In the case of Cincinnati, Ohio-based Metalkraft Coachwerkes, you probably guessed the focus is not on domestic cars. And indeed, when he founded the company 20 years ago, Mark Schlachter envisioned it as a safe haven for vintage Porsches in need of TLC – sometimes a lot of it!
In a way, you might expect Cincinnati to have close ties with the Porsche marque. The city of 300,000 residents has had deep historical ties 20th Germany going as far as the turn oi the 20th century, when the German community represented 60% of the population. Coming straight from Europe. these folks found a region which reminded them of the”Fatherland,” from the climate to the scenery, yet this cultural heritage was somewhat stressed as years passed, due to the stigma of both World Wars. Cincinnati still retains a little of that Teutonic atmosphere today, thanks in part to its architecture—through several neighborhoods truly reminded us of Germany.
Due to their heritage, many locals also show a certain admiration for German cars, Porsches in particular. This brings us to Cincinnati’s Mark Schlachter, the hero of our tale who, like various players we met while working on VM’s article. hasGerman blood running in hisveins—and Porsches in his brain.Mark operates Metalkraft Coachwerkes, a respected company specializing in the older offerings from the esteemed Stuttgan-based manufacturer. He incidentally comes from a long tradition of coachbuilders and car lovers, as he points out: “HenrySchlachter was the first American-born in our family He was born in 1858, Just a century before me, and ended being a wagon maker in Kentucky his whole life. My great-grandfather also had aMcFarlan, one of the most luxurious and fastest automobiles in the 1920s.”
Schlachter became interested in cars at an early age, first gravitating toward old Volkswagens. having purchased his first Beetle at age 13, Six years later, he bought a Porsche and many more followed. His first job involved doing bodywork on VWs, a skill he learned on his own, watching the experts. “My big break came in 1986” he continues, “I got on at Hess & Eisenhardt, a coachbuilder from Cincinnati founded in 1876, working on their Jaguar XJS program — we built 2.000 convertibles for Jaguar. H&E also made ambulances, limousines and armored cars, including a few forPresidents such as JFK.” After a short stint at a hot rodshop where he honed his body-building talent, Schlachter spent three years at a Porsche specialist. He then inaugurated his own version of it in 1995: Metalkraft Coachwerkes.