be alive.
Interestingly, Mr Gemballa’s dissapearance in February neatly coincided with reports of money laundering, tax evasion and rumours of factory closure as the German government looked to prove that the company had not been forthcoming in their earnings, and were being investigated for tax fraud. (*2/3)
Whilst it is still an open case and the rumours will divide opinion about the reasons of Mr Gemballa’s untimely demise, we would rather remember his legacy of beautiful conversions on beautiful cars, with hyper-car performance and stunning, cosseting interiors the trademark that won his company the Auto, Motor und Sports ‘No. 1 Porsche Tuner’ crown (*1).