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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Perfectionist. The Dutchman and his Car Care Clinic.

Word & photos: Mahesh Kalain

This past weekend, I took the liberty to spend some time with Johann Botha, owner of The Dutchmans Car Care Clinic, situated in Cape Town’s CBD, which is part of the Club 9 and Dapper Coffee Co. facility. Perfection happens with a huge amount of patience and a willingness to learn something new every day. With humble beginnings, Johan, and his team have managed to carve out a huge chunk in the automotive detailing industry in South Africa. Starting small always has its lessons. Johan had shared with me, his story of how he got to where he is. He assures me that hard work, passion, and patience is the most fundamental keys to making something work.

“I started washing cars with only a bucket, a sponge, and a hand-held Shark vacuum cleaner.” He says, as he wipes polish off a brand new Ferrari 488 GTB, the first one on South African soil. As we talked more about why and how he got into car detailing, it was evident, that The Dutchman, as he is affectionately known, knows a few things when it comes to hard work. From those make or break days, he has come a long way, with positive people that always pushed him to do better, and to never give up. He’s story starts off with him coming home from the UK. Working as a door to door salesman, he used his skills that he had acquired there, to sell his services locally, knocking on doors, hoping to wash cars in exchange for money. He spent time washing taxis, reconsidering whether this was what he wanted to do. After not giving up, he and his right hand man, who is still with him today, got to wash and detail a Ferrari F430.

Once the detail was complete, the owner of the Ferrari did an inspection for himself, and pointed out where he was not happy with the level of detail. This was a lesson for The Dutchman, who, at the time, thought he knew everything there was about cleaning a car. The said owner gave them the lesson, and made sure he got what he paid for, and The Dutchman made sure he learnt as much as he could from that experience. The very same car brand that almost broke his spirits, also made him. Another story shared was at a time when Viglietti Motors had a large fleet of Ferrari’s that needed to be detailed, with their staff not turning up for work, Johann was contracted the job. The 2-men team were placed on the proving ground to showcase what they could do, and let their work speak for itself. Let’s just say, Viglietti Motors was his new biggest fan, and as they say, the rest is history.

The art of detailing a vehicle is more than just merely washing, and waxing it. It is the painstaking method of cleaning a car to a point where by it looks better then when it did from the factory. From humble beginnings, where he washed cars and taxis door to door, to now, washing, detailing, coating, and taking care of cars that are worth more than R7m, it shows what a culmination of hard work, patience, persistence, and having positive support from people wanting you to genuinely do great, can do.

From what I gathered, the 3 most important aspects is to educate yourself in whichever field you plan on going into to conduct business, to simply be willing to work hard, and to have patience. In the Dutchman’s own words;”I’m here to inspired people to achieve something.’

Today, they are perfectionists in detailing super cars. They offer a full service range from simple valets, washes, coating treatments, to full on paint correction applications. A simple visit to his outfit on Bree Street, Cape Town, and you’ll be certain to see more than enough Italian and German horses waiting for a pampering.

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