Welcome to 365 Days of Motoring

An Everyday Journey Through Motoring History, Facts & Trivia

Belt up and enjoy this 365-day ride as you cruise past the most momentous motoring events in history. Packed with fascinating facts about races, motorists and the history of the mighty engine, this is a must-visit web site for any car enthusiast.

Porsche

Porsche


A chronological day-by-day history of Porsche.

Saturday 26th May 1923

94 years ago

The first 24 Hours of Le Mans, organised by the Automobile Club de L’Ouest, began. The race traditionally starts at 4 p.m. on the Saturday and uses mostly normal country roads. Over the years, several purpose-built sections replaced some of the normal roads previously used, including the Porsche Curves, which bypass the former dangerous Maison Blanche section between buildings. The permanent Bugatti Track surrounds the facilities at the start/finish. That first Le Mans was won by French drivers André Lagache and René Léonard in a Chenard et Walcker. British driver Frank Clement and Canadian John Duff finished fourth in a 3-litre Bentley.

24 Hours of Le Mans - 1923

24 Hours of Le Mans - 1923

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Sunday 27th May 1923

94 years ago

The first Le Mans 24-Hour race concluded. Winners Andre Lagache and Renee Leonard covered 1,372.928 miles in a 3 litre Chenard et Walcker. All races since then have been held in June, with the exceptions of 1956 (July) and 1968 (September). Traditionally, the race starts at 16:00 on the Saturday, although in 1984 the race started at 15:00 due to the conflicting French General Election. The race has been held every year since then with the exceptions of 1936, and between 1940 and 1948, when the Second World War intervened. In the original configuration, the race track used was 10.73 miles (17.26 km) long, and has subsequently been shortened on several occasions.The race has always been dominated by European names like Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Mercedes, Jaguar, and Lotus. In recent years, BMW and Porsche have both posted fine results. Sadly, the race is most famous for the horrific crash that occurred there in 1955 when a Mercedes 300 SL flipped into the gallery, killing over 80 spectators. Since then, the danger of the race has made it a captivating subject for journalists and artists alike. The round-the-clock nature of the event makes it a unique experience for spectators and drivers alike. Two or three drivers normally race in four-hour shifts, and sleep is impossible. The course at Le Mans has changed gradually over the years, but some of its major landmarks have not changed. The three-mile Mulsanne straightaway that begins the race is perhaps most famous for its supreme length and, consequently, its speed. The straightaway ends in a gradual right-hand jog that, if driven at normal speeds, is nearly imperceptible. At over 200mph, the right-hand jog feels like a mine-bending curve. The course is dotted with various slow curves, s-turns, and high-speed turn sequences, all of which test the mettle of the car drivers. It's no wonder that in Le Mans' heyday in the '50s and '60s, the best drivers in the world raced there.

Chenard et Walcker - winning car of the 1923 Le Mans Prix d'Endurance

Chenard et Walcker - winning car of the 1923 Le Mans Prix d'Endurance

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Sunday 19th June 1927

89 years ago

The fifth 24 Hours of Le Mans Grand Prix of Endurance finished. The race is commonly remembered due to the infamous White House crash, which involved all three of the widely tipped Bentley team's entries, and caused the retirement of two of them. The race was eventually won by the third which, although badly damaged, was able to be repaired by drivers Dudley Benjafield and Sammy Davis. It was Bentley's second victory in the endurance classic. The winning margin was an incredible 21 laps. The total entry for the 1927 Le Mans race was only 23, although this was down to 22 by the time of the race itself due to one of the two Tracta entries crashing while en route to the event. In comparison with previous years, when entries had nearly topped 50 cars, the 1927 field had been depleted by mergers, bankruptcies and other financial worries amongst competitor manufacturers. Amongst the list of absentees were the Lorraine-Dietrich team, winners of the event for the previous two years. With three cars entered, it was therefore the Bentley squad who were pre-race favourites to take an easy victory. After a humiliating run of retirements since their victory in the 1924 event, W.O. Bentley decided to enter a strong team, despite the weakened opposition. Dudley Benjafield and Sammy Davis were again paired in the same 3 litre car which they had crashed just an hour from the finish in the 1926 race: Old Number 7. A second 3 litre was entered for Andre d'Erlanger and George Duller, while Leslie Callingham and 1924-winner Frank Clement were entrusted with the 4½ litre prototype, Old Mother Gun. The majority of the cars ranged against the Bentley Boys were an assortment of small-capacity French cars aiming for victory in the Index of Performance, with only the 2 litre Théophile Schneiders and a lone, 3 litre Ariès, driven by Robert Laly and Jean Chassagne, offering serious competition. However, as the only vehicle in the 5 litre class, Old Mother Gun was substantially quicker than even these. As expected it was car number 1, Old Mother Gun, which led away from the start. The Benjafield/Davis car slipped into second place, with d'Erlanger and Duller in third place making it a Bentley 1-2-3 in the opening laps. Old Mother Gun's pace advantage was underlined by Clement when he broke the circuit record in only the second lap of the race. Over the following few laps he whittled this down still further, to only 8 minutes 46 seconds for the 10.7 mile (17.3 km) circuit. This early-race performance was yet more remarkable as, at the time, the cars were required to run with their hoods erected for the first three hours of the race. Behind Frank Clement the race was tight, however, with the 3 litre Ariès and the Jacques Chanterelle/René Schiltz Théophile Schneider managing to keep pace with the 3 litre Bentleys as the race progressed into the growing evening gloom. It was just after 9:30pm that the second Théophile Schneider, driven by Robert Poitier and Pierre Tabourin, precipitated the race's most famous event. A few laps in arrears but being chased hard by Callingham in Old Mother Gun, the driver misjudged his entry speed into the virages Maison Blanche (since bypassed by the Porsche Curves), known amongst the British fraternity by their English translation: the White House curves. The Théophile Schneider slewed to a halt, broadside across the road. Rather than plough head-on into his opponent, Callingham chose to put the Bentley off the road, into a ditch. Unfortunately for him the big car rolled, throwing him into the centre of the road. Unsighted by the corner, when the second Théophile Schneider came upon the accident site the driver did not have time to take evasive action and thus collided, at speed, with the Bentley and its sister car. A similar fate awaited Duller, at the wheel of the number 2 Bentley, and a 2 litre Ariès, before Sammy Davis in the second 3 litre Bentley approached the White House curves. Davis perceived that all was not as it should be – even tens of metres back up the road its surface was strewn with debris – and so entered the corner slower than would normally have been the case. Even so, his speed was such that, by the time he spotted the wreckage blocking the road in front of him, he did not have sufficient time to brake to a halt. Rather than also hit the stationary cars head-on Davis provoked the big Bentley into a slide. Because of this Davis hit the stricken cars sideways, striking first with the right-hand front wing. In spite of Davis's prompt action the impact was substantial, but unlike the other unfortunates he was able to restart his car and (once he had assured himself that his team-mates and the Frenchmen were all accounted for and only slightly hurt) drive gently back to the pits. Once in the pits Davis and Benjafield assessed the damage. External assistance was greatly restricted at the time, so it was down to the drivers to effect any repairs needed to continue. The right wing was badly mangled and had to be reattached to the car using string, while the right headlamp was broken beyond repair. More fundamentally, the right front wheel was bent, as were the axle and chassis, but Davis decided to press on regardless. He volunteered to take the car back onto the track and completed six further laps to check that all was well, before Benjafield retook the wheel. In the time which had elapsed during the incident and as the car was being repaired, the 3 litre Ariès had slipped past and was beginning to establish a sizeable lead. Benjafied set about reducing the French car's advantage, pushing the Bentley hard despite running with only one headlamp and a flashlight strapped to the windscreen frame to guide him through the dark of night. By midday on Sunday they had reduced Laly and Chassagne's lead to only a single lap, assisted by a few mechanical maladies which afflicted the French car in the pits. The Ariès had a fault with its ignition system, which had resulted in lengthy delays during driver changes, and on its 122nd lap the system failed completely, stranding Chassagne out on the circuit. With its only remaining rival now out of contention, Benjafield and Davies completed the remaining time of the race at greatly reduced speed, nursing the injured Bentley home. They won the race having completed only 1472 miles (2369 km), at an average of just over 61 mph (98 km/h), far fewer than the record, set the previous year, of 1586 miles (2552 km). Despite the comparatively slow overall pace, the dramatic events surrounding the White House crash meant that the race gained much wider press coverage than had been the case in previous years. In particular, Davis's honourable and heroic actions in searching the wreckage for his compatriots and rivals, before continuing the race in the teeth of adversity, gained him high praise. That such actions had been taken by a group of young men who had previously been much better known for their lavish parties and fast-living lifestyles only added to the popular appeal. Their pluck and determination seemed to embody much of what the British regarded as best in their national character, and on their return to the UK the team were greeted as national heroes. The Autocar magazine fuelled the Bentley team's reputation by hosting a grand post-race party at the Savoy Hotel in central London, at which Old Number 7 was guest of honour. A repaired Old Mother Gun (which had sat out the remainder of the race still in its ditch) returned to La Sarthe the following year, and won the race with a new record of 154 laps. Both Benjafield and Davis remained significant figures in British motorsport over the following few decades – Benjafield as founder of the British Racing Drivers' Club, and Davis as sports editor of The Autocar and one of the founders of the Veteran Car Club – but neither's racing career managed to equal their achievement at Le Mans in 1927.

Le Mans start, 1927.

Le Mans start, 1927.

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Monday 31st December 1928

88 years ago

Ferdinand Porsche resigned from Daimler-Benz AG.

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Saturday 25th April 1931

86 years ago

Dr Ferdinand Porsche founded Porsche KG, a company of "designers and consultants for land, sea, and air vehicles". One of the first assignments was from the German government to design a car for the people, that is a "Volkswagen". This resulted in the Volkswagen Beetle, one of the most successful car designs of all time. The Porsche 64 was developed in 1939 using many components from the Beetle.

Dr Ferdinand Porsche

Dr Ferdinand Porsche

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Tuesday 11th August 1931

85 years ago

Ferdinand Porsche applied for a German patent for his torsion-bar suspension system.

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Tuesday 1st November 1932

84 years ago

Hochleistungsfahrzeugbau GmbH was founded by Ferdinand Porsche and Adolf Rosenberger with the sole purpose to build a Grand Prix car in the new unlimited classification. The proposed design was built by the newly-formed Auto Union AG.

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Friday 22nd June 1934

82 years ago

Ferdinand Porsche signed a contract with the Automobile Manufacturers Association of Germany (RDA) to build three prototype "people's cars" over a 10-month period. The contract was a direct result of Hitler's personal request to Porsche that he design such a car. The result, of course, was the Volkswagen. But it would take years for Porsche to accomplish his dream of bringing a small, affordable car to the market. In 1899, at the age of 24, Ferdinand Porsche became one of Europe's most famous automotive engineers with the introduction of his Porsche-Lohner electric car. It was his first offering to the world, and it was characteristically ingenious. Ferdinand Porsche is the automotive world's answer to "the Natural"; his designs have always been incomprehensibly ahead of their times. At a time when all automotive designers focused all their energies on mustering speed, Porsche's car came with two separate braking systems, one mechanical and one electric, while still supplying competitive speed. For the next 35 years Porsche would strive, often under the auspices of Daimler Motors, to produce the smallest, fastest cars in the world. So recognizable was Porsche's genius that his quest was sadly hindered by outside interference. Consider that in 1932, while first working on the design for a "Volksauto" for Zundapp Motors in Germany, Porsche was approached by a group of Russian engineers with a remarkable offer. Having studied his work, the Russian engineers had deemed Porsche the greatest automotive engineer, and as such offered to take him back to Russia to show him the state of their country's industry. Porsche didn't know what they wanted but, flattered by the invitation, he went along. He was received like royalty, an honored guest of the state. The offer from the Russians was inconceivable: they offered him the position of state designer of Russia, a position in charge of all automobile, tank, and electric vehicle production. Every one of his designs would be realized by the country's vast sources of material wealth. All he had to do was sign a contract. Porsche respectfully declined, but such was his prowess that only two years later Adolf Hitler approached Porsche with the project of designing a people's car for the state of Germany. Since Porsche’s dream was to produce a small and affordable car, he jumped at the offer. The Volkswagen prototype was completed in 1936. But war in Europe erupted before production could begin. Porsche was asked to supply tank designs, which he did, creating the Tiger, Ferdinand, and Mouse tanks for the German army. Hitler moved Porsche from Stuttgart to the remote Austrian town of Gmund, in order to keep him away from Allied bombing. At the end of the war the U.S. Army captured Porsche, interrogated him, and released him to his villa in Gmund. Then French officials arrested him for his participation in the war, and Porsche served a two-year sentence at the Renault estate in France. He was finally released in 1947, and he returned to Gmund. There he undertook, with his son Ferry, the project of building a small performance car with his own name. Meanwhile, the Volkswagen had gone into mass production. The first Porsche, the 356, was a convertible sports car version of the Volkswagen with much improved suspension.

Ferdinand Porsche in front of a VW prototype W30, 1937

Ferdinand Porsche in front of a VW prototype W30, 1937

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Wednesday 26th February 1936

81 years ago

Adolf Hitler opened in Saxony, the first manufacturing plant of Germany’s “peoples car” – the Volkswagen. Designed by Ferdinand Porsche of Auto Union fame, the later named “Beetle”, whose features included a streamlined body, an air-cooled flat four 23.5 hp, four-stroke engine mounted at the rear, and torsion bar sprung. The Beetle was intended for mass production at popular prices and capable of smooth running at 60 mph on German autobahns that were under construction. Hitler’s idea was to put the nation on wheels, doing for Germany what Henry Ford did for the US.

German Nazi leader Adolf Hitler speaks at the opening ceremony of a Volkswagen car factory in Fallersleben, Lower Saxony.

German Nazi leader Adolf Hitler speaks at the opening ceremony of a Volkswagen car factory in Fallersleben, Lower Saxony.

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Thursday 22nd October 1936

80 years ago

The first test-drives of the Volkswagen vehicle began, and employees drove the VW 3-series model over 800 kilometers a day, making any necessary repairs at night. After three months of vigorous testing, Porsche and his engineers concluded, in their final test verdict, that the Volkswagen "demonstrated characteristics which warrant further development." In 1938, the first Volkswagen in its final form was unveiled, a 38-series model that The New York Times mockingly referred to as a "Beetle". The ‘Beetle’ would serve as an instrument of Nazi propaganda to help a shattered nation’s economic recovery and would later be a symbol of 1960s counter-culture.

VW Beetle Type 1 (1949) interior

VW Beetle Type 1 (1949) interior

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Tuesday 16th November 1937

79 years ago

Ferdinand Porsche was issued a United States patent for his torsion-bar suspension.Most of the credit for the wide acceptance of torsion bars in Europe goes to Dr. Ferdinand Porsche who made it standard on most of his cars, beginning with the 1933 Volkswagen prototypes. By 1954, 21 makes of European cars were equipped with torsion bars. By contrast, in America, only Chrysler went the torsion bar route on its large-sized cars. Despite its excellent ride qualities, high cost has limited its acceptance in this country.

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Tuesday 6th September 1938

78 years ago

Dr Ing. Ferdinand Porsche was awarded the National Culture Prize for his design of a German 'people's car'.

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Monday 7th August 1944

72 years ago

Under the threat of Allied bombing during World War II, the German car manufacturer Volkswagen halted the production of the “Beetle”. Ten years earlier, the renowned automotive engineer Ferdinand Porsche had signed a contract with Germany’s Third Reich to develop a prototype of a small, affordable “people’s car.” During the war years, the German army’s need for a lightweight utility vehicle took precedence over the production of affordable passenger cars. The result was the Type 62 Kubelwagen, a convertible vehicle with a modified Beetle chassis, four doors and 18-inch wheels (compared with the Beetle’s 16-inch ones) to give it better ground clearance. Volkswagen (under British control) began turning out Beetles again in December 1945. By 1949, the company (now called Volkswagen GmbH) was back in German hands, and in 1972 the Beetle passed the iconic Ford Model T as the top-selling car in history.

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Saturday 27th October 1945

71 years ago

Ferdinand Porsche was arrested by U.S. military officials for his pro-Nazi activities, and was sent to France where he was held for two years before being released. Meanwhile, the Allies approved the continuation of the original Volkswagen program, and Volkswagen went on to become a highly successful automobile company. As his brainchild Volkswagen grew, Porsche himself returned to sports car design and construction, completing the successful Porsche 356 in 1948 with his son Ferry Porsche. In 1951, Ferdinand Porsche suffered a stroke and died, but Ferry continued his father's impressive automotive legacy, achieving a sports car masterpiece with the introduction of the legendary Porsche 911 in 1963.

Ferdinand Porsche

Ferdinand Porsche

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Sunday 14th July 1946

70 years ago

Tazio Giorgio Nuvolari became the oldest Grand Prix winner (in pre-World Championship days) when he won the Albi Grand Prix at Albi, France, aged 53 years 240 days, driving a Maserati 4CL. First he raced motorcycles and then he concentrated on sports cars and single-seaters. Resident in Mantua, Italy he was known as 'Il Mantovano Volante' (The Flying Mantuan) and nicknamed 'Nivola'. His victories—72 major races, 150 in all - including 24 Grands Prix, five Coppa Cianos, two Mille Miglias, two Targa Florios, two RAC Tourist Trophies, a Le Mans 24-hour race, and a European Championship in Grand Prix racing. Ferdinand Porsche called him "the greatest driver of the past, the present, and the future." Nuvolari started racing motorcycles in 1920 at the age of 27, winning the 1925 350cc European Championship. Having raced cars as well as motorcycles from 1925 until 1930, he then concentrated on cars, and won the 1932 European Championship with the Alfa Romeo factory team, Alfa Corse. After Alfa Romeo officially withdrew from Grand Prix racing Nuvolari drove for Enzo Ferrari's team, Scuderia Ferrari, who ran the Alfa Romeo cars semi-officially. In 1933 he won Le Mans in an Alfa Romeo as a member of Ferrari's team, and a month later won the Belgian Grand Prix in a works Maserati, having switched teams a week before the race. Mussolini helped persuade Ferrari to take Nuvolari back for 1935, and in that year he won the German Grand Prix in Ferrari's outdated Alfa Romeo, defeating more powerful rivals from Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union. It was the only time a non-German car won a European Championship race from 1935 to 1939. The relationship with Ferrari deteriorated during 1937, and Nuvolari raced an Auto Union in that year's Swiss Grand Prix. He rejoined the Auto Union team for the 1938 season and stayed with them through 1939 until Grand Prix racing was put on hiatus by World War II. The only major European race he never won was the Czechoslovakian Grand Prix. When Nuvolari resumed racing after the war he was 54 and in poor health. In his final appearance in competition, driving a Cisitalia-Abarth Tipo 204A at a Palermo hillclimb on 10 April 1950, he won his class and placed fifth overall. He died in 1953 from a stroke.

Tazio Nuvolari

Tazio Nuvolari

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Tuesday 5th August 1947

69 years ago

Ferdinand Porsche was released from a French prison. Porsche had been arrested as a suspected Nazi collaborator by United States and French occupation authorities in the aftermath of World War II and held in custody for two years. He would live to see his 75th birthday.

Ferdinand Porsche

Ferdinand Porsche

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Thursday 7th August 1947

69 years ago

Ferdinand Porsche approved the final design for the Cisitalia Grand Prix race car just two days after being released from prison.

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Tuesday 8th June 1948

68 years ago

Dr Ferdinand "Ferry" Porsche test-drove the hand-built aluminium prototype two-seater Porsche roadster, proudly bearing the chassis number 356-001, in Gmünd, Austria. In the spring of 1947 Ferry Porsche first expressed his idea to build a sports car using Volkswagen components which, initially code-named the "VW-Sports", received the construction number 356. The vision of the Porsche Junior Director was to "build the kind of sports car I liked myself". Ferry Porsche's engineers, at any rate, were fascinated by the idea of building such a sports car, completing a road-going chassis in February 1948 destined to take up a roadster body made of aluminium. The flat-four power unit, together with the gearbox, suspension, springs and steering, all came from Volkswagen. Weighing just 585 kg or 1,290 lb, this 35-bhp mid-engined roadster had a top speed of 135 km/h or 84 mph. Production of the first "regular" Porsche Type 356/2 coupés and cabriolets started in Gmünd in the second half of 1948 - and like Porsche 356 No 1, Type 356/2 also featured an aluminium body designed and constructed by Erwin Komenda, the Director of Body Development at Porsche. But unlike the No 1 mid-engine prototype, the horizontally-opposed power unit in Type 356/2 was fitted at the back in order to provide luggage space behind the front seats. When an investor in Zurich, Rupprecht von Senger, advanced money for a small production series and received a contract as the importer for Switzerland in return, Porsche once again had access to the VW parts and body panels the company needed so urgently. The contract Ferry Porsche concluded with the Managing Director of Volkswagenwerk on 17 September 1948 on the supply of VW parts and the use of VW's distribution network clearly shows that Ferry Porsche was not only an outstanding engineer, but also a far-sighted businessman and entrepreneur: Ferry Porsche and Nordhoff agreed that VW was to pay a licence fee to Porsche for every Beetle built, since, after all, the car had been developed by Porsche before the war. The second important decision was the foundation of Porsche-Salzburg Ges.m.b.H. as a central office for the management of Volkswagen imports, sales and customer service in Austria. These agreements with Volkswagenwerk, already a major manufacturer at the time, gave Porsche the security the young company needed, particularly in financial terms. And it set the foundation for the ongoing development of Porsche KG as a manufacturer of sports cars.

Porsche 356/1

Porsche 356/1

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Monday 17th January 1949

68 years ago

The first Volkswagen Beetle, designed by Ferdinand Porsche at the request of Adolf Hitler, arrived in the US from Germany. The idea had been for a small saloon that could carry a German family of five flat-out at 100kph along the country’s new autobahns. It was to have cost 990 Reich Marks, which represented 31 weeks’ pay for the average German worker in 1936, making it cheaper than the £100 Fords being made in England (31 weeks pay for the average British worker in 1936 was about £100). To buy one, however, members of the Volk had to join a special savings scheme run by the organisation KdF (Kraft durch Freude, or Strength through Joy); from 1938, the Volkswagen was officially named the KdF Wagen. There was little joy, though, in rival engineering camps. The Czech car company, Tatra, claimed that Porsche had infringed several design patents, notably those by Hans Ledwinka, an Austrian engineer much admired by Hitler. Tatra took legal action, but Hitler invaded Austria, seized its factory and banned Ledwinka’s VW-like prototypes from public show. In 1961, however, VW made a substantial payment to Tatra through an out-of-court settlement. By then, though, Volkswagen had conquered the world. In 1945, factory and car had been saved by Major Ivan Hirst, a British army officer and engineer. Hirst had witnessed first hand the sheer quality of VW-based military vehicles during the war and believed that, once in production, a peacetime Beetle would have an appeal well beyond Germany. Sold to the United States in a brilliant ‘Think Small’ advertising campaign launched in 1959 and devised by the New York agency Doyle Dane Bernbach, the Beetle became the biggest selling foreign-made car in America throughout the ’60s. It went on to sell in various guises, as a soft-top, a sportscar – the svelte, if unhurried VW Karmann Ghia – and as an interminably fashionable Camper van. A ‘New Beetle’, based on the floorplan of the VW Golf, the Beetle’s replacement, went on sale in 1998, although this was always something of a mechanical dress-up doll rather than the real thing. These days, and despite global recession, there is a lot more money in the world, so the elemental nature of the honest-to-goodness Beetle will seem a little too severe for those who dream of buying, let’s say, a Bentley. But, in an almost comic turn of events, Volkswagen now owns Bentley. However impressive, an elite Bentley can never be a People’s Car. Few cars since have ever really lived up to the name, one devised by a brilliant Bohemian engineer and a brutal Austrian-born German dictator seventy years and more than twenty million air-cooled cars ago.

Volkswagen Beetle

Volkswagen Beetle

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Thursday 17th March 1949

68 years ago

The first car to carry the Porsche family name was introduced at the 19th International Automobile Show in Geneva, Switzerland. After serving a two-year prison sentence for his participation as an engineer in Hitler's regime, Ferdinand Porsche and his son Ferry went to work on a car that would carry the Porsche name. The Porsche prototype, named the 356, was a sports-car version of the Volkswagen that Porsche had designed at Hitler's request. Its rounded lines, rear engine, and open two-seater design set the standard for all Porsches to come. The classic design and the incomparable engineering of Porsche cars attracted loyal customers at a record pace. In 1950, Ferdinand Porsche celebrated his 75th birthday. He had risen to fame as an engineer for Mercedes; he had developed the Volkswagen; and he had finally put his name to his own automobile. One year later, Porsche suffered a stroke from which he would never recover. He died in January of 1952. Ferry Porsche, Ferdinand's son, built the Porsche Company into the empire it is today.

Porsche 356

Porsche 356

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Friday 1st September 1950

66 years ago

A new chapter in Porsche history began with the company's return to Zuffenhausen, Germany, and the completion of the first Porsche. The first car to bear the Porsche name had actually been built two years earlier by Ferry Porsche and his design team, but this Porsche was the first car to boast a Porsche-made engine. Porsche became an independent automobile manufacturer during this year and soon sealed its success with a stunning victory at Le Mans in 1951.

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Sunday 31st December 1950

66 years ago

The inaugural race at the Sebring Raceway in Florida, the 6 hour "Sam Collier Memorial", was won by the team of Fritz Koster/Ralph Deshon driving a Crosley Hot Shot. The results were determined on a handicap basis. The duo completed 288.3 miles at an average speed of 48.05 mph. This race attracted thirty racecars from across North America. Sebring (pronounced "sea bring") Raceway is one of the oldest continuously operating race tracks in the United States.The raceway occupies a portion of Sebring Regional Airport, an active airport for private and commercial traffic that was originally built as Hendricks Army Airfield, a World War II training base for the U.S. Army Air Forces. The first 12 Hours of Sebring was held on March 15, 1952, and the event would grow to become a major international race. In 1959, the racetrack hosted the first Formula One Grand Prix in the United States. Due to the poor attendance and high costs, the next United States Grand Prix was held at Riverside.For much of Sebring's history, the track followed a 5.2 miles (8.4 km) layout. In 1967, the Webster Turn between the hairpin and the top of the track was removed and replaced with the faster Green Park Chicane, which was closer to the hairpin and allowed a flat-out run through a very fast corner to the top of the track and the runway; this made the circuit 50 yards longer. The circuit was also widened. Many of these changes were prompted by the 1966 12 Hours where 5 people were killed during the race. Another dangerous section was the Warehouse straight; after a crash where a Porsche went into one of the warehouses and into a crowd, the organizers installed a chicane to move the Warehouse straight further away from the warehouses and buildings. In 1983, the track was changed to allow simultaneous use of the track and one of the runways. In 1987, more changes allowed use of another runway. Further changes in 1991 accommodated expansion of the airport's facilities, and brought the track close to its current configuration. The entire track could now be used without interfering with normal airport operations. In 1997, the hairpin was removed due to a lack of run-off, and replaced with what became known as the "safety pin". Gendebien Bend was also re-profiled to slow the cars' entry to the Ullman straight.

Sebring Raceway- early 1950s

Sebring Raceway- early 1950s

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Tuesday 30th January 1951

66 years ago

Ferdinand Porsche, the legendary Austrian-German automotive engineer, died in Stuttgart, Germany aged 75. In 1898, he was employed by Lohner, a manufacturer of electric cars and, at the age of 23, he designed the Lohner-Porsche. This car was exhibited at the most prestigious car exhibition of the time, L'Exposition Universelle De Paris in 1900. Porsche won the opportunity to design another prototype, a four wheel drive with an electrical motor in each wheel. During the next 25 years, he worked for many different companies. One of his most important achievements was the design of a road train used in the First World War. Porsche joined Daimler Germany in 1923. In 1926, Daimler merged with Benz, providing the opportunity for Porsche to work on the Mercedes S and SSK projects. As well as race cars, he designed a diesel powered truck and a popular automobile. He opened his own engineering office in Stuttgart in 1930. In 1934, the order from Hitler to design and build the first "peoples car" was received. Porsche designed the Volkswagen Beetle, as well as many military vehicles used by the Nazis during World War II. After the war, Porsche spent twenty months in a French prison, and his son took control of the business. Dr. Porsche (he received an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Stuttgart) was certainly the most prolific automotive designer of first half of the 20th century.

Ferdinand Porsche

Ferdinand Porsche

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Wednesday 21st March 1951

66 years ago

The 500th Porsche was completed from the leased Reutter coachworks in Zuffenhausen, Germany by Hans Klauser, research and personnel manager.

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Friday 22nd June 1951

65 years ago

(22nd - 23rd) The Porsche 356 scored its first international success in motor racing, winning the 1100-cc category in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This race saw the death of French driver Jean Larivière within the opening laps of the race.

Porsche 356

Porsche 356

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Tuesday 28th August 1951

65 years ago

The 1,000th Porsche was produced.

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Sunday 20th April 1952

65 years ago

The Edwards R-62 made its racing debut, competing without success in the Pebble Beach (California, US) road race. Also making its debut at this race was the modified Porsche driven by Johnny von Neumann that inspired the production of the Porsche Speedster of 1954.

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Tuesday 11th August 1953

63 years ago

Tazio Nuvolari (60), Italian motorcycle and racing driver, known as Il Mantovano Volante (The Flying Mantuan) or Nivola, died. He was the 1932 European Champion in Grand Prix motor racing. Dr Ferdinand Porsche called Nuvolari "The greatest driver of the past, the present, and the future."

Tazio Nuvolari

Tazio Nuvolari

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Monday 15th March 1954

63 years ago

The 5,000th Porsche was produced.

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Saturday 26th March 1955

62 years ago

Just before filming began on Rebel Without a Cause, actor James Dean driving a Porsche 356 Speedster, won the first formal motor race he entered, a qualifying race during the California Sports Car Club event at Palms Springs, California, USA. The following day he finished second in the main event.second overall in the Sunday main event. Dean also raced the Speedster at Bakersfield on May 1–2, finishing first in class and third overall. His final race with the Speedster was at Santa Barbara on Memorial Day, May 30, where he started in the eighteenth position, worked his way up to fourth, before over-revving his engine and blowing a piston. He did not finish the race. During the filming of Giant from June through mid-September, Warner Brothers had barred Dean from all racing activities. In July, Dean put down a deposit on a new Lotus Mark IX sports racer with Jay Chamberlain, a dealer in Burbank. Dean was told that the Lotus delivery would be delayed until autumn. As Dean was finishing up Giant's filming, he suddenly traded in his Speedster at Competition Motors for a new, more powerful and faster 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder on September 21 and entered the upcoming Salinas Road Race event scheduled for October 1–2. He also purchased a new 1955 Ford Country Squire station wagon to use for towing the new Spyder to and from the races on an open wheel car trailer. According to Lee Raskin, Porsche historian, and author of James Dean At Speed, Dean asked custom car painter and pin striper Dean Jeffries to paint Little Bastard on the car: "Dean Jeffries, who had a paint shop next to Barris did the customizing work which consisted of: painting '130' in black non-permanent paint on the front hood, doors and rear deck lid. He also painted "Little Bastard" in script across the rear cowling. The red leather bucket seats and red tail stripes were original. The tail stripes were painted by the Stuttgart factory, which was customary on the Spyders for racing ID." Purportedly, James Dean had been given the nickname "Little Bastard" by Bill Hickman, a Warner Bros. stunt driver who became friendly with Dean. Hickman was part of Dean's group driving to the Salinas Road Races on September 30, 1955. Hickman says he called Dean "little bastard", and Dean called Hickman "big bastard." Another version of the "Little Bastard" origin has been corroborated by two of Dean's close friends, Lew Bracker, and photographer, Phil Stern. They believe Jack L. Warner of Warner Bros. had once referred to Dean as a little bastard after Dean refused to vacate his temporary East of Eden trailer on the studio's lot. And Dean wanted to get 'even' with Warner by naming his race car, "Little Bastard" and to show Warner that despite his sports car racing ban during all filming, Dean was going to be racing the "Little Bastard" in between making movies for Warner Bros. When Dean introduced himself to British actor Alec Guinness outside the Villa Capri restaurant in Hollywood, he asked him to take a look at his brand new Porsche Spyder. Guinness thought the car appeared 'sinister' and told Dean: "If you get in that car, you will be found dead in it by this time next week." This encounter took place on September 23, 1955, seven days before Dean's death. He died Dean on September 30, 1955, near Cholame, California. Dean was traveling to a sports car racing competition when his "Little Bastard" crashed at the junction of California State Route 46 (former 466) and California State Route 41. He was 24 years old.

James Dean - 1955 Porsche 356 Super Speeder

James Dean - 1955 Porsche 356 Super Speeder

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Friday 30th September 1955

61 years ago

At 5:45 PM, 24-year-old actor James Dean was killed in Cholame, California, when the Porsche he is driving hits a Ford Tudor sedan at an intersection. The driver of the other car, 23-year-old California Polytechnic State University student Donald Turnupseed, was dazed but mostly uninjured; Dean’s passenger, German Porsche mechanic Rolf Wütherich was badly injured but survived. Only one of Dean’s movies, “East of Eden,” had been released at the time of his death (“Rebel Without a Cause” and “Giant” opened shortly afterward), but he was already on his way to superstardom–and the crash made him a legend. James Dean loved racing cars, and in fact he and his brand-new, $7000 Porsche Spyder convertible were on their way to a race in Salinas, 90 miles south of San Francisco. Witnesses maintained that Dean hadn’t been speeding at the time of the accident–in fact, Turnupseed had made a left turn right into the Spyder’s path–but some people point out that he must have been driving awfully fast: He’d gotten a speeding ticket in Bakersfield, 150 miles from the crash site, at 3:30 p.m. and then had stopped at a diner for a Coke, which meant that he’d covered quite a distance in a relatively short period of time. Still, the gathering twilight and the glare from the setting sun would have made it impossible for Turnupseed to see the Porsche coming no matter how fast it was going. Rumor has it that Dean’s car, which he’d nicknamed the Little Bastard, was cursed. After the accident, the car rolled off the back of a truck and crushed the legs of a mechanic standing nearby. Later, after a used-car dealer sold its parts to buyers all over the country, the strange incidents multiplied: The car’s engine, transmission and tires were all transplanted into cars that were subsequently involved in deadly crashes, and a truck carrying the Spyder’s chassis to a highway-safety exhibition skidded off the road, killing its driver. The remains of the car vanished from the scene of that accident and haven’t been seen since. Wütherich, whose feelings of guilt after the car accident never abated, tried to commit suicide twice during the 1960s–and in 1967, he stabbed his wife 14 times with a kitchen knife in a failed murder/suicide–and he died in a drunk-driving accident in 1981. Turnupseed died of lung cancer in 1981.

James Dean

James Dean

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Friday 3rd February 1956

61 years ago

Johnny Claes, an English-born racing driver who competed for Belgium, died aged 39 from tuberculosis. Before his fame as a racing driver, Claes was also a jazz trumpeter and successful bandleader in Britain. Claes was one of several gentlemen drivers who took part in Grand Prix racing of post-World War II. His first contact with racing was at the 1947 French Grand Prix, where he served as interpreter for British drivers. He made his debut in 1948, in his own Talbot-Lago, raced under the Ecurie Belge banner. Although Claes never scored any points in the World Drivers Championship, he was, like many of his contemporaries, very active in non-Championship Grand Prix races and sports car races. His first win was at the 1950 Grand Prix des Frontières, held at the Chimay race track. In April 1951 Claes crashed into a crowd while practicing at Sanremo, Italy. He was uninjured but an observer was killed and three onlookers were seriously injured. In 1952 he exchanged his outdated Talbot for a Gordini, and later for a Connaught, always with the Ecurie Belge colours, but he also raced occasionally for works team, including Gordini and Maserati. He also won the 1953 Liège-Rome-Liège Rally and took a class win at the 1954 24 Hours of Le Mans. Claes teamed with Pierre Stasse in a Porsche to finish 12th in the 1954 24 Hours of Le Mans. Together with compatriot Jacques Swaters, Claes finished third in the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Johnny Claes

Johnny Claes

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Saturday 24th March 1956

61 years ago

Ferrari, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Porsche and Lotus all entered the Sebring 12 Hour World Sports Car Championship race. Also on hand was an official team of 4.4 liter Corvettes. Moss' Aston Martin fell out early, the Mike Hawthorn/Desmond Titterington Jaguar led 6 hours before retiring with brake failure, and Carlos Menditeguy crashed. Juan Fangio and Eugenio Castellotti won in a brakeless Ferrari. 1955 Indy 500 winner Bob Sweikert impressed by taking third in a private Jaguar he co-drove with Jack Ensley.

1956 Sebring 12 Hours Grand Prix

1956 Sebring 12 Hours Grand Prix

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Thursday 1st August 1957

59 years ago

The first Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia convertible was produced. Coachbuilder Karmann came up with the idea of producing a new Beetle-based coupe. The new small Volkswagen had a wonderfully simple and adaptable floorpan, and the German specialist realised that it would be comparatively easy to built special bodies for it. Volkswagen, of course, jumped at the chance when it saw the pretty coupé body that Ghia designed for Karmann. It was a logical extension of the Volkswagen range, which was going from strength to strenth throughout the 1950s - as Porsche had the more expensive end of the sports car market sewn-up with the 356, Volkswagen ensured that its Karmann-Ghia coupe and convertible would have more modest performance. The public certainly agree that the 1955 Karmann-Ghia was a very good thing, and this sleeker Beetle went on and sold well. However, it wasn't as quick as its lovely looks promised, for its underpinnings and drivetrain were pure Beetle - and that meant less than sparkling performance. In 1958, Volkswagen and Karmann came up with a convertible version. Extra strengthening made the convertible heavier and therefore slower than the coupé, but that didn’t matter to those who admired this fresh-air fashion statement; America loved it, of course. The original 1192cc engine was increased in capacity in parallel with the Beetle up to 1584cc by 1974.

Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia

Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia

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Sunday 26th January 1958

59 years ago

Ferrari and Porsche were the only European teams on hand for the "Argentine 1000 Kilometers", the first World Sports Car Championship race run under 3.0 litre regulations and opening round of the 1958 campaign. The Ferrari of Peter Collins and Phil Hill led from start to finish. Five time F1 World Champion Juan Fangio tried to take the lead at one point, but overdid it and crashed the privateer Maserati he was sharing with Francesco Godia-Sales. Luigi Musso's Ferrari had steering failure on lap 1, but the other Ferrari of Wolfgang von Trips and Olivier Gendebien went on to finish 2nd. Stirling Moss and Jean Behra drove their 1.6 liter Porsche to third. Collins and Hill covered the 1000km in 6 hours, 19 minutes, 55 seconds, averaging 98.57 mph.

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Tuesday 20th May 1958

59 years ago

The Austin-Healey ‘Frogeye’ Sprite was announced to the press by BMC in Monte Carlo, just before the start of that year’s Monaco Grand Prix. Designed by the Donald Healey Motor Company, which received a royalty payment from manufacturers BMC, it was intended to be a low-cost model (£669) that ‘a chap could keep in his bike shed’. The Sprite quickly became affectionately known as the "frogeye" in the UK and the "bugeye" in the US, because its headlights were prominently mounted on top of the bonnet, inboard of the front wings. The car's designers had intended that the headlights could be retracted, with the lenses facing skyward when not in use; a similar arrangement was used many years later on the Porsche 928. But cost cutting by BMC led to the flip-up mechanism being deleted, therefore the headlights were simply fixed in a permanently upright position, giving the car its most distinctive feature. The body was styled by Gerry Coker, with subsequent alterations by Les Ireland following Coker's emigration to the US in 1957. The car's distinctive frontal styling bore a strong resemblance to the defunct American 1951 Crosley Super Sport. 48,987 "frogeye" Sprites were made. The problem of providing a rigid structure to an open-topped sports car was resolved by Barry Bilbie, Healey's chassis designer, who adapted the idea provided by the Jaguar D-type, with rear suspension forces routed through the bodyshell's floor pan. The Sprite's chassis design was the world's first volume-production sports car to use unitary construction, where the sheet metal body panels (apart from the bonnet) take many of the structural stresses. The original metal gauge (thickness of steel) of the rear structure specified by Bilbie was reduced by the Austin Design Office during prototype build, however during testing at MIRA (Motor Industry Research Association) distortion and deformation of the rear structure occurred and the original specification was reinstated. The two front chassis legs projecting forward from the passenger compartment mean the shell is not a full monocoque. The front sheet-metal assembly, including the bonnet (hood) and wings, was a one-piece unit, hinged from the back, that swung up to allow access to the engine compartment. The 43 bhp, 948 cc OHV engine (coded 9CC) was derived from the Austin A35 and Morris Minor 1000 models, also BMC products, but upgraded with twin 1 1⁄8 inch SU carburettors. The rack and pinion steering was derived from the Morris Minor 1000 and the front suspension from the Austin A35. The front suspension was a coil spring and wishbone arrangement, with the arm of the Armstrong lever shock absorber serving as the top suspension link. The rear axle was both located and sprung by quarter-elliptic leaf springs, again with lever-arm shock absorbers and top links. There were no exterior door handles; the driver and passenger were required to reach inside to open the door. There was also no boot lid, owing to the need to retain as much structural integrity as possible, and access to the spare wheel and luggage compartment was achieved by tilting the seat-backs forward and reaching under the rear deck, a process likened to potholing by many owners, but which resulted in a large space available to store soft baggage. Engine: 1958–1961: 948 cc A-Series I4, 43 hp (32 kW) at 5200 rpm and 52 lbf·ft (71 Nm) at 3300 rpm A car was tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1958. It had a top speed of 82.9 mph (133.4 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 20.5 seconds. Fuel consumption of 43 miles per imperial gallon (6.6 L/100 km; 36 mpg‑US) was recorded. The test car cost £678, including taxes of £223. The BMC Competition Department entered Austin Healey Sprites in major international races and rallies, their first major success coming when John Sprinzel and Willy Cave won their class on the 1958 Alpine Rally. In 1959, the Sprite was introduced to the U.S. market by racing and winning its class in the 12-hour race at Sebring. Private competitors also competed with much success in Sprites. Because of its affordability and practicality, the Austin Healey Sprite was developed into a formidable competition car, assuming many variants by John Sprinzel, Speedwell and WSM. The Sebring Sprite became the most iconic of the racing breed of Austin Healey Sprites. Many owners use their Austin Healey Sprites in competition today, fifty years after its introduction.

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Thursday 13th November 1958

58 years ago

Dr Heinz Nordhoff, President of Volkswagenwerk AG, and the late Dr Ferdinand Porsche were given the 1958 Elmer A Sperry Award for the design of the Volkswagen Beetle.

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Sunday 8th March 1959

58 years ago

Ken Miles drove a Porsche to victory in the 150 mile USAC Sports Car race on a 2 mile circuit at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds.

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Saturday 1st August 1959

57 years ago

Jean Behra (38) was killed driving for Porsche in a Formula 2 support race at the German Grand Prix. Behra could have been France's first title winner, but despite having the talent never won a world championship grand prix. A fighter in the Gilles Villeneuve mould, with courage and car control to spare, he became a national hero leading the Gordini team after winning the non-championship Grand Prix de la Marne at Reims in 1952.His days with Maserati were only slightly less frustrating. In 1955, he had little chance against the all-conquering Mercedes W196s, then played second fiddle to superstar team-mates Stirling Moss and then Juan Manuel Fangio in 1956 and 1957. Punching Ferrari team manager Romolo Tavoni after retiring on his Ferrari debut in 1959 was a bad career move, and he was promptly sacked. A few weeks later, he was killed after being thrown from his Porsche RSK and hitting a flagpole during a sportscar race at Avus

Jean Behra

Jean Behra

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Sunday 31st January 1960

57 years ago

Phil Hill and Cliff Allison teamed to give Ferrari another easy 1-2 victory in the Argentine 1000 Kilometers World Sports Car Championship race. Richie Ginther and Wolfgang von Trips placed second in another Ferrari. Driving a 2.8 litre Maserati entered by "Lucky" Casner, Dan Gurney and Masten Gregory led the first 32 laps and turned the fastest race lap. Though no match for the Ferraris, the Porsche RSK entries performed well with the Jo Bonnier/Graham Hill entry finishing third.

Phil Hill

Phil Hill

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Sunday 31st January 1960

57 years ago

Racer Harry Blanchard (30) was killed when his Porsche crashed during a 1000 km race in Buenos Aires, Argentina. car driver. His only Grand Prix appearance came at the wheel of a Porsche RSK Formula 2 car in the first US Grand Prix at Sebring in 1959. He finished seventh and last, four laps behind the winner Bruce McLaren

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Thursday 21st July 1960

56 years ago

The German government passed the "Law Concerning the Transfer of the Share Rights in Volkswagenwerk Limited Liability Company into Private Hands," known informally as the "Volkswagen Law." Founded in 1937 and originally under the control of Adolf Hitler's National Socialist (Nazi) Party, Volkswagen would eventually grow into Europe's largest car manufacturer and a symbol of Germany's economic recovery after the devastation of the Second World War. The Volkswagen Law, passed in July 1960, changed the company to a joint stock corporation, with 20 percent held each by the nation of Germany and the region of Lower Saxony in which Volkswagen was and still is headquartered. By limiting the share of any other stockholder to 20 percent, regardless of how many shares owned, the law effectively protected the company from any attempt at a hostile takeover. By 2007, the controversial legislation had come under full-blown attack from the European Commission as part of a campaign against protectionist measures in several European capitals. The commission objected not only to the 20 percent voting rights cap but to the law's stipulation that measures taken at the annual stockholders' meeting must be passed by more than four-fifths of VW shareholders, a requirement that gave Lower Saxony the ability to block any measures it desired. In March of 1960 German automaker Porsche announced that it had raised its stake in Volkswagen to 30.9 percent, triggering a takeover bid under a German law which required a company to bid for the entirety of any other company after acquiring more than 30 percent of its stock. Porsche announced it did not intend to take over VW, but was buying the stock as a way of protecting it from being dismantled by hedge funds. Porsche's history was already entwined with Volkswagen, as the Austrian-born engineer Ferdinand Porsche designed the original "people's car" for Volkswagen in 1938. On October 23, 2007, the European Court of Justice formally struck down the Volkswagen Law, ruling that its protectionism illegally restricted the free movement of capital in European markets. The decision cleared the way for Porsche to move forward with its takeover, which it did, maintaining that it will still preserve the Volkswagen corporate structure. By early 2009, Porsche owned more than 50 percent of Volkswagen shares.

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Sunday 7th August 1960

56 years ago

Marshal Tito’s personal chauffeur, Milivojic Bozie, was one of the competitors at the Freiburg Hillclimb in Germany. Driving a Porsche RS14500, he made the ninth fastest climb of the day.

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Wednesday 15th March 1961

56 years ago

Jaguar’s E-Type sports car was presented to the world's press at the restaurant du Parc des Eaux Vives in Geneva by Sir William Lyons. Surrounded by up to 200 members of the press, the car caused a sensation, and so did the price. At £2097 for the roadster and £2196 for the fixed head coupe, it was considerably cheaper than similar performing cars from Ferrari, Aston Martin and Chevrolet, and was on a par with much slower cars from Porsche and AC. In fact, the E-types was initially sold at a cheaper price than the outgoing XK150.The powertrain, which was carried over from the XK150S, was a 3781 cc XK engine mated to a four-speed Moss transmission, without overdrive. Jaguar claimed the E-type engine produced 265bhp (SAE) at 5500 rpm, but this was – to say the least – an exaggeration. The cast iron cylinder block was actually manufactured by Leyland Motors in Lancashire, a task it had performed since 1948, predating its involvement in the management of Jaguar. The aluminium cylinder head came from two sources, West Yorkshire Foundries of York and William Mills of Wednesbury, Staffordshire. The XK engine was fed by triple 2in SU HD8 SU carburettors. The body employed a central monocoque made of steel, a year before the monocoque chassis made its appearance in Formula One racing. The Bob Knight designed independent rear suspension, and the careful use of rubber, helped suppress noise and vibration. Initially, the car was available in two forms, the roadster – styled by Malcolm Sayer – and the fixed head coupe (FHC), featuring an opening rear hatchback, which also had some input from Sir William Lyons and Bob Blake. The E-type was the only Jaguar car produced during Lyons’ active involvement in the running of the company, not wholly styled by the boss himself. Enzo Ferrari called it; “The most beautiful car ever made!”

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Sunday 30th April 1961

56 years ago

The Olivier Gendebien/Wolfgang von Trips Ferrari Dino won the Targa Florio Sports Car race. held in Sicily. A terrific duel between von Trips and Stirling Moss' Porsche ended when the Porsche blew. Gendebien took Richie Ginther's seat when the car he was originally slated for was crashed by Graham Hill on lap 1.

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Sunday 8th July 1962

54 years ago

Dan Gurney won the French Grand Prix at Roue-Les-Essarts driving a Porsche 804, the only Formula 1 victory for the marque.

Dan Gurney

Dan Gurney

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Sunday 22nd July 1962

54 years ago

Bill Krause won a sports car race in Pomona, California, US driving a Maserati Birdcage. Jack McAfee, in his last race, finishes second in a Porsche RSK.

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Sunday 4th November 1962

54 years ago

The first Mexican Grand Prix, run at Mexico City, 7,300 feet above sea level, was won by Jim Clark and Trevor Taylor, sharing a drive in a Lotus Climax at 91.31 mph.. The race meeting was marred by the death during practice of local driving prodigy Ricardo Rodríguez. The circuit would later be renamed the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez to honour him and his brother Pedro. Pole-sitter Clark suffered a flat battery and so required a push start to get his engine going. However, due to a lack of communication between the starting officials, the start flag was waved while marshalls were still on the track. For John Surtees, the delay caused a cylinder to burn out and his race was over before it even started. The race stewards decided that the push start had been illegal (despite it being caused by race officials) and black-flagged Clark's car on lap 10. Clark's Lotus team-mate Trevor Taylor was lying third, behind Jack Brabham and Bruce McLaren, and Clark took his car over during a pit stop. The Scot put in a superb drive to claw back the 57 second deficit on the leaders, passing both with over one third of the race distance still remaining. Clark completed the remainder of the race with very little opposition, scoring an easy win. This would prove to be the final time that a Grand Prix victory would be shared by two drivers, a situation that was relatively common in the 1950s. Also notable was the participation of German driver Wolfgang Seidel, who competed despite having had his FIA licence suspended over two months previously. The Porsche works team did not attend, Porsche having withdrawn from motor sport at the end of the 1962 World Championship season. Despite the starting confusion, the race earned the Mexican Grand Prix full World Championship status from 1963, which it would retain until 1970.

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Thursday 14th March 1963

54 years ago

The Porsche 911 was first shown as the 901 prototype at the Geneva Auto Show. Prior to the 901, there was the 356. This vehicle had lived a relatively long lifespan and was nearing its end, both in mechanical capabilities and in appeal. Many variations of the 356 had appeared during its production-run, most improvements where mechanical with very few visual improvements. Albeit, the 356 was a very beautiful car and improvements to its design were not necessary. In the Mid-1950's, the Porsche company began producing prototypes for the successor of the 356. The result was a vehicle built on the same unitary structure used for the 356 but with a new front suspension, front disc brakes, and a six-cylinder engine. The design was penned by Ferri 'Butsi' Porsche and was dubbed the 901. The name would not last due to the French company, Peugeot. Peugeot used the naming scheme where numbers were on the outside with a zero in the center. The 901 name was infringing on Peugoet's claim to the name, so the vehicle was designated 911 a year later. As a result, only a few Porsches used the 901 name. The 911 quickly built on the Porsche legend established by the 356 models. A process of continuous evolution has kept the 911 fresh for nearly 40 years, while impeccable build quality has ensured that most of even the very earliest cars have survived as desirable and usable classic cars.

Porsche 911 prototype - 1963

Porsche 911 prototype - 1963

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Tuesday 26th November 1963

53 years ago

The Porsche Carrera GTS Type 904 was introduced. The Type 904, born from Porsche’s disappointing foray into Formula One in the early 1960s, was created to bring the company back to its racing sports car roots. In 1962, the immensely talented Ferdinand A. “Butzi” Porsche, the grandson of the company’s founder, was tasked with designing a new two-seat competition coupe that could also be driven on the street; this car was to utilize the mid-engine chassis configuration that had proven so successful with the racing department’s lightweight spyders. A run of 100 cars was approved to homologate the design for the FIA’s Group 3 GT category. In short order, Butzi had laid out a boxed steel ladder tubing frame on a 90.5-inch wheelbase, which would be clothed in a sleek and very light body shell of fiberglass. This design is still widely considered one of the company’s most beautiful designs. The body material was Porsche’s first venture into plastic composites. The panels, produced by Heinkel, were glued and bonded to the steel frame, creating a semi-monocoque structure. The seats were solidly mounted, but the car offered an adjustable steering column and pedals. Porsche had hoped to have its new six-cylinder Type 901 engine ready for the new mid-engined coupe to run at Le Mans, but it was not convinced that the new engine could go the distance. Thus, most 904s were fitted with the Type 547 (1.6 litre) and the Type 587/3 (2.0 litre) DOHC Carrera four-cylinder motors, and it was only towards the end of production that the 2.0-litre 901 flat six was used. The beautifully balanced 904 GTS, which was introduced in early 1964, would enjoy a brilliant inaugural season, scoring victories at Sebring, the Targa Florio, Spa, the Nürburgring 1000 KM, the 24 Hours of Le Mans (a 1-4 class sweep), the 12 Hours of Reims, the Coppa Inter-Europa, the Tour de France, the Bridgehampton 500 KM, and the 1000 KM of Paris. In U.S. amateur racing, the 904 was considered potent enough to be classed with the much more powerful big block Corvettes and Cobras, and it still acquitted itself admirably. Over a two-year period, Porsche produced just over 100 of these exquisite little coupes, but time and technology would not wait, and Porsche’s new space-framed 906 was deemed a superior vehicle. GTS production ended before a second 100-car run could commence.

Porsche Carrera GTS Type 904

Porsche Carrera GTS Type 904

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Friday 17th January 1964

53 years ago

The first Porsche Carrera GTS, a lasting favorite in the world of luxury sports cars was delivered to a Los Angeles customer.

Porsche Carrera GTS

Porsche Carrera GTS

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Sunday 16th February 1964

53 years ago

The Porsche Carrera GTS made its racing debut, at Daytona Beach, US.

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Tuesday 14th April 1964

53 years ago

Ronnie Bucknum became Honda's unlikely choice to spearhead their Grand Prix challenge back. Honda engineers had seen him racing a Porsche 904 at Sebring and felt that his lack of an international racing pedigree had its attractions since he could test and race the RA 272 without raising undue attention or expectations.

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Sunday 26th April 1964

53 years ago

At the 48th Targa Florio road race in Italy, the new Porsche 904s driven by Antonio Pucci, and Colin Davis, and the second place car Herbert Linge and Gianni Balzarini, triumphed over the Ferraris and Alfas. An A.C. Cobra piloted by Dan Gurney and Allen Grant was eighth overall and first in class.

Targa Florio 1964 - Pit Scene (Ferrari 250 GTO) Limited Edition Print by Tony Simmonds

Targa Florio 1964 - Pit Scene (Ferrari 250 GTO) Limited Edition Print by Tony Simmonds

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Sunday 2nd August 1964

52 years ago

The first grand prix car with a transversely mounted twelve-cylinder engine, the 1.5 litre Honda RA271, made its debut, at the 1964 German Grand Prix. The Honda RA271 was Honda's second Formula One racing car, and its first to actually enter a race. It was developed around Honda's revolutionary F1 engine, a 1.5 L V12, at a time when V8s dominated the F1 paddock, as constructed by BRM, Climax, Ferrari and ATS. The only other major manufacturer deviating from the received V8 wisdom were Ferrari, who experimented with both V6 and flat-12 layouts, although they ultimately elected to stick with their V8. No other manufacturers were running V12s at the time. The RA271 made its race debut during the 1964 Formula One season, just one year after Honda started producing road cars, and was the first Japanese-built car ever to enter a round of the FIA Formula One World Championship. The car was initially entered for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, but the car was not ready in time. The car actually competed for the first time at the German Grand Prix. As well as Honda's F1 debut, this race was also the debut for their American driver Ronnie Bucknum, and to make things even trickier the race took place on the daunting Nürburgring circuit, widely considered to be one of the most demanding in the world. Of the 24 entrants, only the fastest 22 would qualify. Bucknum was lucky to qualify as he ended the practice sessions third slowest. The two non-qualifiers were the Scirocco-Climax of Belgian driver André Pilette, which was hopelessly off the pace, and Carel Godin de Beaufort, who was killed during the session in a tragic accident at the wheel of his privately entered Porsche 718. Bucknum was some 20 seconds slower than the next slowest competitor, Giancarlo Baghetti at the wheel of a BRM, and almost a minute off the pole time of John Surtees's Ferrari. Despite a poor qualifying, Bucknum had a better race and consistently ran just outside the top ten throughout the race, ahead of many of the independent Lotus and BRM entrants. Despite a spin late in the race, allowing Richie Ginther's BRM to pass him, the reliability of the Honda allowed him to finish 13th as many of his rivals broke down (or crashed in Peter Revson's case), four laps behind winner Surtees. The team then missed the Austrian Grand Prix before returning for the Italian Grand Prix at the iconic Autodromo Nazionale Monza. Bucknum's qualifying was greatly improved as he qualified 10th, ahead of the Brabham of double world champion Jack Brabham and comfortably clear of the mark required to qualify for the race as one of the 20 fastest drivers. He was only three seconds shy of Surtees, who was the pole sitter once again, and this marked a huge improvement for the Japanese team. Although a poor start left him down in 16th, he quickly climbed through the field and ran as high as 7th before a brake failure forced him out of the race on lap 13. His ability to keep pace with the works BRM and Brabham cars in this race gave great hope for the future of Honda in F1. The next race was the United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. As there were only 19 entrants, there was no threat of failing to qualify, and Bucknum was well within three seconds of Jim Clark's pole time for Lotus. The high quality of the field, however, meant that he was down in 14th place, although he did outqualify 1961 world champion Phil Hill, now driving for Cooper. He once again ran the race just outside the top ten, fighting for long periods with the Lotuses of Walt Hansgen (works) and Mike Hailwood (RPR) and Richie Ginther's BRM. However, on lap 51 a cylinder head gasket in one of the Honda's twelve cylinders failed, and Bucknum was out of the race. This was to be the end of Honda's debut season, as they did not travel to the final race in Mexico City. The RA271 was replaced for 1965 by the RA272, so its best result remains 13th place at its debut race in Germany. Its best grid place was Bucknum's 10th place at Monza.

Honda RA271

Honda RA271

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Sunday 2nd August 1964

52 years ago

Carel Godin de Beaufort (30) died after an accident at the Nürburgring, during practice for the 1964 German Grand Prix. His Porsche 718 suddenly veered off the track at the infamous Bergwerk corner. He was thrown out of the car and suffered massive injuries to his head, chest and legs. Initially de Beaufort was taken to a local hospital, but was later transferred to a major neurological hospital in Cologne.

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Monday 3rd August 1964

52 years ago

Racer Carel de Beaufort (30) died three days after his Porsche had crashed at the Nurburgring circuit during a practice run for the German Grand Prix.

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Thursday 20th May 1965

52 years ago

Edgar Barth (48), German driver, winner of the 1959, 1963 and 1964 European Mountain Championships (Hillclimb) for Porsche and also the 1959 Targa Florio, died.

Edgar Barth

Edgar Barth

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Sunday 18th July 1965

51 years ago

Gerhard Mitter drove a Porsche Bergspyder to victory in the up-to-2-liter class in a prototype race at Solitude in Germany.

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Wednesday 15th September 1965

51 years ago

The 10,000,000th Volkswagen Beetle rolled off the production line. Ferdinand Porsche and Zündapp began developing the "Auto für Jedermann" (car for everybody) in 1931. In the followinf year, three prototypes were running, all of those cars were lost during the war, the last in a bombing raid over Stuttgart in 1945. In 1933, Adolf Hitler gave the order to Ferdinand Porsche to develop a "VolksWagen". The name means "people's car" in German, in which it is pronounced [ˈfolksvɑːgən]. Hitler required a basic vehicle capable of transporting two adults and three children at 100 km/h (62 mph). The "People's Car" would be available to citizens of the Third Reich through a savings scheme at 990 Reichsmark, about the price of a small motorcycle (an average income being around 32RM a week). Erwin Komenda, Porsche's chief designer, was responsible for the design and style of the car. But production only became worthwhile when finance was backed by the Third Reich. War started before large-scale production of the Volkswagen started, and manufacturing shifted to producing military vehicles, the best known was the Kubelwagen. Until 1946, the Volkswagen plant (called "Strength Through Joy Town") was owned by the Nazis and was not a commercial company, rather a political creation. The factory was bombed intensively towards the end of the war. A group of British Army personnel were sent to the plant to salvage what they could and re-establish car production. One single Beetle survived the wreckage of the bombed factory, upon showing this Beetle to Military Government, they were rewarded with an order for 20,000 Beetles, with a target of 1,000 Beetles a month. A german management team, headed by Heinz Nordoff, was assembled during the latter part of 1947, and in 1949 the factory was handed over to the regional government of saxony. The Beetle as we know it was truly born.

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Sunday 6th February 1966

51 years ago

The 24 Hours of Daytona endurance race is won by Ken Miles and Loyd Ruby driving a Ford GT40 MkII. The Porsche 906 won its class on its racing debut.

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Saturday 26th March 1966

51 years ago

The 12 hours of Sebring was won by Ken Miles and Lloyd Ruby in a Ford GT X1. Dan Gurney's car, leading with four minutes left, stopped on course. As he tried to push the car across the finish line, the Miles/Ruby Ford passes him in the final minute. Tragically four spectators were killed when Don Wester's Porsche 906 hit them while attempting to avoid a spinning Ferrari.

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Wednesday 21st December 1966

50 years ago

The 100,000th Porsche was produced.

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Saturday 4th February 1967

50 years ago

The sport of Rallycross was born at Lydden, Kent, UK. Rallycross is a form of sprint style automobile racing, held on a closed mixed-surface racing circuit, with modified production or specially built road cars, similar to the World Rally Cars, although usually with about 200 bhp (150 kW) stronger engines, due to e.g. their 45 mm turbo restrictor plates. The sport started as a TV show (with especially invited rally drivers), produced by Robert Reed of ABC television for ITVs World of Sport programme, at Lydden Circuit (between Dover and Canterbury) in Great Britain on this day. The first ever true rallycross was organised by Bud Smith († 1994) and the Tunbridge Wells Centre of the 750 MC, with the aid of Lydden Circuit owner Bill Chesson († 1999), and was won by later Formula One driver as well as 1968 Rally Monte Carlo winner Vic Elford in a showroom Porsche 911 of the British importer AFN, ahead of Brian Melia in his Ford Lotus Cortina and Tony Fall in a BMC Mini Cooper S. After that inaugural event there were another two test rallycrosses at Lydden, on 11 March and 29 July, before the new World of Sport Rallycross Championship for the ABC TV viewers started with round one on 23 September, to be followed by round two on 7 October. The series was run over a total of six rounds (three at Lydden and three at Croft) and was eventually won by Englishman Tony Chappell (Ford Escort TwinCam), who became the first ever British Rallycross champion after winning the final round of the new series on 6 April 1968 at Lydden. Since 1973, Lydden Circuit has seen rounds of Embassy/ERA European Rallycross Championships and FIA European Championships for Rallycross Drivers, the first 23 (till 1996) all organised by the Thames Estuary Automobile Club (TEAC). To this day, Lydden, as the so-called "Home of Rallycross", still holds British Rallycross Championship racing, especially with its popular Easter Monday meeting. Rallycross is mainly popular in the Nordic countries, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Great Britain. An inexpensive, entry level type of rallycross is the Swedish folkrace or its Norwegian counterpart, the so-called bilcross. The folkrace is most popular in Finland where it was founded back in late 60's. In Europe, rallycross can also refer to racing 1:8 scale off-road radio-controlled buggies.

Hillman Imps in Rallycross (1967)

Hillman Imps in Rallycross (1967)

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Wednesday 6th December 1967

49 years ago

Adolf Rosenberger (66), who in 1931 founded Porsche GmbH together with Ferdinand Porsche and Dr. Anton Piëch, died. Rosenberger was also instrumental in the creation of the Auto Union concern, being credited with influencing Porsche's choice of a mid-engined design for the Auto Union racing cars. Despite Rosenberger's contribution to the development of German automobiles and German auto racing when Hitler came to power in Germany Adolf Rosenberger, a Jew, was arrested for "Rassenschande" (racial crimes), and imprisoned at KZ Schloss Kislau near Karlsruhe. He was released, supposedly due to unconfirmed efforts on his behalf by Dr. Porsche, and emigrated to France.

Adolf Rosenberger

Adolf Rosenberger

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Sunday 4th February 1968

49 years ago

Porsche recorded a 1-2-3 victory in the Daytona 24 Hours. After the car of Gerhard Mitter had a big crash caused by tyre failure in the banking, his teammate Rolf Stommelen supported Vic Elford/Jochen Neerpasch. When the car of the longtime leaders Jo Siffert/Hans Herrmann dropped to second due to a technical problem, these two also joined the new leaders while continuing with their car. So Porsche managed to put 5 of 8 drivers on the center of the podium, plus Jo Schlesser/Joe Buzzetta on 3rd place, with only Mitter being left out.

24-Hours of Daytona 1968

24-Hours of Daytona 1968

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Thursday 13th March 1969

48 years ago

A Porsche 917 was displayed at the Geneva Motor Show, painted white with a green nose and a black #917. Brief literature on the car detailed a cash price of DM 140,000, approximately £16,000 at period exchange rates, or the price of about ten Porsche 911s.

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Saturday 22nd March 1969

48 years ago

Contenders fell out of the Sebring 12 Hour World Sports Car Championship race one by one. The new Porsche 908 Spyders space frames broke up on the rough surface, the Penske Lola broke it's suspension after leading 17 laps, two Alfas overheated and the third threw a wheel, and wreckage from another car caused overheating on the only Ferrari 312P. The only surviving John Wyer Ford GT40, driven by Jacky Ickx and Jackie Oliver, caught the crippled Chris Amon/Mario Andretti Ferrari just before the finish to take the win.

Start of the 1969 Sebring 12 Hour

Start of the 1969 Sebring 12 Hour

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Saturday 26th April 1969

48 years ago

Jo Siffert and Brian Redman drove a Porsche 908LH to victory in the 1000 km endurance race at Monza, Italy.

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Tuesday 29th April 1969

48 years ago

A Porsche 917 was driven in public for the first time at the Le Mans test weekend. The 917 gave Porsche its first overall wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1970 and 1971. Powered by the Type 912 flat-12 engine of 4.5, 4.9, or 5 litres, the 917/30 Can Am variant was capable of a 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time of 2.3 seconds, 0–124 mph (200 km/h) in 5.3 seconds, and a top speed of up to 240 mph (390 km/h). This is not, however, representative of the majority of 917s. The highest official speed ever clocked for a 917 at Le Mans is 362 km/h or 224.4 mph. There are at least eleven variants of the 917. The original version had a removable long tail/medium tail with active rear wing flaps, but had considerable handling problems at high speed because of significant rear lift. The handling problems were investigated at a joint test at the Österreichring by the factory engineers and their new race team partners John Wyer Engineering and after exhaustive experimentation by both groups, a shorter, more upswept tail was found to give the car more aerodynamic stability at speed. The changes were quickly adopted into a new version of the 917, called the Kurzheck, or short-tail, with the new version being called the 917K.[3] The 917K, and the special Le Mans long-tail version (called the 917 Langheck, or 917L), dominated the 1970 and 1971 World Sportscar Championships. In 1971, a variant of the 917K appeared with a less upswept tail and vertical fins, and featured the concave rear deck that had proved so effective on the 1970 version of the 917L. The fins kept the clean downforce inducing air on the top of the tail and allowed the angle of the deck to be reduced, reducing the drag in direct proportion. The result was a more attractive looking car that maintained down force for less drag and higher top speed. By this time the original 4.5-litre engine, which had produced around 520 bhp in 1969, had been enlarged through 4.9-litres (600 bhp) to 5-litres and produced a maximum of 630 bhp. The 917K models were generally used for the shorter road courses such as Sebring, Brands Hatch, Monza and Spa-Francorchamps. The big prize for Porsche however, was Le Mans. For the French circuit's long, high speed straights, the factory developed special long tail bodywork that was designed for minimum drag and thus highest maximum speed. On the car's debut in 1969, these long-tail (917L) models proved to be nearly uncontrollable as there was so little down force. In fact, they generated aerodynamic lift at the highest speeds. For 1970, an improved version was raced by the factory (although the John Wyer team still preferred the security of the 917K) and for 1971, after very significant development in the wind tunnel, the definitive 917L was raced by both factory and JW. These cars were so stable that the drivers could take their hands off the steering wheel at speeds which reached 246 mph. In 1971 Jo Siffert raced an open-top 917PA Spyder (normally aspirated) in the 1971 CanAm series. The 917 is one of the most iconic sports racing cars of all time, largely for its high speeds and high power outputs, and was made into a movie star by Steve McQueen in his 1971 film Le Mans. 2009 marked the 40th anniversary of the 917, and Porsche held a special celebration at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

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Thursday 1st May 1969

48 years ago

The Porsche 917 was formally approved for competition by the FIA.

Porsche 917

Porsche 917

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Thursday 15th May 1969

48 years ago

In a dramatic finish to Le Mans 24 Hours, Jacky Ickx in a Ford GT mark 1 and Hans Herrmann in a Porsche repeatedly overtook. In the last lap, Ickx let Herrmann pass him early on the Mulsanne Straight, faking he had not enough fuel anymore. Ickx used the slipstream of Herrmann to pass him again just before the end of the 5km straight. Ickx managed to hold on and beat Herrmann by a few seconds, or about 120 meters (394 feet). Ickx and Oliver won with the GT40 chassis 1075, the same car that had won the previous year. This was second time the same car had won two years in a row; a Bentley Speed Six had done it in 1929 and 1930. Joest Racing would later repeat this feat twice.

Ford GT

Ford GT

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Saturday 14th June 1969

47 years ago

John Woolfe (37) was killed when he crashed his Porsche 917 on the first lap of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, an event which caused the traditional "Le Mans start" to be abolished the following year. The Le Mans race began with a traditional standing start: the drivers stood opposite their cars in the open pit-lane before running to them as the French flag was dropped to signal the start of the race, starting the engines and driving away as soon as possible. In the scramble to start Woolfe did not fasten his belts and started aggressively the race, making up several places on the opening lap. At the very fast Maison Blanche curve, however, towards the end of the lap, Woolfe lost control of the 917, which crashed heavily into the barriers, overturned and caught fire. He was thrown out of the cockpit by the force of the impact, and died from his injuries as he was being helicoptered to hospital. It was also reported that Woolfe had lost his door on the opening lap, but this was not confirmed. The 917's fuel tank was torn off in the impact and struck the Ferrari 312P of Chris Amon, causing it to burst into flames. Amon was able to bring his car to a halt and evacuate the cockpit, narrowly escaping serious injuries, though sustaining minor burns.

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Sunday 17th August 1969

47 years ago

The Porsche 917 made its racing debut, with Jo Siffert competing in the Can-Am Mid-Ohio race in Lexington, Ohio, US without success.

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Thursday 11th September 1969

47 years ago

The experimental Mercedes-Benz C111 with three-disk rotary engine, and the car models 300 SEL 3.5 as well as 280 SE 3.5 coupe and convertible with 3.5-l, V8 engine were presented at the IAA in Frankfurt. The experimental electric omnibus OE 302 also premiered along with the Audio 100. With the new commercial vehicle model LP 1632 Daimler-Benz introduced the hydraulically tippable driver's cab. The Porsche 914-4 and 914-6 mid-engined sports cars were also unveiled at the show.

Mercedes-Benz C111

Mercedes-Benz C111

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Wednesday 22nd October 1969

47 years ago

The Datsun 240Z sportscar was introduced. The first draft of the Datsun 240Z was created by German car designer Dr. Albrecht Graf von Goertz, a man who co-designed both the BMW 507 and the Porsche 911. The car was to be a joint project between Datusn and Yamaha but a lasting agreement couldn’t be reached and as such, plans for the car were put on ice. Nissan’s Chief Designer Yoshihiko Matsuo couldn’t bear to see the project on the shelf for too long and finally managed to get approval to build the car as a 100% Nissan project. The original design was modified but the influences of both the E-Type Jaguar and Porsche 911 are still quite apparent in the finished styling. Performance from its rorty 2.4-litre power unit that owed a lot to the BMC C-Series and well as Mercedes-Benz's straight-six, was more than ample. Being a Datsun, reliability was a given, but the agile (if tail-happy) handling was a pleasant surprise. During its five year run, more than 150,000 were produced, but survivors are now seriously appreciating. Rust has been its main enemy, so be careful when buying, even if you're buying a restored example.

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Sunday 1st February 1970

47 years ago

Brian Redman finished first and second in the 24 Hours of Daytona when the Gulf Porsche 917K he shared with Jo Siffert finished behind the Pedro Rodriguez/Leo Kinnunen team car which he also co-drove late in the race.

Brian Redman

Brian Redman

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Sunday 12th April 1970

47 years ago

Pedro Rodriguez completely dominated in the rain, driving his Porsche 917 to victory in the 1000 Kilometer World Sports Car Championship race on the Brands Hatch circuit. Rodriguez and co-driver Leo Kinnunen, who only did the minimum required time in the car, finished 5 laps ahead of another Porsche 917, this one driven by Vic Elford and Denny Hulme.

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Sunday 14th June 1970

46 years ago

Richard Attwood and Hans Herrmann drove a Salzburg Porsche 917 to victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

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Monday 22nd June 1970

46 years ago

Filming of staged racing sequences for the movie "Le Mans" began. The star of the film, Steve McQueen had intended to actually race a Porsche 917 together with Jackie Stewart, but the #26 entry was not accepted. Instead, in the movie, he was shown starting the race on the blue #20 Gulf-Porsche 917K, which in the real race was driven by Jo Siffert and Brian Redman. The race-leading white #25 Porsche 917 "Long tail" was piloted by Vic Elford and Kurt Ahrens, Jr..The Porsche 908/2 which McQueen had previously co-driven to a second place in the 12 Hours of Sebring was entered by Solar Productions to compete in the race, equipped with heavy movie cameras providing actual racing footage from the track. Additional footage shot after the race used genuine racing cars of the day, mainly Porsche 917 and Ferrari 512 models, painted as real competitors which staged the main rivalry in the 1970 season and the film. According to rules, 25 of each sports car had to be built, so enough were available, compared to few if any of the prototype class. In the crash scenes, cheaper Lola T70 chassis were sacrificed, disguised with bodywork of the Porsche and Ferrari. Despite being depicted as the factory-backed Ferrari team, the 512's used were borrowed from Belgian Ferrari distributor Jacques Swaters. Enzo Ferrari had been approached to supply the cars but refused official Ferrari participation after reading the script and finding out that the movie ends with a victory for Porsche. Enzo told the producers they could only use the factory 512's if the script was re-written to have a Ferrari win the race. His request was refused.

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Saturday 12th September 1970

46 years ago

The Porsche 917 (4.5-litre 12-cylinder boxer engine) was shown to the public for the first time in Geneva.

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Sunday 31st January 1971

46 years ago

The Daytona 24 Hours finished with the team of Pedro Rodriguez/Jackie Oliver winning in a Porsche 917K. The Roger Penske entered Ferrari 512M of Mark Donohue/David Hobbs won the pole and led the early stages before electrical trouble and an accident slowed them. At 18 hours, Rodriguez/Oliver held a 43 lap lead when the gearbox seized. It was repaired in 92 minutes, but the Tony Adamowicz/Ronnie Bucknum Ferrari 512 had taken the lead in that time. Rodriguez soon ran them down and regained the lead. The winners completed 688 laps (2,622.5 miles), averaging 109.2 mph with Adamowicz/Bucknum finishing 2nd, one lap behind, and Donohue/Hobbs winding up third.

Daytona 24 Hours - 1971

Daytona 24 Hours - 1971

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Sunday 18th April 1971

46 years ago

The Danville 300 at VIR saw future legendary teammates Peter Gregg and Hurley Haywood win the overall event in their GTU-1 class, Porsche 914/6 GT. Dave Heinz in his Corvette was second overall and 1st in the GTO-1 class and Ralph Meany in another 914/6 GT was third overall and 1st in the GTU-1 class. This was the first IMSA event held at the Virginia raceway. In the International Formula 100 Race, David Loring was the winner in both heats in his Caldwell D9.

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Sunday 25th April 1971

46 years ago

The John Wyer Porsche team completely dominated the Monza 1000 Kilometer World Sports Car Championship race with the team of Pedro Rodriguez and Jackie Oliver coming home first followed the Jo Siffert/Derek Bell team car. Jacky Ickx's Ferrari was destroyed in an early crash in the rain and both Martini Porsches fell out, one with a hole in the gas tank and the other with a cracked chassis.

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Sunday 9th May 1971

46 years ago

Pedro Rodriguez and Jackie Oliver drove their Wyer-Gulf Porsche 917K to victory in the 1000 Kilometer race at Spa, Belgium. Their average speed of 154.8 mph still stands today as the fastest road race ever.

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Sunday 13th June 1971

45 years ago

Dr Helmut Marko and Gijs van Lennep, driving a Porsche 917K, set a new record for the 24-hour Grand Prix d'Endurance at Le Mans, France, covering 3,315,203 milers

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Sunday 3rd October 1971

45 years ago

John Young ‘Jackie’ Stewart retained the World Drivers Championship driving a Tyrrell. He retired after clinching his third title in 1973, with a record 27 Grand Prix victories in his scintillating career. Of the 11 races in the season, Mario Andretti, Jacky Ickx, Jo Siffert, Peter Gethin and François Cevert won one race each, while Stewart won the other 6 races.Jo Siffert and Pedro Rodríguez, who had an intense rivalry driving for John Wyer's Gulf-sponsored works Porsche endurance sportscar team both lost their lives racing in 1971. Rodriguez died driving a Ferrari 512 at an Interserie race at the Norisring, Germany in July; and Siffert died in a fiery crash at the World Championship Victory Race non-championship Formula One event at Brands Hatch in October. This was the first season where at least 22 cars started every race, except the Monaco Grand Prix, where 18 cars started.

Jackie Stewart (on right) won his 2nd driver's championship, driving for Tyrrell - 1971

Jackie Stewart (on right) won his 2nd driver's championship, driving for Tyrrell - 1971

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Monday 20th March 1972

45 years ago

The Penske L&M Porsche 917/10 Can-Am racer was unveiled to the press and sponsors at Road Atlanta in Brazelton, Georgia, US.

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Monday 29th May 1972

44 years ago

In the first full run of the Porsche 917/10 Can-Am racer, at a secret test session at Mosport Park in Canada, Mark Donohue lapped the circuit three seconds faster than the existing Formula One record.

Porsche 917/10

Porsche 917/10

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Sunday 4th February 1973

44 years ago

Peter Gregg and Hurley Haywood drove a Porsche 911 Carrera RSR to victory in the 24 Hours of Daytona, beating the 3-liter prototypes from Ferrari, Matra, and Mirage.

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Sunday 26th August 1973

43 years ago

Mark Donohue won the Road America Can-Am race in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, USA, driving a Penske Porsche 917/30. Porsches took the first five finishing positions. Road America is a permanent road course located midway between the cities of Milwaukee and Green Bay. It has hosted races since September 1955 and currently hosts over 400 events a year. Of its annual events, 9 major weekends are open to the public which include 3 motorcycle events including the MotoAmerica (AMA FIM) series, 3 vintage car events, Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) events, the United Sports Car Racing Series, the SPEED World Challenge, and the NASCAR XFINITY Series.

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Thursday 13th September 1973

43 years ago

The Chevrolet Corvette XP-897GT, designed by General Motor's in-house studio and built by Pininfarina in Italy, made its debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show. The XP-897GT featured a mid-mounted 180bhp two-rotor Wankel engine mounted transversely, driving a new automatic transaxle being developed for the forthcoming X-body Chevrolet Citation. The car was built in 6 months on a modified Porsche 914 chassis. The prototype made the rounds to all the major auto shows until GM decided to cut its rotary engine program due to poor emissions and mileage. After its British Motor Show debut, it was put in storage in the UK without its Citation transaxle or its Chevrolet rotary engine.

Chevrolet Corvette XP-897GT

Chevrolet Corvette XP-897GT

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Sunday 14th October 1973

43 years ago

Jackie Stewart announced his retirement from motor racing. While he signed with BRM alongside Graham Hill in 1965, a contract which netted him £4,000, his first race in an F1 car was for Lotus, as stand-in for an injured Clark, at the Rand Grand Prix in December 1964; the Lotus broke in the first heat, but he won the second. On his F1 debut in South Africa, he scored his first Championship point, finishing sixth. His first major competition victory came in the BRDC International Trophy in the late spring, and before the end of the year he won his first World Championship race at Monza, fighting wheel-to-wheel with teammate Hill's P261.[9] Stewart finished his rookie season with three seconds, a third, a fifth, and a sixth, and third place in the World Drivers' Championship. He also piloted Tyrrell's unsuccessful F2 Cooper T75-BRM, and ran the Rover Company's revolutionary turbine car at Le Mans. 1966 saw him almost win the Indianapolis 500 on his first attempt, in John Mecom's Lola T90-Ford, only to be denied by a broken scavenge pump while leading by over a lap with eight laps to go. However, Stewart's performance, having had the race fully in hand, sidelined only by mechanical failure, won him Rookie of the Year honours despite the winner, Graham Hill, also being an Indianapolis rookie. At the start of the 1966 season, Stewart won the Australasian 8 round championship from his BRM teammate Graham Hill in 2 litre BRMs and also raced closely with his great rival and friend Jim Clark who was somewhat disadvantaged by an unreliable Lotus 39 which was let down by old Climax 2.5s. Also, in 1966, a crash triggered his fight for improved safety in racing. On lap one of the 1966 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, when sudden rain caused many crashes, he found himself trapped in his overturned BRM, getting soaked by leaking fuel. The marshals had no tools to help him, and it took his teammate Hill and Bob Bondurant, who had also crashed nearby, to get him out after borrowing a spanner from a spectator's car. Since then, a main switch to disconnect electrics and a removable steering wheel have become standard. Also, noticing the long and slow transport to a hospital, he brought his own doctor to future races, while BRM supplied a medical truck for the benefit of all. Stewart also began keeping a spanner taped to his steering wheel. It was a poor year all around; the BRMs were unreliable, although Stewart did win the Monaco Grand Prix. Stewart had some success in other forms of racing during the year, winning the 1966 Tasman Series and the 1966 Rothmans 12 Hour International Sports Car Race. BRM's fortunes did not improve in 1967, despite closely contesting the Tasman championship with Jim Clark who in a Lotus 33 probably raced closer and harder with Jackie than at any time in their careers. While Clark usually won, Stewart won a classic victory in the NZGP with Clark attempting to run him down in the last laps with bodywork flying off the 33. Stewart came no higher than second at Spa, though he won F2 events for Tyrrell at Karlskoga, Enna, Oulton Park, and Albi in a Matra MS5 or MS7. He also placed 2nd driving a works-entered Ferrari driving with Chris Amon at the BOAC 6 Hours at Brands Hatch, the 10th round of World Sportscar Championship at the time. Stewart also did the 1967 National 500 NASCAR race but did not qualify for the race. In Formula One, he switched to Tyrrell's Matra International team, where he drove a Matra MS10-Cosworth for the 1968 and 1969 seasons. Skill (and improving tyres from Dunlop)[10] brought a win in heavy rain at Zandvoort. Another win in rain and fog at the Nürburgring, where he won by a margin of four minutes. He also won at Watkins Glen, but missed Jarama and Monaco due to an F2 injury at Jarama.His car failed at Mexico City, and so he lost the drivers' title to Hill. In 1969, Stewart had a number of races where he completely dominated the opposition, such as winning by over 2 laps at Montjuïc, a minute at Clemont-Ferrand and more than a lap at Silverstone. With additional wins at Kyalami, Zandvoort, and Monza, Stewart became world champion in 1969 in a Matra MS80-Cosworth. Until September 2005, when Fernando Alonso in a Renault became champion, he was the only driver to have won the championship driving for a French marque and, as Alonso's Renault was built in the UK, Stewart remains the only driver to win the world championship in a French-built car. For 1970, Matra insisted on using their own V12 engines, while Tyrrell and Stewart wanted to keep the Cosworths as well as the good connection to Ford. As a consequence, the Tyrrell team bought a chassis from March Engineering; Stewart took the March 701-Cosworth to wins at the Daily Mail Race of Champions and Jarama, but was soon overcome by Lotus' new 72. The new Tyrrell 001-Cosworth, appearing in August, suffered problems, but Stewart saw better days for it in 1971, and stayed on. Tyrrell continued to be sponsored by French fuel company Elf, and Stewart raced in a car painted French Racing Blue for many years. Stewart also continued to race sporadically in Formula Two, winning at Crystal Palace and placing at Thruxton. A projected Le Mans appearance, to co-drive the 4.5 litre Porsche 917K with Steve McQueen, did not come off, for McQueen's inability to get insurance. He also raced Can-Am, in the revolutionary Chaparral 2J. Stewart achieved pole position in 2 events, ahead of the dominant McLarens, but the chronic unreliability of the 2J prevented Stewart from finishing any races. Stewart went on to win the Formula One world championship in 1971 using the Tyrrell 003-Cosworth, winning Spain, Monaco, France, Britain, Germany, and Canada. He also did a full season in Can-Am, driving a Carl Haas sponsored Lola T260-Chevrolet. and again in 1973. During the 1971 Can-Am series, Stewart was the only driver able to challenge the McLarens driven by Dennis Hulme and Peter Revson. Stewart won 2 races; at Mont Tremblant and Mid Ohio. Stewart finished 3rd in the 1971 Can-Am Drivers Championship. The stress of racing year round, and on several continents eventually caused medical problems for Stewart. During the 1972 Grand Prix season he missed the Belgian Grand Prix at Nivelles due to gastritis, and had to cancel plans to drive a Can-Am McLaren, but won the Argentine, French, U.S., and Canadian Grands Prix, to come second to Emerson Fittipaldi in the drivers' standings. Stewart also competed in a Ford Capri RS2600 in the European Touring Car Championship, with F1 teammate François Cevert and other F1 pilots, at a time where the competition between Ford and BMW was at a height. Stewart shared a Capri with F1 Tyrrell teammate François Cevert in the 1972 6 hours of Paul Ricard, finishing second. He also received an OBE. Entering the 1973 season, Stewart had decided to retire. He nevertheless won at South Africa, Belgium, Monaco, the Netherlands, and Austria. His last (and then record-setting) 27th victory came at the Nürburgring with a 1–2 for Tyrrell. "Nothing gave me more satisfaction than to win at the Nürburgring and yet, I was always afraid." Stewart later said. "When I left home for the German Grand Prix I always used to pause at the end of the driveway and take a long look back. I was never sure I'd come home again." After the fatal crash of his teammate François Cevert in practice for the 1973 United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, Stewart retired one race earlier than intended and missed what would have been his 100th Grand Prix. Nevertheless, Stewart still won the drivers' championship for the year. Stewart held the record for most wins by a Formula One driver (27) for 14 years until Alain Prost won the 1987 Portuguese Grand Prix, and the record for most wins by a British Formula One driver for 19 years until Nigel Mansell won the 1992 British Grand Prix.

Jackie Stewart

Jackie Stewart

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Saturday 27th October 1973

43 years ago

George Follmer drove a Porsche Carrera RSR to victory in the IROC race at Riverside, California.

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Thursday 14th February 1974

43 years ago

Driving a Porsche 911 Carrera, Mark Donohue won the final race of the inaugural International Race of Champions, commonly called the IROC, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. This victory, which clinched the first IROC championship for Donohue turned out to be his final victory in a race car as he was killed in a 1975 Formula One crash while testing for the Austrian Grand Prix.

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Saturday 9th August 1975

41 years ago

Mark Donohue set an American closed-course speed record of 221.120 mph at Talledega, Alabama, in a Porsche 917/30.

Porsche 917/30

Porsche 917/30

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Sunday 6th February 1977

40 years ago

The Porsche Carrera RSR of John Graves/Hurley Haywood/Dave Helmick won the Daytona 24 Hours Sports Car race at Daytona International Speedway. The race was round 1 of the 1977 World Championship for Makes. The winners finished 2 laps ahead of the Porsche 935 of Martino Finotto/Carlo Facetti/Romeo Camathias.

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Saturday 21st January 1978

39 years ago

Round 1 of the FIA Cup for Rally Drivers, the 46th Rallye Automobile de Monte-Carlo (29 stages, 570 km) began. It was won a week later by Jean-Pierre Nicolas and Vincent Laverne in a Porsche 911 Carrera.

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Sunday 5th February 1978

39 years ago

Rolf Stommelen, Toine Hezemans and Peter Gregg teamed to win the Daytona 24 Hours Sports Car race, round 1 of the 1978 World Championship for Makes. The winners averaged 108.743 mph in their Porsche 935, finishing 30 laps ahead of the Porsche 935 of Dick Barbour, Champ Car driver Johnny Rutherford and Liechtenstein's Manfred Schurti.

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Thursday 9th February 1978

39 years ago

Racer Hans Stuck (77) died in Gronau, West Germany. Stuck's experience with car racing started in 1922 with early morning runs bringing milk from his farm to Munich, shortly after his first marriage. This eventually led to his taking up hill-climbing; he won his first race, at Baden-Baden, in 1923. A few years later, after a year as a privateer for Austro-Daimler, he became a works driver for them in 1927, doing well in hill climbs, and making his first appearance in a circuit race (the German Grand Prix) that year as well. In 1931, Austro-Daimler left racing, and Stuck eventually wound up driving a Mercedes-Benz SSKL in sports car racing, where he continued to excel. In 1933, his acquaintance with Adolf Hitler (whom he had met by chance on a hunting trip in 1925) led to his involvement with Ferdinand Porsche and Auto Union in Hitler's plans for German auto racing. With his experience from racing up mountain passes in the Alps in the 1920s, he was virtually unbeatable when he got the new Auto Union car, which was designed by Porsche. Its rear mounted engine provided superior traction compared to conventional front engine designs, so that its (eventually) 500+ horse-power could be transformed into speed even on non-paved roads. In circuit racing, the new car was very hard to master, though, due to the swing axle rear suspension design initially adopted by Porsche (relatively advanced for its day, it is now utterly obsolete because of its many problems). His career with Auto Union was quite successful. In 1934, he won the German, Swiss and Czechoslovakian Grand Prix races (as well as finishing second in the Italian Grand Prix and Eifelrennen). There was no European Championship for the circuit races that year, or he would have won it. Wins in a number of hill-climb races brought him European Mountain Champion, the first of three he would eventually collect. In 1935, he won the Italian Grand Prix (along with second at the German Grand Prix; he also won his usual collection of hill-climb wins, again taking the European Mountain Championship. 1936 was leaner; he placed second in the Tripoli and German Grands Prix, finishing second in the competition for the European Championship. After Stuck missed a number of hill-climbs because of injuries suffered in accidents, that year the European Mountain Championship fell to his famous team-mate, Bernd Rosemeyer. 1937 was equally lean, bringing only second places in the Rio de Janeiro and Belgian Grands Prix. 1938 opened poorly; Stuck was either fired from, or quit, the Auto Union team (accounts from the two sides differ). After a series of injuries to other team drivers, as well as pressure from the German government (again, accounts differ as to what combination of factors was the cause), he was re-hired, and proved himself by winning a third European Mountain Championship, his last major pre-war success.

Hans Stuck

Hans Stuck

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Saturday 18th March 1978

39 years ago

Brian Redman, Charles Mendez and Bob Garretson teamed in a Porsche 935 to win the 12 Hours of Sebring.

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Tuesday 8th August 1978

38 years ago

Pete Brock won the Australian Touring Car Championship. Brock was most often associated with Holden for almost 40 years, although he raced vehicles of other manufacturers including BMW, Ford, Volvo, Porsche and Peugeot.

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Sunday 4th February 1979

38 years ago

Danny Ongais, Hurley Haywood and Ted Field drove a Porsche 935 to victory in the Daytona 24 Hours Sports Car race, round 1 of the World Championship for Makes. The Ferrari 365 of John Morton and Tony Adamowicz finished 2nd with the Porsche 935 of Rick Mears/Bruce Canepa/Monte Shelton coming home 3rd. The winners completed 684 laps around the 3.84 mile Daytona International Speedway course, averaging 109.409 mph.

L to R: Danny Ongais, Ted Field and Hurley Haywood.

L to R: Danny Ongais, Ted Field and Hurley Haywood.

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Sunday 10th June 1979

37 years ago

Paul Newman, the blue-eyed movie star-turned-race car driver, accomplished the greatest feat of his racing career by racing to second place in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In 1969, he starred in "Winning" as a struggling race car driver who must redeem his career and win the heart of the woman he loves at the Indianapolis 500. To prepare for the movie, Newman attended the Watkins Glen Racing School. In the film he performed many of the high-speed racing scenes in the movie himself, without a stunt double. In 1972, Newman began his own racing career, winning his first Sports Club Car of America (SCCA) race driving a Lotus Elan. He soon moved up to a series of Datsun racing sedans and won four SCCA national championships from 1979 to 1986. Newman's high point at the track came in June 1979 at Le Mans, where he raced a Porsche 935 twin-turbo coupe on a three-man team with Dick Barbour and Rolf Stommelen. His team finished second; first place went to brothers Don and Bill Whittington, and their teammate, Klaus Ludwig. Drama ensued during the last two hours of the race, when the Whittingtons' car, also a Porsche 935, was sidelined with fuel-injection problems and it looked like Newman's team could overtake them to grab the win. In the end, however, they had trouble even clinching second due to a dying engine. The Whittington team covered 2,592.1 miles at an average speed of 107.99 mph, finishing 59 miles ahead of Newman, Barbour and Stommelen.

Paul Newman - Le Mans

Paul Newman - Le Mans

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Wednesday 24th October 1979

37 years ago

Carlo Abarth (70) died. Best know for his tuning of Fiats, Carlo Abarth was a successful motorcycle racer winning the European Championship five times. Abarth began working for Cisitalia as the technical and racing director lining up the Porsche designed single-seater, mid-engined and four-wheel drive Cisitalia Formula 1 car on the grid. Unfortunately the spiralling cost of the F1 car ended the Cisitalia Corporation and Abarth took the sports cars from the team, rebadged them Abarth Cisitalias, and continued to enter them in races.

Carlo Abarth

Carlo Abarth

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Friday 22nd August 1980

36 years ago

Alfred Neubauer (89) racing manager of the Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix team from 1926 to 1955, died. Neubauer used to repair motor vehicles while he was an officer during his service in the Imperial Austrian army. After the First World War, he joined the Austrian car manufacturer Austro-Daimler, where Ferdinand Porsche appointed him to be chief tester. From 1922 onwards, Neubauer also drove in races, although without any great success. In 1923, when Ferdinand Porsche moved to the Daimler Works at Stuttgart (Daimler-Benz was not founded until 1926), he took Neubauer with him. In 1926, recognizing that he himself was not a great racing driver, Neubauer got an inspiration that let him create the position of racing team manager (Rennleiter). Racing drivers in those days being isolated from the outside, they often did not know their position in a race. Occasionally a driver would learn that he had won after a race merely by surprise. To overcome this situation, Alfred Neubauer devised a well thought-out system, with flags and boards, to give his drivers more tactical information. When he tried out the system for the first time at the 1926 Solituderennen on 12 September 1926, the chief steward demanded angrily that he leave the track, since his 'antics' were irritating the drivers. To Neubauer's explanation that he was the Rennleiter, the organizer responded: ‘Are you mad? I’m the Rennleiter’. The Mercedes-Benz team was soon winning races with SS and SSK racing cars, frequently in the hands of Rudolf Caracciola, the best driver during those days. Neubauer's contribution lay not just in his tactical skill, but also in the perfectionistical, almost military drill of the pit crew, which constantly gave the team a time advantage over its rivals. Neubauer's organization at the Mille Miglia in 1931 was a master stroke. To reach each staging post before Caracciola arrived, he repeatedly criss-crossed Italy with his team. According to Neubauer, the origin of the Silver Arrows phrase was due to the cars being overweighted at their first race. Neubauer's story states that the rules prescribed a weight limit of 750 kg, whilst one day before the new cars' first race they weighed in at 751 kg. This led to Neubauer and Manfred von Brauchitsch eventually coming up with the idea of removing the cars' white paint. The silver-coloured aluminium bodywork was exposed, and the Silver Arrows were born. However, this story is a fabrication by Neubauer himself, a well-known raconteur. The debut race was run to Formula Libre rules, meaning there was no weight limit. Additionally, there are no reports or photographs from the time suggesting that the cars were ever run in white paint. The Silver Arrows years were dominated by German racing cars and the rivalry between Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union. In its most successful phase, the Mercedes-Benz team's regular drivers were Rudolf Caracciola, Hermann Lang, Manfred von Brauchitsch, and Richard Seaman. After the Second World War, Mercedes-Benz was anxious to return to racing as soon as possible, but a new formula was announced for 1954, and there was insufficient time to produce a new model. As a compromise solution, the design of the Mercedes-Benz 300 was adapted. This resulted in a new racing car, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL. With this car, Neubauer achieved victories at the Carrera Panamericana and the Le Mans 24-hour race. When Mercedes-Benz cars returned to Grand Prix racing in 1954, the new Silver Arrows proved to be much superior than they had been before the war. Juan Manuel Fangio was World Champion in 1954 and 1955. Probably Neubauer's worst day as racing manager was at Le Mans in 1955, when a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR driven by Frenchman Pierre Levegh, was catapulted into the crowd, killing more than 80 people. After consultation with Stuttgart, Neubauer withdrew the remaining cars from the event. After the shock of Le Mans, Mercedes-Benz withdrew from racing altogether, and Alfred Neubauer retired.

Alfred Neubauer

Alfred Neubauer

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Friday 7th November 1980

36 years ago

Acting legend and racing great Steve McQueen (50) passed away after undergoing experimental therapy and surgery in Mexico for mesothelioma. McQueen, famous for many roles including Bullitt, which includes one of the greatest car chases of all time in a movie, featuring McQueen driving a 1968 Mustang GT 390. Among other feats, McQueen and a partner took first place at the 1965 12 hours at Sebring in the 3 litre class in a Porsche 908/02. McQueen was also a collector of highend race cars, owning multiple Porsche, a Ferrari and 1962 Cobra.

Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen

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Monday 15th December 1980

36 years ago

Peter Gregg, winner of the 1979 Daytona 24-hour race, died of a self inflicted gunshot wound. The 40-year-old was discovered at a sand dune south of Jacksonville by a hiker. An hour earlier he had written the suicide note found in his briefcase. Reports at the time suggested that Gregg was suffering from a progressive and incurable nervous system disorder which would have slowly degraded his physical capabilities and would have eventually been fatal and that this, in the context of his perfectionism for which he was known, was what motivated his suicide.At the time of his death Gregg had achieved a reputation as one of America's greatest and most successful road racers with 152 wins out of 340 races he started. He won the IMSA GTO overall championship in 1971 and 1973, the 1973 24 Hours of Daytona in a Porsche Carrera, co-driven by Hurley Haywood, and the Trans-Am Series in 1973 and 1974 in a Brumos Porsche. Gregg won the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1973 1975, 1976, and 1978. Gregg won IMSA GTO overall championships in 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1978, and 1979, giving him six career titles in the class, and the Trans-Am Series in 1973 and 1974. Gregg was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2000.

Peter Gregg

Peter Gregg

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Sunday 1st February 1981

36 years ago

The Daytona 24 Hour Race was won by Bob Garretson, Bobby Rahal and Brian Redman in a Porsche 935.

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Thursday 17th September 1981

35 years ago

The Porsche 9114WD concept car was shown at Frankfurt Motor sShow.

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Thursday 4th March 1982

35 years ago

The Bentley Mulsanne Turbo was unveiled at the Geneva International Auto Show. The name was taken from the famous bend on the Le Mans race track, the Mulsanne bend at the end of the long Hunaudières straight, in order to commemorate the many victories the English make at the famous French race circuit. The imposing large tourer was given a V8 6.75-litre engine and a "sufficiently powerful" turbo, that could reach a maximum speed of more than 135 mph. Porsche also revealed the first fully convertible Porsche 911 at the show.

Bentley Mulsanne (1980-92)

Bentley Mulsanne (1980-92)

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Saturday 27th March 1982

35 years ago

Jurgen Barth drove the first Porsche 956 for the first time at the Weissach test track in Germany.

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Sunday 16th May 1982

35 years ago

The Porsche 956 made its race debut in the World Endurance Championship 6-hour race at Silverstone, England, with Jackie Ickx and Derek Bell starting on pole and winning the Group C class while a Group 6 Lancia LC1 wins overall. Driven by Stefan Bellof in 1983, the 956 holds the all-time record for the fastest vehicle ever to lap the famed Nürburgring Nordschleife, completing the 20.832 km (12.93 mi) circuit in 6:11.13 during qualifying for the 1000km Sports Car race. At the 1985 1000 km of Spa, Bellof died after colliding with Jacky Ickx's newer Porsche 962. Safety concerns over the 956 led to its eventual end as teams upgraded to the safer 962. The 956's last win would come courtesy of Joest Racing in the last race of the 1986 WEC season, in what also turned out to be the 956's last race.

Porsche 956

Porsche 956

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Sunday 20th June 1982

34 years ago

Rothmans sponsored Porsche 956s finished 1-2-3 in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Jackie Ickx and Derek Bell drove the winning car. It was the first overall race victory for the 956.

Photo finish for the 1982 Le Mans 24 Hours

Photo finish for the 1982 Le Mans 24 Hours

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Sunday 3rd October 1982

34 years ago

Jackie Ickx and Jochen Mass drove a Rothmans Porsche 956 to victory in the World Endurance Championship 6-hour race at Fuji, Japan.

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Sunday 17th October 1982

34 years ago

Jackie Ickx and Derek Bell drove a Rothmans Porsche 956 to victory in the endurance race at Brands Hatch, England. Ickx won the World Endurance Championship driving title.

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Saturday 6th November 1982

34 years ago

Rothmans Porsche 956s finished 1-2 in the non-championship 9-hour endurance race at Kayalami, South Africa. Jackie Ickx and Jochen Mass winning from Derek Bell and Vern Schuppan.

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Saturday 18th December 1982

34 years ago

The first TAG turbo V-6 racing engine developed jointly by Porsche and McLaren was tested in preparation for use in the McLaren MP4/1D chassis.

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Sunday 24th April 1983

34 years ago

German driver Rolf Stommelen (39) who participated in 63 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, achieving one podium, and scored a total of 14 championship points was killed in a vicious crash during an IMSA Camel GT event at Riverside International Raceway. He was running a John Fitzpatrick entered Porsche 935 with codriver Derek Bell. Rolf had just taken over the car from Derek Bell and was in second place when the Rearwing broke due to mechanical failure at 190 mph. The car became uncontrollable, slammed against a concrete wall, somersaulted and caught fire.

Rolf Stommelen

Rolf Stommelen

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Saturday 28th May 1983

34 years ago

Driving a Porsche 956, Stefan Bellof set the record for the fastest lap on the 12.9-mile Nürburgring track, .6 minutes and 11.13 seconds, averaging 125.6 mph. In 1975, on the 14.2-mile track, F1 champ Niki Lauda lapped a Ferrari 312T in 6 minutes and 58.6 seconds, averaging 122 mph.

Stefan Bellof - Porsche 956

Stefan Bellof - Porsche 956

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Sunday 29th May 1983

33 years ago

Jackie Ickx and Jochen Mass drove a Rothman's Porsche 956 to victory in the World Endurance Championship race on the Nurburgring in Germany.

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Saturday 7th April 1984

33 years ago

Niki Lauda won the South African Grand Prix at Kyalami driving a McLaren-TAG Porsche MP4/2. Teammate Alain Prost was second and Derek Warwick was third. Patrick Tambay set fastest lap of the race but was out on lap 66 with fuel metering unit problem. Pole sitter, Nelson Piquet's Brabham was out on lap 29 with a turbo failure.

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Wednesday 25th April 1984

33 years ago

One third of Porsche AG's capital was offered to the public as preferred non-voting shares.

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Friday 27th April 1984

33 years ago

The first SEAT Ibiza rolled off the assembly line in the Zone Franca plant, the first entirely Spanish car of the new SEAT generation. The Ibiza's sales success gave the SEAT marque a platform to build on, as it looked to increase sales in following years. This version, while it established the now classic Ibiza shape, was advertised as having "Italian styling and German engines": having its bodywork been designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro's Italdesign,[4] and being prepared for industrialisation by the German manufacturer Karmann. It was based on the SEAT Ronda, a small family car, which in turn was based on the Fiat Ritmo. The gearbox and powertrain were developed in collaboration with Porsche, thus named under licence System Porsche. Despite Porsche's direct involvement in the Ibiza's engines, it was only after paying a royalty of 7 German marks per car sold back to Porsche that SEAT gained the right to put the 'System Porsche' inscription on the engine blocks. By the time Giugiaro was assigned to the Ibiza project, his previous proposal for the second generation of the Volkswagen Golf had been rejected by Volkswagen. So when SEAT approached him with the proposal for a spacious supermini class contender, that particular project was reincarnated as the first generation of the SEAT Ibiza. Using a compact car as basis, in terms of size, it was larger than most superminis like the Ford Fiesta and Opel Corsa/Vauxhall Nova, but smaller than any small family car such as the Ford Escort and Opel Kadett/Vauxhall Astra. The luggage capacity started from 320 litres and increased to 1,200 litres after folding rear seats. It was launched on the United Kingdom market in September 1985, when the brand was launched there, along with the Malaga saloon. It largely competed with budget offerings like the Hyundai Pony, and gave budget buyers a more modern alternative to the outdated offerings from Lada, Škoda, Yugo and FSO. After a slow start, sales picked up and reached the 10,000-a-year milestone by the end of the decade. The interior space was good but styling was fairly unimaginative even though it was known for having a rather quirky interior instrument layout, marked by a lack of control stalks. The indicators were operated by a rocker-switch, and the headlights by a sliding switch. It had three principal trim levels (L, GL and GLX) with bodyworks of 3 and 5 doors and several versions such as Base, Special, Disco, Chrono, Designer, Fashion, SXi etc. As power outputs dropped due to more stringent emissions requirements, a 1.7-litre version of the engine was developed for the Sportline version. For the same reason, a 109 PS (80 kW) turbocharged version of the 1.5-litre engine was developed for the Swiss market and presented in March 1989. In the meantime, SEAT had already signed a cooperation agreement with Volkswagen (1982) and in 1986 the German car maker became SEAT's major shareholder. Though a light restyling of the Ibiza Mk1 came in late 1988 with a moderate facelift in the exterior, a less radical interior and many changes in the mechanical parts, the most profound restyling was launched in 1991 under the name New style, although by now an all-new Ibiza was being developed. The following year, in February 1992, SEAT launched the Ibiza "Serie Olímpica" to celebrate SEAT's participation in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona as a sponsor, and the SEAT Ibiza Mk1 along with the SEAT Toledo Mk1 became the official cars of the Games. The larger sedan version SEAT Málaga was a closer relative to the SEAT Ronda, although it shared engines with the Ibiza.

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Sunday 3rd June 1984

32 years ago

Alain Prost driving a McLaren-TAG Porsche MP4/2 won the Monaco Grand Prix. The race, held amidst heavy rain, was one of the most contentious in Formula One history. Pole-sitter Prost led the race from the start, while first corner contact between Ferrari's René Arnoux and the Renault of Derek Warwick pitched the Englishman's car into the fence on the outside of St. Devote and into the path of his team-mate Patrick Tambay. Both drivers suffered leg injuries, Warwick bruised his left leg while Tambay broke his leg after his car's suspension punched through the carbon fibre monocoque, causing him to miss the next round in Canada.

Alain Prost

Alain Prost

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Sunday 10th June 1984

32 years ago

Al Holbert and Derick Bell drove a Porsche 962 to victory in the Mid-Ohio 500km IMSA Camel GTP race in Lexington, Ohio, USA. It was the first race win for the 962.

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Sunday 16th September 1984

32 years ago

Stefan Bellof and Hans Stuck drove a Brun Porsche 956 to victory in the World Endurance Championship race at Imola, Italy.

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Wednesday 19th September 1984

32 years ago

Ferry Porsche received the honorary title of "Professor"

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Saturday 23rd March 1985

32 years ago

Bob Wolleck and A.J. Foyt drove the Swap Shop Porsche 962 to victory in the 12 Hours of Sebring.

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Sunday 7th April 1985

32 years ago

Alain Prost driving a McLaren-TAG Porsche MP4/2B won the Brazilian Grand Prix at Jacarepagua. Even though René Arnoux finished 4th for Ferrari, he was sacked after the race, with both the team and Arnoux never revealing the reason behind the sacking.

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Sunday 19th May 1985

32 years ago

Alain Prost driving a McLaren-TAG Porsche MP4/2B won the Monaco Grand Prix.

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Saturday 10th August 1985

31 years ago

The TWR Jaguar XJR-6 made its race debut in the 1000 km World Endurance Championship race at Mosport, Ontario, Canada. Manfred Winklehock suffered fatal injuries in the crash of his 962 during the race which was won by Derek Bell and Hans Stuck driving a Rothmans Porsche 962.

Jaguar XJR6

Jaguar XJR6

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Sunday 11th August 1985

31 years ago

The TWR Jaguar XJR-6 made its race debut in the 1000 km World Endurance Championship race at Mosport, Ontario, Canada. Manfred Winklehock was fatally injured in the crash of his 962 during the race which was won by Derek Bell and Hans Stuck driving a Rothmans Porsche 962.

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Monday 12th August 1985

31 years ago

Manfred Winkelhock (33), was killed when he crashed heavily at turn 2 at Mosport Park of Bowmanville near Toronto, Ontario, Canada, during the Budweiser 1000 km World Endurance Championship event. He was driving a Porsche 962C for Kremer Racing with co-driver Marc Surer.

Manfred Winkelhock

Manfred Winkelhock

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Sunday 1st September 1985

31 years ago

Stefan Bellof (27) was killed at the 1000 km Spa sports car race, when he tangled his Walter Brun-entered Porsche 956 with Jacky Ickx's works 956 at Eau Rouge corner, with both cars catching fire and halting the race. Bellof was pronounced dead one hour later at the circuit's medical centre.

Stefan Bellof

Stefan Bellof

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Thursday 31st October 1985

31 years ago

Some of the conspicuous exhibits at the 26th Tokyo Motor Show included the Porsche 959, BMW M3, Benz 190E 2.3-16, a concept car Citroen Eole, and Saab 900 Turbo 16 EV-1 equipped with 60 solar cells for starting the motor. The lineup of European superstar cars was really spectacular. GM displayed a Cadillac with the steering wheel on the right for the Japanese market, which kicked off its full-scale export strategy for Japan.

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Sunday 2nd February 1986

31 years ago

A Lauwenbrau sponsored Porsche 962 was driven to victory in the 24 Hours of Daytona by Al Holbert, Derek Bell, and Al Unser Jr.

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Sunday 27th April 1986

31 years ago

The San Marino Grand Prix was held at Imola. As with the previous year's event, fuel consumption was a big issue, changing the points finishers in the closing laps. Alain Prost driving a McLaren-TAG Porsche MP4/2C dominated the race after Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell retired early, before almost running out of fuel, three corners from the chequered flag. Frantically weaving the car back and forth to slosh the last drops of fuel into the pickup, he managed to keep it running just long enough to creep over the line and win the race.

San Marino Grand Prix 1986

San Marino Grand Prix 1986

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Sunday 11th May 1986

31 years ago

Alain Prost won the Monaco Grand Prix held on the streets of Monte Carlo, driving a McLaren-TAG Porsche MP4/2C. Patrick Tambay had a spectacular accident when he and Martin Brundle tangled at Mirabeau, and Tambay's Lola went right over Brundle's Tyrrell, caught 6 feet of air and barrel-rolled into the protective Armco right next to some spectators; and in the process almost went over the Armco into a bar next to the track. Tambay walked away from the accident unscathed.

1986 Monaco Grand Prix winner Alain Prost in his McLaren-TAG Porsche

1986 Monaco Grand Prix winner Alain Prost in his McLaren-TAG Porsche

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Sunday 1st June 1986

30 years ago

Jo Gartner (32) died whilst contesting the 1986 24 Hours of Le Mans. At 2:10 am on the Sunday Gartner's Porsche 962 suffered a mechanical failure and turned hard left into the barriers on the Mulsanne Straight at 160 mph (260 km/h). The car somersaulted down the track and caught fire resting on the barriers on the opposite side of the track. Gartner was killed on impact.

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Sunday 1st February 1987

30 years ago

Al Holbert, Chip Robinson, Derek Bell, and Al Unser Jr. drove the Lauwenbrau Porsche 962 to victory in the 24 Hours of Daytona .

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Saturday 21st March 1987

30 years ago

Jochen Mass and Bobby Rahal drove Bruce Leven's Porsche 962 to victory in the IMSA 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race.

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Sunday 5th February 1989

28 years ago

Derek Bell, Bob Wolleck, and John Andretti drove a Jim Busby entered Porsche 962 to victory in the 24 Hours of Daytona, beating the second place Jaguar of Price Cobb, John Nielson, Jan Lammers, and Andy Wallace by only 90 seconds. It was the 50th Porsche 962 win in the United States.

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Wednesday 5th January 1994

23 years ago

Eliška Junková (93) born as Alžběta Pospíšilová and also known as Elizabeth Junek, one of the greatest female drivers in Grand Prix motor racing history, died. However with communist rule in Czechoslovakia she was largely forgotten by the motor racing world until recently. Eliška Junková (also known as Elizabeth Junek) was raised in Olomouc on the outskirts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A passion for world languages drew her to traveling, and she fell in love with racing cars after spotting a Bugatti in Paris circa 1921. She began taking driving lessons in secret and earned her license a year later. Eventually, she took up with a Czech banker named Cenek Junek, an aspiring professional driver who, because of a wartime injury to his hand, was unable to shift gears. She came on as his riding mechanic, tasked with wrenching and swapping cogs for her husband. It wasn't long before she won her class at the 1924 Lachotín-Třemošná hill-climb driving a cigar-shaped Bugatti blue Type 30 and championed the sobriquet 'Queen of the Steering Wheel.' With riding mechanics banned for the 1925 Grand Prix season, Madame Junek began racing the Bugatti solo and, the following year, took second place at Klaussenpass in Switzerland. While she was physically undersized (something Emilio Materassi and other male drivers ridiculed her for), Junek was diligent and exceptionally cunning. Before the 1927 Targa Florio, she took to the 67-mile route on foot, noting the terrain, envisioning a line, and taking pace notes—the first-ever driver to "walk the course." Still, she wrecked out of the '27 Targa Florio after just two laps. The documented reason was steering malfunction; Junek always maintained that somebody moved a rock into a corner as she was clipping the apex in order to sabotage her run. She endured, though, winning her class at the German Grand Prix later that year and returning to the Targa Florio in 1928, where she started from fourth in her supercharged Bugatti Type 35B. By the second lap, she was leading the race.At one point, Junek held multiple-minute leads over a field of pre-war racing icons—Louis Chiron, Albert Divo, René Dreyfus, and Tazio Nuvolari, a man Ferdinand Porsche once called the "greatest racing driver of the past, present, and future." But the 2.3-liter's cooling system faltered, causing Junek to finish fifth (but in possession of the second-fastest lap and still just nine minutes behind the victorious Divo).A mere eight weeks after the '28 Targa Florio, Cenek Junek was killed after crashing his Type 35B during the Grand Prix of Germany. Her husband's death at the Nürburgring cast a pall over racing; Madame Junek never drove competitively again. In a career that spanned just five years, Elizabeth Junek ran wheel-to-wheel with the world's best drivers, revolutionized race-day preparation, and became the first (and only) woman to win a Grand Prix. What might she have achieved had she kept racing into the 1930s? For her contribution to motorsport alone, Junek deserves more credit than she's received.

Eliška Junková

Eliška Junková

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Sunday 5th February 1995

22 years ago

Jurgen Lassig, Christophe Bouchut, Giovanni Lavaggi, and Marco Werner drove a Porsche Spyder K8 to victory in the 24-Hours of Daytona. Third overall and first in the GTS-1 class in a Mustang are Tommy Kendall, Michael Brockman, NASCAR star Mark Martin, and actor Paul Newman.

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Friday 28th April 1995

22 years ago

The last ZR-1 Corvette - "King of the Hill" - rolled off the assembly line. Chevrolet general manager Jim Perkins and Chief Corvette Engineer Dave McLellan delivered the car to the National Corvette Museum. During its six year lifetime, 6939 ZR-1 Corvettes were built. The ZR-1 was distinguishable from other Corvette coupes by its wider tail section, 11" wide rear wheels and its new convex rear fascia with four square shaped taillights and a CHMSL (center high mounted stop lamp) attached to the top of the hatch glass instead of between the taillights. The ZR-1 displayed stunning ability both in terms of acceleration and handling capabilities, but carried with it an astonishingly high price. MSRP for the (375 hp) ZR-1 in 1990 was $58,995, almost twice the cost of a (250 hp) non-ZR-1, and had ballooned to $66,278 by 1995; some dealers successfully marked units as high as $100,000. Even at base MSRP, this meant that the ZR-1 was competing in the same price bracket as cars like the Porsche 964, making it a hard sell for GM dealers. In 1991, the ZR-1 and base model received updates to body work, interior, and wheels. The rear convex fascia that set the 1990 ZR-1 apart from the base model found its way to all models, making the high-priced ZR-1 even less distinguishable. Further changes were made in 1992, including extra ZR-1 badges on the fenders and the introduction of Acceleration Slip Regulation (ASR) or traction control. For model year 1993, Lotus design modifications were made to the cylinder heads, exhaust system and valvetrain of the LT5, bringing horsepower up from 375 to 405. In addition, a new exhaust gas recirculation system improved emissions control. The model remained nearly unchanged into the 1995 model year, after which the ZR-1 was discontinued as the result of waning interest, development of the LS series engines, cost and the coming of the C5 generation. A total of 6,939 ZR-1s were manufactured over the six-year period. Not until the debut of the C5 platform Z06 would Chevrolet have another production Corvette capable of matching the ZR-1's performance. Although the ZR-1 was extremely quick for its time (0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds, and onto 180+ mph), the huge performance of the LT5 engine was matched by its robustness. As evidence of this, a stock ZR-1 set seven international and world records at a test track in Fort Stockton, Texas on March 1, 1990, verified by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile) for the group II, class 11 category: 100 miles (160 km) at 175.600 mph (282.601 km/h) 500 miles (800 km) at 175.503 mph (282.445 km/h) 1,000 miles (1,600 km) at 174.428 mph (280.715 km/h) 5,000 km (3,100 mi) at 175.710 mph (282.778 km/h) (World Record) 5,000 miles (8,000 km) at 173.791 mph (279.690 km/h) (World Record) 12 Hours Endurance at 175.523 mph (282.477 km/h) 24 Hours Endurance at 175.885 mph (283.059 km/h) for 4,221.256 miles (6,793.453 km) (World Record) These records were later broken by the Volkswagen W12, a one-off concept car that never went into production.

1990 Corvette ZR-1

1990 Corvette ZR-1

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Monday 15th July 1996

20 years ago

The one millionth Porsche rolled off the assembly line, a Carrera for the Swabian police force.

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Sunday 15th June 1997

19 years ago

Michele Alboreto, Stefan Johanson, and Tom Kristianson drive a Porsche WSC95 to victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans

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Friday 27th March 1998

19 years ago

Ferdinand Porsche Jr (88), who helped his father develop the Volkswagen Beetle before World War II and later founded the sports car firm that bears his name, died.

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Monday 30th March 1998

19 years ago

The last air-cooled Porsche 911 was delivered to its proud owner, the US TV star Jerry Seinfeld.

Last air-cooled Porsche 911

Last air-cooled Porsche 911

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Sunday 31st January 1999

18 years ago

The 37th Rolex 24 at Daytona saw Team Dyson take the overall win with Andy Wallace, Elliott Forbes-Robinson and Butch Leitzinger in a Ford powered Riley & Scott car. In GT3, the team of Alex Job Racing with Cort Wagner, Kelly Collins, Anthony Lazzaro and Darryl Havens won in a Porsche 911 RSR. And GT2 saw another 911 win; Roock Racings' Andre Ahrle, Hubert Haupt, David Warnock and Raffaele Sangiuolo took those honours.

37th Rolex 24 at Daytona

37th Rolex 24 at Daytona

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Sunday 7th February 1999

18 years ago

Umberto Maglioli, who gave Porsche their first overall Targa Florio win, died at the age of 69, after a long illness, in Monza, Italy. An accomplished and versatile sports car racer, Maglioli won the 1953 Targa Florio and 1954 Carrera Panamaricana for the Lancia team and 14 years later posted the last major win of his career in the Targa Florio, this time sharing a factory Porsche with Vic Elford. In between, Magioli competed as an occasional reserve driver for the Ferrari factory team, finishing third in the 1954 Italian Grand Prix (sharing with Froilan Gonzalez) and third in the 1955 Argentine Grand Prix (sharing with Giuseppe Farina and Maurice Trintignant). In 1956 he had three races in a Maserati 250F and his final Grand Prix outing came at the Nurburgring in a 1.5-liter Porsche the following season.

Umberto Maglioli

Umberto Maglioli

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Sunday 19th December 1999

17 years ago

Ferdinand Porsche, designer of Auto Union Grand Prix racers and the original Volkswagen, was honored as the Car Engineer of the Century. The young Porsche chose to be a mechanical apprentice instead of attending university. In 1898, he was employed by Lohner, a manufacturer of electric cars and, at the age of 23, he designed the Lohner-Porsche. This car was exhibited at the most prestigious car exhibition of the time, L'Exposition Universelle De Paris in 1900. Porsche won the opportunity to design another prototype, a four wheel drive with an electrical motor in each wheel. In 1902, with Ferdinand Porsche as the pilot, it won its class at the hill climb in Exelber, Austria. During the next 25 years, he worked for many different companies. One of his most important achievements was the design of a road train used in the First World War. Porsche joined Daimler Germany in 1923. In 1926, Daimler merged with Benz, providing the opportunity for Porsche to work on the Mercedes S and SSK projects. As well as race cars, he designed a diesel powered truck and a popular automobile. He opened his own engineering office in Stuttgart in 1930. In 1934, the order from Hitler to design and build the first "peoples car" was received. Porsche designed the Volkswagen Beetle, as well as many military vehicles used by the Nazis during WWII. After the war, Porsche spent twenty months in a French prison, and his son took control of the business. Dr. Porsche (he received an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Stuttgart) was certainly the most prolific automotive designer of first half of the 20th century. Dr. Porsche died in 1951 at the age of 75. The Porsche name has gone on to greater fame and success, thanks to his son's, and grandchildren's, involvement with the engineering company Ferdinand Porsche created.

Ferdinand Porsche

Ferdinand Porsche

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Wednesday 12th January 2000

17 years ago

Professional basketball player Bobby Phills (30) of the Charlotte Hornets was killed in a three-car accident after leaving morning practice at the Charlotte Coliseum. Two others were injured in the accident. Witnesses reported that Phills was speeding in his Porsche and had been drag-racing with teammate David Wesley at the time of the accident.Wesley later was convicted of reckless driving after being cleared of a racing charge. Phills was survived by his parents, his wife Kendall, and three children. Over his nine-year career, Phillis averaged 11.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. He was known as a defensive stopper, averaging 1.3 steals per game for his career, and an excellent perimeter shooter, with a 39.0% career three-point shooting percentage. The Hornets retired his #13 jersey number on February 9, 2000, in a game vs. Phills' former team, the Cavaliers. Phills was the first number that the Hornets franchise had ever retired. It continued to hang for the original Hornets franchise until the end of the first season, when the team moved to New Orleans. In 2004, the NBA added an expansion team, the Charlotte Bobcats. After the New Orleans team re-branded themselves as the New Orleans Pelicans, relinquishing the name, the Bobcats became the Hornets. On November 1, 2014, the newly renamed team rehung his jersey from the rafters of Time Warner Cable Arena

Bobby Phills

Bobby Phills

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Friday 16th March 2001

16 years ago

Robert "Bob" Wollek (57), nicknamed "Brilliant Bob", a race car driver from Strasbourg, France was killed in a road accident in Florida while riding a bicycle to prepare for the 12 Hours of Sebring. He was struck from behind by a van driven by an elderly driver from Okeechobee, Florida at approximately 4:30 p.m. Just prior to his death, he announced he would retire from racing to serve as an ambassador for Porsche, and was due to sign this agreement upon returning home after Sebring. On race day, the organizers held a one minute silence in memory of Wollek. Wollek was due to start in the Porsche 996 GT3-RS with Johnny Mowlem and Michael Petersen, however, out of respect the car was withdrawn from the race.

Bob Wollek

Bob Wollek

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Wednesday 25th April 2001

16 years ago

Michele Alboreto (44) died in a testing crash. Michele Alboreto first got noted by winning the European and Italian Formula 3 championships as well as a works-driver for the Lancia works-team in the WSC. While racing in Formula 2, scoring Minardiís only F2 victory, Michele got a three-years-deal from Ken Tyrrell to drive for his team and made his Formula 1 debut at the 1981 San Marino GP. His first win came in 1982 in the Las Vegas GP and the following year in Detroit in 1983. Then Ferrari signed him for 1984 and Michele became the first Italian to race for Ferrari for over 10 years. He won the Belgian Grand Prix that year and in the 1985 season Michele scored wins in Canada and Germany but his World Championship challenge was beaten off by Alain Prost. In his three remaining seasons at Ferrari he failed to win another race. Out of a seat for 1988 he returned to Tyrrell but fell out with Ken in midseason. He took a drive with Larrousse at the end of the year but for 1990 he joined Arrows and stayed with the newly-named Footwork operation in 1991, hoping his career would be revived with Porsche V12 engines. They were a disaster and in 1993 he switched to Scuderia Italia which was using Lola cars and Ferrari engines. Another disaster. Then Scuderia Italia merged with Minardi in 1994, which was to be Alboretoís last year in F1. The Italian entered the history books by delivering the last victory to the good old Ford Cosworth DFV noraly aspirated V8 engine at the 1993 Detroit Grand Prix in a time when the dominant Formula 1 teams were all equipped with powerful turbocharged engines. After leaving F1 he resumed the side of his career that had brought success in sports cars in the early 80s and in 1997 won the Le Mans 24 Hours with his former Ferrari team mate Stefan Johansson and Tom Kristensen in a TWR-run Porsche. He went on to become an important member of the emerging Audi works-team and it was testing an R8 at the Lausitzring when he got killed when a high-speed tire failure sent the car airborne and landing upside down. He was 44 at the time of his demise.

Michele Alboreto

Michele Alboreto

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Monday 11th March 2002

15 years ago

During the weekend of festivities for the Sebring Hall of Fame, those selected for induction were: International Motor Sports association founder John Bishop and former Sebring promoters Alec and Mary Ulmann, John Greenwood and Charles Mendez will be honored for establishing and then continuing the Sebring tradition. Drivers that were inducted: Dan Gurney, Jim Hall, John Fitch and the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio. In addition, Porsche became the first manufacturer inducted. This event also marked the 50th anniversary of the famed facility.

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Saturday 23rd March 2002

15 years ago

Ben Hollioake (24) died in Perth, Australia near to his childhood school Wesley College, Perth, when he crashed his Porsche 968 convertible into a wall on the Mill Point Road exit of the Kwinana Freeway on his way home from a family celebration. The corner where he died is widely known as "Hollioake Bend". His death at the age of 24 years 132 days was the youngest of any England Test cricketer.

Ben Hollioake

Ben Hollioake

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Monday 24th March 2003

14 years ago

Automobili Lamborghini launched its new 520bhp Gallardo. at the Geneva Motor Show. Powered by a 5.0-litre V10 engine, with four-wheel-drive, 376 torques, it could accelerate from a 0-62mph in four seconds and had a top speed of 195mph. The Gallardo's a landmark Lamborghini: the first genuinely all-new car to be made by Sant'Agata under Audi ownership. It also marked a return for the firm to making a more affordable, usable super sports car than its legendary dynasty of V12s - something it hadn't done since the Jalpa went out of production in 1988. This was Sant’Agata’s first serious crack at the bottom end of the traditional supercar market and was conceived as a direct competitor for the 360 Modena and Porsche 911 Turbo. It went on sale to critical acclaim in 2003. In Lamborghini’s 50 years of existence, it has built around 30,000 cars. Of these 30,000 cars, nearly half of them - half - are Gallardos.

Lamborghini Gallardo

Lamborghini Gallardo

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Wednesday 30th July 2003

13 years ago

The last ‘classic’ Volkswagen Beetle, number 21,529,464, rolled off the production line at VW’s plant in Puebla, Mexico, and was shipped to the Volkswagen company museum in Wolfsburg, Germany. It was ironic that the car that became a symbol of flower power in the 1960s and inspired Disney’s Herbie in the 1997 The Love Bug film had its roots in Nazi Germany. The Volkswagen Beetle (officially the Volkswagen Type 1, informally in Germany the Volkswagen Käfer and in the U.S. as Volkswagen Bug) is a two-door, four passenger, rear-engine economy car manufactured and marketed by German automaker Volkswagen (VW) from 1938 until 2003. The need for this kind of car, and its functional objectives, was formulated by the leader of Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler, who wanted a cheap, simple car to be mass-produced for his country's new road network. Hitler contracted Ferdinand Porsche in 1934 to design and build it. Porsche and his team took until 1938 to finalise the design. The influence on Porsche's design of other contemporary cars, such as the Tatra V570 and the work of Josef Ganz remains a subject of dispute. The result was one of the first rear-engined cars since the Brass Era. With 21,529,464 produced, the Beetle is the longest-running and most-manufactured car of a single platform ever made. Although designed in the 1930s, the Beetle was only produced in significant numbers from 1945 on (mass production had been put on hold during the Second World War) when the model was internally designated the Volkswagen Type 1, and marketed simply as the Volkswagen (or "People's Car"). Later models were designated Volkswagen 1200, 1300, 1500, 1302 or 1303, the former three indicating engine displacement, the latter two derived from the type number. The model became widely known in its home country as the Käfer (German for "beetle") and was later marketed as such in Germany, and as the Volkswagen in other countries. For example, in France it was known as the Coccinelle (French for ladybug). The original 25 hp Beetle was designed for a top speed around 100 km/h (62 mph), which would be a viable speed on the Reichsautobahn system. As Autobahn speeds increased in the postwar years, its output was boosted to 36, then 40 hp, the configuration that lasted through 1966 and became the "classic" Volkswagen motor. The Beetle ultimately gave rise to variants, including the Karmann Ghia and Type 2. The Beetle marked a significant trend, led by Volkswagen, Fiat, and Renault, whereby the rear-engine, rear-wheel drive layout increased from 2.6 percent of continental Western Europe's car production in 1946 to 26.6 percent in 1956. The 1948 Citroën 2CV and other European models marked a later trend to front-wheel drive in the European small car market, a trend that would come to dominate that market. In 1974, Volkswagen's own front-wheel drive Golf model succeeded the Beetle. In 1994, Volkswagen unveiled the Concept One, a "retro"-themed concept car with a resemblance to the original Beetle, and in 1998 introduced the "New Beetle", built on the contemporary Golf platform with styling recalling the original Type 1. In the 1999 Car of the Century competition, to determine the world's most influential car in the 20th century, the Type 1 came fourth, after the Ford Model T, the Mini, and the Citroën DS.

VW Beetle (1949)

VW Beetle (1949)

The last classic VW Beetle

The last classic VW Beetle

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Tuesday 12th August 2003

13 years ago

Lee Ryan from the boy band Blue was arrested whilst driving a Porsche around central London and was charged with drink driving. Ryan had spent the night knocking back drinks at Browns night-club in Covent Garden with his cousin and a record company executive. After annoying others in the club with rowdiness, and his cousin's throwing up in the VIP area, bouncers threw Lee out. Lee opted to drive his £60,000 Porsche, Officers pulled the star over just after 4am on Tower Bridge Road and breath tests showed him to be twice over the legal drinking limit.

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Wednesday 26th May 2004

13 years ago

The £75,000 mid-engined Noble M14 was unveiled at the Birmingham Motor Show in the West Midlands. It had 400 bhp (298 kW; 406 PS) at 6,100 rpm from a highly modified version of Ford's 3.0 litre (2,968 cc) V6 using a six-speed manual transmission and twin turbochargers. The engine developed 385 ft·lbf (522 N·m) of torque at 4,750 rpm. It was planned to have a power-to-weight ratio of 363 bhp (271 kW) per ton, and to get to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.3 seconds with a maximum speed of 190 mph (310 km/h). Noble expected it to compete with cars like the upcoming Porsche 911 Turbo and Ferrari F430. Following the debut of the vehicle Lee Noble the creator of the car decided that it was insufficiently advanced over the current range of Noble cars to justify its price tag. Noble transferred development to a new car the Noble M15, a pre-production prototype of which was presented in 2007 (and shown on TV's Top Gear) but never launched. Noble is now believed to be working on two updated replacements - the M600 and the M15C (see Autocar magazine, 20 October 2007).

Noble M14

Noble M14

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Sunday 29th August 2004

12 years ago

The inaugural Porsche Festival at Brands Hatch attracted the largest ever gathering of Porsche cars in the world.

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Friday 24th September 2004

12 years ago

The Paris Mondial de l’Automobile (Paris Motor Show) opened its doors to the press and featured a wealth of new concept and production cars. There were a number of major releases from Ford, BMW and Mercedes and, naturally, the French makers Peugeot, Citroën and Renault featured strongly as well. World debuts included the Alfa 147, Aston Martin DBR9, Audi A4, BMW 1 Series, BMW M5, Citroën C4, Ferrari F430, Ford Focus, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Sportage, Mazda 5, Mercedes A-Class, Mitsubishi Colt CZ3, Opel Astra GTC, Peugeot 1007, Porsche Boxster, Renault Mégane Trophy, Škoda Octavia Estate, Suzuki Swift and Toyota Prius GT.

BMW 1-Series

BMW 1-Series

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Thursday 14th October 2004

12 years ago

Eric Clapton was suspended from driving in France after being caught speeding at 134 mph in his Porsche 911 Turbo near Merceuil. He was fined 750 euro (£515) and his UK licence was confiscated. After paying his fine Clapton posed for photographs with French police and then left the scene in his Porsche - with his secretary behind the wheel.

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Saturday 27th November 2004

12 years ago

The new Porsche Boxster went on sale in the UK priced at £32,320 (inc. VAT).

Porsche Boxster  - 2004

Porsche Boxster - 2004

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Wednesday 27th July 2005

11 years ago

German sports and luxury carmaker Porsche announced the investment of 1bn euros (£691m; $1.2bn) for the development of a four-door coupe (Panamera) that would be on the roads by 2009.

Porsche Panamera

Porsche Panamera

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Thursday 15th September 2005

11 years ago

The Porsche Cayman S had its public launch at the Frankfurt Motor Show During prototype testing, rally legend Walter Röhrl reportedly lapped the Nürburgring track faster than the 911 Carrera's time of 8 minutes, 15 seconds.

Porsche Cayman S

Porsche Cayman S

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Saturday 26th November 2005

11 years ago

The new Porsche Cayman S went on sale in the UK. The sporty two-seater boasted a newly developed six-cylinder ‘boxer’ engine with a capacity of 3.4 litres and an output of 295 bhp (217 kW). The mid-mounted power unit delivered a maximum speed of 171 mph (275 km/h).

Porsche Cayman S

Porsche Cayman S

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Friday 6th January 2006

11 years ago

The production line Audi Q7, a full-size luxury crossover SUV, which shared its platform with the Volkswagen Touareg and Porsche Cayenne, was unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Audi Q7

Audi Q7

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Thursday 2nd March 2006

11 years ago

The Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano (internal code F139) a 2-seat Gran Turismo, to replace the 575M Maranello in 2006 as a 2007 model debuted at the Geneva Motor Show. Styling of the 599 GTB was handled by Pininfarina, under the direction of Ferrari stylist, Frank Stephenson. It was named for its engine displacement and the Fiorano test track used by Ferrari. The all new Volvo S80’s also made their world debut at the show, whilst Porsche AG, Germany unveiled the new 911 GT3. The two-seater sports coupe went on sale in the UK in August, 2006 at a basic price of £79,540.

Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano

Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano

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Wednesday 12th April 2006

11 years ago

BMW 3 Series was named World Car of the Year at the New York Auto Show. Other winners selected by the jury of 48 international automotive journalists from 22 countries were the Porsche Cayman S (World Performance Car). Honda Civic Hybrid (World Green Car) and the Citroen C4 (World Car Design of the Year).

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Saturday 26th August 2006

10 years ago

The Porsche 911 GT3, a higher-performance Porsche 911, named after the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) GT3 European Championship it was designed to compete in, went on sale in the UK at £79,540.

Porsche 911 GT3

Porsche 911 GT3

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Saturday 27th January 2007

10 years ago

Timothy Brady (33), of Harrow, north-west London, was clocked at 172 mph in a Porsche 911 Turbo in a 70-mph zone on the A420 in Oxfordshire, becoming the fastest driver ever caught in a routine speed check in the UK. He was sentenced to 10 weeks in jail and banned from driving for 3 years.

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Saturday 24th February 2007

10 years ago

Four years after its debut, the second generation Porsche Cayenne went on sale. The Cayenne S now featured a larger 4.8 litre, naturally-aspirated V8 engine. Courtesy of the new direct petrol injection system and the addition of VarioCam Plus valve control, the V8 now produces 500 Nm (previously 420 Nm) of torque and power output rises by 45bhp (33kW) to 385 bhp (283 kW). These higher figures translate into a 0-62mph time of 6.6 seconds and a top speed of 157mph. (Previous model: 6.8 seconds and 150mph.) The Cayenne S was priced from £46,610.

Second generation Porsche Cayenne

Second generation Porsche Cayenne

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Saturday 8th September 2007

9 years ago

Porsche released its the latest 911 Turbo Cabriolet in the UK. The price for the 911 Turbo Cabriolet was £106,180, including a Porsche Vehicle Tracking System (VTS), a sophisticated vehicle security package approved to Thatcham Category 5 standard, and a Porsche Driving Experience programme.

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Monday 24th September 2007

9 years ago

The fastest driver ever caught in a routine speed-check in the UK was sentenced to 10 weeks in jail. Timothy Brady had been clocked at 172 mph in a Porsche 911 Turbo in a 70-mph zone on the A420 in Oxfordshire in January. He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and was banned from driving for 3 years and had to take an extended driving test to get another licence.

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Saturday 31st January 2009

8 years ago

The new Porsche Museum in Stuttgart was opened to the public The 5,600 square metres of exhibition space were supported on just three so-called cores of reinforced concrete – giving the illusion of hovering in space.

Porsche Museum - Stuttgart

Porsche Museum - Stuttgart

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Sunday 19th April 2009

8 years ago

The Shanghai Motor Show opened. Porsche kicked off the show by unveiling the Panamera, the German luxury carmaker's first foray into the sedan segment. The Panamera's name is derived, like the Porsche Carrera line, from the Carrera Panamericana race. The Panamera is generally considered to be the long-awaited fruit of Porsche's 989 concept vehicle from the late 1980s. Like the Porsche Cayenne SUV (which has become the marque's best-selling vehicle), the Panamera upset many Porsche purists, since it was seen as an attempt to broaden Porsche's appeal beyond that of hardcore fans. The Panamera ran contrary to the company's signature offerings, particularly its light two-door rear-engine sports cars like the 911. The Panamera on the other hand is considered a full-size luxury car, weighing nearly 4,000 pounds (1,800 kg), with four doors, and its engine mounted in the front. The Panamera's appearance with its long hood and rear hatch bears resemblance to a stretched 911. The iconic 911 has a sparse interior, as it was focused on raw performance, while the Panamera has a sumptuous interior loaded with modern technological amenities and expensive leather upholstery. In 2011, hybrid and diesel versions were launched. In April 2013, a facelift to the Panamera was announced, launching again at the Auto Shanghai show.[5] A plug-in hybrid version, the Panamera S E-Hybrid, was released in the U.S. market in November 2013.

Porsche Panamera

Porsche Panamera

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Friday 14th August 2009

7 years ago

In Germany shares in Volkswagen, Europe's biggest carmaker, plunged after it approved a takeover of luxury auto manufacturer Porsche to create a sector giant.

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Sunday 5th May 2013

4 years ago

Legendary custom car builder, painter, and Hollywood stuntman Dean Jeffries passed away at the age of 80. Dean Jeffries was a ‘50s cultural icon, contributing to the teen culture of the ‘50s through his paint and pinstriping—first working with George and Sam Barris in Lynwood—where he was born in ‘33, but also through images he created that became mass art for teen book covers, locker doors, and car windows. Dean Jeffries was the subject of many custom paint and pinstripe articles throughout the ‘50s, seeming to be attached to everything that was California Cool culture; from painting “Little Bastard” on the Porsche Spyder James Dean would lose his life in, to repainting over and over Carroll Shelby’s only Cobra prototype to help give the impression Carroll had built a fleet of them. Later he took the car customising to new heights with his seminal Manta Ray, based on a Maserati Grand Prix racecar. Once the world got an eyeful of the Manta Ray, exposing what his custom capabilities were, Jeffries was building elaborate custom vehicles for the car manufacturers, TV and film, including the Monkeemobile for the Monkees TV show, and the Green Hornet’s “Black Beauty” Imperial. Since he built some of the cars used in numerous movies and TV, Jeffries also became a de-facto stuntman. Also during the height of his TV/movie car period he reinterpreted the dune buggy with his Kyote fibreglass kits.

Dean Jeffries

Dean Jeffries

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Monday 10th March 2014

3 years ago

William Ray (23) was disqualified from driving for six months, ordered to pay a £600 fine, £85 costs and a victim surcharge of £65 after being clocked driving his white Porsche Boxer at 149 mph on the M25.

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Sunday 23rd August 2015

1 years ago

French rugby player, racing driver and later a Formula One team owner, Guy Ligier, died at the age of 85. With motorway construction booming in France, Ligier was able to build a large construction empire and during the period made important friends in local politicians François Mitterrand and Pierre Bérégovoy. In the late 1960s Guy started racing Porsche sportscars and even raced in Formula One with privately entered Cooper-Maserati and Brabham-Repco machinery. Neither was very successful and so in 1968 Ligier decided to form a partnership with Jo Schlesser and the two bought a pair of McLaren Formula 2 cars. Schlesser was killed that year on his Formula One debut at the French Grand Prix, at the wheel of the air-cooled Honda Formula One car, and Ligier decided he had had enough and retired. He opted to build racing cars instead and hired Michel Tétu to design the Ligier JS1, a production sportscar (the initials JS were a tribute to Jo Schlesser). The company was built up in sportscar racing but at the end of 1974 Ligier bought the assets of Matra Sports and embarked on a Formula One team. This began racing in 1976 with Jacques Laffite driving. The team became highly successful in the early 1980s with Laffite, Patrick Depailler and Didier Pironi driving. In 1981 Ligier's old friend François Mitterrand became President of France and when Ligier ran into trouble in 1983 the President ordered that government-owned companies such as Elf, Gitanes and Loto should supply sponsorship. Ligier also had preferential treatment when it came to engines, political pressure being applied to Renault to force the company to supply the team, which used Renault engines from 1984 to 1986 and from 1992 to 1994. The Ligier-Mitterrand-Bérégovoy alliance reached its peak in the early 1990s with the reconstruction of the Magny-Cours racing circuit as a new headquarters for Ligier and as a racing circuit to host the French Grand Prix. President Mitterrand and Prime Minister Bérégovoy backed the idea. Ligier also built a successful business building Ligier micro-cars. In 1992 Ligier realized that the socialist government would not last forever and sold his team to Cyril de Rouvre. He used the money he gained to corner the market in natural fertilizer in central France and set about building another fortune. Within a few months Mitterrand's Socialist Party was annihilated in the elections and Bérégovoy committed suicide on May 1, 1993. Ligier remained involved with the team in an ambassadorial role, until it was sold to Alain Prost in 1996 and was renamed Prost Grand Prix.

Guy Ligier

Guy Ligier

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