Wednesday, May 2, 2001

50 Years of Porsche

911 and Porsche Magazine

There were three generations of Porsches that led up to the Porsche cars as we know them today. While the original Professor Ferdinand Porsche (pronounced PORSH-ah, and never PORSH) was an engineering genius and established the Porsche name in the automotive business in the early nineteen hundreds, it was his son, Professor Dr. Ferdinand "Ferry" Porsche, who established them as automobile manufactures fifty years ago this past June eighth. Then his son Ferdinand Alexander III (Butzi) who as the head of the Styling Department from the beginning of the 1960’s until 1972 influenced the appearance of the racing cars that they built in the 1960’s and was responsible for designing the beautiful 904 and 911. 

The original Professor Ferdinand Porsche was born on September 3, 1875 in Maffersdorf Austria, near Reichenberg. At 18 he went to Vienna and started working for Bela Eggar while attending the Technical University part time. The Porsche name was already know to automobile history from as early as 1900 when the front-wheel-drive electric powered Lohner-Porsche, which was designed by Ferdinand Porsche with its front hub mounted electric motors and built in Vienna, Austria. Porsche went on to work for many prominent companies including Daimler of Austria, Daimler and Daimler-Benz of Germany, Steyer, Auto Union and the design of the Volkswagen Beetle. 

Dr. Ferdinand Porsche

Ferry Porsche was born on Sept. 19, 1909, in Wiener-Neustadt, Austria. When Ferry was born his father was the technical director for Austro-Daimler. Ferry was born on a Sunday and his father, Ferdinand, was away driving in a hill climb near Vienna where he won his class with an Austro-Daimler which he had designed. 

In 1923 the Porsche family moved to Stuttgart, where the senior Porsche was appointed Technical Director of Daimler-Benz, the manufacturer of the Mercedes cars. With financial backing from some friends Porsche started his own design company in 1930, with some work being done in Austria the summer of 1930, then moving to Stuttgart December 1930. Ferry Porsche started working with his father when the senior started his independent design office. In March of 1931 Porsche started their own design firm in Stuttgart as "designers and consultants for land, sea and air vehicles". Their first project was the Wanderer automobile. The success of which later led the Auto Union Company which incorporated the Wanderer to appoint Professor Porsche as the designer of their Grand Prix car. The Porsche design company’s first design number was 007 because they wanted to give the impression that it was not their first project. By1938 the company had expanded to 176 employees and moved to Zuffenhausen a suburb of Stuttgart. The family also took over full ownership in 1938 restructuring the company to a limited partnership which in Germany was called Porsche Kommanditgesellschaft, or KG. 

Ferdinand "Butzi" Porsche working on 911 design.

The Design offices for Porsche moved from Stuttgart, Germany to Gmünd Astria in 1944 because the Stuttgart area was under heavy attack towards the end of WW II. The Porsche Design offices would remain in Gmünd until 1950 when they moved back to Stuttgart in the spring of 1950. 

Even before his father's death on January 30, 1951, Ferry had taken control of Porsche operations. It was at his insistence that the company started to build its own cars with the Porsche name in 1948, instead of just designing vehicles for other manufacturers. The first automobile to carry the Porsche name was the 356 roadster prototype, number 356-001, which was a mid-engined design with a tubular spacer frame chassis and an aluminum roadster body. Designed by Ferry Porsche himself and their Technical Director Karl Rabe the 356 prototype was completed June 8, 1948. Chassis number 001 was a mid-engined roadster which offered greater stability over the sport car designs of the time. Testing of this first prototype were conducted in Austria in 1948 and the car proved to be a success. However, the market analysis that Porsche did showed that there was only a limited market for an open two seat roadster and as a result the mid-engined prototype was never put into production. Instead a rear-engined derivative was put into production in 1949 that they called the 356/2 and Porsche built 52 of the Gmünd cars before moving back to Germany in 1950.

The 356 was put into production in Gmünd Austria in the spring of 1949 and first shown in Geneva, Switzerland during the spring of 1949. Fifty two of the original chassis were built some with coupe bodies and some with convertible bodies. All of the bodies of these original cars were built of aluminum. 

In the spring of 1950 Porsche moved back to Zuffenhausen, Stuttgart into space that they rented from the Reutter Body Works. The Reutter Body Works built the bodies for Porsche and Porsche assembled the cars in the 5,000 square feet of space that they leased form Reutter. The bodies for these cars were built of steel and welded to the chassis. 

In 1963 Reutter sold their body company to Porsche KG so in 1964 the bodies would be built by Karmann and Porsche. The Reutter family continued to build the seats and called them selves Recaro which was a combination of their name Reutter and Carzozzerie. 

The Porsche name has always been associated with racing and Porsche won their first race with a car that carried their own name in a local round-the-houses race in Innsbruck, Austria on July 11, 1948 with the 356 mid-engined prototype driven by Herbert Kaes, nephew of Professor Porsche and cousin of Ferry. In 1951 they had a class win at Le Mans and since then their name has been synonymous with success in motor sports. Porsche has won most of the major competition events in the world: the World Endurance Championship in sports car racing 14 times and the Le Mans 24-hour race a record 15 times. Porsche 911s won the Monte Carlo rally four times, and the famous desert race, Paris-Dakar in 1984 and 1986 with their all wheel drive sports cars based on their 959 technology. Porsche and McLaren contested 68 formula one races together, winning three world championships along the way. The Porsche McLaren combination won 25 races together making the TAG turbo engine made by Porsche the most successful German racing engine in Formula 1 racing since the World Championship was established. 

The old Professor Ferdinand Porsche had two children, Ferry Porsche and his sister Louise Piëch who was five years Ferry’s senior and each of them had four sons. When their father died, Ferry Porsche and his older sister Louise Piëch each received half the shares of the Porsche company. Louise agreed to let Ferry run Porsche, but she insisted that her own children be given as much chance as Ferry's sons to take the helm when the time came for him to step down. Two of their children appeared to have both the talent and drive necessary to eventually take over the family business: Ferry's son Ferdinand Alexander (Butzi) and Louise's son Ferdinand Piëch who worked together at Porsche to create the 911. Butzi was responsible for the body design while his cousin Ferdinand was responsible for the mechanicals including the brilliant air-cooled six cylinder 911 engine. 

During the sixties several of the family members from both branches of the family were involved in the direct management of Porsche and although both sides of the family wanted their family owned company to succeed the competitiveness between the family members of the Porsche and Piëch families was causing decisions to be made that were not in the best interest of their business. The family members presence was also effectively blocking the rise of others within the company who may have been better qualified to administer the companies future. 

In 1971, because of the great competitiveness between the Porsche and Piëch families, Ferry Porsche asked the family members to consider stepping down from their positions within Porsche. The Porsche and Piëch family members withdrew from active management in 1972 and retreated from their positions on the management board to the supervisory board. As members of the supervisory board they still had decisive influence over approving management board positions and Dr. Ferdinand Porsche assumed the post Chairman of the supervisory board. At this time they hired Ernst Fuhrmann to be their chairman of the management board and the company was converted from a limited partnership (KG) to a stock company, an Aktiengesellschaft or AG. 

In 1972 Porsche opened their Weissach research and development facility. Weissach is world famous for research and development for both themselves for their Porsche automobiles and other auto makers. Weissach has helped to support Porsche AG during some of their lean years and 30% of all work there is done for other manufacturers, governments and NATO. On April 25, 1984 one third of the Dr. Ing. hcF Porsche AG stock was offered to the public in the form of non-voting preferred stock. 

Ferry Porsche was awarded and honorary doctorate by the Technical University of Vienna in 1965 and was awarded the honorary title ‘Professor’ in 1984 on his 75th birthday. Unfortunately Professor Ferry Porsche passed away this past Spring on March 27, 1988 at the age of 88 at the family’s vacation home in Zell am See, Austria and did not live to see his namesake car turn 50 on June 8, 1998.

The oldest sons, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche and Ferdinand Piëch have both gone on to be very successful in their own right. Ferdinand Porsche (Butzi) Created the Porsche Design company in Stuttgart to do industrial design work. Designing any number of significant products including his very popular watches and eye glasses. Ferdinand Piëch has progressed up through the VW-Audi organization to become the CEO of Volkswagen turning around the fortunes of this once failing company. 

Fifty year Celebration
My wife and I started helping Porsche with their Fifty Year Birthday celebration by going to France and cheering the Porsche GT1 cars on at Le Mans June 6th and 7th. Next we helped with the Palo Alto Lions Club Concours on June 28th.at the Stanford campus in Palo Alto. This Concours d’Elegance of 250 cars featured Porsche as their marque and had 100 Porsches on display. The factory provided five cars for this display, the 1951 Le Mans class-winning Gmünd 356 SL, RS 60 Spyder, the Le Mans-winning 1987 Rothman 962 coupe, a Targa Florio 908/03, and the 935/78 Moby Dick long-tail. Many of these car had never been in the US before this visit. Dave Morse also had part of his collection at the Palo Alto show including his 917/30, his 936/001, his 959 and his 911ST. Bruce Canepa brought his beautiful 1979 935, and Joe Wong brought his beautiful all original 934. There were a number of wonderful 356s ranging from the Factory’s 356SL, Chuck Forge’s 356SL, which had been modified in the early fifties and Jim Barrington's lovely Gmünd coupe, just to mention some of the exquisite cars there. 

Next on my list of fifty year celebrations was the 356 Holiday at Steamboat Springs Colorado. This event was held, July 17 – 19, the weekend before the forty third Porsche Parade. The factory supported the 356 event by providing the 1951 356SL that raced to 20th place in the 1951 Le Mans race. The next week, also in Steamboat springs, was the Porsche Parade where Porsche joined in the celebration by providing the same cars that had been at Palo Alto. 

The state of Colorado was a wonderful site for these events, this was my fourth Colorado Parade. We have had two in Colorado Springs, one in Aspen and this Parade in Steamboat Springs since I have been in the Porsche Club of America. The 43rd Parade was sold out with over 750 registrations and well over 1400 Porsche fans attending. The Porsche family was represented at the Parade by Hans Peter Porsche and Oliver Porsche. Peter is the son of Ferry and Oliver, his nephew, the son of F.A. (Butzi) Porsche. Oliver is now the president or Porsche Design studio replacing his father in that role a couple of years ago. Fred Schwab president of PCNA and his wife Dotty were also with us at Parade again this year. 

Monday was the Concours d Elegance and this was the largest we have had in years with over 150 Porsches entered, 142 cars to be judged and an additional 41 cars for display. 

I had a wonderful trip home from Steamboat Springs, Colorado in a new Boxster that I borrowed from Porsche for the trip home. Although I would have preferred a new 996 for the trip the Boxster is wonderful! The trip was uneventful and marvelous. From when I left until I got home I drove 1284 miles. I did a lot of looping around looking for fun places to take photos. We just may have to buy one of these cars, too bad that I don’t have a real job to make it easier. The car was arrest me red, and I almost got arrested in Nevada. I got stopped for doing 80 in a 65 zone and we talked for awhile and he turned me loose. He was in a SUV going the opposite direction. Up until he stopped me I had mostly driving about 30 miles per hour over the speed limit. Fortunately when he found me I was lost and somewhat off the pace. 

After being stopped in Nevada I dropped my speed a bunch, but it had been fun while it lasted. I was really pretty careful in California, only had it over 100 mph a couple of times. The Boxster I had was a five-speed and I found that it will do 120 mph comfortably in fourth. And I ever did get it up to top speed, 140 mph was my tops in Utah. They are really comfortable high speed cruising cars, I would love one. The more you drive these new Porsches, both the Boxster and the 996 the more you like them. The 996 is even more fun, they are just wonderful cars... 50% more power than the Boxster – you can’t help but love them. That is if you don’t get arrested. At the late press introduction in Washington/Oregon, Keith Martin, who had just purchased a new to him 1968 911, came up to me after our first full day of driving the 996s and said that now he really appreciated his 1968 because he could scare himself at 75 mph and it took 140 mph to scare himself in the 996. 

I judged in the Steamboat Springs Parade Concours d’Elegance to practice up for the Concours d’Elegance at Pebble Beach a month later where I would be Chief Judge for the Porsche 356 class they would be having. We had a lot of fun with our friends, the cars and the people from Porsche. We even had lunch one day with Peter Porsche. Peter is partners with his brother Butzi (Ferdinand Alexander Porsche) in Porsche Design. Butzi’s son Oliver was also at Parade for a few days, he seems to be a really great guy. He is now president of Porsche Design. 

I gave a presentation on Tuesday at the Porsche Parade that was supposed to have been based on a slide show, but unfortunately I forgot my slides. I told them that I had sat down the night before and realized that I had left my slides home. so I was going to have to describe them to them. Then I started out by making a clicking sound with my mouth like the slide changer and described the first slide, which was the Finish Air plane with a large Santa Klaus painted on the side. Then I went on and talked about the trip last December to Finland and Stuttgart and the Boxsters and 996s that they were building then. I also told them about my getting to drive the 996 a couple of months ago and then comparing it to the older cars. I also told them about Le Mans and the new Porsche GT1 cars that placed first and second over there. All in all it went well, but I missed my slides. I had spent quite a bit of time preparing the slides for the presentation, too bad that I forgot them. Must be a sign of old age. 

Our Monterey Historics began a week before the Monterey Historic Automobile Races with the 356 Registry West Coast Holiday at Monterey. This years 356 West Coast Holiday was a really special with 636 paid entrants and additional 381 paid co-entrants for a total of 1017 entries. Friday August 7, 1998 Klaus Bischof, the Porsche Factory Museum Director, gave a great presentation on the 356 origin and history. Bischof told the session that Porsche number 1 had been damaged in shipment by the airline in Chicago and would not be at the event for its birthday. The damage was so extensive that number 1 had to be sent back to the factory for a restoration. He made the point that if you were going to take the chance to play with these cars that you have to take the risk that they could be damaged. His presentation was to a huge crowd that included Dr. Wolfgang Porsche and his wife Susanne Porsche. Susanne Porsche and Roman Kuhn have produced a beautiful video and booklet on the 50 Years of Porsche 1948 – 1998 that was on sale at various events over the weekend. The video gives a great history of the car from its beginnings through the current production models and is a must for any Porsche enthusiast. 

After Klaus Bischof‘s presentation my brother, Clark and I gave a Tech Session for the Registry on the Pan American races held in Mexico and Hot Rod Porsche 356’s that was well received. We shared the Pan American races and Clark went on alone with his Hot Rod 356 portion of the pesentation. The Pan American races presentation was based on a couple of cars that we prepared for a friend in Mexico, Sam Bardor, and then helped him run in the Pan Americana races. Our presentation covered the preparation of Bardor’s two 356s back in 1988 for the first year of the reinvention of the Carrera Pan American races and the running of the event for several years. We showed a number of slides of the various competitors and explained the preparation necessary to compete in this event. Clark went on to show a presentation of building street rods from 356s that was also well received. 

Saturday and Sunday at Laguna Seca was what they call "The Prehistorics", a practice event for the Monterey Historic Automobile Races the following weekend. While The Prehistorics were underway on Saturday the 356 Registry had what was the largest Literature Swap Meet that I have ever attended. It was obvious that the people putting on the 356 Registry Holiday had greatly underestimated the significance of Porsche Literature and Memorabilia to Porsche enthusiast for the Regency Ballroom-Peninsula Terrace at the at the Hyatt Regency Monterey was far too small to be up to the task of housing the buyers and sellers at this event. My wife, Stephanie, and I got so enthused that we even bought some memorabilia ourselves from a couple of notable sellers, Marco Marinello of Elevenparts AG, and long time friend and father of Olaf Lang, Paul Lang. 

The Prehistorics gives the competitors and would be competitors the opportunity to sort out their cars for the following weekends event. We went down to the Prehistorics because I wanted to see how some of my friend‘s cars had worked out after they had completed their restorations. I had been following the restorations of both Morspeed‘s cars and Bruce Canepa Motorsport‘s cars. Morspeed had restored 917/30 004, driven by Porsche’s Olaf Lang, 936-001 driven by Chris Morse, 936-004, driven by Dave Morse, a G roup 4 934 driven by Mark Morse and a Le Mans 924 GTR, driven by Kerry Morse (a friend, not a relative of the other Morses). 

Canepa had restored his own 1979 935, our old Sachs sponsored 1980 Kremer K3 935, the GELO 917/10 and the Repsol 962 for the event. All of the Morspeed cars checked out fine at the Prehistorics. Canepa had completed two of his cars, but he had not yet completed the other two. Bruce Canepa did not have the Repsol 962 or his GELO 917/10 as he was still working on that at his shop in nearby Santa Cruz, but both his 935 and the Sachs 935 checked out fine. The Sachs Porsche Kremer K3 935 was the same car that we prepared for the 1980 season for team owner Dick Barbour and drivers John Fitzpatrick, Dick Barbour and Brian Redman. John Fitzpatrick won the IMSA Championship 1980, the prestigious Porsche Cup 1980, Sebring 1980, Daytona 250 mile 1980, Mosport 1980, Norisring 1980, Sears Point 1980, Riverside 1980, Portland 1980, Laguna Seca 1980 with this and its sister Porsche Kremer K3 935.. Dave Morse’s 936 001 was used in the wind tunnel at Volkswagen to develop the body shape to influence the lift and drag characteristics for the 936s. 936 001 was also used for most of the development work for the 936s, a second car 936 002 ran most of the races in the Sports car World Championship series except the first race of the year Nürburgring and Dijon where 936 001 was used. From the second race, at Monza, the cars were painted white with red and blue Martini racing trim instead of flat black with the red and blue trim. Only one 936 was raced in all of the Sports Car Championship races in 1976 and the only place where Porsche raced both cars was the non championship Le Mans 24 hour race. At the seasons first race at Nürburgring the 936 001 suffered a jamming throttle cable which would be its only serious malfunction of the season. Fortunately Reinhold Joest won the race with a turbocharged 908/03 saving the day for Porsche as Stommelen placed fifth in the new 936. In the remaining six races in the Sports car championship the 936 reliability was exceptional and the 936s proved to be unbeatable and won all of the remaining races. 
For Le Mans 1977 Jünrgen Barth and Hurley Haywood were to have driven 936 001 and early in the race it had an injection pump failure which put it a half hour behind. Soon after that the other factory car, 936 002 went out with a failed connecting rod, so Porsche added Jacky Ickx to the drivers lineup in 936 001. With Ickx, Barth and Haywood in 936 001 the three of them brought the car back into first place after eighteen hours of driving. But at 3:14 with just 36 minutes left to race 936 001 had a head gasket fail and Hurley, Haywood came in with the car only running on 5 cylinders. Fortunately all of the real challengers were out of the race by then or so far back that they could not catch 936 001 even if it sat in the pits for the rest of the race. So that was what it did with the exception of the last two laps so that it would qualify as a finisher .The team disabled the fuel and ignition to the one bad cylinder and at the end of the race Jürgen Barth took 936 001 out for two slow laps and Porsche's fourth victory at Le Mans. 

936 001 was updated in 1978 with an engine with water cooled heads and different body work. 936 001 was run in 1978, 1979 and 1981 but never won Le Mans again after 1977. This is one of two 936s that Dave Morse owns. 

The Morspeed 936 004 was the fourth 936, which was built for Joest Racing for the 1980 Le Mans race where it was driven to a second place finish by Reinhold Joest and Jacky Ickx. The Joest 936 was a copy of the 1977 version of the 936; but it was not originally called a 936, but instead it was called a 908/80. The car was entered by Joest and sponsored by Martini Racing for Joest and Jacky Ickx to run in the 1980 Le Mans race. Their reason given for the car being called a 908/80 was that the car was built as a replacement for the 908/3 and the new car for Joest was originally built as an updated 908/3 using a 936 chassis, chassis parts, transmission, engine, fuel and oil tanks, pedals etc. Therefore a new 936 was built and the only difference was that for tactical reasons it was called a 908/80 because Porsche did not want to be in the business of selling 936s to customers and did not want to be pressured by their other racing customers. Later they allowed Joest to call their car 936 004 and provided the Joest and Kremer teams with all of the drawings and data necessary to duplicate the 936s and the Kremers built 936 005 and the Joest team built their 936 C coupe. to run in group C races. 

The Morspeed 917/30 004 was to have been the new car for the Penske team for the 1974 season, but when the Can-Am rules were changed effectively eliminating the Turbo Porsches from the series it was never delivered to the Penske team. The main difference between 917/30 004 and the earlier cars is that it has a five-speed transmission and they had but a four-speed gearbox. The car was originally sold to Allan Hamilton the Australian Porsche importer. In the 1980s Australia put a very high import tax on imported cars and Hamilton’s business failed and Porsche took the car as a partial payment for the new Porsches that they had sold to him. A few years ago Dave Morse was able to buy the car from Porsche and add it to his collection. 

The Bruce Canepa 917/10 was a car that belonged to Georg Loos GELO PORSCHE RACING Team and run in the Interserie in 1973 by Georg Loos. Bruce Canepa’s 1979 935 0090029 was the last 1979 935 delivered to the US. Canepa ran this 935 in an number of IMSA races in the US. Canepa’s other 935 was a Kremer built 935 K3 0000023, one of the two Sachs sponsored 935 K3s that were run by Dick Barbour Racing in 1980 for British driver John Fitzpatrick who won both the IMSA Championship in 1980 as well as the much revered "Porsche Cup". These were cars that I helped to prepare and was a member of the crew for during the 1980 season. 

Sunday August 9, 1989 was also the Concours d’Elegance Day for the 356 Registry at Quail Lodge. This was an awesome event with 387 entries parked on the lawn at the Quail Lodge for the Concours. I have never seen this many 356s together in one place. In addition to the multitude of 356s of all sizes and shapes, there were also Peter Dunkel’s beautifully restored Porsche Tractor, a 550A Spyder, a 906 and a Abarth Carrera. There were over thirty four cam Carreras at the show at Quail Lodge. The car awarded the Best of Show trophy was Cheryl Dunkel’s Silver GS/GT Carrera Speedster, while Kenneth Ward‘s Stone Gray 1959 Cabriolet won the Judges Choice award as well as the Peoples Choice award. 

Monday August 10, 1998 was the Track Day for the 356 Registry where the entrants were all allowed to tour the track at Laguna Seca. Monday evening was the gala banquet at the Monterey Aquarium on Cannery Row. This was a wonderful event where the participants were able to eat fish while the live fish in the tanks looked on. This is a wonderful Aquarium and a great place for a Porsche Banquet. Tuesday was the last day to the 356 Registry Holiday with a large Swap Meet at the Monterey Peninsula College. 

Wednesday afternoon/evening was the opening event for the Porsche Club or America at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races. Registration and nibbles were offered at MY Porsche, the local dealer, in nearby Seaside California. This event allowed all of the Porsche enthusiast from all over the country to meet up and get acquainted. There were a number of Porsches on display ranging from three new 996s with the aero kits to John Clever’s unrestored, very large, Porsche Junior Tractor. After this PCA warmup event my wife and I went to a special car event referred to by some of the attendies as "Cigars and Cars at the Airport". This event was actually Gordon McCall’s MOTORWORKS "A Celebration of Style in Motion". Although there were all sorts of cars and planes on display the main focus was the more than thirty various different Porsches on display at the event including a 1958 RSK in bare aluminum facing off with a P51 Mustang fighter also in bare Aluminum. There were Carreras, Spyders, 904s, 906s and a 917 all on display. The main sponsors for this event were Meguiar’s, Robb Report and Monterey Airplane Company. 

Thursday night there was another dinner at the Aquarium for some of the Porsche elite, but I don’t know anyone who was invited. Instead we went out to dinner with Rafiel and Annie Vasquez and our friends from Puerto Rico and Judy Boles the president of the Porsche Club of America and her husband John Boles.
The Porsche Club of America’s big banquet for the Monterey Historics weekend was held at the Monterey Mission on Friday evening. This was the biggest event of the week with over 1500 in attendance. 

The Monterey Historic Automobile Races at Laguna Seca were on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and they were really why most of us were in Monterey for the weekend. We were not alone celebrating Porsche’s 50th anniversary and the crowd for the races was estimated at more than 65,000 people over the weekend, which is a record for this event. Saturdays crowd was huge and it was said that it was the second-largest single day draw in the history of the Track. This was also the 25th anniversary of Steve Earl’s Monterey Historic Automobile Races. Earl said that he would celebrate their 25th anniversary next year with a retrospective of the past 25 years with all of the winners of the Monterey Cup. 

Monterey Historics organizer Steve Earle let 124 Porsches in for his historic races and while they didn’t win all of the races Porsches so that almost every model was represented at Monterey. And while the Porsches didn’t win every race where they were entered in, they did win their fair share. There are seven races each Saturday and Sunday and the Porsches did win seven of the nine races that they were entered in. The cars ranged from a 1949 356SL, and a 1951 prototype Sauter Roadster, to a 1955 Continental and five of the very rare Carrera Abarths. There were actually six Abarths on the Monterey peninsula for the weekend the sixth was for sale at one of the auctions. There were more Spyders than were could count, probably more than twenty, mostly in silver both on the track in Porsches display and just there to be there. There were also 904s, 906s, 910s, 907s and probably ten 908s and another ten 917s in various body configurations ranging from the long tail version to the turbocharged 917/10s and 917/30s. There were some 914 racers, one that Hurley Haywood put on a great display with just beating Jürgen Barth in their hotly contested race. There were 934s, 935s and 936s, there of the four 936s that Porsche built were there. 

Porsche brought cars over from their museum in Stuttgart and created both a display and what appeared to be working pits for the 1922 Sascha, 1947 Cisitalia Grand Prix car, 1951 356 SL, 1954 550 Panamericana Spyder, 1960 RS 60 Spyder, 1960 718 Formula 2 car, 1962 804 Grand Prix car in which Dan Gurney won the 1962 French Grand Prix,1964 Porsche 904 coupe, 1970 908/3 Spyder, 1970 917 Le mans winner, 1971 917 Long Tail, 1972 917/10 Can Am Spyder – RC Cola, 1974 911 Carrera RSR Turbo, 1977 936, 1978 Porsche 935 Moby Dick, 1986 McLaren Tag Formula 1, 1986 Porsche 959 Paris Dakar Rally car. 1987 Porsche 962 C, 1988 959 Street car, 1989 March Porsche Indy Car, 1989 Porsche Panamericana Concept car, 1994 Dauer 962, 1996 Porsche 911 GT1 and 1997 Porsche 911 GT Most of these cars were in working order and driven around the Laguna Seca track for all to see by some of the Porsche racing heroes past and present as wells as Porsches own dignities and by some journalists. 

Also held on Friday was Concours Italiano, a relative newcomer at 12 years compared to The Monterey Historic Automobile Races at 25 years and the Pebble Beach Concours at 48 years. This year they paid tribute to Alfa Romeo as their featured marque, with cars like a 1934 Alfa Romeo P3, the winner of the 1934 Mille Miglia. They also had other Italian exotica such as a Maserati 500 GT Prototype designed by Frau, a 1957 Maserati A6G Frau Spyder, a Maserati Tipo 124 Prototype and a 1949 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Super Sport. 

In their twelve short years Concours Italiano has grown to be a major car event. In addition to their wonderful Italian cars they have also included a display of Porsches and this year there was an amazing display of over 300 Porsches, organized by the Porsche Club of America, Zone 7. To conform with proper Italian grammar in the future the name of this even will be officially changed to Concorso Italiano in 1999.
Saturday night was Porches official 50th Anniversary Celebration Dinner in the Porsche Experience Pavilion at Laguna Seca Raceway. This was a magical evening with the whose who of Porsche in attendance. Such notables as Dr Wendelin Wiedeking, Dr Wolfang Porsche, Sterling Moss, Jack McAfee, Sam Posey. Prestoen Henn, Davey Jones, Herbert Linge, Harm Lagaay, Peter Falk, Fred Schwab, Jeff Zwart, Vick Elford, Ernst Schuster, Joe Buzzetta, Jerry Seinfeld, Denise McCluggate, Jurgen Barth, Hans Herman, Gijs van Lennep, Bob Wollek, John Fitzpatrick, and Hurley Haywood, just to name some of the great in attendance. The entertainment for the evening included presentations by Sterling Moss and Sam Posey covering the history of Porsche Racing with some great video presentations and introductions of the drivers. And, yes, Stephanie and I were there too. It was a Magical evening indeed and we are not likely ever to see such a gathering of Porsche cars and Porsche people again. 

Sunday dawned early on the Pebble Beach Concours where they too helped us celebrate Porsches fifty years of making cars. This was Pebble Beache’s own 48th anniversary, they will celebrate their fiftieth in the year two thousand. This event continues to grow in stature and it was claimed that this year they had a record 15,000 people in attendance. Porsche cars used to be regular participants at Pebble Beach in the bygone days, I even won my class there in 1971 with my 1964 Porsche 356 SC GT coupe. Soon after that, in 1973, Pebble Beach went upscale and excluded the post war Sports Car clases where the Porches had competed. Since then we have only been invited back in 1982 when Porsche was the featured Marque at the Monterey Historics and again this year when Porsche was again the featured Marque. I have been fortunate to judge both in 1982 and again in 1998 when I was Chief judge for the Porsches. 

As Chief judge I picked five of my most critical friends and we used the Porsche Club of America Concurs rules as our guide to selection of what we felt was the best car in the 356 collection on display. It was a very close battle between John and Donna Paterek with their beautiful 1952 Gläser America Roadster, which ultimately placed second and Stephen and Dorthy Heinrichs 1954 356 Speedster prototype who won the class. This car was the third prototype Speedster and it had been made by Porsche like three other prototypes by extensively reworking a 356 Cabriolet model. It was surprising how much this car looked like the later production Speedsters considering how it was produced. There were six 356s in the Porsche 356 class. There were also an additional thirteen cars ranging from a 1922 Austro-Daimler Sascha Racer to Jerry Seinfeld’s last air cooled 911 sold, which was a 1998 C4S. In between there were a 1951 356SL which was the first Porsche raced at Le Mans, a 550 Spyder, a 550A Spyder a 904, a 906 a 917/10, a 962, a 959, the Panamericana Cabriolet, a 911 GT1 and Jerry Seinfeld’s first 911. 

Ilse Nädele Porsche Club Coordinator and Pebble beach Concours de Elegance judges left to right Dennis Frick, myself, Dale Miller, Mark Smedley, Weldon Scrogham, and Kirby Hollis.

Seinfeld has the book ends of Porsche 911s with the first 911 and the last air cooled 911 sold to a customer. The first car was actually not the first 911, but the first car called a 911 and was originally owned by Professor Ferry Porsche when it was new. The 901 as it was called when initially introduced at the September 1963 Frankfurt show. Porsche built 232 cars through the end of 1964. The reason that the 901 was renamed, or renumbered from, 901 to 911 was that the French auto maker Peugeot had registered the use of three digit numbers where the center digit was a zero in France. Without making the change to 911 Porsche would not be able to sell their cars in France. This car that Jerry Seinfeld has, chassis number 300049, was built on November 10,1964 and was the first car called the 911. 

Seinfeld bought this car from a private party in November of 1996 in what he described as a less than pleasant transaction. In April of 1997 he made a deal with Porsche to have them restore the first 911 for him as well as arranging for him to buy the very last air cooled 911 which was built March 31, 1998. The last air cooled 911 is a Mexico blue Carrera 4S. Incidentally he also has the last US specification 993 but it was not on display. When asked about what the first 911 cost to restore they said that it was about what it would cost to buy two new 911s, which seems quite reasonable for such a beautiful piece of Porsche history. Their goal was to have their first and last air cooled 911s at the Monterey Historic Weekend, a goal that they achieved in spades. 

Some Porsches sneak on the field at Pebble Beach almost every year in the form of the Pebble Beach Cup and Road and Track awards for the cars that are selected at the Historics at Laguna Seca and invited over to Pebble beach for Sunday. This year Dennis Aker won the Pebble Beach Cup with his 1953 Pooper (Porsche/Cooper) and Bill Perrone won the Road and Track Award with his 1955 Porsche Spyder.
Double Fifty at Watkins Glen: The Double Fifty at Watkins Glen in New York was continuation of Watkins Glen’s anniversary of road racing and Porsche’s fifty years of building cars. Brian Redman put this event on and gave a wonderful birthday party for both Porsche and Watkins Glen at Watkins Glen the weekend of August 27-30. The weekend was filled with Porsches that have won races from their class win at Le Mans in 1951 to the present time as well as a long list of world famous drivers who drove those cars. 

Post war sports car racing in the united states started in Watkins Glen on October 2, 1948. The original Watkins Glen Course was 6.6 miles and ran through the Watkins Glen village of 3,000 people and on the outlying roads through what is now a park. The Stone Bridge once a famous landmark on the original course is still part of this road through the countryside. 

Road racing had several starts in the US with the first road race being held outside Chicago in 1895 on Thanksgiving day. Although road racing had been very popular in Europe there was little tradition for road racing in the US with the exception of the Vanderbuilt Cup races held early in the century, from 1904 through 1916 and revived again for 1936 and 1937 at Roosevelt Raceway in NY to attract European cars and drivers to America. 

Both World Wars killed road racing in the US. Following the first World War road racing had a brief comeback in the early thirties when the Collier Brothers: Sam Collier and Barron Collier Jr., and some of their friends helped to develop road racing in the United States in the 1930s. As teenagers in 1929 the Collier brothers and friends started their own club the Overlook Automobile Racing Club, built a road racing track around their dads summer home in Upstate New York and raced their home built cars with motorcycle engines. In 1933 this interest in road racing evolved into the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) and they started racing real sports car on road courses. Their first race was on a course designed by Miles on their father‘s land in Pocono Hills. The ARCA lasted six years until the war and had 136 members.
After the war the Collier brothers, Charles Morgan, George Rand, Briggs, Cunningham and their friends helped organize the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) in February 1944. This group ran some road races over estate and country roads in the eastern part of the US, but the real renaissance for road racing began at Watkins Glen on October 2, 1948 when Cameron Argetsinger talked the people of Watkins Glen into having a road race through Watkins Glen. At that time Watkins Glen was a little resort village of about 3000 people on Lake Seneca, 250 miles from New York City. He convinced the towns people that they could extend their tourist season by having a race through town they week after "Labor Day Weekend" a US holiday that was traditionally the end of their season. 

Road racing at the Watkins Glen was infectious and it spread over the US. Races were held at Pebble Beach, Sebring, Golden Gate Park and the American road racing renaissance was under way. Before permanent road courses were built races were held at airports and fairgrounds all around the US. As with all of these early "make do" type racing circuits using public roads the original Watkins Glen course was too dangerous for both the drivers and spectators and a permanent race track was ultimately built. The Watkins Glen course moved from being an open road course first through the village of Watkins Glen from 1948 to 1952 and then later from 1953 to 1955 near the town of Dix, 5 miles south west of Watkins Glen to a permanent road course in 1956 where it is now. 

The Porsche factory and museum director Klaus Bischof provided six cars from the museum at Stuttgart for the Double Fifty celebration; the Gmünd 356 SL that was the first Porsche to race at Le Mans in 1951, a RS 60, a Gulf 908/3, a 917K, the fabulous "Moby Dick" 935/78 and 1987 Le Mans winning Rothmans 962.
There were over 350 cars entered including the exhibition cars. When I asked the James Redman how many entries they had he said that they could be creative and say 600 "race" entries, but that really translated to about 340 cars as most had entered both the sprint races and endurance races. 

Those cars entered ranged from the: 550, 55A, RSK, RS60, RS61, 904, 906, RSR, 907, 910, 908 Long Tail, 908/2, 908/3, 917K, 917 PA, 917/10, 917 Interserie, 956, 962 and the ex Rohr GT1 car. The list of factory drivers to go with these cars included: Richard Attwood, Jürgen Barth, Joe Buzzetta, Vic Elford, George Follmer, Hurley Haywood and Porsches newest recruit from the US, David Murray. Other drivers there were Milt Minter, Elliot Forbes, Bob Akin, Walt Bohren, and Michael Keyser. Most of these drivers along with Brian Redman were available at lunch time to sign autographs and the lines spread around the paddock. 

Fred Schwab, President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America, Inc. was the Grand Marshall for the event and handed out all the trophies. As an added duty Fred drove one of the Spyders around the track in the exhibition runs. 

For me the weekend started Tursday afternoon when we arrived at the circuit and I went to the photo opportunity in the Esses were the organizers lined up most of the 350 cars and drivers so that we could photograph them. Friday was a practice day for all of the groups of cars. Friday evening after practice and qualifying there was a cocktail party for all of the drivers and their family and crew in a large tent behind the pit grandstand. The Friday evening party was sponsored by Porsche Cars North America, Kelly-Moss Motorsports, Amalfi Racing, Klub Sport and Brumos Porsche. 

Both Saturday and Sunday were filled with races for the various classes of cars. Their were four PCA Sprint Races Saturday for the various classes use in PCA Club Racing. There were also two vintage sprint races Saturday. Sunday their were four one hour endurance races for both the PCA and Vintage cars. All of the races were named after a person or event related to Porsche. The first race was Arnage Trophy sprint race with 37 entrants. The Arnage Trophy, named after the famous corner at Le Mans was won by Keith Komar with his 2.7 1974 911 in class G, second was Robert Scotto with his 1988 3.2 liter Carrera in class F, and third was Henk Westerduin with his 1988 3.2 Carrera in class F. 

The second race was the Bruce Jennings Trophy sprint race with 37 entrants. The Bruce Jennings Trophy is named after a famous US racer who won more races with a Porsche than any other driver in the world between 1959 and 1969. The Bruce Jennings Trophy was won by John Jacobs with his 1974 914 in class GT5R, second was Dick Howe in his 1980 924 in class GT5S, and third was Wade Herren in his 1975 914 in class GT5S. 

The third race was the Gmund Cup sprint race with 46 entrants. The Gmund Cup named after the home of the first Porsches was won by Brian Redman in Miles Collier’s RS61 in class 3X, Bob Snodgrass was second in his 914/6 in class G3, Weldon Scrogham was third in his 356 Speedster in class G2 and Vic Skirmants was fourth in his 1959 356. in class G2. Brian withdrew from the results moving the second through fourth place cars up one space. He said that it would look bad if the organizer won, so he declared himself ineligible. 

The fourth race was the Jacky Ickx Cup sprint race with 65 entrants. The Jacky Ickx Cup was named after the only six time winner of Le mans and perhaps the best long distance driver ever. The Ickx race was won by Hurley Haywood a pretty spectacular long distance racer in his own right driving his Brumos 962 in class GTP, second was Donald Stiles in his 962 in class GTP, and third was Michael Schrom in his 1987 3.4 liter 911 in class GT1R. 

The fifth race was the Salzburg Cup sprint race with 46 entrants. The Salzburg Cup was named after the Salzburg team entered by Ferry Porsche’s sister Louise Piëch in 1969, 1970 and 1971. The Salzburg Cup sprint race was won by Joe His with his 924 in the GT4S class, second was Chris Musante in his 2790 cc 1974 911 in the GT4S class, and third was Michael Trombly in his 1984 911SCRS in class C. 

The sixth race was the Eifel Trophy sprint race with 44 entrants. The Eifel Trophy race was named after the Eifel Mountains of Germany where the Nürburgring track is. The Eifel Trophy was won by Henry Payne IV in his 1969 908/2 in class E6, second was Henry Payne III in his 1967 907 Long Tail coupe in class E5, and third was Art Pilla in his Kremer K5 935 in Class E6. 

Saturday night after the track activities Brian hosted a dinner for all who wanted to attend. Apparently plenty wanted to attend and all of the dinner tickets were sold out. The factory drivers all gave short, and very funny talks about their most memorable moment in a Porsche at the dinner. There was also an auction for a Porsche 917 lightweight crankshaft, the original art for the Poster by Tim Berry, a leather bound special proof copy of the Double Fifty program and a copy of a Battle of the Titans limited edition poster signed by 25 drivers from the 1970 24 hours of Le Mans. All brought good prices for The Vasek & Anna_Maria Polak Charitable Foundation for Cancer Research.. Fred Schwab bought the leather bound proof copy of the program for $4000 and then donated it to the Watkins Glen Motor Racing Research Library. Fred Schwab also gave the Watkins Glen Motor Racing Research Library a check for $10,000. 

Sunday’s races were all run under a one hour endurance race format with one mandatory five minute pit stop. Driving could be shared between two drivers or one driver could drive the whole race, but the 5 minute pit stop applied either way. 

The first race Sunday was called the Weissach Cup endurance race with 72 entrants. The Weissach Cup race was named after the R&D and Test Center for Porsche. The Weissach Cup was run by Jack Gaggini and his co-driver Elliot Forbes-Robinson with Gaggini’s 2.7 liter 1970 911 race car in class GT4S, second was Lad Sanda and co-driver David Murray in Sanda’s 1993 964RS in C, and third was Vince Suddard with his 2.7 liter 1970 911 race car in class GT4S. 

The second race Sunday was called the John Wyer Cup endurance race with 31 entrants. The John Wyer Cup was named after John Wyer who ran the Porsche factory effort in 1970 and 1971 helping to earn two consecutive manufactures championships with the fabulous 917s. The John Wyer Cup was won by Richard Howe with his 1973 914 in class GT5S, second was Peter Overing with his 1969 911S in class GT5S, and third was Wader Herren in his 1975 914 in class GT5S. 

The third race Sunday was called the Daytona Cup with 58 entrants. The Daytona Cup was named after the famous Daytona International Speedway in Florida. This was probably the most exciting race of the weekend when Brian Redman built up a big lead of 20 seconds over Hurley Haywood both in 962s before Brian turned his car over to Richard Attwood. Attwood was not familiar with the ground effects 962s which put him at a disadvantage and allowed Haywood to catch up with him. About the time Haywood caught him Attwood was getting the hang of the ground effects cars and they had a great race for several laps before Haywood finally got ahead of Attwood for good, winning with his 1987 962 in class GTP, Brian Redman and Richard Attwood were second with Mike Amallfitano’s 1988 962 in class GTP and third was Michael Schron with his 3400 cc 1987 911 race car. 

The Haywood 1987 962 was the last of four customer cars built by Al Holbert. The car was jointly owned by Brumos, AJ Foyt and Copenhagen and was raced at Daytona, Sebring and Miami in 1987, 1988 and 1989. This car was raced under the IMSA rules which required air cooling, a single turbo and single ignition. The Redman/Attwood 1988 962 was which was re-tubed in 1989 using one of the Team Schuppan carbon fiber tubs. This car was rebuilt as a cooperative effort between the Porsche factory and Vern Schuppan. This car was sanctioned by the factory and retains the original chassis number 138. The result of the stiffer carbon fiber tub was a more responsive 962 chassis with out the terminal low-speed understeer that all 962s had. The car features a 1.71 Motronic Porsche water-water engine. 

The fourth race Sunday was the Targa Florio Cup with 65 entrants. The Targa Florio Cup was named after the fantastic race through the mountains in Sicily where Porsche won eleven times. The Targa Florio Cup wsa won by Steve Southard with his 1983 935 in class E6, Second was Art Pilla with is 1980 Kremer K3 935 in class E6 and third was Bob Jordan in his 1969 905/2 in class E6. Steve Southard‘s 935 was the car commissioned by Bob Akin and built by Dave Klym of FABCAR and called "The Last 935". Bob Jordan’s 908/2 was significant in that this particular car was the 908 that it had belonged to Steve McQueen and that he raced to a second place overall at Sebring in 1970. Next the McQueen 908 was equiped with a camera and used for the filming of the movie Le Mans and driven by Herbert Linge and Jonathan Williams. 

The event was a great success and although they have no official figures for spectators the track said that the Double fifty drew more spectators than any other event at Watkins Glen this year. The event shirts were sold out by 4:30 Friday! The Programs sold out on Saturday, dinner tickets for Saturday night sold out and track touring on Sunday also sold out.

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