OBerlingen: Two working lives in a workshop in Überlingen: newly retired retirees Wolfgang Schneider and Rolf Witt talk about their passion

Together they bring 193 years to the stage, and the steel driver in their midst is the oldest: a Mercedes 220 Punton, vintage 1955. But while auto mechanic and electrician Wolfgang Schneider (64) and his colleague and car electrician Rolf Witt (63) have recently retired, the old Mercedes still has to 66 years old doing his job. Classic car expert and shop owner Klaus Poulter says with a beaming smile that he recently challenged a Mercedes in the Alps.

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This is the end of it for Wolfgang Schneider and Rolf Witt. Both resigned after nearly 50 years working in the workshop of Klaus Poulter. Of course with mixed feelings, after all, you don’t leave the company that has been your career home for both of you since the first day of your apprenticeship without feeling it. Rolf Witt began his apprenticeship on September 1, 1972 in the company of Klaus Poulter’s father, Wolfgang Schneider two years later on September 1, 1974.

Both were passionate about technology since their childhood

“Even as a kid, I unraveled everything I could get hold of,” Rolf Witt says of his early interest in all things technical. “That’s why I started an automotive apprenticeship.” Wolfgang Schneider has also been a cocky car snob from an early age. “Cars have always fascinated me, which is why I trained in the workshop before I started my apprenticeship. I liked it so much that I then applied for an apprenticeship at Poulter.” They both say they never regret their decision: “Of course there are ups and downs like this. professional life,” says Rolf Witt. But it is important to talk to each other in conflict. Do not scold and throw everything ”, comments the willingness of many young people today to quickly change jobs if this is not appropriate.

Wolfgang Schneider affirms it: “You have to adapt sometimes,” he says, “then you will succeed if the relationship is fundamentally correct.” A principle clearly followed by Rolf Witt and Wolfgang Schneider. After all, they have spent their entire working life in the same company. While Rolf Witt had been an automobile electrician his whole life, Wolfgang Schneider turned to sales and technical consultancy in the workshop in 1985.

“You have to meet each other sometimes. Then it works out if the relationship is basically right.”

Wolfgang Schneider

Requirements change with progress

At that time, the requirements changed mainly due to the advancement of technology. Change had already begun in 1975/76 with the first injection engines, but when contactless ignition appeared on the market in the mid-1980s, rapid development began. Today, electronics dominate almost everything in the automotive sector. Accordingly, the workshops were challenged, as well as the employees, who had and are still obliged to undergo constant training. “When we started our training, there were three motor oils,” Rolf Witt recalls with a smile. And Wolfgang Schneider adds: “Yes, W 10, W 20 and W 30. One was for winter, others for summer. Today!” Schneider turned and pointed to the wall behind him, where 30 or more types of oil were written. “Look at that. Different oil for each engine.”

The two auto experts are by no means happy with everything that has been developed in their professional environment. “Today, a lot is simply thrown away. Sometimes it really hurts how to waste resources,” says Rolf Witt. “Replacing a part is more useful than repairing it,” explains Wolfgang Schneider. “A lot is scrapped” without really thinking about the number of raw materials that It has been treated and can be recovered as steel, copper or aluminum.”

“Today, a lot is simply thrown away. Sometimes it really hurts me how wasteful resources are.”

Rolf Witt

Witt and Schneider drive collectors’ cars themselves

Obviously neither Witt and Schneider drive new cars. While Rolf Witt was driving a 1993 Audi, which still has a run of 350,000 km, Wolfgang Schneider is driving a 1995 BMW convertible. “This has always been my dream car,” he says, but it’s just a fun car. In the winter he switches to a twelve-year-old Mercedes diesel, which already has 250 thousand kilometers under its belt. Schneider quotes an old aphorism that, unfortunately, few people would heed today: “Those who lubricate the water well drive longer.”

Not only famous people in the workshop

Of course, in such a long career, one encounters one peculiarity or another. Rolf Witt recalls that then-pop singer Christian Anders once stood in the workshop with his luxury car “Exalibur Phaeton”, to scold him. “It was Friday and his V-belt was torn.” “We had a replacement sent by the Lily Express so he could continue driving on Saturday,” Schneider adds. However, the focus of events has not always been on human celebrities, but on rare instances of compounds. Like the Mammoth Munch. “The motorcycle is equipped with a 110 HP NSU TT Prinz engine,” said Wolfgang Schneider.

Of course, the two men’s enthusiasm for cars does not end at retirement. However, they both want to devote themselves to more natural things. Rolf Witt focuses on his part-time farm in Uhldingen and Wolfgang Schneider will work in his orchard in Deggenhausertal and, above all, expand his liqueur distillery.

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