UPDATE: RACA to host young Coach builder at a special evening event

By: David Berthon & Alex Affat

Robert Seimsen 2 two Robert Seimsen 2 two

Due to overwhelming demand, a second evening will be hosted by international coach builder Robert Siemsen

UPDATE: Due to overwhelming demand which saw the February 12 event booked out in short order; the RACA have announced a second evening taking place on the night before, on February 11. Register your free attendance by emailing: eventsadmin@raca.com.au


Consistent with its commitment to encourage and recognize the talent of young people in automotive endevours the Royal Automobile Club of Australia in Sydney will host a special evening on February 12 with young Dubbo coachbuilder Robert Siemsen.

The 30-year old coachbuilder has recently returned from an extensive visit to leading automotive coach building firms in the U.K. The recipient of a Winston Churchill Fellowship enabled Robert to hone his skills at some of top English coach building houses in 2019, mostly in the West Midlands including the Aston Martin Heritage Centre, Shapecraft Classic Motor Bodies, Creative Classics, RS Panels, Mouland and Yates and Bodylines Specialist Panel Beaters.


The evening commencing at 7.30 pm – all car club members interested in automotive restoration and body building are invited to attend – there is no entrance fee on the night however attendees need to register by Monday February 3 by calling (02) 8273 2322 or by email: eventsadmin@raca.com.au

Royal Automobile Club dress standards require a collared shirt, long trousers and covered shoes. Attendees can also arrive from 6pm and join RACA members for a meal with main courses ranging from $25 to $35.

Created by the Federal Government on the death of Winston Churchill in 1965 the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust was set up to "reward Australians striving for excellence." The Trust’s motto being ‘learn globally, inspire locally.’


Robert will discuss his experiences and display an extensive collection of photographs as well as answer questions on the night while his photographic exhibition will be on display on February 11 and 12. He is most anxious to encourage and inspire young apprentices in the specialist trade.

Having left school at 15 Siemsen secured an apprenticeship at Perfect Auto Body in Alexandria in Sydney, where "I could not have been given a better grounding with all panels file finished and lead filled." He then moved to Tasmania for several years under Swiss panel beater George Shorter specialising mainly in British cars then returning to Sydney to Western Street and Custom in Richmond specializing in restoration work where he gained "phenomenal experience".


From here, it was to Nugent Coachbuilders in Dubbo where he spent four years working on a variety of classics before heading overseas for his fellowship. In fact, it was Mark Nugent who was the recipient of a similar award back in 2002 who inspired Robert to apply for the fellowship.

His most memorable exercise in the U.K. was with Aston Martin Classic at Newport Pagnell where he worked on a nose cone for one of the new 19 DB4 GT Zagato continuation models. More especially, as he worked under Melbourne specialist coachbuilder Dan Kostakakis, who he describes as a ‘brilliant artisan’. Each one of the continuation series Zagato models takes 4500 hours to construct and carries a price tag of around Aus$10.5 million.

One other project that really appealed was a series of child-sized Bugatti Type 35 replicas fitted with electric motors he worked on at Mouland and Yates.

The Royal Automobile Club of Australia is located at 89 Macquarie Street, Sydney.


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