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A life of Car Adventures
My Name is Jamie Orr, and I have built a career as professional car journalist, parts hunter, car importer and builder.
Born in Paisley, Scotland, educated in southern England, I am now based in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, USA.
My true passion is for car things that are a little bit different. Foreign market, rare, hard to find, they usually have something that makes them unique and special. I love the thrill of the hunt, and then also the logistical work that comes after the find. I’m lucky to have built a passion based on some of the world’s most international car brands, which has taken me to dozens of countries spread over four continents, looking for both physical objects, and the people and stories behind them.
If I had to explain my job in one sentence, it might be ‘Traveling the world looking for cars, parts, and adventures’. This has taken to me to five continents, and dozens of countries, including all 48 lower States in the USA, South Africa, Brazil, China, Japan, almost every country in Europe. Lichtenstein and Norway remain elusive, but I did get a car from Greenland..
Here’s some very brief highlights:
- The Citi Golf Challenge: I shipped a 300hp V6 engine from the USA to South Africa, and then fulled rebuilt a VW Mk1 Golf within 7 days with the engine swap. I then drove the car 1,000 miles across SA in 2 days, back to the factory where it was made.
- The Audi Hearse: A 1990 Audi 80 Hearse, that I purchased in a village south of Madrid, Spain. I drove it across Spain, France, Holland, and Germany, with time to do some laps of the infamous Nurburgring race track.
- The Rescue Harlequin: One of the rarest VW Golfs ever ever produced, this car was found in a junkyard in California in poor state. I flew 3,500 miles, with suitcases full of parts and tools, and proceeded to fix it and then drive it 3,500 miles home, all within 5 days.
- The Mexican School Bus: I traveled to Mexico to buy a rare VW Bus, that had been used as a school bus in Mexican City. We were held at gunpoint by the Zeta cartel near the border, until a price was negotiated for us to go free. Even worse? The engine blew up in Arkansas, when we were still 1,000 miles from home.
- The Brazilian VW Fox: A fully modified car, sold new in the USA and modified here by myself – with parts that I flew to Brazil, and later Argentina, to find. The car was later shipped to Europe and toured major VW locations there.
- The EMPI Beetle: A magazine cover car, which lay undiscovered in a Southern California garage with a broken gearbox. I purchased it, and proceeded to replace the transmission in a parking lot – eventually visiting the Volkswagen Parts Distribution HQ for a rare Touareg SUV bolt, that was needed for the final fix. The car was then driven 3,800 miles home to Pennsylvania.
- The Swedish Swallowtail: Driving one of the very first VW Golfs ever produced, across the bridge from Sweden to Denmark, and then across the Autobahns of Germany to an event in Holland. The car was then exported to the USA, where the new owner collected it with his family.
- The Corrado Prototypes: I was hired by the owner of the only two Corrado Magnum prototypes in the world, to research and export them from Europe to the USA. They remain in mint condition to this day.
- USA to Worthersee: In 2016 I shipped a fully restored VW Golf from the USA to Germany to attend the world’s biggest VW gathering. In 2017 I lead a group of 11 enthusiasts in 4 cars. In 2018 we will return with 14 people and 8 cars; 5 from the USA and one from South Africa. This trip continues to be practically unique.
- The Museum Honda: The owner of the Acura Motorsport team wanted to add one of the first four wheel Honda vehicles to his private museum, and tasked me with traveling to Germany to inspect, collect, and negotiate on the vehicle, before exporting it to the USA for him. The adventure started when the vehicles wasn’t as described..
Jamie talks projects with Jürgen Stackmann,
member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand with responsibility for “Sales, Marketing and After Sales”.