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Arriving in Style

by Barton Walters

New Nordic’s VIP transportation experience

On my first trip to Thailand, I stayed at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Bangkok. After 24 hours in the air, I dragged myself through immigration, the luggage carousel and customs. Tired and disheveled, I shuffled out into the main airport hoping the hotel had sent a car as I requested.

When I saw the uniformed driver holding up a sign with my name on it, I was elated. When he escorted me to the sleek black Mercedes Benz sedan I felt like a visiting dignitary.

It’s not that I was some high-and-mighty rich guy accustomed to being squired around in a fancy German automobile. I chose the fancy hotel and VIP transport to enhance my first time Bangkok experience. This memory is one I’ll cherish forever. There I was … rolling through the streets of exotic Bangkok in a chauffeured luxury sedan. What could be cooler than that?

Well, I recently discovered something a whole lot cooler … right here in Pattaya.

The Pattaya-based New Nordic Group calls itself a “development and accommodation company”. They have constructed more than 50 buildings on Pratumnak Hill, catering to all types of residents. New Nordic prides itself on offering benefits and amenities that can’t be found anywhere else.

Now they offer some of the most unique modes of transportation available in Thailand. A lot of resorts and luxury hotels offer VIP transport in high-end automobiles. And, minivans by the thousands zip around Pattaya and Bangkok filled to the brim with hotel and resort guests. But, only New Nordic can take you where you want to go in a classic 1959 Cadillac! And if that isn’t available, go with the other classic offering, a 1958 Cadillac.

The idea is the brainchild of New Nordic’s enigmatic CEO, Kurt Svendheim. He has a long love affair with classic cars. Kurt doesn’t like to get under the hood and work on them, but he does love to find these old relics and bring them back to life.

Kjell Vatne is an old friend of Kurt’s and also a car fanatic. When I spoke with him about the two Cadillac’s his face lit up with pride. Kjell told me that both the cars were sourced in Thailand and came to New Nordic in “fair” condition. Apparently, “fair” isn’t good enough for Kurt, so both Caddys are undergoing complete restoration at a shop specializing in this kind of work in Rayong.

It’s very difficult to find all original parts” Kjell said. “But, we’ve had great success. We even found rare items like the rubber grommet seals for the car doors and windows”. Kurt’s goal is to have both Cadillacs in showroom condition with all original parts.

The ’59 Caddy is fire-engine red with white leather interior and looks like something right out of a movie. The ’58 is now baby-blue, but will eventually be painted red as well. Both are currently in very good shape after a few rounds of work, but should be 100% within 6 months according to Kjell, the “keeper of the Caddys”.

What I find interesting is the purpose of these restorations. Collecting classic cars is a popular hobby, but there’s more to it than this for Kurt Svendheim. These cars are to be used as VIP transport for New Nordic guests and residents. They are part of the New Nordic experience.

With the classic New Nordic logo discreetly emblazoned on the Caddys’ huge tail finds, these cars are also rolling brand ambassadors. Kurt’s idea of giving guests the thrill of cruising in classic 50’s style and building the New Nordic brand at the same time is clever and unique.

Perhaps 1950’s nostalgia isn’t your thing. Maybe you’re more of a luxury person. Fear not; New Nordic has that covered as well. Recently the company acquired a 1975 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow for the same purpose. Currently the car is being fine-tuned and should be available for VIP use very soon.

I was fortunate enough to get the New Nordic VIP experience first-hand when I flew to Chiang Mai last month. Just as the sun came up on a beautiful Saturday morning, I laid eyes on my ride to the airport; a 2015 Rolls Royce Ghost.

The pearly white beast sat curbside in front of New Nordic’s Marcus building, waiting for me to slip into the back seat. I couldn’t even hear the engine running.

The immaculately dressed driver opened the rear door and invited me inside. The supple leather interior and plush carpet is the color of ice. As my eyes roamed around the cabin of this magnificent vehicle, I took inventory of all the luxury. Black out curtains, LCD TV screen, rear control air conditioning, eight-way adjustable seat and a console to plug in my smart phone

We were almost to Sukhumvit Road before I realized we were moving. The phrase “smooth ride” doesn’t even come close to describing what riding in the Ghost feels like.

At times it seems like you are floating on air. However when the driver needs to make a move and accelerates, you get an understanding of what a 563 horsepower V-12 engine can do. As we ramped up to the motorway, the driver shifted into the right lane and we never got out of it.

I slipped on the comfortable headphones provided in the rear console and had a little trouble choosing music to travel by. Exactly what is appropriate for hurtling down the highway in the nicest car on the planet? In the end I tuned into an old Eagle’s song that seemed appropriate: “Take it to the Limit”.

Upon arrival at the airport, every head turned to see who would get out such a vehicle. I exited the Rolls slowly and strolled by the dozen or so people on the curb; wearing my Ray-Bans and a big silly smile ... I felt like a rock star.

The New Nordic VIP transport experience. It’s all about arriving in style.