A Garage Is Made Into Family Heirloom
Walt Baumgartner opened Burlingame Motors in 1979 as a factory-certified Mercedes repair shop. The shop thrived over 20 years under Walt’s ownership until his passing in 1999. Walt’s wife, who desired to keep the shop in the family handed the reins over to her son-in-law, Rene, who had been working with the shop since 1991. Despite steady business and a 20-year focus on Mercedes-Benz, Rene had plans to grow and expand the shop. Over the past 14 years, Rene has helped build Burlingame Motors into a successful classic car maintenance and restoration shop.
In those years, Burlingame Motors has seen a number of rare classics pass through the doors including Stirling Moss’ 1951 Jaguar Mk VII, one of the original Batmobiles, Steve McQueen’s 1972 300 SEL and the 1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 that was recently featured at the Amelia Island RM Auction (the car didn’t sell and is still available if you have some extra cash). During a recent visit to the shop, I found an original Fiat Cinquecento (500), to a couple Mercedes 300SL roadsters, and a Jaguar XK150 coupe.
Even among the high-end rarities, the shop still does repairs across a range of classics from Mercedes to Ferrari to GM. For Rene, it’s about “…appreciating the craftsmanship of a bygone time. Everything today seems to be strapped together by robots and that’s just not for me.”
Photography by Jonathon Glazebrook