Prolific Dutch Porsche collector and Mille Miglia backer dies

Albert Westerman, a long-time backer of the Mille Miglia road rally and prolific Porsche collector, has died aged 75

Albert Westerman, one of The Netherlands’ most prolific classic car collectors, founder of clothing company State of Art and both a sponsor and competitor in the Mille Miglia endurance rally, has died aged 75, reports Dutch news outlet Elna.

Commanding one of the strongest collection of Porsche vehicles in central Europe, Westerman was well known in his home country for heavily involving his collection of 911s, 356s and his 550 Spyder in promoting his clothing line, with the rare German machines deployed inside retail stores for display and used in print advertising.

More classic cars from Porsche

Such was Westerman’s obsession with the brand that he built a fully functional storage facility and workshop at his company’s headquarters, based in Lichtenvoorde, to store and maintain his collection.

In all, his total collection numbered no less than 45 examples of Stuttgart’s finest, including examples with pedigree from Dutch racing legends Jan Lammers and Gijs van Lennep. Though not all examples in his collection were originals, the most important example was the 550 Spyder, which competed on an annual basis in the Mille Miglia.

His involvement in the Mille Miglia went beyond competing, with his State of Art brand sponsoring the event outright. He was also responsible for organising and sponsoring the Achterhoek Tour Rally. Westerman had a racing career of his own starting in the 1980s, with multiple appearances at Zandvoort circuit.

Also part of his extensive collection was a long wheelbase Volkswagen Type 2 (T1) used to transport his cars to and from events, a perfect match given its Ferdinand Porsche-derived Beetle roots.

Born in 1943, Westerman’s long-running affection for Porsches began at the young age of 13, drawn to the Porsche 356 1500 S Cabrio before buying his first in 1976. Westerman took over his father’s textile company in 1981, going on to establish State of Art in 1994 with its first store in the Dutch city of Almelo. His clothing empire expanded to cover 42 outlets across both the Netherlands and Belgium.

Classic Cars for Sale