My Other Life with Gertjan Bartlema

PM360 recently spoke to Gertjan Bartlema, Vice President Information Knowledge Utilization at Celgene Corporation, about his love of classic cars.

Gertjan Bartlema with his completely redone 1983 Land Rover Defender

PM360: Tell us about how you first got into classic cars.

Gertjan Bartlema: The first time I got into a classic car was the first time I went to Switzerland, which was as a student. I just got infected with an appreciation for them. I enjoy driving the older cars, and I currently have two of them. If I had a larger garage space—and was a better negotiator with my wife—I might have more.

What two classic cars do you have?

I got a 1963 Porsche 356B in the late ’90s when I went to the U.S. It is one of the last versions before they launched the famous 911’s. During my time in California, I used that car as my daily driver, and what I love about it is that it’s so back to basics. You can feel everything that happens in the car from the engine to the steering. I also like how you can recognize the lineage of the brand from one built 50 years ago to one that just came off the belt in Germany. The quality is lasting, and the design has proven to be timeless. If you want to have convenience and the latest features, you go with a recent one, though if you want to have a legacy rooted in tradition, then you go back to the early ones and enjoy the pure sound and feeling of a Porsche. So, I stuck to the early ones.

What about the other classic you own?

I recently got a 1983 Land Rover Defender. It’s completely redone, so it has the historical design combined with today’s reliance and mechanical quality. The car is just iconic. It’s one of the first real SUVs that was ever built. And they stuck to the tradition. The core design of the car didn’t change until the day they stopped production, which was a few years ago.

Why did you choose those two cars?

It’s the legacy. With the classic Porsche, you’re going back to one of the first sports cars. With the Land Rover, it was the first SUV, built just after World War II.

If you could get another car, which one would you most like to have?

The most iconic car on my bucket list is an early ’70s Porsche 911 Targa. The good ones are hard to come by, and that would probably require a “divorce or not” discussion with my wife. [Laughs] In reality, if I wanted to get another car, it would probably have to be a tradeoff in which I get rid of one of the others first.

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