A mysterious phone call--in English, a language his wife says they never spoke to each other--followed by his disappearance led police and friends to speculate that Uwe Gemballa, founder and owner of famed German tuning shop Gemballa could have been kidnapped and held for ransom after visiting South Africa earlier this year. After months of absence, his shop finally closed its doors this week.
The circumstances around Uwe Gemballa's disappearances--bankruptcy, debt, potential kidnappings and ransom--cloud what really happened to the man, but it's certain that his legacy, the shop first opened in 1980, is done. Gemballa was responsible for some of the most extreme and insane modifications of already extreme and insane vehicles ever perpetrated. Within his reach, no Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini was safe--doomed to undergo massive visual transformation and power-adding modifications.
The closure of Gemballa's shop may be a sad time for the handful of sheiks, soccer players and overcompensating bankers that purchased its cars, but the rest of us may breathe a sigh of relief that the world's best machinery is now bears just a little less risk from going under the mad scientist's knife. Now if only Uwe Gemballa could be found, in good health, we could put the matter to rest. To see a handful of Gemballa's best work, check out our coverage here.