Cars are their great shared passion: son Roman and father Hans Küng not only have a lot to do with vehicles in their professional lives, but they also enjoy getting behind the wheel themselves.
The hoods of the cars are polished and the ceiling lights are reflected in them. The curved shapes and well-groomed appearance are sure to make the hearts of classic car lovers beat faster. The tops of the convertibles are lowered, which makes them look even sleeker.
Next to one of the two cars, the silver Porsche with the number 130 on the hood, stands Hans Küng in a white racing suit, looking inside the vehicle to make sure everything fits. In just a week he will be driving the Steckborn Memorial Hill Climb with his son Roman Küng. Since the introduction of this memorial race in 2007, the two have taken part in this and similar races once or twice a year. “At 90, I’m probably the oldest participant this year,” says Hans Küng.
He is particularly pleased that he can attend this event with his son. "It's nice to share something like that," he says, adding with a smile at his son as he casually leans against a vehicle: "Of course Roman drives faster than me." The pace itself doesn't matter in this race, it's primarily a fun event.
65 years in the automotive industry
The Küngs have a lot to do with cars at work, so taking part in a classic car race is a logical step. 65 years ago, Hans Küng opened a garage in Neuägeri, which is now run by his sons Hans and Roman. Vehicles have always fascinated Hans Küng. When he and his family drove cattle over a pass as a child, his brother Ruedi was enthusiastic about the cows, while he himself only had eyes for the vehicles. “The gurgling of the engines and the power,” he says. In the early days, the car was still a rare commodity and reserved for a few drivers.
Roman and Hans Küng will take part in the Steckborn-Eichölzli race as a dynamic father-son team.
Roman and Hans Küng from Garage Auto Küng are taking part in the famous Steckborn-Eichhölzli mountain race in mid-September. Photos: Matthias Jurt
Opening a garage was a dream come true for him. “And I was lucky, we always had a good time,” he says. “Things have been steadily improving,” agrees Roman Küng. It was always clear to him that he wanted to take over his father's business one day. “I grew up with cars and from an early age I was impressed by the speed and the noise of the engines.”
They share an enthusiasm for vehicles
It’s the fascination for the vehicles that will draw father and son to Steckborn in Thurgau on September 23rd and 24th. More participants than ever have registered for the winding route this year, with 345 vehicles at the start.
“The atmosphere there is special, all the drivers share a passion for classic cars. “Which is why it’s easy to get into conversation and make friends,” says Roman Küng. “The solidarity is great. “When a thunderstorm hit one year, the people of Steckborn cleared out their garages so that the classic cars wouldn’t be damaged,” adds his father.
No special preparation is required for the race, but you have to be prepared to tackle technical problems. “The cars are old and even if you keep them in good condition, complications can arise,” says Roman Küng from Zug. But as most people have a flair for tinkering with these vehicles, there’s always someone who has advice and the right tools.
There are normally no accidents. “That used to be a problem in the real races,” remembers Hans Küng. The 90-year-old not only drives himself, but also attended the big races and shook the drivers' hands. “That certainly strengthened my fascination. The racing drivers weren't aloof, but were always ready for a conversation and gave advice."
Hans Küng will certainly have good advice for the other participants next weekend when it ‘s one again: "On your marks, steady, Steckborn!"