By Tom Fraser
A blue and orange Ford GT40 sits in storage at the top-secret Auto Cache facility. Credit: Auto Cache
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In a top-secret location in Victoria, some of Australia’s rarest, most expensive cars are hidden away from prying eyes, with 24-hour video monitoring and black fabric covers that disguise models worth millions.
This is Auto Caché – a Victorian car storage facility housing all manner of classic vehicles and priceless supercars for its well-heeled (and well-wheeled) clients.
Whether it’s as rare and specialised as a Mercedes-Benz 300SL or as simple as a daily driver, Auto Caché provides specialist car storage complete with top-level security and ongoing maintenance for a monthly fee.
Given the value of the cars, the facility’s location is known only to customers. However, we can say that it’s within a five-kilometre-radius of Australia’s next-biggest city.
Priceless supercars sit in secret with bespoke cloth covers.Credit: Ted Airey
Within 30 seconds of being welcomed inside the facility, you’ll spot multi million-dollar supercar silhouettes… but more on those later.
Owner-operators Damon Lawrence and Nathan Stirling opened the car storage facility in 2021, after identifying the demand for a full-service outfit catering to all kinds of weird and wonderful cars.
“We started Auto Caché off the back of Auto Attention, one of Australia’s leading car detailing services,” says Lawrence.
“Our love of cars – and connections to some of the greatest collections in Australia – has inspired us to bring Auto Attention’s premium vehicle experience to car storage.
“We found a huge amount of support for a prestige car housing solution that specialises in luxury and exotic car security, particularly one that provides continued maintenance for the duration of a vehicle’s stay.
Lighting plays a big part of the space’s mysterious allure.Credit: Auto Cache
“Providing a space for clients to feel confident that their vehicles are safe, protected, and cared for is the driving force behind the creation of Auto Caché.”
Security is paramount.
The space is backed by an array of high-tech, motion-sensing cameras that offer 24-hour monitoring, as well as physical blockades that make it impossible to drive any of the cars out the door without the right clearance.
Whether it’s protecting the $5000 project car of one owner or ensuring the $5 million Ferrari Enzo beside it stays untouched, neither Auto Caché nor its clients want to attract any prying attention.
Auto Caché has played home to everything from a Mercedes-Benz 300SL, Jaguar E-Type and Ferrari 308, to multi-million-dollar hypercars rarely seen in Australia such as the McLaren P1, Ferrari Enzo, and Porsche Carrera GT.
Even Swedish hypercar manufacturer Koenigsegg trusted Auto Caché to keep the prototype of its Koenigsegg Jesko under wraps ahead of its Australian debut in 2022.
The team makes sure every car is cared for as well as, or even better than, its owner would at home.Credit: Auto Cache
The large facility is purpose-built to house high-calibre cars. Every vehicle is supplied with a C-Tek trickle charger to ensure batteries are topped up, while the team will cater to any maintenance request an owner desires.
During our tour of the space, we were led through a brightly lit holding bay that acts as the go-between for clients picking up or dropping back their vehicles.
The bay can be opened at any time remotely for owners with specific needs, but most clients will come in and talk cars with Stirling in the facility’s lounge.
It houses all kinds of automotive memorabilia and conversation starters, while there’s even a bar and coffee machine at the ready.
But few people are allowed beyond the holding bay to see where the cars are housed.
In a dimly lit space designed to promote the facility’s secure nature, there are rows and rows of cars under bespoke cloth car covers.
Many Lamborghinis can be found in the garage. Credit: Ted Airey
Some silhouettes are immediately recognisable, such as that of the Mercedes McLaren SLR and the bullet-like profile of a Lamborghini Gallardo.
Not even 10 metres into the space, we were already seeing some big-dollar exotica.
The guys recently installed two banks of vehicle lifts just to cope with the influx of clients wanting to store cars.
“When it comes to car storage, floor space is everything. To maximise our storage capacity, we’ve installed double car stackers, which means we’ve doubled the available capacity,” says Lawrence.
In Auto Caché’s current layout, the space has capacity for 90 vehicles. This might not ordinarily sound like a huge number of cars, but this is no ordinary parking garage.
Naturally, the cars used less often are stored on the top shelf, while the more frequently used vehicles are stored ready and waiting below.
The facility also houses all kinds of automotive memorabilia and conversation starters. Credit: Ted Airey
Deeper inside, we came across a puzzling shape sitting in a corner. About half the size of other cars, but with a streamlined shape and a power plug coming out of the side.
Lawrence was unwilling to uncover the car – at the request of its owner – but subsequent investigation revealed it to be a Volkswagen XL1.
Auto Caché displayed the vehicle on behalf of its owner at Melbourne’s Motorclassica classic car show in 2022.
The seldom-known Volkswagen XL1 was designed to travel 100 kilometres on a single litre of fuel, and uses a tiny 800cc two-cylinder diesel engine in addition to a 5.5 kWh battery.
It was also built using lightweight materials and features an aerodynamic shape for an ultra-low 0.186 drag coefficient.
The car was only available in Europe and was built in a strict 250-unit production run, which makes it all the more interesting that one has found its way to Australia.
Every vehicle is supplied with a C-Tek trickle charger to ensure batteries are topped up. Credit: Ted Airey
There are other surprises within Auto Caché too, such as the Ferrari Enzo that was stored within the facility a few weeks before our visit. It was there for a short period while Auto Caché presented the vehicle at the Ferrari Club of Victoria’s annual Concorso D’Eleganza.
Some Auto Caché residents are born a little closer to home, like the HSV Coupe GTO.
Plenty of collectors buy cars as an investment rather than to enjoy, but it takes effort to maintain them for future reselling.
This is why Auto Caché places such emphasis on the ongoing care aspect of housing a vehicle.
Whether it’s ensuring the car remains clean, taking it to scheduled services, or even simply checking oil and battery levels, the team makes sure every car is cared for as well as, or even better than, its owner would at home.
All manner of modern cars are housed within too, including a new Porsche GT4 RS and a bright-yellow Lamborghini Huracan STO.
The owners of these cars take their daily drivers into Auto Caché, swap them with the fun weekenders, and then return them once they’ve got the thrill out of their system.
It’s a straightforward process, but the convenience factor is key. Pricing starts from $112 per week, but there are tiered packages that allow for enhanced access, more frequent car washes, and a concierge service.
Few people are allowed beyond the holding bay to see where the cars are housed, and those who do venture must follow strict rules. Credit: Ted Airey
Speaking to the fit-out and style of the facility, Lawrence says it was worth making the building look worthy of the cars within.
Lighting plays a big part of the space’s mysterious allure.
The 24-hour access handover bay is brightly lit reflecting its easy-access nature, but the storage compartment is darker to accentuate the genuine privacy of the space.
“We spent over 12 months searching for the right building in the first place. We wanted something more than just a factory with four walls. When we saw this place for the first time, we both knew exactly what we could turn it into.
“We believe having an aesthetic is important for any business, and every time someone walks through our door they’re wowed by the space we’ve created, as well as it being able to complement the cars we have on display.”
This story first appeared on Drive.
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