The first meeting of the ”new” Rometsch Registry at the VW Veteranentreffen in Hessisch Oldendorf in 2001. Mr Johannes Beeskow and Rometsch owners from all over the world gather to enjoy life at its best.
Since the very beginning, the Rometsch was a car for the celebrities and a car for the American market. Audrey Hepurn and Gregory Peck was among the customers of “Hollywood Motors” in the mid fifties and the numbers of survivors on North American soil shows just how important the US export market was for Karosserie Rometsch in the decade following World War II.
Americans love the automobile, and it was only natural that the Rometsch Registry was founded by California-based Rometsch enthusiasts. More specifically – Maribeth Leadley and her husband Phil. Maribeth initially purchased a two tone black and white “ Lawrence ” model Convertible and in the late 70ies she and her husband founded the first version of the official Rometsch Registry. A handwritten binder full of letters and photographs told the tales of surviving samples of this rare breed – mainly focusing on the later body style and naturally most detailed regarding the USA-based samples.
During the mid eighties, the interest for vintage Volkswagens in general grew and Mr Steven Wood of Northern California founded his “world famous” Vintage VW Registry, seeking chassis numbers of anything and everything from before 1957, also including Rometsches. Wood started bridging the North Atlantic and established contact with a lot of the European owners, expanding on what the Ladley's had started.
Southern Californian Brett “Blue” Nelson grew up with “surf buses” and “cal lookers” and grew to love the early original Volkswagens. He often combines his love of VWs with his adventurous ambitions and has taken him and his collector cars to many corners of the planet. One fellow that was to inspire and guide Blue was “Hollywood Ralph”, a Porsche enthusiast “gone wild” with a backyard full of Rometsches and Dannenhauers. In the late 80ies, by mere chance and good luck, Nelson stumbled over a pale yellow “strange banana-shaped, VW-based Convertible” in a garage in central Los Angeles . His love for the Rometsch Beeskow-models was born and his soon to be blue and yellow Banana-Beeskow became his trade mark in the scene before many of the others knew what a Rometsch was all about. Since then he has found, owned, serviced, moved and supported more Beeskow models than any other American.
In 1996, Blue Nelson took his brand new “New Beetle” on a quest from Los Angeles to North Cape – as far north as the European continent can take you. When passing the city of Trondheim , he stopped by yours truly and one evening in an old farm house in the mid-Norwegian forest, the new and revitalised Rometsch Beeskow Registry was born. Based on our notes and copies from the two previous Registries, but most importantly the know how in one European and American head. The initial, hand written list counted 17 known Rometsch Beeskow models.
Fast forward to 2001 – the biggest turning point for the Rometsch Registry to this day. The vintage VW-event in Hessisch Oldendorf had grown to international standards, and the people that made it all happen was/is the Grundmann Family. Father Traugott and son Christian “owns” Rometsch. Not only the biggest collection of Rometsch cars in the world (all produced body variants), but in 2002 the Grundmanns was able to purchase the whole inventory at the Romestch factory – including old drawings, all tools, wooden bucks, even the whole office with complete archieves of Mr Rometsch himself – including both the Geneva Rose diplomas.
At the impressive VW Veteranentreffen in Hessisch Oldendorf in 2001, the Grundmanns had succeeded in inviting Mr Johannes Beeskow himself, and naturally this evoked numerous Rometsch Beeskow owners around the world. No less than 13 Rometsch owners (not counting taxis and Lawrence-models) met at this world class event and was present at the founding of the “new” Rometsch Beeskow Registry.
The initial list of 17 known survivors grew to 22 at this 2001-meeting. During recent years, several Beeskow-Rometsches have surfaced and the cars are currently more sought after than ever. That is probably why surprisingly many have been dug out and have seen daylight for the first time in many many years. As of July 2009, the Registry accounts for 33 surviving samples of the Beeskow-Rometsch.
Today, the registry is in informal society and point of interest for most of the owners of the surviving samples, all across the world. The main purpose is to exchange information on the history, accuracy and technical details of these wonderful cars – to ensure that the few remaining samples will be preserved, yet refined for future generations to come. Send us an email if you've got comments, interest or just “the right type of curiosity”. Keep the faith!
Since 2001 the Rometsch registry is maintained by Eric Meyer in California and Oystein Asphjell in Norway.
Oystein Asphjell (#225)
The Grundmann Collection
Meanwhile, the best source of information is the original sales literature published by Rometsch Spezialkarosserie in the fifties.
Click here for some samples.
Click here for a detail view of one of the most common samples.