Gemballa Automobil Interieur was founded in the late 1970s by Uwe Gemballa from Leonberg, near Stuttgart in Germany. Uwe started with VWs but soon ventured in the world of Porsche. As the companies name suggests, the company's speciality were interiors and that's what they got known for. Gemballa's interiors were among the best, if not THE best available in the 1980s. From Porsches to Mercedes, BMWs and even Rolls-Royces received new interiors. The Gemballa interiors weren't just known for their leather, they usualy had the latest electronic gadgets on board such as digital instruments, TVs and the latest in audio. Gemballa used to work together with hifi-manufacturer Pioneer, Gemballa having created several show/demonstration cars that sported the Pioneer name very prominently.
Except for the interiors Gemballa also did some very impressive complete conversions mainly on Porsche 911 Turbo (930 model) such as the Gemballa Avalanche, Gemballa Cyrrus and Gemballa Mirage, but also on some other cars such as completely modified Mercedes S-classes (SEL and SEC), a widebody 6-series BMW and a redesigned Ferrari Testarossa. To be able to fund the time- and money consuming one-off cars that were built to customer-specifications, Gemballa also had a parts program, mainly for the Porsche 911, 944 and 928 models. These included simple trim upgrades for the interior and new bumpers, spoilers, etc for the exterior.
Five Gemballa Porsche 911 Turbo and Carrera from the early '80s.
The Gemballa workshop in Leonberg, the late 1980s. Gemballa by then had grown bigger and had moved out of his original, much smaller workshop.
Text: copyright Bram Corts 2013