ML - Boston Common

2013 - Issue 4 - Fall

Boston Common - Niche Media - A side of Boston that's anything but common.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 124 of 155

THE CHALLENGER Bob Hatch has a national reputation as a Mercedes-Benz restorer and collector, but his vice is racing Ferraris. When Jimmy Buffett wanted a classic Mercedes-Benz convertible, he went to Hudson's Bob Hatch. So did New Balance Chairman Jim Davis and countless others. And when they want to sell those cars, who's their go-to guy? Bob Hatch. No one in New England, and possibly in the country, knows more about these cars. But Hatch didn't start as a German car aficionado. He was originally drawn to American muscle cars like Corvettes and Mustangs. When a friend bought a 1960s Mercedes-Benz, Hatch ended up working on it and was impressed. "Then I bought one for myself," he says. "And another one. In 1973 I bought a 1967 230SL, which was the first of the model, a twoseater roadster. Sporty, but it had great style. Everybody likes that car, even if you're not into cars." He paid $1,900 for it and fixed it up for himself, with no intention of selling it. But he kept getting offers for it, until finally he got one he couldn't turn down, enough to buy another, in fact. He got hooked on the car restoration business, even if he didn't formally join it for another decade or so, when he opened his two-car showroom in a former gas station. The Hudson resident now has about 15 to 25 cars in his showroom at any given time, most of them Mercedes-Benzes, and most for sale. But some are favorites, particularly the Ferraris. "I'm one of those people who got the disease," he jokes. "My three sons all like cars, but the youngest is most like me in this regard. And I have one grandson who is into it now, and loves racing." Hatch started doing vintage car rallies—traveling with a group of cars, all the same make. "We're not breaking world records; you pick nice country roads with little traffic," he says. From there he caught the racing bug, and has just purchased his fourth Ferrari Challenge car. It's stripped down for racing, complete with harnesses, amazing brakes, and a killer engine—not street legal. He'll be taking another Ferrari to the Boston Cup this year: a 360 built in 2001 with an eight-cylinder, 400 horsepower mid-engine. "There's nothing like the sound of this car going full-tilt down the straightaway. It has that Ferrari shriek. But the best feature is the brakes. When you're slowing down into a high-speed corner, you can wait until the last second to hit them." Hatch was a car fanatic from the start, reading Road & Track when he was 12, working at a gas station as a teenager, constantly working on cars. He remembers picking up his wife for their first date in a '54 Ford. "I'd just put the engine in it and didn't have time to put the hood back on. I don't think she was impressed. She knew from the beginning I was a hopeless car nut. But neither one of us knew how bad it was going to get." BOSTONCOMMON-MAGAZINE.COM 120-127_BC_F_Cars_Fall13.indd 123 123 8/2/13 6:24 PM

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of ML - Boston Common - 2013 - Issue 4 - Fall