- Associated Press - Thursday, April 17, 2014

FLORENCE, Ala. (AP) - Fast sports cars with sleek, sexy lines are the last thing passers-by probably imagine when they pass the nondescript metal building in an industrial park in northwest Alabama.

But that’s exactly what they will find at Trissl Sports Cars.

The company collects, sells and exports Porsches of all makes and models on the international market.

Nearly a year old, the company was hatched from owner Thomas Trissl’s love of Porsches.

Trissl came to Florence in 1996 to start Centiva Flooring, which was later sold to Tarkett. Trissl started another flooring company and the Porsche business.

“We have some knowledge of the hobby, and it’s a nice, growing business,” Trissl said. “We collect Porsches and have some extremely rare automobiles. I rely on (manager) Jason Schurfeld’s experience and knowledge to grow the business.”

On any given week, the showroom houses 35 to 45 Porsches.

“There are seven generations of Porsches, and we’ve had all of them here,” Schurfeld said.

“Anything we have here is rare. We go after rare cars because we know that’s what collectors want.”

For example, only 395 Carreras were built in 1974 and 1975, and three of them are in Trissl’s showroom.

Dan Barger, of Florence, who owns a 1985 911 Coupe and a 2003 911 Cab, said Trissl has an impressive collection.

“They unveiled the 2013 Cayman here last year,” Barger said.

“We share an enthusiasm in the vehicles. He has a unique collection and is able to turn his passion into a business.”

Trissl had a show last month that attracted more than 100 Porsche owners.

Barger said a number of things make owning a Porsche appealing.

“It’s the uniqueness of it all,” Barger said. “It’s the German engineering. It’s a race-proven sports car, and you know the power is there if you need it. It’s the agility coupled with power.”

Trissl sells and trades Porsches all over the world. One car in the showroom is headed to Prague in the Czech Republic.

“A lot of it is Internet-based,” Trissl said. “We may buy a car in Japan and sell it in Europe, and it never comes here.

“We have customers come to us asking if we can sell their Porsche and they’ll replace it with another model.”

The showroom includes a car with a slant nose, which was a $22,000 option in the 1980s. Schurfeld said the car is one that Porsche used to take to automotive shows.

Trissl still has the car he originally brought to the United States from Germany: A 1993 turbo 3.6.

“It’s one of the most desired cars in the world,” Schurfeld said. “This is one of only 1,000 in the world.”

Porsche will make any exterior and interior colors for their customers, which explains the purple car with purple interior, a 911 C4. Schurfeld said it’s the only car like it in the world.

Remember the car Tom Cruise put in the water in the movie “Risky Business?” Trissl has a version of it, a 928 GTS. The last year it was made was 1995.

The showroom also includes what Porsche calls its super car. It has a carbon fiber body and chassis, and boasts 620 horsepower.

“It’s a street-legal race car,” Schurfeld said.

Only 1,282 were made, and Trissl has No. 882.

There also is a 50th anniversary of the 911 edition.

“People ask, why Florence?” Schurfeld said. “Why not? It’s all driven by the Internet.”

In another showroom, there are two Porsche race cars - a 1963 Formula B race car and a 1986 944 LeMans-style car.

Trissl also has started a parts barn. An Alabama dealer closed his shop in the 1970s and kept all of the original parts. Trissl bought them all. There are original gauges that sell for $1,000.

In addition to its Internet presence, Trissl advertises in Porsche magazines and attends all Porsche car shows in the U.S. and Germany.

“That’s what makes us different,” Schurfeld said. “We travel to venues and make our business more personalized.”

Schurfeld said the popularity of Porsche is “as high as it’s ever been. And with the euro versus the dollar, that’s why we ship most of our cars to Europe because you can buy a Porsche in the U.S. much cheaper and ship it to Germany.”

Schurfeld said Porsche owners and collectors are passionate about the car.

“It’s the purest brand, the only manufactured car you can take to a race track and be covered under warranty,” he said. “It’s fun to drive, it’s fast and it’s precision-made.

“The characteristics of it make it a street-legal race car. They are made to go fast, to handle and to stop.”

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Information from: TimesDaily, http://www.timesdaily.com/

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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